Yoga For The Non-Flexible
Do you ever find yourself avoiding a yoga class because you’re worried about flexibility? If you’ve seen pictures of yogis bending backwards in contortionist-like movements, chances are you stay far away from yoga. But there’s good news for yoga wannabes: There are plenty of yoga poses that are perfect for people who are not flexible. So if you’re worried about your lack of flexibility, never fear—here are some yoga exercises you can do that will help you to get a little more bendy.
Genetics, weather, age, and even gender can sometimes be blamed for your lack of flexibility—men and older adults tend to be less flexible than children and females. But Chrissy Carter, a NYC-based yoga instructor, says that people who lack flexibility are the ones who should be doing yoga—not avoiding it. Yoga can help to also strengthen your muscles, correct muscle imbalances, reduce stress, improve posture, and increase concentration. Here are some poses you can do to get you ready to face that dreaded yoga class:
Mountain Pose “Tadasana.” While it might seem like a simple pose, this basic template is important to learn. Stand tall with your legs together—arms at your sides—and close your eyes. Use this pose to connect to your breath, and hold it for five to 10 breaths.
Child’s Pose “Balasana.” This basic move is a resting pose, so you can stay here for a few minutes. Go onto your knees—keeping them apart—and touch your feet together. Place your belly and chest between your legs, with your head on the floor. Reach your arms forward and hold.
Downward-Facing Dog “Adho Mukha Svanasana.” Place your feet hip-distance apart and fold forward until your hands are flat on the floor (or mat). Your hips should point straight into the air, abs pulled in. Keep your shoulders and back in one straight line with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Your feet face forward and your heels rest flat on the floor. You can also take this position from a push-up plank position, simply by lifting your hips into the air and placing your feet flat. Relax your shoulders and breathe.
Chair Pose “Utkatasana.” Place your feet at about hip-distance or keep them together. Bend your knees as you sit back into your imaginary chair, and lift your arms straight up. Brace your abs and drop your shoulders.
Tree Pose “Vrksasana.” This pose will work your balance while helping to center your thoughts. Shift your weight to one foot and balance on one leg. Lift your other foot up and place it on your ankle, shin, or thigh (depending on your flexibility). If you feel confident, raise your arms up and place your hands together above your head.
Shavasana. If there’s any exercise that will relax you, this is it. Lie flat on your back with your eyes closed. Make sure you’re comfortable and relax your entire body. Keep your palms facing the sky with your arms at about a 45-degree angle to your torso.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.