Top 5 Stretches for the Inflexible!

You don’t have to be “flexible” to do yoga.

One of the most popular excuses I hear when people tell me why they don’t do yoga is that they’re not flexible. Without exaggerating at all, this is pretty much the same thing as saying “I don’t exercise because I’m not in shape”. It just doesn’t make sense.

The issue is yoga often gets misinterpreted as a flexibility competition, where naturally flexible people have a stage to show off how rubber-band-like their hamstrings are. From this perspective, I can see how yoga might not be the first option for people with relatively less range of motion.

Thankfully, no one is taking score in a yoga class and, honestly, nobody cares how flexible you are. Sure, that person in the corner might have a deeper forward fold than you, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing yoga any more than you are.

When we look at yoga as a place to explore our range of motion, we can’t use flexibility as an excuse for not doing yoga anymore. No matter what you’re flexibility, there’s always an edge to explore and use to learn more about yourself.

Most poses can be done by anybody, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll look the same. Back to that person in the corner, they might not need a strap or block to do a pose, and they might be folded in half three times over, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t also do the pose in your own way.

And that’s what this video and post is all about — giving you the tools and knowledge to do five major categories of yoga poses even if you live in a relatively stiffer muscular system.

Here are the categories we’ll cover:

  1. Forward Folds: Learn how to use a block and a strap to get a huge hamstring stretch without compromising your low back
  2. Shoulder Flossing: Just like flossing your teeth, shoulder flossing is something everyone should be doing. Also like flossing, anyone can do it.
  3. Low Lunge: One of the best yoga poses out there for counteracting the effects of sitting. Take this one slow and do your best to not allow your hips to pitch forward (which brings excess pressure into the low back).
  4. Figure Four: We tend to store a lot of stress and psychological baggage in physical locations — the hips are a major repository for this type of storage. Figure four is a perfect introductory outer hip stretch to give you a chance to stretch out stuff that’s not just physical.
  5. Cat and Cow: More of a transition between poses than a “stretch”, but an absolutely crucial movement for the spine, which often gets ignored in common stretching routines.

If you consider yourself “inflexible”, I would strongly recommend that you bring some yoga into your life and use this tutorial as a jumping off point to do yoga in a way that’s productive for your body and not competitive with others.

Educating yourself with videos like this isn’t a bad place to start!

Start using yoga to live athletically:

Yoga for Athletes - The Ultimate Guide

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About the Author:

Joe is the Founder of Icewater Yoga. Fascinated by the intersection of yoga and sport, his goal is to help athletes develop a consistent yoga practice. He lives in Claremont, CA with his wife, Jill.