Lack of flexibility is now seen to be a major cause of general health problems and sports injury and is being linked to everything from stress, back pain, and even osteoarthritis. It also means that nagging injuries, especially around your joints take longer to heal. Not many things pay off for the body as much as yoga stretching.
Nothing could be simpler or take less time. Yoga boosts muscle flexibility, which in turn leads to decreased likelihood of injury, better muscle performance, and a sense of well-being that lasts for hours after you’ve finished.
Ideally, you should stretch several times each day. Stretching in the morning gets your body ready for the activities ahead. It also presents your brain with a focused, quiet activity can result in a feeling of peace and lowering of anxiety levels.
In the evening, stretching will help work out the kinks of a days wear and tear. Stretching and relaxing muscles before going to bed will lessen soreness after a hard day and will have you waking up feeling wonderful.
Finally, stretching is an unquestionable must prior to any vigorous physical activity to prevent injury and reduce post-activity soreness
10-15 minutes is plenty of time for the morning, evening, or pre-activity stretch. The following stretches provide brief examples. An abundance of books and videos are available for more detail.
Stretching Before You Work Out?
Everyone needs to make use of some yoga stretching before they do any other kinds of exercises. Yoga asana are not something that you need to do just once or twice a week.
It is important that you do some yoga stretches before you exercise each and every time.
These stretching exercises will help you to get your muscles warmed up; and ready for anything that you throw at them. Without stretching exercises you are bound to pull some muscles and this can hold you back.
You cannot afford to let your muscles get pulled and torn if you want to get in good shape, that is why it is so vitally important to learn some good stretching exercises.
The yoga exercises that you choose to need not be too complex or too fancy, they only need to work. Not all yoga asanas are for everyone. There are different levels of yoga stretches just as there are with any other kind of exercises.
The yoga stretches that you choose to do each time you work out should suit your exercises and your body. For example, you do not want to try advanced yoga on the first day you have tried yoga. You need to work up to the more advanced levels of yoga stretches.
Keep this in mind and start with simple and easy stretches. This is the best way to stay in good shape all throughout your body. Remember that if you hurt yourself doing your yoga exercises you will not be able to do your regular exercises, you will be in too much pain. Even missing a few days can really throw off your stride when it comes to your exercise routines.
How to Yoga
Before yoga, dress in loose clothing and find a comfortable place to stretch on your mat. Isolate the muscle or group you want to stretch then contract the muscle opposite.
This causes the isolated muscle or group to relax straight away and when it does it is ready to stretch.
Gently and quickly stretch the isolated muscle until it can’t be stretched any further; now give yourself a gentle pull with your hands or yoga strap. Go as far as you can and then hold the stretch for no more than 30 seconds then release.
Remember to hold for no more than 30 seconds, release, return to the normal position and repeat for the five repetitions. Try not to have any hesitations between stretches and make it as fluid as possible. Try to stretch every day if possible, remember to:
- Work one target muscle at a time.
- Contract the muscle that is opposite the targeted muscle, which will relax in preparation of its stretch.
- Stretch it gently and quickly.
- Release it before it realizes that it has been stretched and goes into its protective contraction.
Below are poses that can be done straight away even while you are at work to stretch that tension and stress from of your body.
Lie down on the floor with your buttocks against a wall and your legs straight up the wall. Slowly flex your toes towards your knees, hold for 30 seconds. This will loosen up your lower back and stretch your hamstrings and hips giving instant relief for tired backs.
This exercise can be done while at the office anytime you start to feel that stress and tension building up.
Sitting in a chair and putting one leg out straight, flex your toes towards your knee, now lean towards that foot, stretching your hands towards it and letting your head and shoulders follow, hold for 30 seconds. This will create a stretch right across your lower back and neck.
The most basic stretches can be performed while seated. Start with your neck. Look down at your stomach. Then slowly roll your head to the left, then back so you’re looking at the ceiling, to the right, and back down. You should feel the muscles in your neck stretching. A similar motion can be performed with the wrists.
While seated, simply move your closed hand in a circle using your wrist. Then lift each leg, and draw the same circle with the feet around the ankle. Make 3-5 such circles in the clock-wise direction and then the counter-clockwise direction with your neck, both wrists and both ankles.
Move to the calf muscle. Find a wall, chair, stability ball, or something that you can safely lean on. While leaning comfortably against the object, move your right foot two feet back.
Slowly bend your left knee so that your right ankle flexes. You should feel the muscle in the back of your lower right leg being stretched. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat the exercise with your left calf.
The best way to stretch the front of the upper leg (the quadriceps) is to lie down on a flat surface (floor, bed, mat, et cetera). While lying on your left side, with your left elbow on the surface, and your left-hand supporting your head, pull your right foot up behind you, so that the knee is bent as far as possible.
Reach back with your right hand and grab onto your right foot. Pull you foot towards your back until you feel the muscle stretching. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Perform the same stretch for your right leg.
For a basic shoulder stretch, clasp your hands behind your back and slowly lift them upwards. You’ll feel the muscles in your shoulder stretching. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Countless other yoga stretches exist, but this schedule gives you a basic routine.
- A flexible body is:
- More efficient
- More easily trained for strength and endurance
- More range of motion
- Stay balanced and is less prone to injury
- Recover from workouts quickly, and feel better.
There are many books out there for you to read that will help you find the best yoga poses for your body type and fitness level.
If you cannot afford to go out and buy a bunch of these expensive books then consider checking them out at your local library.
There you will find all kinds of yoga books and they will not cost you anything, they are all free.
You can also find all types of yoga online. These will be everything that you need in order to start up a good yoga routine. They will keep you in tip-top shape all year long and looking your absolute best. There are hundreds of websites on the internet that will be able to supply you with many yoga asanas.
These are the yoga asanas that you need to get your hands on. It is also these yoga poses that will change your entire life. If your yoga routine needs a little pick me up then you can use these yoga asanas in order to give yours just that.
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