Will Yoga Improve Flexibility?
Yoga has been used for centuries to improve a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual health. As an ancient spiritual practice, yoga puts a spotlight on things like breath control, posture, as well as meditation. There's a wealth of benefits that come from including a yoga practice in your wellness journey, and one of those happens to be flexibility.
There is no doubt that yoga will improve flexibility! Because of the motions and focus on movements between poses, those that choose to opt-in for a yoga practice will see an increase in flexibility as well as a strengthening of muscle tone. The improved flexibility will help with mobility and relieve pain in areas like the back, neck, and hips.
Flexibility is important for many individuals and can improve the lives of those with a wealth of different health issues. So we're going to take a deep dive into how yoga improves flexibility as well as a few other key pieces of wisdom that may help you decide to opt-in for yoga as a part of your daily life.
Flexibility: Why Is It Important?
But why is it so important to focus on flexibility? The thing most people think of physical health, their minds often go to cardio and strength training. Flexibility is a key component that can help enhance those aspects as well.
Flexibility is important when it comes to tight muscles and the decrease in the range of motion. Because these high-impact exercises put so much stress on areas like joints and the connective tissues in them, being more flexible is a way to reduce the risk of injury.
But flexibility doesn't only affect you physically. There is a mental component that comes from improving your flexibility. We've all woken up in the mornings and had that stretch first thing that just feels so good. This is because stretching out like that, you are relieving tension from your muscles that has built up overnight.
The same thing goes with flexibility throughout your day and with other exercises. When your body feels good, your mind feels good, and that's where the mental component of flexibility comes in. So as you see, flexibility is not only important for your physical well-being, but also for your mental well-being and potentially your spiritual health too.
Yoga & Flexibility: How Does It Work?
So how exactly does yoga improve flexibility? Many people look at yoga and look at it as just a concentrated form of stretching, but there's so much more to it than that. The fact is, through the poses and the movements of those poses, anyone utilizing yoga is addressing different muscle groups and deeper tissues than simple stretching.
Basically, there are three ways that yoga differs from stretches:
The precision alignment that each pose is designed to execute optimizes the results and decreases the chance of injury. By focusing on alignment, one can ensure that any area that they are focusing on is not compromised in any manner.
Alignment though doesn't only have to do with the body itself, but with the mental and spiritual aspects as well. Though many don't think of those two attributes contributing to flexibility, it is definitely a component. The better your energies are aligned, the more energy you'll have, therefore the more focused you can be on your yoga practice.
By focusing your attention on the emotions and feelings of each pose, you're allowing your body to build awareness of itself. On top of that, through the meditative practices, you're creating an awareness of your feelings and emotions, and that too creates better attention to the present moment allowing you to make adjustments if necessary.
Awareness, like attention, is all about focus. When you are practicing yoga, no matter the style, you're going to be able to be aware of your movements and the energies it takes to execute them.
By creating this awareness especially when it comes to breath work, even if you begin to wander away from the moment, your awareness will pull you back to it and allow you to reset and focus once again. This skill will actually translate to your normal everyday life as well.
By incorporating all three of these components, one is going to utilize this yoga practice to hone in on whatever they are looking to improve in their lives.
How Long Does It Take to Improve Flexibility?
Patience is a virtue, but many people will wonder how long they will have to execute these yoga practices to see any improvement in their flexibility. The truth is, there is no given time it's going to take for you to see any improvement in flexibility. Consistency and patience are what are going to have you see any results whatsoever.
Along with this, it depends on your dedication and your body itself. When it comes to how long it will take to improve flexibility, you're of course going to see more results if you make it a daily habit. However, if you're someone who doesn't have that time, it is going to take you longer to see the improvements.
So you see, there's no timeline that we can relate to you on how long it will take. It's up to your dedication and the style of yoga you choose that dictates how long it takes to improve flexibility.
Best Types of Yoga for Improved Flexibility
So now that you see that yoga can improve your flexibility, you may be wondering if there is a specific style of yoga that is geared toward focusing on that physical aspect. Though every yoga style will improve flexibility, there are a few that we think to have a little bit of a leg up over the others.
Here are the three types of yoga we think will improve flexibility the most:
Heat, when it comes to muscle pliability and flexibility, is a great tool to utilize in conjunction with other physical movements. Hot yoga (also known as Bikram yoga) is a style of yoga that is executed in a room that has heightened temperature levels.
By utilizing a room that is heated to this level, the muscles will be more elastic and this will improve flexibility. Along with this, heat also makes the blood flow to the muscles increase and that will in turn assist in improving one's flexibility.
Though primarily this style of yoga is more of a meditative option, there are aspects of it that are intently designed for improving one's flexibility. The lengthier amount of time taken in each pose stretches connective tissues and joints further, and this eventually will help improve your flexibility.
This style of yoga is all about the precision of posture. Because of that, it is focused on flexibility. With this style you're going to hold a pose for extended periods of time and sometimes in modified modes thanks to props.
These are just three of the styles that you can choose from when looking into yoga. Though as we said above, all of them will allow for some level of improved flexibility, these are some of the ones that will be perfect for those solely focused on a range of motion and flexibility.
There are a ton of ways that yoga will improve flexibility. We hope by looking at them and giving a few suggestions on styles to choose from, that we have helped guide you down the right path to cultivating a yoga practice that allows you to build a happier and healthier life.