How To Perform Yoga Positions If You’re Not Flexible

Yoga is often associated with lithe, young women but they aren’t the only people who can enjoy this form of exercise. Just because you’re not as flexible as you’d like, that’s not to say that there isn’t a form of yoga to suit you. Age and gender play a role in flexibility, but if you’re clever about the type of yoga positions you choose, you may find that you can increase your flexibility with yoga and go on to practice more of this fantastic activity. There are a number of health benefits to yoga, from reducing your stress levels to helping you to sleep better, and increasing your flexibility as well. For each of these positions you should hold the pose for five to ten breaths; seated positions can be held for longer, so long as you feel comfortable. You need to remember to hold a smooth and even breath throughout the poses, and don’t try and hold the position if you don’t feel able to as you may risk injury. As you practice and your flexibility improves, you can begin to hold the poses for longer.

Mountain Pose

The mountain pose may seem simple, but it is the most basic template for all of the other positions. It’s a welcoming way to begin connecting with your breathing pattern and to begin your yoga practice. It is performed by standing tall with your feet together, perhaps with your big toes touching. Close your eyes and let your arms rest by your sides with your fingers together. If standing is too difficult or challenging, you can lay on your back with the soles of your feet pressed up against a wall. You’ll feel as though you’re standing on the floor, but your lower back will still be stretched slightly.

Child’s Pose

An incredibly basic move which you can stay in for a few minutes at a time, this is a resting pose. You begin with your knees and the tops of your feet on the floor, with your feet together and touching. With your knees apart, rest your belly and chest between the legs and place your head on the floor, with your arms stretched out in front of you. You can rest your head on a pillow if it doesn’t reach to the floor with ease.

Downward-Facing Dog

A challenging pose for beginners, this can be made easier by increasing the distance between your feet. With your feet hip-width apart, hinge forward at the waist and press your palms on the ground, with your hips in the air. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and your arms, shoulders and back in a straight and diagonal line. Your hands should be at the front of your mat and your toes should be facing forward near the back of your mat; at any time, you may take a break in the child’s resting post and then come back into the downward dog position again. Beginners may find it easier to bend their knees to keep the spine long and to take off some of the body weight into the legs.

Chair Pose

A symmetrical pose, meaning both sides of your body will move in and out of the pose at the same time, this heats your body up and increases the strength in your legs. You begin with your feet together or hip-width apart in a standing position. Bend your knees as though you’re sitting in a chair and raise your arms up alongside your ears at the same time. This can be a difficult position to maintain if you’re new to yoga so feel free to move into the mountain pose on alternating breaths, which also makes the pose more dynamic.

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