With all of the chaos and stress of daily life, many people are finding it hard to fit anything into their routine. Exercising can be tough when you’re always on the move, and that can really start to eat away at your joints.
Fortunately, yoga offers a quick and relaxing way to flex your joints, tackle your emotions, and shed a few calories. If the past few years have drained you of motivation and energy, then now is the time to take a deep breath, put on some comfy clothes, and join us as we go over 10 amazing yoga poses for boosting flexibility.
1. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
The first and most classic flexibility pose is the Uttanasana. This pose is performed by standing upright, with your knees together, and bending forward. Hold your arms above your head or allow them to droop as you bend forward, folding yourself in half. This pose helps strengthen and stretch your legs and lower back.
2. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
As you probably guessed from the name, Virabhadrasana I is part of a collection of poses. In this particular exercise, you perform a forward lunge as you extend and stretch your arms high and straight overhead. The key targets for this pose are your core, hips, and shoulders.
3. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby)
For something a bit more carefree and gentle, consider the Ananda Balasana, commonly called the “happy baby” pose. For this pose, lay on your back and bend your legs, as if sitting. Grab the soles of your feet. Additional fun may be added by gently rocking back and forth.
Much like Warrior I, the happy baby pose stretches and strengthens core muscles while relaxing the tension commonly felt in our lower backs.
4. Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow)
Though the common name of “Cat-Cow Pose” is a bit strange, the Marjaryasana-Bitilasana pose is perfect for fully engaging and relaxing your entire back. To perform this pose, put your hands on the ground and lean against your knees. Then, allow your belly to drop to the floor.
5. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Lay with your belly on the floor and your palms against it. Press against the floor and raise your chest up. You’ve just performed the Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose! While caution should be taken during this pose to avoid injury, it’s highly effective at stretching the lower and upper back. The pushing motion helps to loosen shoulder muscles.
6. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
For yet another lower back stretch, try the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. Also known as the bridge pose, this simple exercise can be done nearly anywhere! To do this pose, lay on your back, with the soles of your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Gently press against the floor, so that your lower back rises.
For those with existing issues, this pose may be done very gently to help coax out old flexibility. More experienced practitioners can challenge themselves to go deeper into the stance.
7. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog)
To perform the classic downward dog, bend at the waist. Keep your feet flat against the floor as you press your palms down. The aim is to have a flat back; if you were to drive a remote control car up your arm, it should ramp off of you like a stunt driver.
Properly known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, the downward dog is a classic for a reason. In addition to the hips, this pose stretches and nourishes your shoulders, arms, legs, and core!
8. Malasana (Garland Pose)
For the trendier internet culture enthusiasts, the Malasana is best described as the memetic “Slavic squat”. For everyone else, it’s a simple process of keeping your feet flat against the floor as you perform a squat. In doing this, you provide your hips with a deep, refreshing stretch.
9. Janu Sirasana (Head to Knee)
Another classic hip-stretcher is the Janu Sirasana. To perform the head-to-knee, sit with one leg straight to the side and the other bent. Then, lean sideways and try to grab your toes as you touch your head to your knee. In addition to your hips, this stress-relieving stretch also works your core and hamstrings.
10. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
Finally, let’s stretch our arms and shoulders. Extend one arm above your head, with the elbow bent, so that the palm is against your back. Your fingers should point as close to straight down as possible. Then touch your other hand to the bent elbow. This is known as the Gomukhasana or Cow Face pose.
Once you’re finished with your workout, be sure to stay hydrated! I Am One Mind is proud to introduce our amazing drinkware collection, which you can use to hold your hydration as you stretch and relax. Be sure to drop by our store and see what we have to offer!