Those who are new to yoga usually say ‘I’m not very flexible’, or even use it as an excuse to not do yoga, thinking that they won’t be able enough for it.
Our flexibility can sometimes be a natural occurrence, but it can also be a results of our lifestyle or practice.
After all, these days most of us spend lots of time compromising our physical flexibility, sitting in chairs, driving a car, sitting for work in front of a computer for long stretches of time (no pun intended).
Does that sound all too familiar?
If so here are a few tips to slowly increase your flexibility…
4 Ways to improve flexibility
1. Use Props!
Many people avoid the use of props.
It can be seen as a downfall to ‘need’ something to help you in yoga, but that shouldn’t be the case. Props are a wonderful thing, which can allow you to open up more, thus making you even more flexible. They are not to aid you because you can’t do something, they are to help you so that you can increase your ability.
Even the most authentic, advanced yogis use props because they know the magic of them.
2. Less is more!
Don’t push yourself too much.
Often we find very stiff people in classes, thinking that they can fall into the most advanced of asanas. This won’t help them. It will not help you become looser sooner, in fact, it is pretty likely that you will injure yourself, and that will set you way back!
Over-stretching is a very bad thing and can result in us being even less flexible than we started out!
Remember to go to your limit.
3. Watch the Temperature!
Generally, the warmer it is in a room, the more flexible we are.
This is one of the appeals of Bikram yoga, or hot yoga to many, as they want to be as flexible as possible, and the heat allows the joints and muscles to open more. However, be careful about diving straight into a heated yoga class if you are particularly stiff, as too much heat can persuade our bodies to think that they can do more than they can, thus resulting in injury…again!
Also, many of us cannot handle the intensity of heat that some yoga classes provide, so be careful if you do try these classes.
4. Acceptance and Patience
Don’t expect your body to be immediately flexible, it will come….in time. If you are very stiff, slowly work your way up, and you will start to notice the subtle differences.
If you have the opposite conundrum, and are very flexible, don’t assume that you don’t need yoga too! Many people who are very flexible often lack the strength in their muscles, which yoga can also help build.
How to enjoy your daily practice
The first thing to remember is that yoga is a practice. That means no one is “perfect” at doing yoga.
So take it easy on yourself.
Everyone struggles with some aspect in their life, and some yoga poses are a challenge. And that’s to be expected. Even embraced
So, the next time your feel frustration setting in as you try a yoga pose, or if you find that a certain pose or aspect of yoga is challenging you, embrace that. Then these are the aspects that need the most work and it means this is an area to work on.
Flexibility does take time.
The idea that ‘nobody is perfect’ is a good mantra to live your life by.
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