The fact that you are reading this means one of two things, maybe even both:
- You want to know how you can get more flexible.
- You want to learn more about yoga before you get into it.
Luckily for you, this article will answer all of your questions.
So, the “main topic” of this article is – can yoga increase your flexibility? Let’s start with the basics first and then move on to the bigger issues.
What Is Flexibility?
Everyone knows what it means to be flexible, but do you know what exactly happens? I doubt that all of you who are reading this can answer it straight away, without the help of Wikipedia of course. So, to answer this question as thoroughly as possible, I will say this – flexibility is the indicator of your joints movement. To be exact, it is an indicator that shows how much they can really move.
For example, gymnasts are really flexible. Their hips can allow their legs to spread out entirely. That’s why they can do all of that amazing stuff that they usually do and not hurt themselves in the process. That means that gymnasts are really flexible! With that being said, a question has to be asked – is flexibility only a feature that the lucky ones get by birth? Do you have to be a gymnast in order to gain more flexibility? Can flexibility be trained?
I will answer all of these questions pretty fast, but first we must look into facts. Here are the facts about flexibility and what affects it:
- Type of the joint: Take shoulders, for example – a socket and a ball joint are way more flexible than the knee joint.
- The quality of your muscle tissue: Is it injured? Is it tight? (tight muscles are not as flexible) etc.
- Bone structure
- Gender: It is a fact that women are more flexible than men.
So, can yoga help you increase your flexibility?
Yoga and Flexibility
Yoga can definitely be considered a legit method of working out. Yoga isn’t made only for women! That is one of the mistakes I just keep hearing over and over again. Yoga is a workout method that treats your mind and your body. It does so because it consists of many different movements and breathing techniques. In this article, the benefits that yoga can offer to our bodies are what we are interested in.
Yoga is proven to affect the following:
- Back pain (eliminates it)
So, we see that flexibility is on the list as well. The reason for this is yoga’s extremely helpful poses that will force your body to stretch. With each time you practice you will get better and better at that specific pose, and your body will be thankful for it as it will get more and more flexible. If you get serious with yoga, your range of motion will be sky high!
Yoga offers many health benefits, and there are undoubtedly many scenarios where emotions are running higher than others, particularly when life throws you curves. It is quite necessary to find a way to bring yourself back to your emotional state in those scenarios. It will help you keep depression, anxiety, and stress at bay.
Continue reading to find out the enormous benefits yoga has on an emotional state even when you believe nothing will make a difference.
1. When You are Going Through A Breakup
Breaking up is very difficult to deal with, and it can leave you feeling down. At times, it can be tough to come out of one of these emotional funks, when you get into one. However, if you want to recover from your breakup situation, yoga is the perfect solution that will make you feel better. It is because yoga is all about connecting with your inner-being and focusing on yourself. The act of practicing yoga will give you time to put your ex away from your head and center on giving yourself enough care you need to start moving on. Therefore, forget Jerry or Benson – during a breakup, a yoga mat is your new BFF!
2. Your Job Is Very Stressful
Almost everybody experiences stress at their different places of work at some point or another. You need to have a way to decompress, whether you are always busy or you simply have a heightened busy season. Yoga is established to reduce the effect of negative experiences and help you recuperate from them faster. If you are slammed at the office and you are finding it tough to create time for yourself, this is good news for you. The deep breathing and meditative situation of yoga is an ideal escape from everyday stressful activities!
3. You Just Relocated To A New City
Moving from one location to another can be tough, particularly when you don’t know many people in your new place. The relaxing nature of yoga can help you reduce the intense emotions that accompany even a significant life change, as the transition and adjustment can be scary and intimidating. In addition, a yoga class is a perfect place to meet new friends!
4. When You Are Grieving
Grief is a tremendously complex emotion that everybody experiences in a diverse way. Whether you are grieving the loss of a relationship, pet, loved one or anything else, it is understood that it can be tough. Yoga can certainly help, even though it may not get you off the feeling completely, because yoga is a great method of self-care and can help you to process your deep-rooted feelings physically.
It can finally be concluded that yoga is a multipurpose exercise that can have benefits on your body, mind, and soul. It is a great hobby that will leave you feeling better than you did when you walked through the door, whether you are going through anything emotional.
The modern practice of yoga is far more than just physical exercise. Most people understand yoga as a dynamic movement class, complete with straps, mats and yoga pants — however, this is only 1/8 of the overall practice. Modern day yoga is based on Ashtanga yoga, which in Sanskrit literally means ‘Eight Limbs.’ These eight steps act as a guideline on how to live a life of meaning and purpose. The physical asana only makes 1/8 of the overall practice. Learning at the beginning of the eight-fold path are the five Yamas; moral, societal and ethical guides to a conscious lifestyle.
1. Ahimsa (Non-Violence)
Ahimsa is the practice of non-violence towards ourselves or others, not only in action but also in our thoughts and feelings. We often create violence in judgement towards ourselves, through criticism, anger or irritation. How often have you mentally beat yourself up over something you said or did, replaying the event over in your head multiple times? Ahimsa is about recognizing these thoughts. Once we let go of judgement on ourselves, we are less likely to judge others. Becoming aware of this allows us to replace critical thoughts with kindness and acceptance.
2. Satya (Truthfulness)
Satya encourages us to live and speak our truths. By living in our own truth, it becomes easier to see the reality around us. The path of truth is a difficult one to walk, especially as we also have to follow Ahimsa, making sure that speaking the truth does not harm ourselves or those around us.
3. Asteya (Non-Stealing)
Not stealing may seem easy enough, but we can also apply Asteya to not hoarding, or not taking what is not freely given, in action or mind. This Yama is about acknowledging the abundance of the world around us and that happiness will not come to us through holding on to what we already have.
4. Brahmacharya (Discipline)
This Yama basically states, if we use our energy wisely, we can live a more fulfilling life. It encourages us to detach ourselves from addiction and excess. In doing so, we gain greater control over our energy. Brahmacharya also reminds us to live in moderation, allowing us to save our energy which can then be put towards a higher purpose.
5. Aparigraha (Being free from desire)
Aparigraha tells us that material objects cannot actually be possessed at all, as they, like everything in nature, are in a constant state of change – and will eventually perish. When we become greedy, we lose the ability to be open to receive. When we are jealous of others, we are in a state of discontentment and not practicing Ahimsa.
The Yamas teach us how to best conserve and use our energy, through practicing kindness and contentment. They act as the foundation upon which the rest of our yoga training can grow. The Yamas are like putting on workout clothes, which aren’t the exercise itself, but they are a step in the right direction. When we are conscious of our thoughts, feelings, and actions, we can start to live a more peaceful and wholesome existence. Practicing the Yamas will improve our relationship with ourselves and others, helping us to progress further along the yogic path.
As a child, B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar yoga suffered from ailments. Up to the age of 16 years, he was frail and week. One of his relatives saw the suffering that he was in and encouraged