Before I started practising, I was super stiff and stretching was literally torture for me. I remember in school all my girlfriends were super flexible dancers, and I couldn’t even dream of it. I always thought that stretching was just not my thing... and look at me now! I love to stretch and I created a yoga online split course. I want to tell you how you can improve your flexibility, too! You definitely don’t need to do super crazy backbends and splits, but being more elastic in many ways can improve your life. There are SO many benefits of increasing your flexibility, like helping to prevent injuries, improving blood circulation, posture & athletic performance, decreasing the pain in the body, relaxing the mind and refining the muscles.
Having more range of motion many times helped me. I saved myself from snowboard injuries and I found how much stress I held in my body. So I’m gonna give you tips on how to start getting more flexible.
Let’s go! 😊
1. Warm up! 🧘
Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it’s a warm up.😆 Honestly, warming up can make a huge difference in your flexibility. Heating up the body makes your muscles more stretchy. You will be surprised to see the difference! That’s why many people love hot yoga - the hot temperature is going to loosen your muscles so you will have a greater range of motion. That’s why dynamic warm up before stretching is perfect. You can do jumping jacks or one of Cassey's cardio videos!
Instead of slow yoga classes try dynamic vinyasa, which will heat you up and the stretch after will be blissful. Dynamic stretching works great before a heavy lifting workout! Dynamic warmup and stretching can reduce pain and soreness in the muscles when the workout is finished. Building strength and using it while stretching with dynamic moves will optimize your safe flexibility!
2. “Be water, my friend” 💦
Bruce Lee was right. I want to remind you that you are water indeed - the human body is 70% water! Now imagine uncooked pasta is like your muscles... when you boil pasta in water, it becomes softer! The same happens to your muscles - they need water to get flexible. If the body is dehydrated, the first signs are cramps and tight muscles. It will cause your muscles and joints to not expand properly. To stay hydrated, it is usually recommended to drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces per day. Remember that if you exercise or live in hot weather, you might need more.
3. Enjoy the journey 🌟
Having goals is a really great motivational tool, but remember there is so much more to your journey than just achieving a split or touching your toes! The magic is in the journey - this is the time you're gonna discover yourself. I had a big problem with opening the hips and I was told I probably will never do the lotus pose. Then, in one yoga class in India, I was in the state of really deep meditation and focus when the teacher said try the lotus pose... and I did it! I couldn’t believe it, I cried from happiness. Not because I could make lotus pose (well, maybe a little bit), but from the fact I transformed through the journey. I'm sure if you start stretching, not just your body will transform, but your mind too. So enjoy the ride and don’t rush it. Feel it.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others 🙅♀️
Everyone is different. All of us have different stories, and comparing yourself to others is just the worst. Instead of looking at others, focus on yourself. This is an opportunity for you to connect to your body, so be mindful. Don’t push too hard, and find the contentment in being uncomfortable (but stop if you feel pain). Remember, some people may be more flexible because they've had more experience - which also makes it easier for them to go too hard and injure themselves! But when you're just starting to stretch or do yoga, you actually have a lower possibility of injury because your stretches are more likely to be in a healthy range. When you start stretching regularly, you're gonna see great results in just the first months. I’m already excited for you!
5. Make it a weekly practice! ⏰
This one is about finding your routine. I encourage you to pick a day you have time to spend 1 hour or more with yourself and just let it all go. You can play your favourite music, find inspiration on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, or do stretching tutorials. You can also stretch in front of TV - I do it all the time! Invite your friend over for a stretching session and treat yourself to a yummy snack later! If you have kids, do it with them!
Let me know in the comments why you want to get more flexible - answering this question will make you more motivated to reach your goals! Thank you for reading and I please tag me and POPFLEX on your stretching journey! I hope you can achieve everything you dream of!
This blog post was written by POPFLEX POWERGIRL Justyna Polec and edited for length/clarity.