5 Simple Yoga Exercises to Add to Your Stretching Routine

Yoga exercises can be included to stretching routine. (Photo via Pexels/cottonbro)
Yoga exercises should be included in your stretching routine. (Photo via Pexels/cottonbro)

Flexibility and the ability to move easily are two most crucial aspects of physical health and well-being. However, age, stress, poor posture, and prolonged sitting can cause the body to become tight. That not only reduces flexibility but also causes pain and injury, reduces strength, and keeps you from achieving your fitness goals.

Following a regular yoga routine can be highly effective in easing stiff muscles. Along with improving flexibility, practicing certain yoga exercises can also help enhance muscle strength and alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress.

To help you loosen up the tight muscles used in most regular activities, we’ve rounded up a few simple yoga exercises you may add to your everyday stretching routine.

Yoga Exercises to Stretch Tight Muscles

The following five asanas can be especially beneficial for stretching some of the major muscles in the body and improving flexibility:

1) Wide-angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)

This yoga pose helps open the lower back and hips and also enhances flexibility in the legs, especially in the calves and hamstrings. For a deeper stretch, try sitting on the edge of a block or pillow to tilt your pelvic floor muscles forward.

To do this pose:

  • Sit upright on the floor with your back straight and legs open as wide as possible.
  • Extend both arms over your head, and slowly hinge at your hips to fold your body forward. At the same time, move your hands forward till they reach your feet.
  • Hold the position for as long as you can, and return to the starting position.

2) Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

The bow pose stretches most of the muscles used when sitting. Practicing this asana daily helps boost flexibility in the core, glutes, legs, back, and chest.

To do this pose:

  • Lie down on your belly with both arms alongside the body, and bend the knees.
  • Reach back using your hands, and hold the edge of your ankles.
  • Lift your chest and shoulders off the floor if you can. Don’t force your body if it's not comfortable.
  • Make sure to keep your head straight and gaze forward.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, and release.

3) Crescent Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)

Suitable for all fitness levels, the crescent low lunge pose stretches the spine, develops muscle strength, and opens the hips. It may also be useful in relieving sciatica.

To do this pose:

  • Kneel on the ground on your right knee. Bend your left knee, and position your left foot flat on the floor in front of you.
  • Lengthen your spine, and keep the crown of your head stable as you lift your arms and torso. Alternatively, you may also extend your arms on the sides.
  • Slowly push into your left hip, and try to hold the posture for a few seconds.
  • Return to the starting position, and switch legs. Repeat.

4) Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)

This easy yoga pose improves shoulder and hip mobility and also stretches the lats, hamstrings, and deltoids.

To do this asana:

  • Start in a high plank position, ensuring the shoulders are over your wrists. Slowly push your hips towards the ceiling to form a triangle with your body.
  • Position your head straight between your arms, and extend your legs behind you.
  • Spread your fingers, and keep your heels flat on the floor so that your entire body weight is evenly distributed among your feet and hands.
  • Hold the position for as long as you can.

5) Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This effective restorative pose opens the shoulders and stretches the spine, and can also be used as a relaxation pose between advanced asanas.

To do this pose:

  • Take a tabletop position, and keep your big toes together.
  • Sit back on your heels, and keep your torso on your thighs. Position your arms straight in the front, with your palms facing down.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, and gently stretch.

Bottom Line

For each of the aforementioned yoga poses, remember to go at your own pace. Do not rush, and always focus on how the asana feels.

You can repeat each exercise as many times you like to, but do not force yourself into doing too much too quickly. Listen to your body, and stop immediately if the pose starts to feel uncomfortable or painful.

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Edited by Bhargav