Many people think that yoga is not for them because they are not flexible enough. The good news is that you do not have to turn yourself into a human pretzel in order to get fit with yoga.
Having said that, we do tend to get stiffer as we age. For example, some people can reach all the way down to the floor when doing a Standing or Sitting Forward Bend, while others can just about touch their ankles. Whatever you can manage is fine. But if you are interested in achieving greater flexibility and less stiffness, here are a few handy tips.
Stretch and flex to get ready for yoga in the same way that you would prepare to engage in any other form of exercise.
Be sure your workout area is a comfortable temperature, not too hot nor too cold. Cold will cause tense muscles, which can lead to stiffness, loss of flexibility, and even injury.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else in yoga class. All you need to worry about is how to get the most out of your own practice. Overdoing it and straining yourself will only set you back and prevent you from doing your yoga practice every day.
Some studios are very hands-on, with the instructors shoving you into the ‘perfect position’ and causing injury, sometimes severe. If the point out anything you need to work on, ask them to demonstrate and then imitate to the best of your ability.
If you have issues with your back or knees, ask for variations of poses, or any other hints and tips. You might also find that a yoga strap or blocks might help you perform the pose with better strength and balance.
“I want to be more flexible,” is a good overall goal, but it is not specific enough. “I want to be flexible enough to touch my toes easily,” is a goal you can work on and measure over the course of a few weeks of yoga practice.
If you succeed, great. If not, you will probably still see some improvement through your concentration on one goal at a time. Set your goals each week in your workout journal and see what a difference it can make to your practice and your health and fitness.
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