If you think you are inflexible, you might not think Hot Yoga is for you. But think again! The reality is improving flexibility is the precise reason to employ it. Flexibility is key to muscle and skeletal health. Flexibility protects you from muscle strain and tears. Stretching during hot yoga is key. You will hold stretches and poses for just 10 to 20 seconds in order to let the muscles lengthen little by little. It will allow your ligaments, joints and tendons to get accustomed to such range of motions.
As you progress, you will prolong the poses and at the same time, stretch your body further.
The following are Hot Yoga poses designed to increase flexibility:
- Cat and Cow Pose. Start with this warm up exercise. Move into a tabletop position with your wrists below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. The palms of your hands and tops of your feet are pressed evenly against the mat. With an inhale, look up and arch your back evenly. When you exhale, round the back completely, by curling your tailbone in, as well as your chin to your chest, which stretches the back of the neck. Most positions that require flexibility involves your neck and back.
- Intense Side Stretch. Work on your spine. Stand straight with your legs apart. Close your arms behind your back. Slowly lean forward to touch your left knee with your head. Return to an upright position. Do the same with the other side.
- Plough Pose. Lie on your back with your arms fully stretched on the left and right side of your upper body. Then slowly lift your legs to bring your feet above and past your head. Gently lift your back and move your feet further away from your head. Support your upper back with your arms with the hands close to the shoulder blades.
- Hands to Feet. This is the first thing that comes to your mind when you want to show off your flexibility to someone. It is a good way to train, stretch and strengthen your legs and spine. Stand straight. Slowly raise your arms above your head as you inhale. Bend forward and reach for your toes. You will bend more until your abdomen touches your legs. Take deep breaths while holding the pose.
There is also mental benefit of increasing your flexibility. Flexibility is improved through stretching and stretching feels good. When you stretch, you relieve stress by releasing tension. Where the body goes, the mind follows. When you let go of physical tension, you let go of mental tension. That is one of the reasons Hot Yoga is so good at reducing stress, alleviating insomnia, and increasing a sense of well-being.
Do not give up! Though how difficult the high flexibility poses may look, it will become easier. Stretch daily, stay hydrated, and work hard. You will be surprised at what you will do!
Make Hot Yoga part of your day. Judge nothing before you give it a try!