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20 Best Stretching Yoga Poses For Greater Flexibility

Stretching Yoga Poses

When you need to stretch your legs and hands after jogging or as soon as you wake up, then it would actually loosen your muscles, relieve you from tension and make you feel much better.

Moving ahead, yoga stretches go far beyond to enhance mobility, prevent the tissues from getting damaged, and enhance stability around the joints. In fact, when the stiffness is released you would be able to move ahead with your fitness goals.

But, before you go through these simple stretching yoga poses and exercises, you need to warm up for some time and hold the body part soon after the exercise.  Fortunately, you can try these basic yoga stretches for staying in the position for 30 seconds.

In case you focus on deep breathing, then you would also be relieved from mental stress.

So, let’s look at the exercises in detail one after the other.

20 Stretching Yoga Poses and Steps

1. Downward Dog Pose

Downward dog is surely one of the best yoga poses to stretch shoulders along with the hips.

First you need to start off in the plank position with shoulders over the wrists.

You then need to push the hips towards the ceiling till you are able to form a triangle. While you keep your head between the arms, you should keep the legs straight as much as possible.

To distribute the body weight evenly, you should try touching the heels and spreading the fingers.

For making the exercise dynamic, you need to shift from the plank position to the downward position relentlessly.

2. Side Oblique Stretch

If you are looking for one of the most effective yoga poses to stretch hips, then you should go for side oblique stretch.

Initially, you need to stand on your feet by keeping them wide apart. After lifting one arm above your head, you must lean to the other side with the arm raised.

Finally, you need to hold the position for eight seconds and switch to the other side.

To feel the effect of the stretching exercise, you need move on with a set of eight stretches and then proceed to the other side.

3. Child’s Pose

The child’s pose is the best posture and works well for muscle recovery. As you perform the stretching exercise, you would be focusing on the lower back, and shoulders.

As you fold the legs while resting on the exercise mat, you need to push your hips backwards till the buttocks rest on the heels.

Later, you need to keep your arms straight, rest the palms on the mat, and look towards the floor.

In case you want to feel energetic, then you should shift from the hands-and-knees position to the child’s pose.

4. Single Leg Stretch

Among the yoga poses to stretch hamstrings, you should move on with single leg stretch. As you lie on your back, you need to lift one of your legs upwards.

You then need to lower the other leg as the other leg is pulled near the face. As you hold, you should lift the shoulders off the mat. Later, it’s essential to keep legs straight and point the toes.

5. Cat-Cow Pose

If you have a stiff back, then the cat-cow pose enhances blood flow and mobility around the spine.

Initially, you need to rest your hands and knees on the mat with wrists according to the position of shoulders and knees. As you form a curve with the back, it’s necessary to pull the pelvis and push the abs inwards. As you shift from the cat to cow position, you shouldn’t forget to inhale and exhale.

6. Sumo Squat Twist

If you want a great way to wring out tension from the spine, then you should go for sumo squat twist. As you stand with your feet a distance apart, you need to place the hands above the knees.

Afterwards, you need to lean forward, and bend your knees to form an angle measuring 90 degrees. As you bring one shoulder to the floor, you should look in the opposite direction.

Make sure you keep the hips in the same line and exhale while twisting.

7. Tiny Fence Stretch

In order to loosen up thighs, lower body, and hip flexors, you should perform tiny fence stretching exercises.

Soon after kneeling on your legs, you need to place one foot out and bend the knee. You should then spread your arms diagonally and press the forearm into the inner thigh. Bending the front knee and reclining the arms should be the next step.

As you allow the knee to move ahead, you would be adding on to the mobility of the ankle. For increasing the range, you can rock from one side to the other.

8. Crab Reach Pose

If you need to drive away tension, then you should sit with your feet flat and maintain a distance between the hips. You then have to place your hands behind the hips and fingertips away from the body. As you bring one arm to the chest, the hips should be lifted and the arm should be placed over the head.

Later, you must bring the feet closer and rotate the torso in a certain direction.

9. Pigeon Pose

Seeking a way to increase mobility in the hip flexors and glutes? If that’s the case, then the pigeon pose would let you accomplish what you are thinking about.

Once you attain the downward dog pose, one of the legs has to be lifted and placed on the corresponding knee. While you are doing so, you should shift the other leg behind you, and support the body weight with the help of toes. If it’s possible, you should later stand upright and move hands towards the front side.

10. Lying Hug Stretch

Lying Hug stretch enhances flexibility by letting you relief strain around the lower portion of the back. As soon as you lie on the mat, you should bring the knees closer to the chest and try touching the chin.

To make the exercise dynamic, you should roll your legs to and fro and make sure to bend your knees.

11. Standing Forward Bend

For increasing strength around the hips, you should carry out the standing forward bend exercise. Initially, you need to stand upright with your feet closer. After keeping the back straight, you need to bring your arms closer and try the palms on the floor. At the same time, you should also touch your head to the knees. To feel the difference, you should always be slow in moving the upper body.

12. Spine-Twisting Pose

For performing such a kind of exercise, you must squat your legs with the heel towards the buttocks. Then you need to lift one leg gradually and place it on the other side / a little next to the thigh. Once you have attained the position, you should hold the knee with the hand and try twisting your upper body. As you are doing so, you need to turn your neck and look in the backward direction. Trying twisting the back as much as possible and hold the pose for a couple of seconds.

Later, you need to change the side and repeat the aforementioned steps.

13. Cobra Pose

A cobra pose could always be included in the category of gentle yoga stretches.

Firstly, you need to place your chest on the mat, and keep your legs together.

After a few seconds, you need to lift the upper body with palms resting on the mat. Ensure that you lift the body slowly and focus your attention in a direction that’s parallel to the floor.

While you are carrying out the exercise, you should always wear slacks and an outfit that would keep you comfortable.

14. Bridge Pose

As the name implies, the bridge pose forms a curve with your thighs and back.

So, firstly, you need to rest on your back and fold the legs on your knees. As soon as you lift the torso, you need to place your arms beneath and try to clasp your hand together.

Make sure you do this exercise with a relaxed state of mind and look towards the ceiling. As you hold the pose for some seconds, you should release yourself by resting on the mat.

To make the back more flexible, you should move on gradually with the steps that have been mentioned above.

15. Locust Pose

For the locust pose, you need to rest on your back as you generally do. Later, you need to lift the upper body slowly and spread out your arms. As you sustain the weight on your hips, you need to lift the legs with the ankles in line with the feet.

Once done, you need to hold the pose for some time and come back by touching the chest and legs to the mat.

In the end, you would consider this among the yoga poses to stretch the chest.

16. Warrior Pose

To stretch your legs in the most effective way, you need to try out the Warrior pose.

For this exercise, you first need to stand upright and place one of the legs backwards.

Later, you need to bend the knee of the other leg and form a right angle with the thigh and the portion below the knee. You should then spread your arms and keep them parallel to the floor. Do make sure you look in the backward direction by twisting the upper body.

17. Cow Face Pose

When you need to enhance flexibility near the armpits, then you could go for a cow face pose.

Initially, you need to sit facing the wall with one leg over the other.

Later, you need to take one of the hands towards the back side and hold it for a couple of seconds. Then, you need raise the other arm, keep it straight and fold it to grab the other hand.

While you are performing the exercise, you should never forget to keep your back straight.

18. Forward Hang

If you need to relieve tension from your hips and enhance flexibility in your arms, then you must always go for the standing side stretching exercise.

Initially, you need to stand with your feet together and bend your knees slightly. As soon as you interlace your fingers behind the back, you should inhale and expand your chest.

Later, you need to breathe out, bend your waist forward and clasp your hands behind the back.

19. Boat Pose

The boat pose always requires practice because it is not an easy posture.

Firstly, you need to lie on your back with feet close together and arms beside the hips.

Once you relax, you need to lift your legs together half way through and bend your upper body forward.

Later, you need to extend your arms and focus on the toes of your feet. Apart from enhancing flexibility, the boat pose helps to strengthen the body as well as the abdomen.

20. King Dancer Pose

For strengthening your legs and improving the balance, the king dancer pose is something you need to try.

So, as you move with the stretching exercise, you need to stand upright with your legs close to each other.

Later, you need to lift one of the legs and try holding behind the back.

Subsequently, you need to stretch your arm forward in the direction parallel to the floor.

Yoga Stretches for Beginners

If you haven’t practiced yoga anytime before, you should always start off with the mountain pose. In such a kind of exercise, you need to stand upright with your feet together and keep your arms along the sides. You then have to take a deep breath, raise your hands and try bringing the palms closer to each other.

Once you do the warm-up exercises, you can try out the downward dog position followed by the warrior pose, bridge pose, seated twist and the cobra pose. As you perform the set of exercises repeatedly, you need to relax for some time by lying down on your back and keeping the arms next to your hips.

Yoga Stretching Routine

Usually, a full body stretching routine lasts for around 20 minutes. You first need to loosen your legs by sitting on the mat with your legs folded backwards.

Later, you need to do exercises for releasing the stiffness around the calf muscles.  After some time, you need to stretch your hips and upper body by following the aforementioned exercises.

Finally, you should remember to lie down on your back, close your eyes and relax for a few moments.

While the stretching yoga poses elaborated above help you to tone your muscles, you can think about other exercises depending on what your body requires.

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Written by AyurvedanYoga

Hardip Koradia is a man inspired by the Ayurvedic way of life. He strongly believes that Ayurveda is the only science with cures for almost all types of disabilities and discomforts our body experience. This is what inspired him to start AyurvedanYoga where he shares home remedies, yoga tips and food guides.

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