Will Yoga Make Me Flexible?

Will Yoga Make Me Flexible?
Of the 20 million Americans that practice yoga, almost 80% listed flexibility as a major motivator. There’s no denying that yoga will help make you flexible, and with thousands of asanas to choose from no muscle is left out. The problem is, many people know that flexibility is important without realizing why. Understanding the benefits of flexibility and the function of your body will help you learn the best ways to stretch yourself while providing motivation as well.

Yoga for Flexibility

Muscles are organs, just like the heart, stomach and brain. Our skeletal muscles, the ones we stretch for increased flexibility, work as pulleys that move our bodies around. They keep us active and mobile, so if you don’t train and stretch them they may become overly stiff or even deteriorate over time. Flexibility also decreases the chances of receiving injury from lifting, bending over and even rolling over in bed at night — all common injuries amongst those that do not stretch their muscles. Being flexible is also very helpful in the personal sense; sports performance is enhanced, it’s easier to relax and it feels more comfortable to move around in general.

While all yoga stretches the body, there are some that focus on flexibility more than others. If you’re looking to use yoga specifically to increase your muscle flexibility, either Vinyasa or Bikram yoga will likely meet your needs! Vinyasa is very similar to Hatha Yoga, the most common form practiced today, and is suitable for beginner and expert yogis. Bikram yoga, or hot yoga, is practiced in a 95-100 degree room in order to promote the looseness of muscles and is also good for treating injuries. Flexibility doesn’t last forever, so regardless of what you choose be sure to maintain a consistent workout! While it does have lasting effects, stretching must be practiced regularly to maintain healthy, happy muscles.

*Photo courtesy of Kino MacGregor. www.kinoyoga.com/