Everyone should add a simple yoga routine for flexibility if they want to keep their muscles strong and lean. People say that a person’s age is determined by the flexibility of his/her spine and yoga is the perfect way to stay young.
We get so used to not moving and bending that our muscles dehydrate and stiffen with age. Elastic fibers get bound up with collagenous connective tissue getting tight. Stretching every day slows down the process of dehydration by stimulating the production of tissue lubricants.
“Our lives are restricted and sedentary,” explains Dr. Thomas Green, a chiropractor in Lincoln, Nebraska, “so our bodies get lazy muscles atrophy, and our joints settle into a limited range.”
- Flexibility: Yoga is a slow and soft practice that helps you regain flexibility. People with arthritis or who know they are very stiff can start off with a gentle style of yoga that focuses on deep stretching. While practicing, you will see that your range of motion starts to become freer. Yoga trains your muscles to be more limber. For anyone who feels that their body is too tight and that the yoga mat is too difficult to work out on, try out chair yoga. This style of yoga has a great range of exercises that offer even more stretching benefits than the floor. Once you have loosened up enough, you can move onto the mat and more advanced poses. To get the deepest stretch, you need to be mindful of your breathing. Meditation and breathing help us move more into the pose stretching the muscles slowly. The more we stretch out our muscles, the more we build them up to be flexible. You need to hold your breaths for a few counts followed by powerful releases.
- Strength: There are so many muscles that we don’t use every day. On top of that, muscle mass in adults starts to reduce at around 40 or 50 years of age. Not having muscle mass means that you feel weaker. People need to strengthen the muscle mass by using them. In yoga, you are training your muscles to support your weight in hundreds of poses. And there are yoga poses for each muscle – even those you didn’t know you had. Yoga poses challenges to these muscles and strengthens them.
- Balance: Yoga includes a variety of poses that require you to work on your balance. There is the classic image of balancing on one foot and resting the other on your thigh. Head balances are also impressive and performed by more advanced practitioners. No matter what your level in yoga, there is a need to hold your balance and breath through every pose. You need to work on particular muscles that help you maintain stability and balance while in a pose. Muscle groups in the hips, outer hips, and glutes are at work as well as your inner thighs, shin, calf, and core muscles. They have to work in sync with each other and keep you in control. Two important muscles are the medius and minimus muscles of the glutes. Found on the hip, they create exterior support around our pelvis and legs. As we grow older, these muscles gradually weaken. The result is sway in our walk because our hips are moving too much from side to side. The National Institute of Health states that falls is one of the biggest causes of accidents reported.
“1.6 million older adults go to the emergency room each year because of a fall. These falls can result in bruises, fractures, or even broken bones. One of the best things you can do to prevent falls is to practice balance and build muscle strength, and yoga specializes in both.”
The National Institute of Health
The best yoga style for flexibility is a hard one to choose. Every yoga pose stretches and strengthens necessary muscles keeping you feeling young and strong. While you practice yoga, you connect more with your body. You listen to where you feel the tension and work through the stretch. Adding a full-body yoga routine and sequence for strength and flexibility will make you feel energized and free.
If you are interested in yoga for immediate or extreme flexibility, work towards the more advanced poses that will have your muscles twisting, bedding, and balancing in all directions.
Types Of Yoga For Flexibility
- Yin Yoga. One of the best types of yoga for flexibility is Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga feels like you are doing a slow, deep stretching rather than getting ready for practice. It is both relaxing and effective stretching at the same time. Instead of powering through a pose, yogis breathe deep and release more tension helping them to bend more forward, back, left, or right. These slow poses also allow you to gently bend and twist your body in crazy shapes and figures without hurting yourself. You will be surprised how many poses you can get into when you do Yin Yoga. It includes some of the best yoga stretches for flexibility and if you have never done yoga before, easy yoga poses for flexibility are the most gentle, to begin with, and can be a stepping stone to more active practices.
- Vinyasa yoga is another great yoga style to try. It includes 6 different poses that you hold and release for the same amount of counts. Also known as power yoga, it is challenging and is better for yogis with athletic backgrounds to increase their flexibility. Based on the sequence of poses in Ashtanga yoga, power yoga builds upper-body strength as well as flexibility and balance. You flow from one pose to another.
Here are a few easy yoga poses for flexibility that you can start with.
Yoga is a perfect morning routine for flexibility. While everyone else is getting those last seconds of sleep, you can already get your body prepared by stretching it after a long night of rest. Here are a few easy-going stretches that also get you energized for the day ahead.
Can you get more flexible by doing yoga?
Yes, you can. All yoga poses focus on stretching and strengthening your muscles keeping them as loose and limber as possible as our bodies age. It is highly recommended to do yoga and stretches every day. We do not move so much anymore in our daily lives, so any chance to get those muscles and ligaments moving is time well-spent.
If you are new to yoga, you can start with a practice that is slow and gentle – like Yin yoga. Once you get more confident, you can move into more fitness-related yoga which pushes your body further and increases flexibility too.
How long does it take for yoga to improve flexibility?
Everyone is different. Some people are born with flexibility and others are training into it. No matter how flexible or stiff you are, improvement is possible as long as you concentrate every day and practice.
The deeper you challenge the stretch the more flexible you get too. So even though some people would do yoga for a month, if their poses are gentle, they will not get as flexible as a person who did deeper stretches for a month. But keep in mind that you do not want to go overboard. Never push yourself past your limits. Yoga should always be comfortable and positively effective.
Why is yoga good for flexibility?
It works on breathing, movement, and stretching muscles and ligaments all over the body. With yoga, you can activate areas of the body that never get used and are hard to access. Practicing yoga every day improves your strength, flexibility and focuses on your breathing. Yoga is a great way to stay stretched and meditate at the same time.