Get Flexible with these easy-to-follow steps
For one reason or another, we want to get flexible. As I always say, we need to know our why, then have a plan and then the action. Here are the steps that will be great guidance in your flexibility journey.
1. Know your ‘Why’
This is important to determine, because it will also be your motivation to keep going. Additionally, you need to know which exercises/ stretches you need to do to improve your flexibility. You may want to:
- increase range of motion
- reduce risk of injury
- get more muscular (the more flexible you are, the faste you can increase your muscle weight/gain)
- improve performance overall
Once you decide what your reason is, now it is time to move onto the asanas to help you achieve any level of flexibility.
2. Poses to help you along the way
We, firstly, must determine which part of our bodies needs the most improvement. In my case, it is my hamstrings and hips. I can do backbends really well, but made very slow progress with my splits. So, I am guessing I need to focus on my lower body muscles. Well, here are some ideas/ challenge/ sequences to choose and practice from.
however, if you are new to this and/or just want to improve your flexibility, these are the base asanas to try.
I would recommend to hold each pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
The other day, my stretch buddy and I decieded to stretch outside together. Well, I am not very patient person and, unfortunately, sit in front of computer for a long time, thus got my muscles shorter. And, she is not a patient person, either, so she wants to ‘get over with’ the sequence. So, she does the poses for 1 minute each, and don’t go back to doing it again, for the day. I, on the other hand, from all the sitting and not being able to deal with 1 minute extravaganza, I hold my poses for 20-30 seconds each, repeating them 3-2 times, respectively. Now, I am not saying one is better than the other, but my method works for me quite well, because i don’t want to pull my muscles after long term of sitting. I would slowly open them up, and feel great afterwards. If holding each for 1 minutes works for you, be my guest. Even if my muscles are warmed up and ready to be held for 1 minute, I just don’t have the patience to sit through, really. Hopefully, this does not affect the progress.
So, I provided a solid one-picture-one-way solution, as well as the Pinterest board for you to choose for yourself. Once you have The Plan of your own, it is time to move onto the next step.
3. Follow the plan
I am not gonna lie, the most difficult part of the journey to get flexible is to actually follow the plan.
Side note, yes, it is a journey, it is not a destination, we are not trying to be better that somebody else, but ourselves.
Back to where we left off, taking your time during the day into account, you need to have a schedule to fit the plan in to. For instance, say, “Every day for 30 minutes, 2 hours after dinner I am going to do this sequence.” or “Every day for 60 days, as soon as I wake up, I will do this and that”
However, keep in mind that it should be attainable. Do not go overboard, like “for 2 hours I will stretch and don’t even think about my other personal stuff”. It will never happen, I’m telling you. Spare reasonable amount of time, 20-30 minutes every day (with rest days) should do the trick.
Fast is slow
Long story short, don’t kill yourself just because somebody else can do this and that for that and taht amount of time. You have your own pace.
When we prectice to achieve certain pose like splits, wheel pose, scorpion etc. after a while, we tend to get bored or anxious to be finally able to do that. And when we can’t achieve it ‘right away’, we tend to push ourselves, which we end up hurting ourselves.
I just saw this picture on Pinterest. Well, clearly, she is young and more flexible than young adults/ adults/ older people who does not practice yoga often or whatsoever. Her teacher is pushing her (even though she is in pain) she improves her range of motion. But, when we push ourselves to where we pull the muscle, it actually slows down the process. Because now you are hurt, you need to wait for it to heal, you can’t stretch at the moment anyways.
Another quick story.
That happened to me recently, I was so frustrated with not being able to do the splits I wanted to force myself into touching the ground. You can guess what happend. I pull my upper thigh muscle, and couldn’t practice on that leg for 2+ weeks! my other leg was way worse that the injured one, and in those 2 weeks my left leg (worse one) gotten better while my right leg was trying to get to the point where I always got to. Forcing myself ino splits slowed down my process by 2+ weeks.
4. Let’s get flexible
So, now you have all the resources, motivation to start your journey, it is time ti put some effort in and get flexible. My sister, who is really non-flexible, is trying the poses it the picture above. I would like to know how you are doing. Try and let me know your results.