Flexibility Yoga Styles

Flexibility Yoga Styles

flexibility yoga

Most styles of yoga will promote and develop some level of flexibility, however, a large number of athletes decide to solely practice the various styles of flexibility yoga to support and enhance their performance within their sport.

By regularly practicing virtually any form of yoga, most individuals will not only improve their overall flexibility, but their joint range of motion as well. In addition, regularly practicing a flexibility style of yoga will also reduce the probability of suffering several types of injuries.

One of the primary purposes of Flexibility Yoga is, of course, to increase flexibility. This, in turn, will also raise agility and make strength and aerobic training exercises easier and safer to perform. For these reasons, many individuals specifically practice this style of yoga with a high level of frequency. In addition to flexibility, this style of yoga can greatly increase the participant’s feelings of inner peace and relaxation. A recent study concluded that of all the styles tested, spiritual and flexibility styles topped out the list in terms of mental health with 75% and 67% more gains respectively.

To ensure that the stretches are done with maximum efficiency, it may be necessary to attend a few classes at first. Only comfortable clothes and a yoga mat are needed in any of the programs associated with this style. Don’t do flexibility yoga if you’re looking for aerobic benefits as its only purpose is to increase agility and prevent injuries in other sports or activities.

Types of Movements and Functions Typically Performed Within This Style

Almost every pose in yoga is meant to increase flexibility. However, there are some that go that extra mile in terms of completely stretching muscles and joints. Below are some joints and muscles and a few poses that will increase their flexibility.

Shoulders


Cobra Pose: This pose will stretch the shoulders and spine. It can also aid in reducing back pain. First, from the prone position, press your feet down so that the tops of them are flat against the floor. Next, push the chest forward while keeping your hands flat against the floor. Your chest should be pushed up. Finally, keeping your lower chest down, push the shoulders back.

Eagle Pose: Not only will this pose stretch the shoulders, but it will improve balance and give the legs more strength. While standing, put your weight on your right leg. Cross the left leg over the right around the middle of the calf muscle. Bring your arms across each other over your chest to form a twist. Squat a little bit in this position and stay there for 10-15 seconds. Remember to keep breathing.

Hamstrings


flexibility yoga

Triangle Pose: This pose will not only stretch the hamstrings and hips, it will also add strength to your legs. Exactly how it sounds, your legs will mimic a triangle.

Begin in a standing position. Keep your right toes facing forward while bringing your left leg out with its toes facing to the left. Depending on what is comfortable, you can then lean backwards and place your left hand on your calf, a small yoga block, or the floor.

While keeping your eyes on your right hand, lift it up so that your shoulders form a straight line to the floor. If the pose is done correctly, there should be two visible triangles from the front. (One with your legs and another formed by your left arm and leg)

Baby Pose: Designed specifically to stretch the hamstrings, this pose begins in supine position. Draw your knees to your chest and pull them back to your armpits. You may simply hold this position or continue to flatten the soles of your feet and pull them to the floor.

Hips


Goddess Pose: Achieved from either a sitting or supine position, this exercise will greatly open and stretch the hips. From a seated position, draw your feet together in front of you so that your knees are out and the soles of your feet touch. Begin to lie back on the floor while maintaining your original leg position. This should be held for 3-5 minutes.

Cobbler’s Pose: This pose can lead into the goddess pose perfectly. From a seated position, draw your feet together in front of you so that your knees are out and the soles of your feet touch. With your hands, pull your feet into your groin and hold for 1-2 minutes. Remember to keep your back straight while performing this pose.

Is Flexibility Yoga for You?

Anyone wishing to increase their flexibility can and should try this style. Whatever your purposes for doing so, regularly stretching can help you get around, prevent injury, increase speed, and has also been known to increase mental health and ward off eating disorders.

Incorporating some yoga into stretching programs before regular exercises is an excellent idea and most programs already do so, perhaps without you knowing it. (Cobbler’s Pose should look very familiar to those who regularly stretch)

Facts and Statistics

A study in Australia performed tests on cyclist’s to see if stretching (they used flexibility yoga) before a 2 hour workout increased power and speed during their exercise. They measured the output of the cyclists in both groups and found that even though the group that did not stretch warmed up, their power output was greatly lowered.

Remember to warm up before stretching with a small walk or light exercise. Stretching before muscles are warm may actually hurt and is not nearly as effective as stretching when muscles are warm.

A survey was taken among people who practice flexibility yoga and a random group of people who exercised but did not generally stretch beforehand. In the group that regularly exercised, injuries were about 65% more common than those that practiced flexibility yoga. The group that practiced flexibility yoga participated in the same activities as the ones who did not.

flexibility yoga

Stretching to aide in the recovery from an injury has been statistically proven to decrease the amount of time that is required for several types of injuries to heal.

When recovering from an injury the types of stretching exercises that should be performed, without too much additional pain, should be gentle stretching positions that can be maintained for a minimum of 20 to 30 seconds.

On average, a 180 pound male will burn approximately 165 calories per hour while performing a flexibility yoga routine. While this may not be a high number of calories per hour when compared to other cardiovascular exercise types, the caloric expenditure is reasonable and, when coupled with the other physical and mental benefits derived from regularly performing a flexibility yoga program, make it a good addition to your overall workout plan.

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