Flexibility is important for staying healthy. Indeed, the real difference that exists between a young body and an old body is the flexibility of the one, and the rigidity of the other. However, it can happen that even when you are young you are stiff. Sometimes just putting on socks can be agonizing. To remedy this, there is no secret. You have to persevere, have a little patience, practice the right asanas, release tension and breathe properly . You do not know where to start ? I am here to guide you. Becoming flexible when you are stiff is possible!
Become flexible when you are stiff through regular practice
As I told you in the introduction to this article, to become flexible when you are very stiff at the base, you need to have patience. Indeed, every day spent without stretching is a day in favor of stiffness . This is why older people who do not practice yoga often have a hard time bending down, for example. Yes, flexibility is not just about doing the splits. It is also being able to squat and touch your toes without straining your lower back, moving your spine or twisting your hips …
So start by doing a yoga session in the morning. This is when you are normally the steepest. You may not yet see the difference today, but after a few weeks I assure you that this sentence will take on its full meaning. Doing your yoga in the morning at home when you wake up will allow you to gently numb your body. We will see below why it is important to be relaxed to stretch and gain flexibility.
Don’t hesitate to stretch several times a day. As long as you listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself, the more you stretch, the more flexible you will become. However, to begin with, I suggest that you only do one yoga class per day. This work can be intense, it would not be a question of disgusting you of it.
Choose the right asanas to relax your body
Yoga is a perfect discipline to become flexible when you are stiff. As André Van Lysebeth says in his book J’apprends le yoga : “The secret of flexibility in Hatha Yoga is in a few words: elongation of contracted muscles, under the effect of slow and progressive pulls. This stretching of previously relaxed muscles constitutes an essential characteristic of the âsanas (…) ”.
While all asanas promote flexibility, I can recommend some that work it more. Remember that all yoga poses offer intermediate levels.
Here is a series of postures that you can perform:
- The pincer posture: sit on the floor with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Keeping your back flat and legs straight (as much as possible), catch your feet. If necessary, use a strap. This asana allows you to stretch the back muscles and hamstrings. You will find that you are quickly reaching your limit. To progress in this posture, you just need to wait a few moments while releasing yourself into the position. By performing small, regular and delicate pull-ups with your arms, you will gain a few inches.
- The Downward Facing Dog: This pose will stretch the back of the thighs and arms. It is important to practice it if your goal is to do the splits, for example. Remember to only engage the muscles you need.
- The posture of the pigeon: all the variations of this asana are favorable to the stretching of the legs, the opening of the hips and the psoas.
- Warrior 1 and 2: In addition to being strength poses, these two poses stretch the leg muscles.
- The Cobbler: Here is another asana that will help you loosen up if you have stiff legs. Breathe calmly and deeply to gain flexibility.
- The Trikonâsana triangle: this posture is complete. It stretches many parts of the body including the back muscles and the back of the thighs. In this position, remember to find a balance between your two feet, but also to use all your toes for more stability.
Use breathing to become flexible when you’re stiff
You could practice yoga and postures to become flexible for weeks, if you do not accompany them with adapted and controlled breathing, the expected results will not be there. Without pranayama (breathing in Sanskrit) there is no asana (posture). It is the breathing which will guide the rhythm of your postures and which will allow you to progress and gain flexibility . Breathe in deeply and evenly. Don’t get carried away by adrenaline, forget about promptness. I repeat, take the time …
Before practicing your postures, take several seconds, several minutes to breathe deeply and to relax. Check your relaxation. It is essential to be in a state of muscle relaxation. Otherwise, you would prevent any stretching. You should perform your asana using the minimum amount of muscles, and minimizing their contraction. Take time between performing each asana. Lie down on your yoga mat or on the floor, allow the blood to flow in abundance into the muscles that have been stretched. You should feel a total relaxation of your corns (your glutes, your knees, your trapezius muscles, your neck, your shoulders, all the muscles of your face, etc.).