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5 yoga poses for the girl who isn't flexible

Scrolling through the yoga hashtag on any social media platform can be intimidating. Most of the posts show yogis doing impossible poses in front of sunsets and waterfalls. Even people who claim to be beginners demonstrate an unreal amount of bendiness. But it turns out there *are* a few poses for those of us who aren’t super flexible. Read on to see five accessible yoga poses anyone can try.

A variation on downward-facing dog

The normal version of this classic yoga pose requires you to straighten out your legs and arms, which can be tough if you can’t even touch your toes. Luckily, there are variations and modifications you can make to the pose. You get the benefits of a shoulder and back stretch without having to worry about tearing a muscle in your leg.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Monisha Mehta (योगाभ्यासी) (@bliss_feeder) on

Crescent lunge on the knee

This stretch is especially helpful if you’re trying to work your way up to a split. You start from a crescent lunge pose, AKA standing with your legs apart in a ninety-degree lunge. Then, drop down so you’re on your back knee, with your front leg still in front of you. Even if you can’t completely straighten the line from your back knee to your front knee, you’ll be stretching key thigh and back muscles.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Yoga, Ayurveda, Treatments (@strengthandsouluk) on

Gate stretch

The gate pose stretches your side and forces you to use your core muscles. Instead of flexibility, this pose is all about balance. You start on your knees and slide one leg out to the side, stretching your opposite arm towards the outstretched leg like you’re doing a really awkward wave (visual reference here). It might be hard to maintain balance at first, but with a little practice, doing this pose can be a cinch.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Anna Saldivar (@annasaldivar) on

Mountain with cactus arms

You don’t need to be able to effortlessly lower yourself into a backbend for this stretch—though it can help you get there. All you need to do is stand straight and lean your upper body back as far as is comfortable. As the name suggests, your arms take on a cactus-like position that increases the back and shoulder stretch while strengthening your arm muscles at the same time. It’s a win-win!

Seated twist

Though it sounds like a pretzel-y pose, the final addition to our list is anything but. You begin by sitting criss-cross applesauce (or however you learned to call it) and twist your torso to face one side. If you’re twisting to the left, put your left arm behind you and hold your left knee with your right hand. Trade right and left and do the same thing on the other side. Finish by putting your arms over your head, as shown in the pic below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Krystal Nielson (@coachkrystal_) on

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Slider/Header Image: Pexels

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by Bailey Bujnosek | 10/1/2020
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