Some people aren’t flexible. Many factors can contribute to a less-than-bendy body, from genetics to the weather outside. Age and gender also play a role, as men and older people tend to be less flexible than the young and females. But that doesn’t mean you should rule out yoga. Here are some yoga poses which will help you feel calmer, sleep better and even get more flexible.
1. Mountain pose (Tadasana)
This pose seems so simple, but it is the basic template for all the other postures. It’s a welcoming way to begin connecting with the breath and beginning a yoga practice.
How to do it: Stand tall with your feet together, perhaps with your big toes touching, eyes closed. If you’re stiff, separate your feet slightly. Let your arms rest at your sides, with fingers together.
Modification: If standing is too much of a challenge, lay on your back with the soles of your feet pressed up against a wall. You’ll feel like you’re standing on the floor, but your lower back will get a slight stretch.
2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This incredibly basic move is a resting pose you can stay in for up to a few minutes
How to do it: Start with your knees and tops of your feet on the floor with the feet together and touching. With your knees apart, rest your belly and chest between the legs. Place your head on the floor, and stretch the arms out in front of you.
Modification: If your head doesn’t reach the floor you can use a block or pillow to rest it on.
3. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This pose is challenging for beginners, but you can make it easier by increasing the distance between your feet.
How to do it: With feet hip-width apart, hinge forward at the waist and press your flat palms into the ground, hips in the air. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and the arms, shoulders and back should line up in a straight, diagonal line. The hands should be at the front of your mat, and toes should face forward near the back of the mat. At any time, you can take a break by resting in child’s pose, and then come back into down dog again.
Modification: For beginners, you can bend your knees to keep the spine long and move some of the body’s weight into the legs.
4. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
This is a symmetrical pose, meaning both sides of your body will be moving in and out of the pose at the same time. It heats you up and strengthens the legs.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together or hip-width apart if you’re stiff. Bend your knees (like you’re sitting in a chair) while raising the arms up alongside your ears.
Modification: Chair pose can be challenging, so feel free to move out of the pose and into mountain pose on alternating breaths. This also makes it more dynamic.
Think doing nothing is easy? For many of us, especially those who haven’t tried yoga before, the concept of doing nothing is actually very challenging. This pose is both calming and grounding, and you can use it to cool down.
How to do it: In this pose, close the eyes and attempt to just relax the body while lying flat on your back. Lie with your legs about hip-width apart and rest the arms at about a 45 degree angle to the torso, palms facing up. Allow your limbs to completely relax.
Trainer tip: If you need more space for the lower back, you can place a folded blanket under the knees, which will help to lengthen the lower back. If you’re feeling stressed, placing blankets over the pelvis can help relax the body and the mind.