Nizha Periaswamy

Flexibility is crucial for one to perform yoga asanas. Beginners who are less flexible may find yoga workout a bit "too much" to handle, or hope for yoga workouts to help them develop flexibility almost overnight.

Rigid people may experience some notable changes to their body after just a few yoga lessons. Some people realise that they can't even perform squats until they join yoga classes. This means, the correct yoga stretching develops flexibility in all parts of the body, including parts which have not been consciously worked on.

Flexibility in yoga is in fact, an investment that transforms the mind and the body.

Yoga stretches the muscles and the joints, and gives optimum benefits to all part of the body. Stretching improves one's flexibility and this, in turn, gives one the ability to withstand physical stress and get injured less.

The human body stiffens with age, as one's muscles lose its moisture content. Consistent yoga stretches can slow down the process of dehydration by stimulating the production of tissue lubricants. They help loosen tight muscles and help muscles rebuild themselves with a healthier parallel cell structure.

Before you think about joining a yoga class, let's try these 5 simple tricks to see whether you are flexible enough for the task:

1) Stand straight. Inhale and exhale and bend down to touch your toes. If you are unable to touch your toe without bending your kness, you need to work on this basic pose, to gain basic flexibility. If your fingers or palm can go "beyond" and can touch the floor, your spine is in tip top shape.

2) Join your hands together behind your back, similar to a prayer pose. If your palms can touch one another in between your shoulder playes, you have a flexible shoulder.

3) Kneel down, lean back and try to touch your heels with your hand. This asana, known as the camel pose, is one of the basic poses for naeck and back flexibility. You really need to work on back bending practice if you face difficulty in assuming this position.

4) Test your hip flexibility by touching your knee with your forehead. To do this, sit on the floor with your leg stretched straight in front. Now bend your right knee towards your left leg, with the right toes touching the leg thighs. Now lower your torso and try to grab your left foot. If you can easily touch your knee with your forehead and hold this pose for 2 minutes, your flexibility is in check. Your hip is super flexible and you just need some extra practice to move on with advanced practices.

5) Lastly, try out plank. How long can you hold this position? This pose might seem like it's focused more on strength rather than flexibility, but it actually helps condition your whole body. Perform this pose for 3 rounds, while gradually increasing the count from 10 to 20, then 30. Can you endure this position for long?

Whether you’re a beginner or a well-experienced practitioner, you can always start your practice from the comfort of your own space. Hope the suggestions above have provided efficient ideas for you to start yoga especially if you're on the hunt for a yoga platform that suits you.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.

Photo source: Facebook Yoginizha Yatra