5 Best Yoga Poses to Improve Flexibility

Don’t forget to include stretches in any daily yoga routine

Yoga stretching in a park,

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Flexibility is an important part of physical health. Well stretched muscles have many benefits. You can also prevent injuries, alleviate pain, and improve athletic performance according to Harvard Health. 

But many people look at flexibility as something you are born with. In fact, you can gain movement in your  joints and muscles through daily practices like yoga. No matter your level, try these best yoga poses to improve flexibility

Ear to Shoulder for Your Neck

If you tend to experience a stiff or sore neck, yoga poses can help. Research published in The South African Journal of Physiotherapy determined that people have experienced a significant reduction in neck pain through stretching exercises. 

This beginner’s pose is a great way to open the neck and start your yoga practice. Sit in a seated position, like lotus or half lotus. Then gently take your right hand to the opposite side of your head. Keep your left shoulder in place as you gently press the head toward the right ear to shoulder. Hold for a few breaths. Then repeat on the other side.

Woman stretching her neck.

(Photo by L B on Unsplash)

Reversed Prayer Hands for Your Arms

Awaken flexibility in your shoulders, chest, and wrists with this intermediate arm stretch. Stylecraze explains that this pose helps loosen tight muscles in the shoulders while alleviating joint pain in the hands and wrists. 

You can perform this pose seated or standing. Begin in an upright posture. Bring your arms behind your back. Then join your palms with fingertips facing downward. As you inhale, turn your fingertips upwards. Gently press the back into the hands and breathe. Hold for several breaths, stretching without straining the arms and wrists. 


Woman doing the reversed prayer yoga pose.

(Photo by Avrielle Suleiman on Unsplash)

Extended Side Angle for Your Waist

Lengthen your side body from your feet to your fingers with extended side angle. According to Yoga Journal, this pose improves body alignment and posture, especially good for people who sit at a desk all day.

Begin by standing in Warrior II pose. Stand with your right foot pointed forward,your right knee bent, your back foot turned 90 degrees, and your arms extended in a T position. Reach your right arm forward and down toward your right leg. Rest your right outer forearm on your  right thigh with the palm turned towards the ceiling. Then extend your  left arm upwards and open the side body and chest. Hold for several breaths and repeat on the opposite side. 

Woman in the extended side angle yoga pose.

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Yogi Squat for Your  Hips and Lower Back

Add this to your routine for a delicious daily stretch. Yogi squat, or Malasana, improves mobility in your ankles, opens your hips, and relieves lower back pain, according to Livestrong

Begin standing tall in mountain pose with your legs a hips’ width apart. Slowly bend your knees as you lower the hips toward the floor. Lean forward as you stretch the inner thigh and lower back. You have the option to keep your hands propping you on the mat in front of you. Or, enjoy an added stretch by bringing your  hands into prayer.

Man in the yogi squat pose.

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Wheel for Your Whole Body

Are you up for a challenge? Try this full-body stretch. This pose could improve spine flexibility, as well as to loosen tight hips, legs, arms, and back, according to mindbodygreen

Begin by laying down on your back. Enter into bridge pose by raising your hips. Take your hands, palms faced down, beside your head. Begin to lift the upper torso. While in the arched position, continue to stretch, extending the arms and hips while drawing the ribs upward. Don’t forget to breathe!

Yoga class practicing the whole body wheel pose.

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