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You might be wondering why you should even want to increase your flexibility. After all, it’s not something we typically think of in regards to our overall health and well-being. However, your flexibility plays a major role in many aspects of living a healthy lifestyle, including your ability to complete exercise routines properly.

Increasing your flexibility will also help you avoid back and shoulder pain while improving the overall health of your joints and muscles. In Yoga, it’s not always about doing the pose perfectly but rather feeling the stretch and your flexibility plays a huge part in that.

Here are a couple easy poses to help you get started:
Standing Forward Fold
This pose will stretch your hamstrings as well as your lower back.  Try holding it for 30-50 seconds at a time.
Step 1: Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent.
Step 2: Slowly lower your upper body so that it hangs all the way forward, dropping your arms to the floor. Try to touch the floor with either your fingertips or the palms of your hands.
Step 3: Hold for 30-50 seconds and release. You can enhance this pose by opening your shoulders.

Here’s how to do that:
Follow steps 1-3 above, but interlace your fingers together behind your lower back and bring your arms over your head towards the floor in front of you as far as you are comfortable with.
Make sure you move your shoulders away from your ears, spreading them out and stretching those muscles.  And yet another way to increase flexibility through yoga is with the downward dog. Chances are you’ve heard of this pose as it’s one of the most common ones done by both beginners and seasoned yoga enthusiasts.

Here’s the right way to complete the Downward Facing Dog:
Step 1:  Start with your hands and knees on the floor in a comfortable position with your buttocks pointed out and slightly up.
Step 2: Next, place your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward (towards your shoulders).  Spread the palms of your hands out on the floor and turn your toes under.
Step 3: Lift your knees up by curling your toes under as you move. Straighten your knees, draw your thighs back and lift your legs higher. Reach your heels down.
Step 4:  Hold this position ensuring that your arms are straight and your thighs are pressed back, elongating your spine. Breathe in deeply and smoothly.
Step 5: Lower your knees to the floor to release the position.

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