Staying fit, for most people, means building muscles and gaining body mass. The last thing we care about is increasing our flexibility.
There is a common belief that flexibility is only meant for wrestlers, gymnasts and divers and if you don’t do any of these sports, then you do not need to worry about how flexible you are.
Flexibility has a lot to do with how your muscles can move and it is important for day-to-day activities. When your body is flexible, then you are less likely to get injured and you will remain healthy as you age.
Here are six easy yoga poses that you can do to increase your flexibility.
1. Seated Forward Bend
Sit down on the ground then stretch your legs out in front of you while your hands rest by your side.
Spread your hands out to the sides then up above your head in a way that the tips of your fingers are pointing towards the sky.
Take a deep breath and then draw your spine up long.
When breathing out, bend forward in order to touch your toes with your hands.
Your belly should be resting on your thighs and your nose should touch your knees. Stay in this position for 4-5 seconds then go back from where you started.
2. Cat-Cow Pose
Get on all your fours on an even surface. Your wrists need to be under your shoulders and knees under your hips, while your toes should be tucked inside.
Inhale then relax your belly so it moves towards the floor. arch your back towards the ground gently, tilt your tail bone and then try to look upward.
Hold to this position for 2-3 seconds and then exhale and arch your spine towards the ceiling and then tuck your chin into your chest.
3. Cobra Pose
Start with the Makarasana position. Lie down on your stomach comfortably on the floor with your feet wide apart from each other and your hands folded in front of you then rest your head on your hands and relax.
Now join your legs and extend your hands overhead. Rest your forehead on the ground and pull your hands back underneath your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body.
Your elbows need to be bent and your palms should be resting by the side of your chest.
Inhale and lift your upper half of the body. Your elbows should be in line with your body, legs stretched in a way that you do not feel any pressure on your waist.
Stay in this position for 4-5 seconds and then breathe in and out.
4. Bow Pose
Lie down on your stomach while your feet hip-width are apart from each other and your arms are by your side.
Now fold your knees gently and hold the ankles of both legs with your hands.
Inhale and lift your chest and legs off the floor. Pull your legs as much as you can, keeping your face straight.
Hold this pose for some time and focus on your breathing. Your body needs to be tight like a bow.
5. Bridge Pose
Lie down on your back with your feet hip-width apart and knees bent.
Your arms should be resting on the sides of your body and your palms should be facing downwards.
Take a deep breath, press your feet into the floor and then gently lift your hips up rolling the spine off the floor.
Press your arms and shoulders on the ground to lift your chest. Engage your legs and buttocks to lift your hips higher. Hold this position for 4-8 breaths.
6. Butterfly Pose
Sit down on the ground with your back neutral and your knees bent.
Move your knees to the outer side, so the soles of both your legs meet at the centre. Hold the ankles of both feet with your hands.
Now engage your abs and slowly bend your body forward, towards your feet as far as you can. Hold the position for 30 seconds to two minutes.
This article originally appeared on IOL