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10 Yoga Poses To Do Daily For Flexibility

 

Yoga is essential for many reasons. The physical benefits can be distilled down to flexibility, balance, and strength. The focus of this article is flexibility. Yoga, however, is not limited to its physical benefits. In Yoga, the word prana means “life force” or our energy that rules over the five senses and uses the breath to evolve. We are always breathing, but we are not still using the real power of our breath to increase prana. Stress, trauma, or emotional baggage can limit our ability to feel and use our breath genuinely. Developing and deepening our practice of the yoga asanas allows us to breathe better, channel our energy, and improve our overall health. As society continues to become more health-conscious, Yoga is somewhat of a trifecta of wellness. It exercises one’s physical, mental, and spiritual fitness.

 

No, you don’t need fancy clothes, a 100-degree studio, or the fitness brilliance of LeBron James to do Yoga. By the way, it’s not just LeBron James, but athletes like Tom Brady and Shaquille O’Neal, too, that attribute their health to a consistent yoga practice. There are seemingly endless reasons to add Yoga to your daily routine. Everybody can do Yoga because Yoga bags are for everybody.

 

To deepen your practice and explore your limits (rather than strive to get into those pretzel shapes) here are our top 10 daily yoga bags poses for improving flexibility:

1.Child’s pose (Balasana)

This is a nourishing pose to stretch the lower back, hips, and thighs gently. Child’s pose is undoubtedly a must in the realm of daily yoga postures. Throughout our daily routines, we tend to stress our lower back by reduced activation of our lower abdominals. If your lifestyle requires you to be sedentary for long periods, or rather stand for long periods, then incorporating this pose as part of your everyday yoga routine will help to release lower back compression.

 

How to do this asana:

kneeling on the floor, hands should be directly under the shoulders and knees should be a hips-width distance apart. Keep the tops of the feet flat on the floor and exhale as you gently begin to push your booty back towards your heels. Keep your arms extended and reach forward. Inhale resting your chest between your thighs, and forehead on the mat. Keep the gaze inward and gently shut the eyes, focusing on the breath.

 

Beginner modification:

If you have difficulty sitting back to your heels in this pose, place a padded blanket or light pillow between the back of your thighs and calves. If you have tight hips, you can also keep your knees closer together rather than hips-width distance.

 

Advanced modification:

For a deeper stretch, activate the arms and walk the hands and fingers as far to the left as you can and then repeat on the right side.

Tips for alignment:

Typically seen as a resting pose, or a pause between other asana’s, it is beneficial to release tension in the body. Avoid stressing your head and neck and try to inhale so profoundly that you feel your entire backfill with air.

 

2. Downward dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This is a naturally rejuvenating and energizing stretch that opens the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands. Indeed, one of Yoga’s most widely recognized poses may be familiar but deceptively challenging. Incorporated as part of your daily yoga postures, this pose will stretch and strengthen you from head to toe. The back body stretch is unmatched, elongating your spine, hamstrings, and calves. In Yoga mats, this pose is usually done both at the beginning and towards the end of class, with countless times in-between. Engaging with it and finding comfort in it will help you develop your practice. If you have the time, you can repeat this posture several times, and notice the difference between your first downward dog and you’re third.

 

 

How to do this asana:

Start in a tabletop position, kneeling on the floor. Hands should be directly under the shoulders, and knees should be a hips-width distance apart.

Take your hands and place them about one palm print forward from their current position.

Keep your heels pointed towards the sky, and your toes tucked.

Exhale, sending your pelvis to the ceiling.

Let the head and neck hang heavy as gently try to send your shoulder blades down your back and your heels towards the floor.

Hold for 20 breaths. To release, there are two options: Either gently begin to bend your knees, lowering them to the mat and pressing your torso upright to a seated position or walk your hands back to your feet and gently raise your head to come to a standing position.

 

Beginner modification:

You will still get the full benefits of this asana, even with slight changes. Gently bend your knees, allowing for a slightly altered A-shape. If your heels are too lifted, you can use a rolled-up mat or towel underneath them for support.

Advanced modification:

Raise your right leg so that it is parallel with your torso, toes pointed towards the ground pressing through the heel. Hold for five breaths and release back down. Repeat on the left side.

Tips for alignment:

External rotation of the arms is foundational in a downward dog. When you are entirely in the asana, without moving your hands, turn your armpits to face each other. This can feel quite awkward at first, but daily repetition will allow you to perfect this rotation with ease.

3. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

This asana is a high hip and groin opener and can even help relieve fatigue. Incorporating hip openers as part of your Yoga for daily flexibility will counteract stiffness and poor posture. The traditional school of thought for Yoga sees the hips as the storage area in the body for negative emotions and pent-up feelings. Hip-openers will improve your overall range of motion and perhaps help to provide more emotional clarity over time.

How to do this asana:

Find yourself in an upright seated position with your legs straight out in front of you. Roll your shoulder blades down your back and tighten your core, sending the belly button to the spine. Buy now with yogashq Gently bring the legs in so that the bottoms of the feet touch. Use your hands to hold the feet and gently try keeping them pressed together.

Use the strength of your thighs to send your knees down toward the mat. Hold for 25 breaths. To release, gently let go of the feet, and they will likely butterfly open. Send the legs straight out in front of you and gently shake them out.

You can make the blankets thinner as your flexibility increases. If your hips are particularly tight, place a folded sheet under your booty to raise your seat. If you need more of a lift, feel free to use as much as you need, such as a stool.

Advanced modification:

Keeping your feet together, exhale, sending the torso forward between the hip joints. You can use your elbows or forearms to press gently against the inner thighs.

Tips for alignment:

It is essential to keep an upright, supported posture during this pose. Don’t force your knees to the ground or press on them while in this pose.

4. Eagle Pose

arms only (Garudasana) There are many variations of Garudasana or Eagle Pose, but our yogasana daily flexibility routine will try the seated wings only option. It is essential to focus on the arms because many  Yoga Poses involve them, but few that focus on flexibility rather than strength. This is part of my daily yoga routine because it is the best of both worlds, a twist, and a shoulder opener. We tend to carry tension in our shoulders, which can lead to fatigue and even pain. Twists surprisingly help us find ease and comfort, also unwinding the mind. This will loosen your shoulder blades and sacrum, and prevent those knots we sometimes get from hunching over a desk all day. This also tends to be a more intense stretch.

How to do this asana:

Begin in a comfortable seated position (I prefer my legs in a pretzel shape).

Send the belly button to the spine, tightening the core and bringing arms out wide to a T shape.

Cross your arms (left on top), wrapping them around you like you are giving yourself a big hug.

With your left elbow crossed over your right angle, bring the palms together.

Hold for 15 breaths and then repeat with the right arm on top. To release this pose, gently release the palms and unwind the arms. Shake out the shoulders before repeating on the opposite side.

 

Beginner modification: Cross your arms and give yourself a big hug. If your fingertips don’t reach the inside of your scapula, then hold the pose there. You will eventually deepen in the pose as you incorporate eagle arms in your yogasana daily routine.

 

Advanced modification:

This modification has a slightly deeper feel than touching your palms together. With the arm that is on the bottom (or underneath), use your fingertips and press on the thumb of the hand on top. The gentle push on the thumb will add depth to the shoulder stretch.

Tips for alignment:

There are versions of eagle arms where the elbows are lowered. However, as we are focusing on flexibility with everyday poses, it is essential to keep your elbows lifted. If anything feels too deep, use the beginner modifications until you feel comfortable going deeper.

5. It also plasticizer the knees and ankles.

Yoga may have postures that focus on a particular body part, but all of the body works in an interconnected way so that no one part is overworked. As you engage with your daily yoga practice and particular yoga asanas, think of equality amongst the body parts and what you can do to create a rhythm. Find your rhythm in Garland Pose, and you might just find increased circulation and improved balance.

How to do this asana:

Start at the top of the mat standing, with your arms resting down by your sides.

Widen your feet to about mats-width distance apart. Toes should be pointing just slightly outward.

Bend your knees and lower your hips past your knees.

Bend your torso slightly forward and bring your hands to heart center.

Begin to press your palms together so that your outer arms press against your inner thighs.

Hold for ten breaths. To release this pose, exhale and press firmly into the bottoms of the feet coming to stand.

Beginner modification:

If your heels don’t quite touch the floor, place a folded mat or blanket underneath of them for support.

Advanced modification:

Using the strength of your inner thighs presses them along your torso. Keeping your core tight, send your arms straight out and gently begin to press your armpits into your shins. You can also bring your feet in about hips-width distance apart rather than a mats-width length alone for a deeper hip stretch.

 

Tips for alignment: Keep your feet apart at a distance; you feel comfortable within a squat position.

6. Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

This is one of my favorite yoga asanas of the forward bend family. It’s excellent for improving flexibility along the spine, hamstrings, and shoulders. As part of your daily routine, Prasarita Padottanasana can also relieve mild backaches. It provides the benefits of a forward fold and an inversion, where it calms the mind and challenges the physical body. The legs must support the body while the neck and head hang heavy, relieved. It asks you to test your balance and ease your upper body tension to achieve forward bend harmony. Reflective thinking in Yoga comes when we can find peace between body parts and can let our minds be free.

 

How to do this asana:

Start standing facing horizontally and pointing straight ahead. Feet should be a hips-width distance apart.

Gently begin to step your feet apart between 3 or 4 feet (or more depending on your height).

Strengthen the legs by lifting your thigh muscles off of your knee caps and placing your hands on your hips.

Hug the inner thighs towards each other, spread your toes wide, and ground the corners of your feet to lift the arches.

Begin to fold the torso slowly over your legs, bringing your hands to the mat, flat if possible, directly under shoulders.

Folding deeper, begin to bend the elbows bringing your head toward the floor.

Hold for 10-breaths. Repeat once. To release this pose, bring your hands to your hips and gently begin to bring the torso parallel to the floor. Heel-toe the feet in towards each other. Tuck your chin to your chest and lightly come up to stand.

Beginner modification:

If your hands don’t reach the floor, place your hands on your hips, and keep the torso supported parallel to the level. Widen the feet for a more natural bend, but no so much so that you feel unstable.

Advanced modification:

If you can fold deeply, you can begin to place your forearm gently on the mat rather than your hands.

Tips for alignment:

Keep your legs straight, but don’t lock out your knees. Gently bend your knees if necessary.

7. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) Bhujangasana,

or Cobra Pose is a backbend that strengthens the spine and stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdominals. It is also beneficial for increasing blood circulation. It’s rejuvenating, especially for those sitting for most of the day or remaining sedentary for any number of reasons. Cobra Pose helps us improve our posture as we use our core to lift us in this asana, the same muscles that support us sitting upright at a desk or dinner table. This upright posture promotes high energy levels and improves circulation.

 

How to do this asana:

Begin by lying flat on your stomach with the tops of the feet flat on the floor.

Position your hands directly under shoulders with your fingers spread wide.

Hug your elbows in towards the ribs and slide your shoulder blades down your back.

Press through the hands, tops of the feet, and pubic bone.

Keeping your lower ribs on the floor gently inhale as you lift yourself.

Drawing your heart forward, do not crunch your neck.

To release the pose, gently bend the elbows lowering your chest onto the floor. Rest one cheek on the mat.

Beginner modification:

If you are very tight, refrain from going into the backbend. Instead, try gently lifting your chest and your hands a few inches off the ground to gauge your flexibility. If you have the flexibility to go a bit deeper, keep your gaze towards the floor.

 

Advanced modification:

If you have the flexibility, you can deepen the bend in this yoga asana. Walk the hands a bit forward and straighten your elbows, externally rotate the arms outward. Lift the chest towards the ceiling, gaze towards the ceiling.

Tips for alignment:

Keep your core tight in this position. Press your belly button to your spine to protect yourself from pinching your lower back. It is equally important to keep rolling your shoulders down your back, as we tend to scrunch up and lock our elbows.

8. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This heart opener invites the light in. Bridge Pose stretches the chest, neck, spine, and stimulates the abdominal organs. Far too often, the stresses of life leave us feeling exhausted. This pose also stimulates the adrenals, and not only gets the creative juices flowing but can give an all too needed energy boost for the day. Replace that third espresso shot with a three-part repetition of bridge pose. Breath deeply, and this chest opener helps to remove impurities from the lungs.

 

How to do this asana:

Begin lying flat on your back.

Bring the feet flat on the floor as close to the booty as possible.

Exhale pressing your feet into the ground, tightening the glutes, and pressing the tailbone upward.

Keep your thighs parallel and roll your inner thighs in towards each other.

Knees should be directly above the ankles but keep pressing them forward.

Lift your chin slightly above your chest and roll the shoulder blades towards the center of your back, pushing your chest back towards your chin.

Clasp the hands underneath the back and press them towards the floor.

Hold for ten breaths and repeat once. To release this pose, gently lower your tailbone down to the mat.

 

Beginner modification:

If you have trouble supporting the lift of the pelvis, use blocks, or a bolster to help you as your strength improves.

Advanced modification:

Once in the pose, lift your heels off of the floor and push the tailbone even further to the sky.

Tips for alignment:

This is a very active pose. Be sure to continue to roll your inner thighs towards each other, and keep your glutes tight to help you lift.

 

9. Eye of the Needle (Sucirandhrasana)

This is perhaps one of the best daily Yoga Poses for our hips and considered a gentler variation of Pigeon Pose. It’s also a great hamstring stretch, perfect for post-workout or anyone with tight hips. When we are required to sit for long periods, our hip flexors usually tighten and limit our range of mobility. This yoga asana will not only open you up but also improve your posture and circulation. Sucirandhrasana has varying levels of depth, and you can modify to meet your needs where you are in your practice.

How to do this asana:

Start flat on your back with the bottoms of the feet flat on the floor.

Raise your right knee, and send the heel towards the ceiling.

Bend your right knee and place the right ankle on the left thigh.

Flex the foot pressing out through the right heel.

Lift your left foot off of the floor, bringing the thigh into the torso.

Exhale threading the right arm through the legs and the left arm around the outer thigh to meet it.

Clasp the hands and gently pull the left thigh in towards you.

We are continuing to hold the left thigh release, the shoulder blades down flat on the mat.

Your calf should be parallel to the floor as gently continue to bring the left thigh to the torso.

 

Hold for 15 breaths. Repeat on the right side. To release, tuck the chin to the chest and begin to release the hold on the left thigh. Let the left foot float flat to the floor. Send both legs straight out and shake them out before repeating on the opposite side.

Beginner modification:

If you can’t wholly loop your arms around your left thigh, gently stay with your ankle crossed, and the opposite foot remains on the ground.

Advanced modification:

To deepen the stretch, bring the knee of the resting ankle closer towards your body.

Tips for alignment:

Try and keep your low back flat on the mat, pressing your belly button to your spine.

 

10. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Twists are beneficial for so many reasons. Among the reasons, they are incredibly cleansing and work to detoxify the body. This yoga asana works to stretch the back and glutes and helps to realign the spine. If you often have back pain, use this pose in your daily yoga routine to work on loosening all of the spinal support muscles. Use a supported version of this pose if you tend to be tight in the hips.

How to do this asana:

Begin by lying flat on your mat with your arms out flat in a T-shape and palms flat on the ground. Hug your right knee into your chest. Place your left hand outside the right thigh and gently bring your right knee across your body. Bring your right knee as far to the floor as possible. Continue to press on the right knee or release the left arm back in line with the right-wing. Hold for ten breaths. To release this pose, gently bring the knee back into the chest and release it flat down to the floor to meet the opposite leg.

Beginner modification:

If the knee remains substantially above the ground while in the twist, use a rolled-up mat or towel for support.

Advanced modification:

Bringing the bent knee in closer towards the chest will deepen both the twist and the stretch. Tips for alignment: Always keep both shoulders flat on the mat. This may require that your knee be slightly off the floor, but you will still receive all the benefits of this yoga asana. If you don’t have enough room, you can cactus the arms rather than have them in a T-shape.

Bottom Line

It is a common misconception that you must be flexible to practice Yoga. Yoga was not developed to make one more flexible, and It would be unfair to say that the best benefit of Yoga is flexibility. Indeed it is one of the most obvious perks, but joins a long list of golden benefits. Since Yoga was not created solely to make us more limber, it is essential to remember that the attitude of flexibility spans the body and mind. The physical flexibility, however, enables us to be more flexible in the brain. It allows us to open various parts of the body and calm other parts of the mind. Yoga is paramount in enhancing physical flexibility because it elongates the muscles and stretches the connective tissues, promoting overall elasticity. It helps deepness in our meditative states as it removes the physical ailments that often prevent us from introspective thought.

 

Each of the ten yoga asanas we discussed above offers a suggested hold by breath count. You may be used to tutorials that give time in minutes, but instead of staring at your phone or the clock, you should focus on the breath. I’ve suggested more extended breath holds because it stimulates deep muscle tissue, critical for achieving and sustaining increased flexibility. It is essential to keep in mind that you should modify based on your needs and particular comfort level in any given asana.

 

Patience with both your body and your mind throughout the process and practice is critical. One day it can feel you’ve reached a milestone and another you may be tighter than you remember. Don’t forget that we store much of our stress, trauma, and emotions in various parts of the body (for me- my hips!). It makes sense that as we explore and continue to open up, our bodies may react with stiffness. Remember that flexibility is a journey, so trust yours, Trust your trip, for your path, and your prana is your own.

 

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