You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga but yoga will improve your flexibility. In fact, many flexibility exercises that are not called yoga are actually based on yoga poses. I discovered yoga after the age of 40 (read Starting Yoga at 40 or Later: Everything You Need to Know to learn more). Yoga has changed the way I think about fitness and practice my workouts. I love it so much that got a 200-hour yoga teacher certification and will pursue the 300-hour training in 2023. Today’s post is an effective 15-minute yoga routine for flexibility.
Stretching Routines to Improve Your Flexibility
I have been creating various yoga routines for flexibility lately Here’s an overview:
- How to Increase Your Flexibility With Yoga
- Full-Body Flexibility Routine (With Handy PDF)
- My Favorite Yoga Stretches for Flexibility to Do Everyday
- How to Improve Your Flexibility for Beginners
These routines all include some of my favorite yoga stretches but tend to be longer. Today, I wanted to provide you with a shorter, 15-minute routine you can try when you don’t have much time. Or sometimes, I even feel that it’s all about mindset. If you know your routine is only 15-minute long, you are more likely to do it.
15-Minute Yoga Routine for Flexibility
Now, who doesn’t have 15 minutes to set aside for this yoga flexibility routine? However, you may wonder, is 15 minutes long enough to see results? My answer is absolutely! As long as you are consistent and work on it daily. In fact, I went from being ultra-stiff to being able to do the front splits in six months by training for 15-minutes a day.
If your goal is simply to increase your overall flexibility, enjoy the follow-along videos I provide in today’s post. However, if you are looking for a phase-by-phase training program, you may want to check out my Moving With Intention Program.
Yoga Stretches to Increase Your Flexibility
If you follow along with the video below, you will find I cue the yoga stretches during your stretches. You may still find it helpful to look at the instructions in this section to ensure you understand each pose correctly. Remember, there are always ways to make a pose easier or more challenging. Listen to your body!
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and hinge at hips to lower your hands down on the mat. Use yoga blocks under your hands if you cannot reach the mat. Make sure you keep your tailbone lifted and your lower abs engaged. Another good way to get into the forward fold is to bend your knees until you can reach your thighs with your chest and then, straighten your legs just enough to feel the stretch while keeping your abs engaged and your tailbone lifted. You can also do the elephant walk (see in the video).
With your feet hip-distance apart, step the right foot in front of you. Hinge at the hips to bring your hands down to each side of your right foot. Again, you can use blocks if you cannot reach the mat. In today’s routine, we will add some active stretching by starting with a low lunge into the pyramid a few times. You will also press your right heel down for a few seconds before relaxing into the pyramid stretch. Repeat with the left side.
Start in downward-facing dog. Lift your right leg up and take your right knee to your chest. Slowly lower your right foot between your hands. Lift and lower your left knee a few times and settle with your knee down on the mat. Untuck your back toes. Take your elbows down on the mat or on yoga blocks. Bend your back leg and grab your foot with your opposing hand to stretch your quad also.
Wing on the Ground
The wing on the ground stretch is becoming one of my favorite shoulder stretches because I love how much it can be modified to suit any flexibility level, Lie on your belly and extend your right arm at shoulder level. Roll to your right until you feel the stretch. You may be able to roll enough to bring your left foot to the right of your right leg and even clasp your left hand into your right hand.
Sit with your legs spread out as far apart as you can. Point your toes, and engage your thighs by lifting up your kneecaps. Raise your arms at shoulder height and hinge at the hips to lower your upper body as much as you can. Lift and lower a few times. Then, place your hands or your elbows on the mat in front of you and rest there for a few breaths. Take your hands to your right and stretch your left side body. Repeat on the other side.
Repeat the lift and lowers with your arms extended overhead and rest in the middle again for a few more breaths.