Yoga for Leg Flexibility

girl doing yoga and gymnastics on the grass

Stretching like yoga provides can improve the flexibility in your legs. During a static stretch like you experience in yoga, you should feel a small pull without pain during the stretch, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds, repeating three to five times for each side. To improve flexibility in your legs, you should perform leg stretches every day, whereas once you’re a little more flexible, you can do them twice a week. Work with a certified yoga teacher to learn the proper way to perform yoga poses.

Balance Poses

Downward-Facing Dog is a balance pose that stretches the hamstrings and calves. Start in a hands and knees position. Then, turn your toes under and exhale as you lift your hips off the ground and lengthen your legs and back. Press your heels toward the floor to further the stretch in your legs. Other balance poses that can stretch your legs include Dolphin pose and Dolphin Plank pose.

Standing Poses

Warrior II is one type of standing pose that stretches your hips, thighs and ankles. Start in Mountain pose by standing up straight and tall. Then, step your right leg back so that the heel of your right foot is behind your left foot. Your right foot should be at a 45- to 90-degree angle. Bend your left leg so that your knee is straight over your ankle, not beyond, and turn your hips to the right. Bring your arms up in line with your legs and parallel to the floor, and look forward. Hold the pose and then switch sides. Other standing leg stretching poses include Triangle pose, High Lunge pose and Intense Side Stretch pose.

Seated Poses

Staff pose stretches the calves, hamstrings and thighs. Sit on the floor and spread your legs straight out in front of you. Flex your feet by reaching your toes toward your body. Keep your torso and back straight and tall and put your hands at your sides on the floor. If your hamstrings are tight, your pelvis can tilt back and strain your lower back. Sit on a blanket and focus on bringing your pelvis forward to improve your form. Additional seated options include Head-to-Knee Forward Bend and Hero pose.

Supine Poses

Reclining Big Toe pose is a supine pose, which is a pose you perform by lying on your back, that will stretch your calves, hamstrings, hips and thighs. To perform it, lie down and exhale as you bend your right knee and pull it into your chest. Then, fold a yoga strap and put the curved part around the sole of your foot. Hold the ends of the strap in your hands as you extend your leg straight up, using the strap to hold and further stretch the leg. You can also perform this without a strap by holding the back of your thigh with your hands. Some other supine poses to stretch the legs are Reclining Bound Angle pose and Reclining Hero pose.

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