As we get older, our bodies go through a number of changes, especially if we lead a sedentary lifestyle. One of the best ways to maintain our body’s flexibility and prevent the age degeneration is the regular practice of yoga. You can also opt for fitness exercise programs but do not hesitate to take into consideration the physical benefits that yoga has to offer. This ancient practice can be undertaken by people of all ages, with various fitness levels. Moreover, many of the existent yoga poses are quite simple to perform, being more than suitable for beginners.
1 Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose)
You can begin this pose by assuming the sitting position, with the legs kept straight in front of you. For the next step, exhale and flex your knees, trying to pull your heels towards the pelvis (as much as you possibly can). If the pose is performed in a correct manner, the soles of the feet should be pressed together (facing one another).
The hands should be kept on the big toes; however, if you cannot achieve that, you can keep them at the level of the ankle or shin. Do not force your knees towards the floor but rather try to relax and you will find it much easier to assume the position. Maintain the position for a couple of minutes, and then return to the original position.
2 Agnistambhasana (fire log pose)
One of the main benefits of yoga is that it helps you stretch deep muscles, such as piriformis (often responsible for the appearance of sciatica and the subsequent pain). The fire log pose is particularly useful for such problems, not to mention it is quite easy to try. You can begin this pose by assuming a sitting position, with the knees flexed and the feet on the floor. Bring the upper body forward, making sure that the shoulders are rounded and brought forward as well.
For the next step, try to bring your leg on top of the other (thus imitating the fire logs). In order to make sure that you are performing the pose correctly, check to see that the right ankle is located outside the opposing knee. Keep your abdomen in and avoid slouching. Exhale and inhale for one minute or more. Then, return to the original position and switch legs.
3 Malasana (garland pose)
If you are looking for an yoga pose that helps you stretch your back muscles but also the ones at the level of the groin and ankle area, you should definitely give the garland pose a try. Begin this pose by squatting, with the feet being kept as close together, as it is possible (be careful not to lose your balance). For the next step, spread your thighs, making sure they are outside your torso. Try to bring your torso forward, once again, without losing your balance.
The elbows should be pressed into the interior parts of the knees and the palms of the hands pressed together. The position should be maintained for about 30 seconds or one full minute, depending on your level of fitness. When done, return to the original position and repeat.
4 Uttana Shishosana (extended puppy pose)
The extended puppy pose is actually a combination of the child’s pose and the downward facing dog. It is recommended for lengthening the muscles of the spine and increasing the flexibility in all vertebral segments. You can begin this pose by assuming a 4-point position (on all fours). It is important to pay attention to the position of the shoulders and the hips. For the next step, bring your body forward and extend your arms completely.
The head should be kept between the arms, in line with the rest of the spine (looking downwards, without actually touching the floor). The palms should be placed on the floor, with the fingers extended. Maintain the hips in a straight position and the upper part of the feet on the floor. Breathe in and out, feeling the elongation at the level of the spine. Maintain the position up to a minute, then return and repeat.
5 Supta Padangusthasana (reclining hand-to-big-toe pose)
This pose is more than recommended to those who suffer from joint pain but also for those who have tight hamstrings. You can begin this pose by lying on your back, with the legs completely extended. A head pillow or folded blanket can be used for added comfort. The hands should be kept on the lateral sides of the body, with the palms facing downwards. You might also benefit from using an elastic band.
What you want to do is raise one of your legs, with the knee 100% extended. Then, place the elastic band on the middle part of the raised foot and use both hands to draw your toes towards you. Feel the hamstrings extending and the effect of the pose in the lower back as well. Maintain the position for one minute or more, then return to the original position and switch legs.
Studies confirm the beneficial effects of yoga with regard to overall flexibility
According to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, yoga has a wide range of therapeutic effects to offer. The regular practice of yoga has been confirmed to strengthen the muscles and increase the overall flexibility of the body. The same beneficial effects have been confirmed by another study, which was published in the International Journal of Yoga as well. This study was undertaken on athletes, demonstrating that yoga can increase the flexibility of the body and also improve general balance. Interestingly enough, yoga proved out to be just as beneficial for women over 50, increasing spine flexibility (as demonstrated in a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science).
Yoga is a wonderful practice, with beneficial effects for both the body and the mind. It can be practiced by people of all ages and with Osteoflex increasing overall flexibility and strengthening the muscles at the same time.
Author Bio: Katleen Brown
Katleen Brown is a health, beauty and fitness writer. She loves to publish her articles on various health related websites. In her spare time, likes to do research to bring awareness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and outlook, she helps empower women to tune into their innate & inner wisdom to transform their health and truly flourish. Get in touch with her on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.