10 Best Yoga Stretches

There are a wide range of yoga postures that are perfect for stretching certain parts of the body. Here are the 10 best yoga stretches.

Standing Forward Fold

If you have tight hamstrings and would like to lengthen this often tight band of muscles, try this yoga posture. Start by standing with a slight bend in your knees. While hinging at the hips, fold forward to touch your toes. If you are unable to touch your toes, feel free to rest your hands on your shins or knees. While maintaining the slight bend in your knees, shift your weight forward a bit toward your toes. This will emphasize the stretch in your hamstrings. Hold the posture for at least 10 breaths.

Seated Forward Fold

Another way to approach the stretching of your tight hamstrings is to practice a forward fold in a seated position. Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Keeping a slight bend in your knees, fold forward toward your toes. Again, it is appropriate to rest your hands on your shins or knees. You will feel the stretch sensation in your hamstrings. If you allow your back to round in this posture, you will also experience a stretch in the muscles of your back.

Reed Pose

To create some lengthening along the sides of your torso, perform this posture. Start in a standing position. Raise your arms into the air and clasp your fingers. Gently lean to the right side; you will feel a stretch along the left side of your body from your armpit to your waist. Hold for 5 slow breaths and repeat the position on the other side.

Bridge Pose

This is a mild backbend posture that is effective at stretching the muscles in your chest, stomach, and hips. Lie down with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Press firmly into the floor to lift your hips into the air. Hold for 10 to 20 breaths to feel the stretch sensation in your front body.

Bound Angle Pose (or Cobblers Pose)

In this seated yoga posture, you can stretch your inner thighs. Sit tall on the floor. Bend your knees to bring the soles of your feet together. Hold onto your ankles then hinge forward slightly. You will begin to feel a stretch along your inner thighs. Hold for 10 to 20 breaths.

High Lunge

Your hip flexors are another body part that can use a good stretch. Practice this High Lunge yoga posture to target this area. Stand tall then step one foot back behind you until you are in a lunging position. Slowly lower your knee to the floor. You can rest your hands on your thigh as you gently hinge forward. You will feel the stretch in the leg that is extending behind you. Hold for 10 breaths then perform the posture on the other leg.

Downward Facing Dog

This classic yoga posture actually stretches several parts of your body simultaneously.  Begin this pose on your hands and knees. Then lift your hips into the air; you will form an inverted v-shape with your body. Downward Facing Dog will lengthen and stretch your calves and hamstrings. With your hands pressing into the floor, the pose will also open your chest and target your shoulders. Hold for 10 breaths.

Revolving Chair Pose

This yoga position will stretch the sides of your body as well as increase your range of motion when you rotate your torso. Start in a standing position. Slowly sit back into an imaginary chair with your arms reaching forward to maintain your balance. Then bring your hands in a prayer position at your heart. Gently rotate your torso to the left and hold for 5 to 10 breaths for the side body twist and stretch. Perform the twist on the other side, too.

Half Lord of the Fishes

Your outer hips can get tight, too, and could use a good stretch. Start in a seated posture on the floor. Bend your left knee while keeping the leg on the floor. Step your right over the left knee. Sit up tall and then rotate your upper body to the right. In this twisting position, you will feel a gentle stretch on your left outer hip. Hold for 10 to 20 breaths. Practice the pose on the other side.

Wide Legged Forward Fold

You can get a full leg stretch in a Wide Legged Forward Fold yoga posture. Stand tall with your feet wide apart. Put a slight bend in your knees and fold forward until your hands touch the ground. You should feel a stretch along the entire length of your inner legs. This posture also targets the outer legs particularly in the outer shins near your ankles. Hold for at least 10 breaths.

Try these 10 yoga postures to experience effective stretches in your body.

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