If you want to practice yoga but have poor flexibility simultaneously, it is often suggested that you should not start practicing yoga. It is a myth. Yoga is one of the best exercises for those who are not flexible. It is possible to strengthen your body and gain flexibility with regular practice.
Potential causes of poor flexibility
Age can cause changes in your flexibility, as the natural elasticity of your joints and muscles decreases with age.
• Skeletal Structure
Your skeletal system provides a solid foundation that allows movement in your body when muscles contract. Lack of flexibility can reduce the range of motion increase the risk of injury, muscle imbalances, and postural deviations.
• Muscle Mass
Muscle Mass is a leading cause of poor flexibility - The more muscle mass you have, the shorter and tougher your muscles will be. Yoga for inflexible people is a great way to get comfortable moving your body.
Studies have shown gender is among the potential causes of lack of flexibility. Women tend to be more flexible than men, and they also naturally accumulate more body fat than men. But yoga for inflexible people can change all that and create flexibility across all gender.
• Joint Structure
The ends of your bones are covered in a smooth tissue called cartilage. This cartilage gives them the ability to glide and turn without rubbing against each other. The cartilage is supported by lubricating synovial fluid, which also helps the joints move smoothly.
Can everyone be flexible?
It depends on how you define flexibility, but the answer is yes, everyone can be more flexible. However, it takes patience and persistence to reach your goal. The main muscles to focus on if you want more flexibility are the hamstrings (front of legs), quads (back of legs), hip flexors and adductors (inner thighs), back extensors and erectors (lower back), lats (shoulders), and pectoralis major and minor (chest).
No matter how old you are or how inflexible your body feels, flexibility is not something the young and athletic manage to do. Science shows us that regular stretching and being more flexible offers several far-reaching health benefits, from reduced muscle soreness to relief from joint pain.
How long does it take to get flexible?
It depends on various factors, but a common answer is that it takes ten weeks to see significant results. In the first week, focus on waking up your nervous system and improving mobility. From there, add more time to your practice, and make it a habit to stretch every day. Stretching consistently will help you get more flexible faster — learning how long it takes varies from person to person.
Tips for becoming more flexible
• Ensure you are stretching your muscle safely.
It is important to warm up your muscles before stretching and ensure that you're properly stretching your muscles. After your workout, cool down for 10-15 minutes with some light aerobic activity like walking or an easy bike ride.
• Having a daily stretching plan
Although it is one of the Five Components of Physical Fitness, flexibility is probably the most neglected. Not only does poor flexibility can result in a limited range of motion, but it can also affect your posture and cause joint, muscle, or nerve damage. Practicing daily stretches and adding in a few yoga poses can help you stay flexible and prevent injuries.
• Take time to understand your body
It is important to take the time to understand your body and what hinders flexibility. Remember, yoga is not a fast sport. You do not need to get into those poses that you see in the magazines right away (nobody does). Take time for your body, mind, and soul.
Take time to understand your body and what it needs. If you have inflexibility in your shoulders, avoid doing deep back bending poses.
• Perform routine balanced stretching
Commit to stretching your muscles each day. You don't need to do intense stretches every day, but you should aim to stretch at least once per day. Spread out your stretching sessions throughout the day, or perform them all in one go right before bed. Stretching prevents injury and promotes flexibility.
• Do not skip stretching activities
The best option is to stretch before and after a workout. If you do not have time, make sure to stretch before going to bed. Moreover, it is recommended to take short stretching breaks throughout the day. Start when awake in the morning. Roll out of bed and reach for the sky. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds, then relax. Complete this stretch sequence several times each day.
• Do both static and dynamic stretching
If you want to increase your flexibility or mobility, there are many strategies you can try. To start with, it's important to do both static and dynamic stretches. Static stretches are done slowly and held. These help release muscle tension while increasing the range of motion and blood flow. A great static stretch is the happy baby pose where you lie on your back, lift your legs into the air, bend your knees and reach the outside edges of your feet. Some dynamic stretches are a downward-facing dog, high knees, and arm swings.
• Warm-up before you stretch
Warm-up with a little cardio before you stretch. It's best to start stretching when your muscles are warm and pliable, not cold. Even five minutes of walking will help increase circulation to your muscles and make the stretching that follows more effective.
The more flexible you become, the easier it is to do many basic movements like bending over, reaching into the back seat of your car, or turning your head around to look behind you. There are some great ways to improve flexibility that are very simple and easy to incorporate into your daily life.