3 Ways to Modify Basic Yoga Poses If You’re Just Not That Flexible

Feeling too inflexible even to master these basic yoga poses? Relax, breathe, and try these simple modifications!

Okay, so truth be told, I’m not all that flexible… My hips and hamstrings are always tight from sitting so much at my job, and my knees never go down to the floor all neatly in Butterfly. “Easy Pose??” Not that easy. I could go on, but frankly, if you’re not that flexible either then you already know what I’m talking about.

So what is a not-that-flexible yogi to do?

Fortunately, that’s one of the most awesome things about yoga – you can endlessly modify it to suit your own body type, fitness level, health issues, etc.. For example, the modifications below are awesome for those yogis like me – who are just, well, not that flexible!

With time and practice, your flexibility will gradually increase if you keep at it, but in the meantime, here are 3 ways to modify some of the basic yoga poses utilized in Sun Salutation to make them more accessible to the less-flexible body:

Forward Fold – Modify this deep forward bend by placing hands on a chair, coffee table or high-set blocks. Bend the knees as much as you need in order to drape your torso over your thighs and relax your head and neck.

Expert Tip: Root equally through the balls and heels of the feet; press the navel into the spine and relax your head and neck.

Downward-Facing Dog – Try modifying this inversion by placing hands on a chair, coffee table, or high-set blocks. Puppy dog is another great way to access downward facing dog. Bend the knees as much as you need in order to maintain a straight spine and shift the weight into your feet.

Expert Tip: Disperse the energy in your hands by spreading all of your fingers apart and rooting through the knuckle pads — create just enough lift in the rim of the wrist that someone could slip a business card under your palm.

Child’s Pose – This nourishing pose often creates tension rather than ease. A few quick props can bring Child’s Pose back to a place of rejuvenation. Place a thin pillow or folded blanket between the hips and heels to relieve tightness in the hips and knees. Set a rolled up towel or block under your forehead to support the head, neck, and spine, or drape your body over a bolster.

Expert Tip: Separate the knees as wide as you can to create space for your torso. Gently press the forehead into the floor/block/towel as if pushing the skin of the forehead down; this helps elongate the neck and spine.

See pictures + find more ways to modify basic yoga poses at EarlyToRise.com


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