How Yoga can help to increase your flexibility
Yoga for flexibility? Do you feel inflexible and do you want to increase your flexibility? But does it seem to you that yoga is only for flexible people? I can guarantee you that it is certainly not!
I myself am not of the most flexible kind. When I did my yoga teacher training three years ago, I was one of the least flexible people in my whole class! Even today, after all that time, countless yoga classes and daily practice, I am still not a pretzel. Nor do I have to be.
Regardless, if you want to improve your flexibility, I cannot stress enough how helpful yoga is to increase flexibility! Not only can yoga help you to become more flexible, but it also allows you to get to know and love yoga and to experience the effects it has on your body and on your mind. Beyond the purely physical aspects.
Hatha Yoga and Yin Yoga are the best yoga styles to practice if you want to increase your flexibility, as deep, longer stretches are what we need in this case.
Adjust the pose to your body
Every body is different. Yoga does not have to look the same for everyone. Nor can it. How could it, after all, if every body is unique?
What is easy for one person is difficult for another and vice versa, that is true for everything in life. And not every yoga pose is good or even necessary for everyone! We all work on ourselves, but in different ways, at different times and in different places.
Yoga – and especially Hatha Yoga and Yin Yoga – help you wherever you are on your path. How? By taking your time. Time to stay in the pose, time to arrive at the right place and to adapt the pose to your individual body.
Your body doesn’t have to adapt to the yoga pose or even worse, be squeezed into a pose. It is much better and safer to adapt the pose to your body.
For example, if you take your time in a yoga pose, it will help you with increasing your flexibility, because you allow for that stretch to happen. That is why I practice Hatha yoga as well as Yin yoga. And you breathe with it, and through it.
Since I have been – and still am – struggling with flexibility, too, I am here to help you with increasing yours! So, come and try an online yoga class with me!
Why Hatha Yoga to increase flexibility?
Hatha Yoga is about what Patanjali said:
Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.46
Which means “The posture should be stable [or steady] and comfortable”. It is about a steadiness and comfort, i.e. not forced, painful or uncomfortable posture in any yoga pose. To achieve this, it takes time.
Enough time to find your way into the pose and find any place or position where you feel stable and comfortable. This is understandably not easy in a fast-paced Vinyasa class. Because transitions from one pose to the next happen much faster here. Whereas Hatha Yoga is a great way to focus on your alignment in a yoga pose.
Give yourself time to arrive and stay in a pose
According to Patanjali (Yoga Sutra 2.47), once you have reached this “state” in an asana, you can relax and meditate on the Infinite in the pose. Yes, you have read correctly. One can meditate in the pose.
That is what yoga is all about in the end! It is about bringing the movements or fluctuations in the mind to rest. Or as my yoga teacher Deep says “create the gap in the mind“. It’s all about the little break in the mind, a millisecond without a single thought, without a disturbance or distraction.
Yoga – as well as meditation of course – helps us to create these gaps in the mind and through constant practice, it also helps to make these gaps longer and occur more frequent in the mind, so that we can feel more calm, at ease and peaceful within ourselves and our bodies.
And that way we can let go and overcome whatever it is that makes us hold this tension in our bodies all the time.
Are you interested in participating in an online Hatha Yoga class? I would be happy if you’d practice Hatha Yoga with me and I’ll show you how you can improve your flexibility. Register here for a free yoga class now!
How can Yin Yoga help you to increase flexibility?
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced yoga style, in which we practice the Asanas (poses) passively. Therefore, we hold each pose for a longer period of time (typically three to five minutes) to allow our bodies and muscles to relax into the posture.
Because we are holding poses for a longer period of time in yin yoga, it helps to stretch and lengthen our tissues, thus yin yoga is a dream for any “inflexible” person! You almost do not have to do anything at all, as all is happening naturally! Well, who doesn’t love that!?
I highly recommend using yoga props in every yin yoga session, as this further helps to increase flexibility and helps enormously to relax properly into each pose. Especially after a hard or stressful day, or when you don’t feel well emotionally, yin yoga helps lifting the mood and improves how you feel within your body.
It also helps you to let go of the tension in your hips, neck or shoulders and often one can experience a form of release during a yin yoga class. I simply LOVE YIN YOGA! Come and try it out for free, I teach an online Yin Yoga class for free at least once per month. There is no better way to spend your Sunday!
More about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali you can find here.