We’ve talked about some of the benefits of yoga before. Feeling better, balancing our body and mind, and becoming more confident about ourselves are just a few of the many, many benefits of practicing yoga. But, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yoga is also about increasing flexibility. In fact, you might join a yoga class just for the flexibility aspect of it. Here are a few key points to remember as you train your body to become more flexible.
Warm up properly. Our bodies are more willing to open up for us after we’ve warmed up. That’s because they have adequate blood flow to help us get bendier. Go through a few rounds of Sun A and Sun B to get yourself warm for intense flexibility training.
Push yourself. After you’ve warmed up, it’s time to truly increase your flexibility. During this time, try to get into the poses as deeply as you can while still maintaining proper form. If you can’t keep proper form, you’re going too deep. Also, if you’re feeling pain anywhere – you’re going too deep. You should feel comfortably uncomfortable, but you should never be in pain.
Find a spotter. This is especially true when you’re trying a new pose for the first time. If you’re attempting a position that will require a lot of flexibility, ask someone who knows what they’re doing to spot you. Yoga teachers can help you determine if you’re ready for the attempt and can assist you to get deeper into the pose.
Of course, by joining a yoga class, you get so much more than flexibility. In fact, if you practice properly there’s no way you’ll leave a class less flexible than you came in. Over time with enough practice, you can go from not being able to touch your toes to being able to touch your toes to your head. Practice and all is coming.