#JustBendit: Tips For Increasing Flexibilty
For most of my friends, the following is true: they run, work out, and enjoy going to Soul Cycle, but can’t touch their toes. Whenever I invite them to yoga, they usually decline and give me the b.s. excuse of, “But Djali, I’m not flexible!” Yoga classes are like anything else: the more you practice, the more strength and flexibility you acquire.
Below, I’ve created a short sequence of key āsanas (or poses) that will help with leg and hip flexibility. Listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain. Some discomfort might present itself, but that’s good! It’ll be worth it in the long run—te prometo!
If you try these out, post a flick on Insta and use the hashtag #justbendit!
Standing Forward Fold
Stand with your feet hips width distance (this means that you should be able to fit two fists between your feet). On an exhale, fold forward. You may grab your thighs, calves, or if you’re most flexible, your ankles, feet, or the floor.
Hello, legs! Begin in a runner’s lunge with your hands framing your front foot. The front knee should not be over your ankle.
From your low lunge, drop the back knee on the floor. If your knees are sensitive, for added support place a blanket or any type of cushioning under it. The top of your back foot should be resting on the floor while your front leg is still in its 90 degree angle. Rest your hands on the front knee and begin to sink into your hips. You should feel this deeply in the front hip of your back leg.
If you already have back flexibility, you may choose to bring your arms over head and clasp your hands. On an inhale, lift up, lengthen, and create space; on the exhale, drop your head and begin backhanding. For safety, don’t fall into your lower back: bend the thoracic spine first (upper back) before using your lumbar spine (the lower back). One day you’ll be able to grab hold of your ankle.
From your low lunge, bring your back foot forward; both feet should be facing the front. On an inhale, lengthen, and on an exhale, place your hands alongside your front leg. To feel this deeper in the front leg, take a wider stance; to feel it in the back leg, shorten your stance.
From your pyramid fold, lower back down into your low lunge. Begin to work your way down to the floor either by sliding the back leg away or by straightening the front leg. The most important thing for the splits is making sure that your hips are squared. To do this, actively shift your weight by moving your front leg back and your back leg forward.