Increasing flexibility goes hand in hand with enhancing your range of motion and improving the overall health of your joints, which in turn will work towards eliminating back and shoulder pain.
Improving your flexibility will also help you get more out of your workouts. In fact, flexibility is a core component to proper physical fitness because it plays a major role in your ability to increase range of motion and being able to complete a high-intensity workout routine effectively.
The key is to start off slow and steady. Instead of rushing into advanced poses that you may not be ready for, you’ll want to start off with a series of simple poses that supports muscle-building while helping you learn correct posture and safe alignment during your routine.
Here are a couple of poses to help you get started:
Eye of the Needle (or what I normally call Figure 4)
This is a great pose for stretching out your hips and building your flexibility in a smooth and gentle way.
Step 1: Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
Step 2: Next, place your right ankle on top of your left thigh while opening your right knee.
Step 3: Lift your left foot from the floor slowing and start to bring your left thigh towards your chest.
Step 4: Reach your right hand through the space between your legs in order to clasp your hands around the back of your left thigh.
Step 5: Bring your left knee towards your chest as close as you feel comfortable with.
Step 6: After 5-6 breaths, switch legs and repeat.
Another great pose for improving flexibility is one of the most popular foundational poses:
The Downward Facing Dog
Here’s the right way to complete this pose:
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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