Why is flexibility always seen in black and white?
Most of us think of ourselves as either ‘flexible’, or, in many cases, ‘not flexible’.
Wouldn’t it be great to reframe this and consider how we can ‘improve’ our flexibility. Let’s take today as a starting point – not last week, last year or what you could do age 25, today is the day you begin to make change.
Why should we bother? Improving your flexibility will not only help you to feel more supple, it will increase your range of movement and mobility, improve your posture, as well as preventing injury. You will move more freely every day and those small functional movements will be easier.
So what can you do to improve your flexibility? Start to stretch, today. Yoga is the obvious choice and a fabulous way to move and stretch through all planes of the body. The slower the yoga style, the deeper the stretches. Between classes, take 5 minutes every day to help maintain the benefits of your efforts through a series of at-home stretches.
Here are our 5 favourites:
Childs Pose: What a lovely place to start. Sitting on your shins, big toes together, knees can be wide or close, reach the hands forward and enjoy the release through the back and shoulders. A softer option for tricky knees is to keep the hips high and you’ll still enjoy the benefits without additional pressure to bend the knee fully. Start to connect in with your breath, closing the eyes and deepening the stretch by creeping the fingers forward.
Down Dog: This will give a thorough stretch to the entire back of the body, from calves, hamstrings, glutes and into the back, shoulders and arms.
Low Lunge: From your down-dog, step one foot between the hands and straighten the back leg. A gorgeous release for the hip-flexor and quads you can increase the stretch to the upper body by taking the arms high.
Forward Fold: Stand with feet hip width apart, interlace the hands behind the back and with soft knees, slowly fold forward, taking the hands overhead. This is a beautiful release through the chest and through the backs of the legs. The perfect antidote to a long day at the desk.
Side Lying Stretch: Lying on your back, hug the knees to the chest and release them to the left side. Stretch arms wide and look over your right shoulder. This stretch will release tension in the lower back and through the side of the body. To strengthen, take the left ankle and place it on the right knee. Release and take it to the other side.
Enjoy that wonderful feeling of release through the body. Keep these up daily and you’ll really start to see a difference!