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How to Improve Your Flexibility

Your flexibility impacts how tight your muscles are, your range of motion, and positions that you find comfortable. Being flexible is going to help you avoid injuries, and let your physical abilities grow. Many different sports require being flexible, such as dancing, yoga, and swimming; they all require a level of flexibility to be effective in. While yoga can definitely help improve your flexibility, you may find that it takes some flexibility to get into it in any meaningful way. However, there are many techniques for improving flexibility that can take your stiff and sore self into a pliable material, and require less work and time than you thought.

Why Do You Want to be Flexible

The first step is to find out why you want to increase your flexibility. If you are just doing it because people say you should be flexible to be healthy, you can probably just stop. Unless you have a specific reason, pain during activities or sports goals, you probably do not really need to work on it. However, if you are looking to get a specific benefit from flexibility, identifying it can make it easier to focus on achieving your goals.

Find Out What You Need to Improve

To make the most of your time, you will want to focus on what is really limiting to you. If you are having trouble bending to tie your shoes, you will want to focus on your back and hamstrings to improve your range of motion. Other goals will have different focuses. Swimmers will want to improve their range of motion in their shoulders. So if you are a swimmer, stretches that focus on your main muscles around your shoulder will give you the best results. This lets you spend time and effort stretching that will actually give back to your goals.

Set Goals and Stick With It

Consistency is the key when it comes to all types of training, and flexibility is no exception. Setting goals is a great way to keep you motivated, and they help you stay engaged. Goal setting for flexibility can be based on a range of motions, your own feelings during activities, or you can be more specific. Yogis will find that setting goals related to previously unachievable poses are a great way to get you to work on flexibility. Some advanced poses require flexibility in specific spots, letting you find your focus.

You should also try to find ways to make flexibility training fun, in any way. The large success reported with yoga increasing flexibility is due to it being fun and engaging. When things are fun, relaxing, and provide other benefits it is much easier to find the will to stay consistent.

Your improvement in flexibility needs to have solid motivation because it does take work and dedication. Once you have your motivation pinpointed, you will want to look at what you would like to improve. This focus leads you to set goals with regard to your flexibility, which focuses your intentions. With a good focus, solid goals, and some dedication to the process, you can find the improvement in your flexibility in short order.

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Yoga in the Studio, Yoga at Home

As newbie yogis, many of us have wondered about the best way to break into the world of yoga. Classes in the studio can be intimidating for beginners, but how much can a book or a youtube video really teach?

As is the case with many debates, the answer isn’t one or the other, but both. Both studio and in-home practices have unique advantages, and a combination is often most beneficial. Here’s a compilation of each method’s best features to help you decide how you want to start out.


Studio

Depending on the studio you go to, studio classes can be an awesome experience because of the community and instruction they provide. Studio classes are often tailored to create the most relaxing and yoga-friendly environment possible, utilizing the best music, spaces, and scents for a peaceful practice.

The community aspect of a studio class is the key: being able to learn from and connect with like-minded people is invaluable when it comes to both yoga and our lives in general. These classes are a great way to meet people and to learn how others choose to embody the yoga lifestyle.

It is also helpful to have an instructor present in-person to guide you through a session. The best instructors will walk around the studio space and offer individual suggestions about posture, breathing, and technique. This can be incredibly helpful, as its often hard to see where we can improve on our own.

However, for the beginner yogi, these classes can be intimidating. Depending on what you want to get out of yoga, practicing with others may not be the most comfortable option – and that’s okay!

At Home

The most popular ways to learn and practice yoga at home are by reading books, watching youtube videos, and DVDs. While these methods can’t provide the one-on-one feedback of a yoga instructor, they’re a great way to get familiar with the basic poses and ideas behind yoga.

At home, the practice can be freeing because it gives you the time and space to really be with yourself, and not worry about impressing other yogis or an instructor. It’s an incredible experience of self-care to give yourself time to just restore and refresh on the mat.

Practicing by yourself is also convenient because books and computers are portable, you can take them anywhere along with your mat to stretch out and relax. Many enjoy the experience of practicing outdoors, or in a place that has special significance. In this way, a solitary practice can be a powerful exercise in spirituality as well as physicality and mindfulness.


There’s no need to choose just one of these options—there’s so much to learn from practicing both alone and among others. Try them both and find out what truly feeds your body and mind the most!

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Doga

Yoga has been around for centuries but has become increasingly popular throughout Western culture in recent years. With its increase in popularity, it’s not a surprise that some new and unusual styles of yoga have begun to arise. One new style of yoga that has started to gain popularity, or “pup-ularity” if you will, is known as Doga.

Doga is yoga for both you and your dog. The name Doga obviously comes from the combination of the words dog and yoga. Dogs naturally do yoga on their own multiple times a day. Dog owners constantly see their pets performing perfect poses when they wake up from a nap or simply when they need a stretch. Some poses actually come from these little stretches that dogs do. Downward and Upward facing dog are traditional yoga poses that are inspired by our furry friends.

There are a few things that should be brought to a Doga class to have a successful practice with your pup.

There are two different types of Doga class. One style involves both the pet owner and dog practicing yoga, while the other only involves the pet owner practicing yoga while the dogs run around together and socialize. If both you and your dog are practicing then you should bring a mat not only for yourself, but for your dog as well. You should bring water for both you and your dog to make sure neither of you get dehydrated during practice. It’s also important to bring treats for your dog to make sure they concentrate on the practice. If just you are practicing while your dog socializes, then you only need to bring a mat for yourself and water for both you and your pup.

Doga classes that involve both the pet owner and his dog involve poses that are pretty basic but create a bonding experience between pet and owner. Some examples of these poses are Chuturanga, Forward Bend, and Savasana.

To get into Chuturanga, lie your dog flat on their stomach while you pet their back.

To get into Forward Bend, stand with your feet hips distance apart with your dog in front of you. Bend forward with your hands and head low. You can pick up your dog to add weight and to deepen the stretch.

To get into Savasana, lie your dog flat on their back and rub their belly. Practicing yoga with your dog builds bonds and trust, aids in relaxation and stress relief, improves circulation and range of motion, and helps to mellow hyperactive dogs. Doga classes that involve just the pet owner are not just beneficial for the pet owners, but they are also fun for the dogs.

Yoga on its own is an amazing experience, but adding your dog into the mix creates a whole new level of fun and creativity. Dogs add to the yoga experience because they constantly live in the present. Humans have a hard time trying to live in the now so they constantly look forward instead. Dogs teach us to appreciate the present moment and thrive in it.