What is Stretch Yoga?
For a lot of people, yoga is a way to get a healthy body and mind. It also helps in maintaining a balance between spiritual well-being. But that is not the only focal point of yoga practices. If you continue yoga on a regular basis, it can also efficiently improve your body’s flexibility and mobility. This type of yoga is known as stretch yoga or yoga stretching. Such yoga poses help in releasing the stress and tension built in muscles and make them more flexible.
Usually, stretch yoga lasts for about 30 seconds. Depending on your expertise, you can try yoga stretches for beginners or advanced. People also opt for stretch yoga based on the specific body areas they need to focus on. For instance, if you have a stiff back, you can try back strengthening yoga poses. For legs, you can try hamstring stretch yoga and get toned thighs.
How Effectively Can We Do Stretch Yoga at Home?
Doing yoga stretching poses is very easy. All you need is comfortable clothes and a yoga mat. As for where you can learn full body stretch yoga, there are plenty of videos available online. You can also subscribe to our Cult.Fit yoga sessions. We have a whole package of various yoga stretching poses for various body parts.
Who Can Do Stretch Yoga?
Anyone, regardless of their gender or age, can perform yoga stretching exercise. In fact, it is vital that you learn at least basic yoga stretching asanas to improve your body’s flexibility. Those who are involved in sports activities also perform stretch yoga as it helps in preventing unwanted strain or sprain in the muscles. However, if you have any specific muscle injury or have gone through any surgery, it is better to consult a fitness trainer or doctor before beginning yoga stretches for flexibility.
Who Should Avoid Stretch Yoga?
While anyone can perform a yoga stretching exercise, there are some exceptions. These include:
Those who have persistent muscle pain in the back, neck, or shoulders should avoid yoga stretches for back
Those who have been through a major injury in the back, legs, or shoulder, etc., should not start full body stretch yoga until full recovery is made.
Older people who have osteoporosis should also stay away from stretch yoga.
If you are pregnant or have just given birth, talk to a doctor before beginning stretch yoga.
To be sure whether you can do yoga stretching asanas, the best way is to talk to a doctor or a physical fitness trainer. They can not only help you know if you are eligible for yoga but also suggest what type of yoga stretching poses would be beneficial for you.
List of Best Stretch Yoga
There are various types of stretch yoga; each focusing on different body parts. You can first define your goals and then pick the yoga stretching poses that are suitable for you. There are also yoga stretches for beginners and advanced based on how proficient you are. You can also choose yoga for stretching based on your gender. There is special yoga for women
Below, we have jotted down five famous yoga stretches for flexibility anyone can perform:
How to Do Stretch Yoga?
Now that you know various body stretching yoga poses, it is time to learn how to perform them. Below is a step-by-step guide for each yoga stretching exercise we mentioned above:
Also known as the Cow Face Pose, this is one of the most famous sitting asanas
you can perform to boost flexibility. This yoga stretch pose focuses on the shoulder, hip, thigh, thorax, ankle, triceps brachii muscle, and axilla.
Let us see how to perform this yoga stretching exercise:
First, sit straight on the yoga mat and keep your legs extended in front of you.
Now, put your feet together and place your palms next to your hips.
Slowly, start bending your right leg and place the right foot under your left buttock.
Your left knee should now stack over your right knee.
Breath and move your left arm and take it above your head. Bend the elbow and simultaneously bring the right arm behind your back. Let both the hands meet and interlock them.
Stay in this pose as long as you feel comfortable. Also, take deep breaths.
To release the arms, exhale. You should also uncross your legs and go back to the initial position.
Now repeat the pose for the left leg.
This one is also called the Bridge Pose as it resembles a bridge. This is one of the best yoga stretches for back you can perform every day. You can also do it among back strengthening yoga poses. This yoga stretching exercise is also good for your chest, neck, and abdomen. In fact, this is one of the yoga stretches for back that can also treat issues such as digestion, thyroid problems, and relieve menstrual pain too.
Here is how you can perform it:
To begin with, lie down straight on the yoga mat.
Now, fold your knees so that your feet are at hip distance. Your knees and ankles should be in a straight line.
Your arms should stay beside your body with palms facing down.
Inhale and slowly lift your torso up. Gently roll your shoulders back and touch your chin to the chest. Your weight should be on the shoulders, arms, and feet. Your body will look like a bridge.
Stay in this stretch yoga for a minute or two. Do not forget to keep breathing.
Release and repeat.
It is one of the easiest yoga stretches for back. The name means the child pose and it is often performed by beginners. This resting pose can last for as long as 30 seconds. Child pose is also very good for your thighs, hips, and ankles. It can effectively release back pain.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can perform it:
Sit on the yoga mat in a kneeling pose. Your toes should touch each other and your back should be straight.
Now, separate your knees as wide as your hips.
Breathe out and let your torso down between your thighs. Your chest should touch the thighs and your forehead should rest on the floor. Relax your shoulders, eyes, and jaws.
As for the arms, you can try variations. For instance, you can stretch them in front of your body or bring them back alongside your thighs with palms facing upwards.
Stay in this pose as long as you want or just release the pose after 30 seconds.
Dhanurasana or the bow pose is among the most effective yoga poses to stretch back. When you perform it, your body turns into the shape of a bow. You can also perform Dhanurasana to open up the chest, tone your legs, and stimulate the reproductive organs.
Let us learn how to do this yoga stretching exercise with a step-by-step guide:
Lay down on the yoga mat with your stomach on the floor. Your feet should be at a hip wide distance and your arms should be by the side of your body.
Now, slowly fold your knees upwards and take your hands behind. Try to hold the ankles.
Inhale and lift your chest off the ground. Simultaneously, pull your legs upwards. Your body will now look like a bow.
Your head should look straight ahead. Smile to make it better.
Take a long and deep breath as you hold the pose for at least 15-20 seconds.
Do not stretch your body and bend only as far as you feel comfortable.
Now, exhale and gently return to the initial position.
Sukhasana is probably the easiest stretch yoga. In fact, it is called the Easy Pose in English. But the pose is quite beneficial as it can lead you to an immense experience and invoke happiness in your heart. If you sit for long hours and you wish for simple yoga poses to stretch back, Sukhasana is perfect for you.
Here is how you can do it:
Sit straight on the yoga mat. For this, you need to cross your shin in front of the other and bring each foot underneath the opposite knee.
Make sure you relax your feet and your pelvis should be in a neutral position.
Inhale and roll your shoulders up to your ears. While exhaling, roll your shoulders down.
Now, elongate your neck a bit, making sure it stays in alignment with your pelvis.
Look straight and relax all the muscles in your face.
Stay in this stretch yoga for as long as you wish. You can also meditate in this pose and bring relaxation to your body and mind.
Benefits of Stretch Yoga
When it comes to stretch yoga, the benefits do not just stop at better mobility. Here are some of the best benefits of yoga stretching:
Better Flexibility: The first and foremost benefit of stretch and release yoga is that your body gets more flexible. This further improves your range of motion and you can perform daily-life activities with more efficiency.
Improved Athletic Performance: Stiff and contracted muscles are not good for sports. By doing yoga stretches for flexibility, you free your muscles from stiffness. A better range of motion also boosts your athletic performance.
Lesser Chances of Injuries: With a better range of motion and flexibility, you also decrease your chances of muscle injuries.
Increases Blood Flow: Yoga stretching is also known for improving the blood circulation in your muscles. This also improves recovery and reduces muscle soreness.
Improved Body Posture: Better body flexibility is linked to better body posture. So, if you have been feeling that your back posture is bad and it is causing pain, it is time to try yoga poses to stretch back.
Less Stress: This may not come into your mind but yoga stretches for flexibility also help in reducing stress and boosts mental health by boosting the release of endorphins.
Disadvantages of Stretch Yoga
While benefits are there to make you feel more attracted to yoga stretch, it is important that you also learn about a few disadvantages that are associated with this type of yoga. Read on:
If not done properly, yoga stretching poses can lead to injuries in the muscles.
It is seen that stretch yoga can decrease your strength if you perform it before strength training.
Overdoing body stretching yoga can also lead to pain and soreness in muscles.
Dos & Don’ts
Here are some dos and don’ts you should keep in mind while performing yoga stretching poses:
Breathe properly while doing body stretching yoga so that there is a constant flow of blood.
Whether you are doing hamstring stretch yoga or upper back stretches yoga, make sure you follow the instructions of the yoga instructor to avoid any injury.
Always wear comfortable clothes to allow proper movement of the body during stretch and release yoga.
Do not eat a heavy meal before performing stretch and release yoga. This is more important if you are doing inversions yoga poses
Do not stretch the areas that have any injuries as it can worsen the condition.
Never perform prenatal yoga
stretches or complex yoga spine stretches without the supervision of an expert.
Things Required to Do Stretch Yoga if You Are at Home & Gym?
Whether you perform yoga stretching poses at home or the gym, you do not require any special equipment. Some basic things that are sufficient for yoga stretch are:
A yoga mat
Yoga clothes or comfortable clothes
Which Yoga Is Best For Stretching?
There is no one best yoga for stretching. You can try several sitting, lying, and standing yoga poses
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
Garland Pose (Malasana)
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)
What Stretches To Do For Beginners Yoga?
If you are a beginner and wish to do yoga stretch, talk to your instructor for advice. You can also look for yoga stretches for beginners on Cult.Fit. Here are a few of the basic stretch yoga poses that we teach:
Child Pose (Balasana)
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Forward Fold (Uttanasana)