Yoga is beneficial for both your mental and physical health. Many types of yoga will help you improve both. Deep stretch yoga poses are designed specifically to increase flexibility overall and to help tight muscles that can make you uncomfortable and hinder your movement during everyday activities.
No matter what yoga pose you are practicing, this modality is meant to teach you awareness of your body, enhance its balance and build a strong core. Yoga can also stretch muscles and reduce stiffness caused by sitting or standing too much, reduce stress or simply enhance underused muscle groups. Deep yoga addresses all of these and improves your posture as well.
Below are three deep stretch yoga poses that will give you better flexibility with regular practice. As with all exercise, consistently incorporating a stretching routine is important. Scheduling regular practice allows you to work on improving your skills through repetition in yoga.
1. Downward-Facing Dog – AdhoMukhaSvanasana
Even people who do not practice yoga know this pose that works on stretching shoulders, hamstrings, calves and torso. Downward-Facing Dog also strengthens arms and legs while elongating the spine.
This is the perfect pose to loosen tight leg muscles, especially tight hamstrings down the back of the legs. It will open up the chest and stretch across the shoulders as well.
- Start on your hands and knees with your toes tucked in.
- Straighten your arms beyond your head.
- On the out breath, straighten your legs as much as you are able.
- Lift your hips to lengthen your back.
- Spread your fingers.
- Press your heels down to the floor.
- Pull your shoulders up and roll them back.
- Be sure your tailbone remains up.
- Breathe consistently, and keep your head and neck relaxed.
- Hold the pose for at least a minute, then breathe out as you return to your knees and hands.
- This can be done a few times or as you are comfortable.
2. Camel – Ustrasana
The Camel Pose is an excellent deep stretch yoga basic pose. This basic backbend will increase your shoulder flexibility and open up the chest. It is an especially good pose for people who sit hunched over a desk or computer most of the day. Slouching places strain on muscles, internal organs and the back.
The Camel Pose stretches your front muscle groups: the thighs, core, chest and neck. Although this is not the easiest of poses for beginners because of the backbend, the Camel Pose is doable and certainly one to work on as you improve your yoga technique for better flexibility.
- Kneel on the floor with your thighs at a right angle to the ground.
- Keep shins and feet against the floor.
- Put your hands on your hips at the back.
- Breathe out and arch your back so your hips and thighs go forward.
- Your spine should curve a little as your abs stretch.
- Make sure your upper chest remains open and your shoulder blades are back.
- Your neck can extend as far as you are comfortable.
- Reaching with straight arms, put your hands on your heels. If the stretch is too deep, you can put your hands on your calves.
- Pay attention to your body and do not strain your neck or back with too much of a stretch.
- Breathe and hold the position for as long as 20 seconds.
- Again this can be done a few times or as you are comfortable.
3. Extended Triangle Pose – UtthitaTrikonasana
This full body stretch involves almost every muscle group while helping to improve balance and alignment. You will get a deep stretch from practicing this pose and feel relaxed afterward. Maintaining proper alignment is important when working through this pose.
- Stand straight with your feet facing the front.
- Slide your feet apart 3 to 4 feet on an inhale.
- Stretch your arms to the sides.
- Slightly turn your right foot inward 15 degrees and pivot your left leg to 90 degrees with the foot turned out.
- Your thigh and knee should point in the same direction as the left big toe.
- Exhale and forward bend over the left leg while moving the hips a little to the right.
- Turn your palms forward, and stretch your left arm to the floor and the right toward the ceiling.
- Turn your head toward your right arm, but if that is uncomfortable, continue looking forward.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds and return to the first step.
- Repeat on the opposite side a few times or as you feel comfortable.
Final Thoughts on Deep Stretch Yoga Poses
Deep stretch yoga helps increase flexibility, reduce stress and enhance mental and physical well-being. As with any physical activity, practice makes yoga poses easier to sustain.
Each time you engage in deep stretch yoga, you can refine each pose because it becomes cleaner and more polished. These are only three examples of deep stretch yoga, but you can add others after you master these. Yoga is an excellent way to improve your mental and physical health.
Practice these deep stretch yoga poses on a regular basis, and you will find your flexibility and general well-being improving quickly. Each time you practice these stretches, your body will respond positively, leaving you feeling energised and upbeat about your health.