I did dance AND gymnastics growing up, but honestly, I’m as stiff as a board when it comes to flexibility. I can’t even touch my toes. Seriously. Well, maybe I can for just a second but it sends shooting pain from to toes up through my back. Stretching may seem overwhelming, so here are some good basic ones to start with:
1) Triangle Pose.
To do this pose, spread your legs a little further than shoulder width apart. Put one hand on one ankle, and lift the other arm to the sky. (Right hand should go to right ankle, or vice versa). Twist your torso so your chest opens up.
2) Sitting Forward Bend.
This is the one that kills me, but I need it the most! This is one you are probably familiar with—sit on a flat surface, legs outstretched. Try to touch your nose to your knees, and reach your arms out to your toes. Try to keep your spine straight as you do this.
3) Bridge Pose.
This is a challenging one, but it stretches a lot of your body. Start by lying on your back. Position your hands by your ears, fingers pointing towards the shoulders. Place your feet close to your bottom. Slowly rise from the floor, stretching your belly button toward the ceiling as much as possible. To make it more challenging, try straightening your legs.
4) Active Pigeon Pose.
Begin in push-up position. Place forearms on the floor, shoulders above the elbow, creating a 90 degree angle. Bring one leg forward, placing the knee near the shoulder, and the heel near the opposite hip. (Left knee to left shoulder, left heel to right hip). You should feel it deep in your bottom.
Flexibility is important for your body, even if you don’t do acrobatics! In fact, it is recommended that you do aerobic training 3-5 times a week, strength training 2-3 times a week, and flexibility training every day. On a final note, remember that it’s best to stretch when your muscles are warm to prevent injury!