“I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.”
It’s a phrase we’ve all heard or even said ourselves. In fact, lack of mobility or flexibility is a big factor in why some don’t even dare to take a yoga class. Still others crave more flexibility for health reasons: sitting for long periods of time or not moving enough in general has led to muscular shortening, which in turn has triggered back pain or headaches. Do you want to become more limber too? Then try the following seven tips for more flexibility.
Staying on the ball is extremely important. So try to incorporate smaller exercises more often, rather than just once a week for an hour. Maybe you even plan fixed appointments for yourself, which you then keep. The more regularly you exercise, the better your body will get used to the exercises and you will feel it gradually becoming more supple.
Not just stretching
Just doing a few stretches every day is not only boring, but also not really productive. So use your yoga practice to become more limber! Not only will it be more fun this way, but you’ll also combine stretching with exercises that build strength. This combination is important to avoid injuries.
Yoga blocks, yoga straps & co. are your best friends if you are not yet that limber. Asanas that might otherwise feel uncomfortable become more comfortable, and you can gently approach poses like seated forward bends. Straps and blocks can be an extension of your arms, allowing you to gently try out asanas while remaining correctly aligned. If you need inspiration on how to use yoga props, check them out here.
Connect with your breath as you practice. You really should always, but especially if you’re focusing on being more flexible. Deep, emphatic exhalations help you release tension and sink deeper into the stretch. Deep breathing also plays a crucial role in the next point.
You can’t do it without relaxation. Becoming more flexible also means letting go. Tension is an obvious contradiction to the suppleness we strive for. Therefore, make sure that relaxation is not neglected in your practice, both at the end in the form of savasana and in the exercises themselves. As mentioned earlier, the breath plays a big role here: if you breathe shallowly and quickly, you are telling your head that you are in a stressful situation and cannot relax.
Flexibility starts in the head
Speaking of the head: It also gets involved when you’re trying to get more limber. Maybe you’ve noticed that you have a harder time with balance poses when you’re upset inside? Our minds and bodies are inextricably linked, and mental imbalance translates into physical imbalance. It is the same with flexibility. If your mind feels soft, flexible and wide because you have pleasant thoughts, you will find the exercises easier than if you are worried and your mind feels all hardened and narrow – for example, when you are sad.
You can also extend your practice by visualizing, for example, how with each exhalation you are releasing more and more tension, becoming softer and softer, and thus sinking even deeper into the stretch.
Patience and love
Becoming more flexible doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that must be done gradually to avoid injury. Therefore, be patient with yourself and try to have fun along the way instead of constantly peeking at the destination. It is very important to be loving to yourself. Don’t force yourself into positions that your body is not yet comfortable with. Challenge it gently, but don’t exceed its limits. Respect it and do not compare it to other bodies. Keep realizing that you are exactly where you are supposed to be on your path – there is no one you need to outdo. Pay more attention to how an exercise feels to you, not how it looks or how you think it should look.
More flexibility is good for you! Better flexibility can prevent pain, tension and injury. So regular practice pays off – I hope you enjoy it!