Increasing Flexibility in Yoga

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girl practicing yogaYoga is all about flexibility. If you can't touch your toes, you're going to have some serious problems performing some of the more advanced yoga poses. But, yoga is a learning process. Visit a yoga retreat and you'll soon pick up some tips on increasing how flexible your limbs are. If you can't afford such an excursion right now, consider these tips and you'll soon find yourself touching your toes with ease:

Dynamic Workout

Long stretches have been scientifically proven to not be as effective as dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching incorporates stretching and movement into one session. Before getting into your yoga, use stretches, jogging, and side push-ups to work yourself into a light sweat. It makes your joints more supple and flexible.

Full Range of Motion

It's tempting to perform difficult and taxing manoeuvres in half measures at a higher resistance level, such as with weights. Instead, lower the weight and stretch and drop as much as you can. Go a far down as possible with squats. This works out the whole of your body and makes you more flexible.

Get a Massage

After exercise, there's a good chance you'll have lots of aching muscles. There are tiny knots in the muscles which restrict movement. You might not feel any actual pain, but you'll find yourself less flexible than normal. A professional masseur can remove these knots. Yoga retreats always have treatment rooms for this purpose.

Knotting in the muscles can lead to painful cramps which are difficult to get rid of, stretching out the muscles and using heat packs on the affected area can help to ease the discomfort of muscle cramp.

Relax

We've already spoken about the dangers of muscle knots, but there are other factors in knotting. Stress naturally causes us to experience knotting. It's why stressed people tend to have hunched shoulders and inflexible necks. Take the time to rest and relax. Get in the bath or put on a favourite piece of music.

Always allow at least ten minutes at the end of your yoga session for cool down and relaxation. Lie on your back in a comfortable position, and starting with your fingertips, working up your arms, neck, face and down through your body and legs, physically clench and relax all of your muscles in turn. You may be surprised at how tense your body was without realising.

Breathing

Part of our stress comes from our inability to breathe properly. Breathing involves the diaphragm and the rib cage moving up and down. Throughout the day, most of us just use the rib cage. Breathing fully involves breathing from our bellies. It increases flexibility as it sends more oxygen around the body.

Hydration

Hydration doesn't seem like anything important. Drinking water is a great way to cool down, but what else does it accomplish? The muscles are made up from cells. These cells need water to carry out their basic functions. Pushing our flexibility requires your muscles to work at their optimum levels.

Empower them with water and they'll reward you with additional yoga flexibility. You don't have to waste time on sports drinks and supplements. Plain old water does the trick just fine.

Consistency

The key to growing in any area of fitness is consistency. Be consistent in your workouts. Even if you don't want to slip on your yoga DVD tomorrow, do it anyway. Yoga is about relaxation, but it's also about discipline.

And it's also important to remain consistent in your learning. Attend yoga lessons when you can and read up on the latest materials. Knowledge is power!

A post by Geoff McCabe (3 Posts)

Geoff McCabe is author at LeraBlog. The author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views and opinions of LeraBlog staff.
Geoff McCabe is dedicated to improving the flexibility and core strength of his guests at his Costa Rica Yoga Retreat Anamaya Resort.

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