Yoga Postures That Will Make Your Body Flexible
View more related buyers guides
Published by TOP4 Team
It’s not just about strange postures and enviably supple spines. Yoga is now credited with relieving a host of diseases and probably the most popular form of exercise for relaxation. Aside from improving flexibility, yoga is believed to have an effect on the hormones and, by emphasising correct breathing, improves the oxygen supply to the whole body. Most classes include breathing exercises and relaxation as well as the asanas or poses.
Like meditation, yoga is sometimes mistaken for some kind of cult. Wrong in both cases – religions may use these techniques, but they’re also just healthy things to do.
Yoga can be strenuous, especially if you’re stiff or unfit, and some postures put a lot of pressure on joints or the spine. If you have back problems or find ordinary yoga too demanding, look for specialist classes, which often have names like yoga therapy. Some organisations train instructors in the use of yoga to treat physical problems – not only back pain but diseases like asthma and multiple sclerosis.
EASY YOGA POSTURES
The help of a good teacher is important, as it’s often difficult to tell if your position is slightly out of line. But these simple asanas can help with tiredness, backache and stress.
The inverted corpse
Never mind the name – it’s wonderful when you’re tired. Just lie on your back near a wall and rest your feet a short distance up the wall, with your legs together. It’s good for varicose veins, too, but don’t do it if you have high blood pressure.
A child’s pose
It’s very restful, especially for a tired back. Kneeling on your heels, lean forward as far as you can and place your forehead on the floor. Rest your face on a cushion if you can’t reach the floor. Let your arms lie beside your legs, palm up. Stay as long as you like breathing normally.
1. Performed as a warm-up exercise for the Lotus position, this posture begins with spine erect and soles of the feet together, close to the body.
2. Carefully lean forward, clasping the feet with both hands. Keep movements slow and breathing steady. Lotus warm-up exercises increase hip, knee and ankle flexibility.
3. Lean forward gently, don’t overstretch to begin with. Sit up. Clasp your feet, move your knees up and down like the wings of a butterfly, then press your knees to the floor.
While sitting, preferably with legs crossed in front of you, inhale and raise your arms above your head, close to your ears, palms together. Stretch upwards for as long as it feels comfortable, breathing naturally. Breathe out as you bring them down.
The harmless cobra
This posture usually involves coming up onto your hands and arching your spine with your head tipped back. Lying on your front with your face on the floor, put your elbows on the floor beside you at shoulder-level, fingers pointing forwards. Lift your head and come smoothly up onto your elbows, facing ahead. Push your ribs forward to feel the stretch in your spine.
- Yoga can reduce high blood pressure but certain postures could be dangerous. See your doctor first.
- It’s best on an empty stomach.
- Avoid head and neck stands if you have back trouble.
- Don’t stay in a position if it hurts.
- Tell your teacher if you have a medical condition.
- Avoid anything that feels dangerous.