Despite the story Instagram tells you, you don’t have to be an acrobatic contortionist to get around yoga poses. Gaining flexibility is one of the main goals of yoga, which means that you don’t have to worry about being flexible before arriving in class.
You can even think of it this way: the stiffer you feel, the more practice you will gain. In addition, there is much yoga poses that people who are not flexible can easily start to open.
The following are the nine yoga poses for people who aren’t that flexible.
It may seem like you have to be Gumby to succeed this one, but make no mistake about it. There are many ways to modify, and whichever version you choose, it will be tasty for your bottom half. The Pigeon Pose has been dubbed the “King of Hip Openers” after all, so this is your one-way ticket for flexibility.
How to do it: Keep your front shin parallel to your mat. The closer you bring your heel to the groin, the less intense the stretch. Either way, make sure your back leg is straight and aligned with your hip.
Chair Pose or “Utkatasana”
This is a symmetrical pose, which means that both sides of your body will come in and out of the pose at the same time. It warms you and strengthens the legs.
How to do it: Stand with your closed feet or hip-width apart if you are stiff. Bend your knees (as if you were sitting in a chair) while raising your arms along with your ears.
Modification: The pose on the chair can be difficult, so do not hesitate to leave the pose and take the pose in the mountains by alternating breaths. It also makes it more dynamic.
Bound Angle Pose
This one is perfect for tight inner hips and the groin area. If you wince just looking at this photo, you should probably be supporting a blanket or block under your hips, giving your pelvis more room to work.
How to do it: Bring the soles of the feet together and let your knees fall to the side. Adjust your heels to get as close to your hips as possible and grab your big toes with your fingers of peace. You can use your elbows to apply pressure to the inside of your knees. Instead of just letting yourself down, keep your head up and think of bringing your chest to your feet.
Do you think nothing is easy? For many of us, especially those who have never tried yoga before, the concept of doing nothing is actually very difficult. This pose is both soothing and grounded, and you can use it to cool off.
How to do it: In this pose, close your eyes and try to just relax the body by lying flat on your back. Lie down with your legs hip-width apart and rest your arms at an angle of about 45 degrees to your torso, palms up. Let your limbs relax completely.
Trainer’s tip: If you need more space for your lower back, you can place a folded blanket under your knees, which will help lengthen your lower back. If you are feeling stressed, placing blankets over the pelvis can help relax the mind and body.
This simple backbend has punch. It is also a hip extension that improves your posture and opens up your hamstrings. The fact that it tones your butt while waiting is just the icing on the cake.
How to do it: With your feet flat on the floor, lie on your back, hip-width apart. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, making sure your knees are aligned directly with your heels. Intertwine your hands underneath for more punch. Pull your chest towards your chin, not the other way around.
Upward Facing Dog
The front side of your body – chest, abs and front hips – will love you for this one. It does good to your lumbar spine while toning your arms. If you never take Vinyasa Flow, this posture comes back often, so it’s good to have the mechanics nailed down.
How to do it: Lie on your stomach. Bring your hands under your shoulders, close to your chest and push until your arms are straight. If you can, remove your knees from the floor by pressing on the top of your feet. You can find out if it fits your neck.
Locust Pose or “Salabhasana”
This backbend is extremely accessible to beginners. It is energizing and warming, but it strengthens all the back muscles. This pose is perfect for improving posture, and for many of us with weak upper back muscles (largely due to office tasks), it works the upper back muscles.
How to do it: Lie on your stomach and breathe in while lifting the floor – arms, legs and chest. The palms should face the floor, while you focus on keeping your neck long and extending your head up and away from the chest. You can also put your hands behind your back when you lift your limbs, which will create a deeper opening for the chest and shoulders.
Warrior 2 or “Virabhadrasana II”
This pose strengthens the legs; it heats up and it helps open the inner thighs.
How to do it: In this standing pose, you spread your feet about the distance of one leg. Turn your right leg 90 degrees, then tilt your left toes slightly. Extend your arms to the side, to be at the same level as the ground, then bend your right knee so that it overlaps your ankle. Make a square with this right knee and maintain the pose. Then repeat for the opposite side.
Modification: You can enter and exit the position with each breath if it is too difficult to remember.
Seated Spinal Twist
Twisting is crucial for a healthy spine, so don’t give it a cold shoulder. A posture like this twists all parts of your back, even the cervical spine, giving you more long-term mobility.
How to do it: For this particular variant, bring your right leg in front of you and bend your left so the knee is facing the ceiling. Bring your right arm up and down, pressing gently on the left knee. Look over your left shoulder. Hold for several breaths and switch sides.