7 Yoga Poses to Help You Get More Flexible for Beginners


f you want to get more flexible, like everyone else in our technology-obsessed generation, you will look online for inspiration from other yogis. What you dont understand is that if you aim to have your legs touch the back of your head and that only, then this might be a rough journey for you. Yoga is a practice that is more than just physical. It aims to reunite the mind, body, and soul. Of course, you wil gain flexibility through practising yoga, but that’s not all you will achieve. Most yogis attribute that yoga has brought a lot of stress reduction in their lives, making them feel good in the long run. 

We all know that not all poses will help you become more flexible when it comes to yoga poses. For example, my favourite pose is savasana, a restorative pose. I highly doubt it will help gain flexibility, but what is yoga without a bit of a break? There are poses in yoga that help stretch muscles and limbs to open them and allow your body to be more flexible. These poses are the ones that eventually lead you to achieve the poses that you see Instagram yogis post. All you’ll need is a lot of dedication and patience.

Yoga and flexibility

Even though it might come as a shock to yoga beginners, yoga isn’t a goal-oriented practice. To stick with yoga and attain flexibility, you must enjoy the process. If you ask someone whether they’re flexible, they’ll either do a split or touch their toes. But is that the measure of flexibility? Yoga identifies different body types and how flexible they can be depending on the bone structure. So, flexibility varies from one individual to the next. 

Of course, the practice of yoga improves flexibility. Yoga helps increase your range of motion and stretch your muscles. When you keep practising yoga regularly, you’ll eventually attain flexibility. When you attend a yoga class, depending on the style of yoga, you will be required to hold a pose for between five seconds to five minutes or more. When holding a certain pose, the muscles go deeper into the stretch. At first, it may be uncomfortable, but you learn to breathe through the poses, make modifications, and only push your body as far as it allows you to, then you’ll eventually attain flexibility.

What type of yoga makes you the most flexible?

Hot yoga and yin yoga are the best styles of yoga to practice if you want to gain more flexibility.

Hot Yoga

Hot yoga involves practising a yoga class in a heated room. Hot and Bikram are the only two types of yoga practised in a heated yoga studio. The point of heat is that it helps loosen up the muscles and allows you to sink deeper into various poses, becoming more flexible. All types of yoga require you to hold a pose for between twenty seconds to one minute, spending on the pace of the class. 

Heat makes the muscles limber and looser, allowing you to stretch further than normal, becoming more flexible. Hot and Bikram yoga are a bit intense and need one to be familiar with yoga first before getting into any form of hot yoga. For example, in Bikram yoga, there are twenty-six poses that you’ll go through twice, turning into a 90-minute class. Bikram yoga will help you increase flexibility in the short and long term.

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a meditative form of yoga that uses props to help you move through poses and engage your muscles to stretch deeply. Unlike most types of yoga, Yin doesn’t require you to move through many types of poses. Instead, it focuses on holding the poses for longer periods. You can hold a pose for between 45 seconds to two minutes, only for beginners. Those that have advanced in the practice hold poses for upwards of five minutes. Yin yoga does its magic to increase flexibility by applying stress to connective tissues and stretching them rather than muscles. 

The focus of yin yoga is flexibility, but it achieves it by using the principles of Chinese medicine. Yin yoga focuses on connective tissues, making it a great companion for other workouts or yoga routines. It doesn’t aggravate stress on the body or renew injury but rather focuses on relaxing to alleviate such issues further. The poses you’ll practice in yin yoga are similar to those of hatha yoga with minor changes to focus on ligaments and tissue.

How long will it take to get flexible with yoga?

Some people give up on yoga easily because they don’t see the results they want within a short time. The amount of time it takes to see flexibility in your body after practising yoga isn’t definitive and can’t be the same time frame for everyone. Of course, you don’t need to be flexible when you start practising yoga, but if you keep up with the practice, you will see the desired results. Different sources give a varying timeline for when you will gain flexibility. Some say that if you practice stretching at least five days a week, you will see flexibility change within 2-4 weeks. But others insist that you will gain flexibility in 3-6 months. 

The time frame for gaining flexibility through yoga varies because we all have different bodies, and our muscles release differently, taking varying lengths of time to achieve flexibility. Some people can start seeing flexibility a month after practising yoga frequently, while others will only see their flexibility click within four years. When partaking in yoga for the purposes of flexibility, it is more about the journey and the love you give to your body rather than the end goal. If you think of it this way, you’ll allow your body to achieve whatever flexibility you want within the length of time that it finds possible.

How often should I do yoga to get flexible?

Do you want to form a pretzel with your body? Then you need to practice yoga three to five times a week. If you’re a beginner, you can practice yoga as less as two times a week, but you should eventually aim to increase the days you practice yoga. Of course, as you further get into yoga, you could easily practice five to six times weekly. Keep in mind that the more regularly you practice yoga, the more your body adapts to it and gains flexibility. It’s okay to take at least one rest day a week. 

To sum it up, you can do yoga as many times a week as your body allows. Of course, if you’re a beginner, you need to start slow, but you’ll eventually gain momentum. The more you stick with your practice, the better your muscles adapt to the level of flexibility that you want to achieve.

7 Poses To Help You Get More Flexible By Doing Yoga

1. Janu Sirsasana - HEAD TO KNEE

This pose improves flexibility in the hips, back, and thighs. Besides that, it increases blood flow in your lower abs and alleviates stress. 

How to do it

  1. Sit on the ground or on a yoga mat with your legs outstretched. 
  2. Press your left foot into your thigh, lengthen the spine and raise your arms on either side of your head, inhaling.
  3. Exhale and bend at your hips to fold forward toward your outstretched leg.
  4. Place your hands on the floor, or hold on to your outstretched leg or foot.

Hold for 1 to 2 minutes. Or stay 5 to 10 breaths.

yoga poses for flexibility for beginners - Head to knee (Janu Sirsasana)

2. Parsvottanasana - INTENSE SIDE STRETCH

This forward helps stretch your legs, spine, and hips. The pose can also help you gain great posture, digestion, and balance. 

How to do it 

  1. Stand with your left foot in front, facing forward and your right foot back, turning out your toes at a slight angle, both feet facing forward.
  2. Place your hands on your hips, and bend at your hips, tucking in your chin. 
  3. Drop your hands down to the floor, or place them on a block.
  4. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
yoga poses for flexibility for beginners - Intense side stretch (Parsvottanasana)

3. Dhanurasana - BOW POSE

This pose helps stretch out muscles that we use when seated down. The pose helps increase your core muscles, chest, back, glutes, and legs flexibility. Even though it’s a great posture, it is best to avoid it if you have pain or discomfort in your shoulders, neck, and back. 

How to do it 

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms alongside your body and bend your knees. 
  2. Reach back with your hands to grasp the outside of your ankles and try pushing your shoulders and chest off the ground. 
  3. Keep your head looking forward while taking long, deep breaths.
  4. Try to hold for up to 30 seconds, then release.
  5. Repeat 1 to 2 times.
yoga poses for flexibility for beginners - Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

4. Bitilasana Marjaryasana - CAT COW

The way the cat-cow pose is fluid helps improve mobility and flexibility in your neck, core, spine, and shoulders. 

How to do it 

  1. Start this pose on all fours. Ensure your wrists are under your shoulders and your knees are beneath your hips.
  2. Once your weight is balanced evenly across your body, inhale as you allow your belly to fall. Raise your chest and chin as your belly moves downward.
  3. Exhale as you press into your hands to round your spine up, tuck your chin into your chest as you do so.
yoga poses for flexibility for beginners - Cat-Cow (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)

5. Anjaneyasana - LOW LUNGE

This pose is perfect for beginners and advanced yogis. It helps open your hips, lengthen your spine, and build muscle strength. It can also help relieve sciatica. When getting into this pose, you should remember that your knee shouldn’t move past your ankle to maintain square hips. Draw your back hip forward. 

How to do it 

  1. Kneeling on the floor on your left knee, bend your right knee and place your right foot flat on the ground.
  2. Lengthen through your upper body. 
  3. Lift your torso and arms and gently push into your right hip.
  4. Try to hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
yoga poses for flexibility for beginners - Low lunge (Anjaneyasana)

6. Gomukhasana - COW FACE POSE

This pose is good for all yogi levels. It helps stretch the chest, shoulders, and arms. 

How to do it 

  1. Position yourself in a seated position of choice. Lengthen your spine and open your chest.
  2. Raise your left arm overhead, then bend your elbow with your fingers pointing down your spine.
  3. Using your right hand, gently pull your left elbow towards the right, moving your left hand further down. 
  4. If your body allows it, you can bend your right arm upward along your spine to clasp your left hand.
  5. Remain in this pose for at least 30 seconds.
yoga poses for flexibility for beginners - Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

7. Halasana - PLOW POSE

The plow pose helps alleviate your shoulders, spine, and neck tensions. Suppose it’s a little difficult for your feet to reach the floor, rest them on a stack of cushions or a chair. If you have any concerns about your neck, digestion, or blood pressure, it’s best to avoid this pose. 

How to do it 

  1. Laying on your back, place your arms alongside your body, pressing your palms into the floor.
  2. Raise your legs straight up to 90 degrees and bring them over your head. 
  3. Place your hands on your lower back, with your pinky fingers on either side of your spine and your fingers facing upward.
  4. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Get out of the pose by rolling your spine back down to the floor.
yoga poses for flexibility for beginners - Plow Pose (Halasana)

Final thoughts

Flexibility is a major achievement that most people attain by regularly practising yoga. If your aim is flexibility, then the above poses will help you achieve your goal quickly. Always ensure you dedicate time to yoga on most days of the week, and you will surely get to your end goal of being more flexible.

Caleb Sharbono is a writer, bio-hacker, wellness advocate, and yogi. Caleb, who grew up on a small Montana ranch, joined the Navy at 17 to study cryptology. He later graduated from the US Naval Academy with a Minor in Mandarin, a Bachelor's in General Engineering, and a Major in English Literature. Caleb's interests and career cover diverse industries and disciplines. Caleb lives in San Antonio and is a Certified Yoga Instructor. He is also studying Zen Buddhism, practicing Holistic Psychology, and working towards his 300-hour yoga teacher training.


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