16 Jul 5 tips for more flexibility and mobility
By Karin Baltisberger
When I started yoga, I couldn’t touch the floor with my legs extended. I wasn’t even close. That was probably the reason why I needed several attempts at yoga until I was properly grabbed. Each pose was an immense stretch for my body and the feeling of stretching my body felt uncomfortable, sometimes almost painful.
Today it is completely different for me. I love to stretch my body! I have gained mobility that I thought was anatomically impossible for me. And yes, today I can touch the ground with stretched legs. Yay! But that’s not the point. What is important is how I feel and what stretching brings me in everyday life.
Flexibility vs. stability
Some people are naturally more flexible and agile than others. As a general rule, people who are less mobile bring more stability and hurt themselves less than flexible people. Those who are genetically flexible should ensure that they build up enough strength to reduce the risk of injury.
The following five tips have helped me on my way so far:
If you are like me and belong to the impatient people, you probably want to skip this point and jump to the next one. Understandably, I’ve probably done it all too often too… But there’s nothing to pass it by. The best thing is to set yourself long-term goals. For example: in two years I want to achieve … Or in six months I want to feel comfortable stretching. So you stay tuned, but don’t put yourself under pressure. Because when you stress, you increase the risk of injury. If you hurt yourself you may have to pause for a long time and this reduces the mobility of your body.
2. stretch correctly
It is important that you pay attention to the right alignment. For example, if you bend forward, your back must be in a neutral position. If this is not possible with your legs extended, bend your knees so far that it is possible. You can also use props like bolsters or blocks. If you don’t have that much experience, it’s best to go to a yoga class where the teacher will tell you exactly how to do it right. When stretching you should never feel pain. If you can no longer breathe calmly and regularly, then you have gone too far, shift back.
3. stretching regularly
As is so often the case in life, it is not about doing a lot once and then nothing again. Constant dripping hollows the stone! Better only five to 10 minutes every day than a whole hour once a week. Stay in your stretch for a few breaths. Start with five breaths and then increase to 10 to 20.
4. muscles vs. fasciae
We distinguish two types of stretch: the muscular, active stretch and the passive stretch of the connective tissue. In a Hatha or Vinyasa yoga class you will normally experience active stretch. The muscles are stretched and the body parts are integrated. In passive stretching we try to relax the muscles as much as possible. This is how we reach the fascia and the connective tissue. Yin Yoga is a style that aims exactly at this. Both types of stretch are important for mobility.
5. counterproductive activities
There are activities that tend to shorten us. For example, working at a desk or jogging for long periods. Muscle build-up or one-sided strain can also be counterproductive. It is not a question of no longer doing these activities, but of stretching regularly in order to balance them out. It is often easier for us to bend forward because we are slightly bent forward all day long (at the desk, on the mobile phone). It is therefore good to compensate for this one-sided strain by bending backwards.
Gain flexibility with yoga
What experiences have you had with stretching? Do you have any other tips that have helped you? Write it in the comment column below and help us to grow as a community!