6 Yoga Poses for Increased Flexibility
Of course yoga is a great way to become more mindful, but did you know yoga is also used to improve flexibility?
I met with Lisa Padgett, our resident yoga expert, to talk about great poses for stretching. These poses are perfect as post-workout stretches or simple daily stretches to become more limber! Keep in mind that doing these poses infrequently or for only a few seconds isn’t enough to really stretch out your muscles. Practicing them consistently for thirty seconds or more can help you see a difference — and your muscles will thank you later.
Chances are you’re already familiar with this pose, which is great for stretching your hamstrings. To get into this position, start on your hands and knees, then lift your hips in the air to form an “A” with your body. Make sure you keep your arms in a straight line with your upper body. For an added stretch, try straightening your legs and keeping your feet perfectly flat on the ground.
This pose really helps loosen your back and shoulders. Start by lying face down. Slowly, bend your knees and reach back to grab your ankles one at a time. Try to push your heels away from your back and lift your thighs off the ground.
If you’ve worked your abs like crazy, this pose can help stretch them out and reduce soreness. Start by lying face down and placing your hands on the ground at shoulder level. Push your torso upward while leaving your hips on the ground. Lisa mentioned that you can lift your hips to get into a move called “upward-facing dog,” but it puts a lot of pressure on your back, so be careful.
Your legs will thank you after holding this pose! Sit on the ground and place the soles of your feet together. Keeping your spine nice and long, push your thighs towards the ground until you feel the stretch. If your legs are all the way on the ground and you still don’t feel anything, try to lean forward while maintaining a long spine.
I cannot say enough how much I love this pose. Start on your hands and knees, with your knees in a wider stance, and slide your hips towards your heels. Your hands can be wherever they feel most comfortable — either to your side or in front of you — and your head should stay relaxed. Lisa recommends folding a towel to provide a comfortable surface that “brings the floor to you” if you can’t bring your head all the way to the ground.
You’ll be surprised how well this pose removes the “slump-asana” in your shoulders and helps you feel more open. Using a yoga block or rolled-up towel placed between your shoulder blades, lay on your back and keep your chest lifted. Lisa encourages holding this one as long as you can. Your posture will thank you.
Incorporating these poses into your routine can help your muscles relax and lengthen after a hard workout. Let us know what poses you like best on social media @AuburnCampusRec.
Namaste, and as always,
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Elizabeth W.