The latest statistics show that improving flexibility is the most popular reason for starting yoga, and research does prove that it’s one of the biggest benefits of regular practice. However there are a number of asanas that can help to make you more flexible than the rest. Here are our top 5 yoga poses for improving flexibility:
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Standing Forward Bend is top of the list of yoga poses for flexibility.
Dean of the Kripalu School of Yoga, Cristie Newhart describes how alignment is key to the pose and how:
“The support of the abdominal muscles below the navel allow for greater flexibility in the lumbar spine”.
Practicing the Standing Forward Fold is a little bit like a test, helping you realize how flexible you currently are!
The more times you do it, the more flexible you’ll become, eventually being able to straighten your legs fully.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
If you want stretches for flexibility then it’s time to embrace your inner warrior. Warrior I is a great asana when you’re concentrating on your trunk.
The action of the pose builds both strength and a better range of motion within your core muscles.
Warrior I is also ideal for developing flexibility in the hips. It’s thought that the active mobility of the pose is what improves your range of movement over time.
Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
Cat-Cow Pose is another important stretch for gaining flexibility in your spine.
Lifelong yoga teacher Guru Rattana, Ph.D describes how:
“Yogis say that a person’s age is determined by the flexibility of his/her spine”.
She advises that you should initially practice the pose for between one and three minutes, gradually increasing your speed, allowing your spine to become looser and more flexible.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
When it comes to simple yoga poses for flexibility, Cobra Pose is great as it has so many advantages for your overall wellbeing.
You get a deep stretch in your back which really helps to strengthen and loosen up your spinal column.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
If you’re looking for yoga poses for back flexibility then Bow Pose is a wonderful asana to begin practicing.
Gwen Lawrence who runs the Power Yoga for Sports training program, demonstrates how Bow Pose is perfect for athletes as part of their stretching routine.
She states how:
“Bow pose increases the flexibility of the back as a whole…helps to open the lungs, vertebrae and hip flexors, which are often very tight in athletes. This gives athletes greater spinal flexibility and rotation with less strain”.