What To Do When You Need Yoga Flexibility Help

The first thing that people say when I suggest that they do yoga to help with their lower back pain is that they are not flexible enough. Believe it or not, not being flexible has zero impact on you being able to start practicing yoga to increase your flexibility.  Before I started practicing yoga I was never able to touch my toes without pain and now I am able to comfortably rest my head in my lap while folding forward in a seated position. So if you’ve decided to give yoga a try but still have some doubts, keep reading for a yoga flexibility help guide for your muscles.

More Than Just Legs


Yoga Flexibility Help

Your yoga flexibility help guide.

It would surprise you how many different muscles are connected to your lower back and how much of an affect they have on your overall flexibility.  Focusing solely on stretching one body part, like your hamstrings, will help some but adding the following muscles into your daily yoga practice will increase your flexibility dramatically.

Hamstrings

This is the muscle that most people associate with flexibility and touching your toes but you might be surprised if I told you that when your lower back begins to loosen up it will have just as great of an impact on your flexibility as your hamstrings do.

Your hamstrings are the main set of muscles on the back side of your leg above your knee.

Stretches include…
  • Standing or seated forward bend
  • Scissor stretch
  • One legged head-to-knee stretch

Lower Back

As mentioned before, your lower back has just as big of a say in how flexible you are. Once your lower back muscles begin to loosen they will be allowed to stretch much longer giving you the ability to move your head closer and closer to your body while trying to touch your toes.

Your lower back muscles are the muscles surrounding pretty much the lower half of your back all the way down to your glutes.

Stretches include…

Hips

Sometimes the hip muscles are the most forgotten about muscles in our bodies but their flexibility directly affects the joints and muscles in our lower backs.

To find your hip muscle, start seated cross-legged on the floor placing your hand on your hip and move your hand down towards the ground; the first muscle you feel is the hip muscle.

Stretches include…
  • One legged head-to-knee stretch
  • Lying down figure-four stretch
  • Happy baby pose
  • Butterfly stretch
  • Pigeon pose

Glutes

Most commonly know as your buttucks, along with your hips your glutes are mostly forgotten about when it comes to flexibility.  For most of us we sit on them all day long and never pay them any attention, but once your glutes start to loosen your hips and lower back reap the benefits as well.  If you continue to practice yoga your glutes will automatically become stronger and allow for much more movement within the lower half of your body.

Stretches include…
  • Lying down figure-four stretch
  • Twisting seated back stretch
  • Pigeon pose

Upper Back

Everything beneath your neck on the top half of your back can be considered your upper back.  Making sure your upper back is stretched out is critical for being able to round your back and bring your head closer to your body while in a forward bend. Keeping your upper back loose will also help to relieve tension in your lower back.

Stretches include…
  • Standing or seated forward bend
  • Standing side stretch with your hands in the air
  • Twisting seated back stretch

Knowing what muscles are responsible for how flexible you are is vital in your quest to use yoga to increase your flexibility. Starting a regular yoga routine such as is a great way to begin stretching all of these muscles and get the flexibility and body that you want.

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What stretches do you use for flexibility?

Stick With It!

-Nate

comments

12 Comments

  1. Sandy

    I really enjoyed the information you provide about Yoga. I have issues with lower back pain and I’m going to start doing some of the routines you suggested. I have heard yoga was a great form of relaxation and exercise but have never taken the time to learn.

    I come from a long line of people that have trouble with weight maintenance. I’m looking forward to my yoga routines helping me with my food cravings.

    I want my 80 year old me to be flexible and surefooted and not have to rely on a walker to get around.

    Reply
    1. Nathan (Post author)

      Hi Sandy, I’m really glad you enjoyed the post! Yoga is an amazing workout to help with low back pain and there really isn’t too much that you have to learn to be able to get started, you just have to jump in and see what works for you.

      Don’t let 80 year old you down!

      Stick with it 🙂

      Nathan

      Reply
  2. Armand707

    Hello Nathan

    You have an interesting article about yoga which seems like a very good activity to take up. I didn’t know that people are able to touch their toes while doing those “stretches”.

    I can recall a cousin of mine that was able to do this at a very young age. Though, she never done yoga in the past. She was able to do this in a squatting position, and as she got older, she lost that ability to do this.

    Hmm…would it be safe to say that yoga was in us when we were smaller, only to lose it by not stretching as much when we get older?

    Overall, good website and I would recommend someone to look at your website when it comes to yoga stretches.

    Armand

    Reply
    1. Nathan (Post author)

      Hello Armand!

      I’m glad your enjoyed the site! 🙂

      It’s amazing how much we are able to do as little kids that we slowly grow out of as we get older because we place importance on other things in our lives. Watching a young one do yoga is fascinating because they are able to learn it so much faster than adults. Funny how the body works!

      Thanks and good luck!
      Nathan

      Reply
  3. chrisleevella@gmail.com

    Oh it’s awesome I came across your page here! I’ve started yoga this year and I am loving it. I do it 1 time a week.

    Yes I do find it a bit difficult to get flexible but I think I am getting better at it haha.

    How long do you think it will take for me to get a bit more flexible with an hour or so a week? Is that even enough?

    I heard breathing properly also helps you be more flexible, is this true?

    Thanks for the advice.

    PS: That damn “pigeon pose” is a killer lol

    Reply
    1. Nathan (Post author)

      You will most definitely get more flexible even if you just do yoga one day a week…great job by the way! On days that you aren’t doing your full routine I would suggest doing a quick 3-4 minute full body stretch just to keep the muscles loose and then really stretch them our during your practice. You’ll start to notice a difference in your workouts slowly overtime and then after a while you’ll be amazed how flexible you are.

      Breathing is definitely a huge part of yoga and being flexible. The more you are able to concentrate on your breath and really allow your body to feel the stretch and breathe through it you will start to see yourself being able to hold stretches for longer or go deeper into the stretch.

      And pigeon pose is the toughest…those dang tight hips don’t stretch out easily! 🙂

      Reply
  4. MA

    Hello there,

    Thanks for the great info provided!
    I’m very new to yoga but I love practicing it. I used to say the same when friends tried to convince me to try yoga, “I’m not flexible enough”, but the fact is I developed a great deal of flexibility while practising. Stretching helps a ton as well.
    Thanks to stretching, yoga, strength training and a bit of running my flexibility is better than ever, I’m more flexible than when I was a teenager!
    Thanks for the reminder!

    Cheers 🙂

    Reply
    1. Nate (Post author)

      Hello and thanks for the comment!
      I never knew how good it could feel to be flexible as I do now that I have been practicing yoga regularly. Flexibility is great on its own but the way it makes every other part of my daily life easier is something that I never even considered – I just always assumed flexibility was being able to touch my toes but it has increased the mobility in all other parts of my body as well!

      Reply
  5. Amanda

    Great write up! I’ve often wondered what stretches and yoga moves I could do to help to help with my flexibility that weren’t too technical and ended up with me always falling over hehe. Do you have a suggestion of how long each of the poses/stretches should be held for, for best results? Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    1. Nate (Post author)

      Thanks Amanda, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!
      When I started practicing yoga I was blown away by how many different muscles in my body were restricting me from becoming more flexible. I never knew that stretching my lower back and hips would allow my hamstrings to also loosen up – everything is connected in some way!
      I would recommend holding each stretch for around 30 seconds but it really depends on what your body is telling you. You just want to make sure that you feel the stretch and hold it long enough for your body to get used to the new position. Overtime it will loosen up and you will become more and more flexible.
      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  6. Blame

    Yoga is also very good with cellulite because it helps with general blood circulation. People with poor blood circulation often have stagnated areas where fat deposits in local areas.

    Yoga is also good for the mind because a well stretched and relaxed body is a body that’s ready to keep the mind alert and sharp. Yoga is also one of the main secrets to longevity. Great information. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Nate (Post author)

      Hello!
      I agree with you completely. Ever since practicing yoga regularly my health in general has gotten better, both physically and mentally. I can really believe that yoga is a secret to a long life and is something that can be practiced no matter how old you are. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply

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