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20 Minute Beginner Yoga Routine For Flexibility

20 minute beginner yoga routine for flexibility

This simple to perform 20 Minute Beginner Yoga Routine For Flexibility, is designed to be easily undertaken at home and will not only improve your flexibility, but also help relieve aches and pains too!

You can perform this 12 pose routine at any time of day, but it is especially beneficial when done first thing in the morning as it will increase your energy levels and get your body ready to face the day ahead feeling fresh and energised.

We have designed this workout for the following:

  • A complete beginner who is looking for a good overall introduction to yoga.
  • Anyone looking to improve flexibility – regardless of age.
  • Anyone who is looking to take up a gentle form of exercise that is great for weight loss!

The routine can be done easily in the comfort of your own home.  You just need a bit of space, a Yoga Mat, and maybe some Yoga Blocks and Yoga Straps.

Instructions

Simply follow the comprehensive instructions that accompany each of the 12 positions below in order to perform it correctly.

The aim is to hold each position for 30 seconds. Don’t worry if you have to build up to this. To start with, it really doesn’t matter if you can only stay in certain positions for 5 seconds to start. Just be patient, build up slowly, and do not rush things.

Some of the positions require you to perform them on both sides of the body. So ensure you repeat the position on both sides before you move on to the next.

Once you have completed all 12 positions, rest for 1 minute and then work through the routine again. Build up until you are eventually completing the routine 3 times in total.

20-Minute Yoga Workout for Flexibility

Warrior 1Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Stand upright on your yoga mat, with your arms at your sides. Your feet need to be about shoulder width apart.
  2. With your left foot, step to the left so that your feet are now about 4 feet apart.
  3. Twist your body to the right. At the same time turn your right foot 90 degrees so that it is now facing the same way you are.
  4. Twist the left foot about 45 degrees. Keep the heel on the floor and ideally your left heel should be in line with your right.
  5. Now exhale and bend at the right knee until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and at right angles to your lower leg.
  6. Raise your arms overhead keeping them shoulder width apart. Stretch upwards with your fingertips.
  7. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modifications:

Many beginners find it difficult to keep their balance. If this happens, rather than trying to keep your heels aligned, let them be shoulder width apart to create a more solid base stance.

Benefits:

Creates a stretch for the whole front side of the body, whilst at the same time strengthening the thighs, ankles, and back. Develops greater flexibility, strength, and range of motion in the feet.

Extended TriangleExtended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Stand on your yoga mat with your feet about 4 foot apart with your heels in line. Place your arms by your sides.
  2. Turn your right foot 90 degrees and pivot your left to about 45 degrees.
  3. Lift you arms until they are parallel to the floor with your palms facing down.
  4. Bend at the waist so that the fingers of your right hand touch the floor just inside your right foot.
  5. Your left hand points directly up towards the ceiling.
  6. Turn your head and look up towards your left hand.
  7. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modifications:

If you are unable to touch the floor, use a yoga block or just reach to your shin or knee until your flexibility improves.

Upward Facing DogUpward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Start by lying facedown on your yoga mat with your legs extended behind you, spread a few inches apart. The tops of your feet should rest on the mat. Do not tuck your toes underneath.
  2. Place your hands alongside your body with your fingers pointing toward the top of the mat. Keep the elbows in, close to the sides of your body.
  3. Breathe in and use your core and your arms to lift your head, chest, thighs, knees and hips off the floor.
  4. Keep looking forward. Do not strain your neck by looking up if you are a beginner.
Modifications:

This pose can take time to develop. If you find it difficult to keep your legs lifted above your mat, place a folded blanket below the top of your thighs for support.

Benefits:

This is a great move to stretch the chest and back, whilst at the same time developing strength and flexibility in the wrists, arms and shoulders.

Good for improving posture and also stimulating the internal organs which can improve digestion. The backbend movement can also provide relief from tiredness and mild depression.

standing forward bend 02Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Stand up straight on your yoga mat
  2. Exhale and bend forward at the hips, reaching down towards your toes.
  3. It is very important that you keep your back flat throughout this entire pose. You may find it easier if you slightly exaggerate this by almost arching your back and ‘pushing’ your bottom towards the sky.
  4. Do not bend over any further once you start to lose the flat back.
Modifications:

standing forward bend 01

You may find this pose a little easier to start with if you use yoga blocks to help support you. This will be especially true if you have very tight hamstrings, which is quite common.

Benefits:

This pose is excellent for stretching tight hamstrings and also for your lower back.

Downward Facing DogDownward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Start on your hands and knees on your yoga mat. Your knees should be directly below your hips, and your hands should be slightly forward of your shoulders. Your fingers must point forwards with fingers apart wide.
  2. Next lift your bottom straight up in the air until your knees come off the ground and your legs are straight. The shape looks similar to an inverted ‘V’.
  3. Keep your core muscles tight and slightly tuck the tailbone to elongate the lower back. Press your heels down toward the mat and attempt to straighten the legs without locking them. Your heels do not need to touch the ground. It is more important to maintain the length of your spine and the lift of your pelvis.
  4. Look back towards your toes and keep your ears in line with your arms.
Modifications:

Ideally this pose should be done with your feet flat upon the floor. However, there is no harm in raising your heels slightly in the early days until your hamstring and ankle flexibility develops.

Chair RevolvedRevolved Chair Pose Variation (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Stand up straight on your yoga mat with your feet together.
  2. Slight bend your knees and ‘sit downwards’ as if you were about to sit in a chair behind you. Ideally your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
  3. Press your palms together in a prayer position at chest height.
  4. Twist your torso so that your right elbow points down towards the ground and the left points towards the ceiling. Your right elbow should be on the outside of your left knee if possible.
  5. Look upwards towards your left elbow.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modifications:

It is not uncommon for beginners to have balance issues to start with. In this case, place your feet hip width apart to help with balance.

If you have good shoulder mobility, try keeping your arms straight so that your right hand touches the floor and your left points upwards.

camel 01Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Kneel on your yoga mat with your knees hip width apart.
  2. Place your hands on the back of your pelvis with your fingers pointing downwards.
  3. Lean slightly backwards and tuck your chin in a little to your chest.
  4. Reach back and take hold of each heel with the appropriate hand.
Modifications:

Beginners may find it difficult to take hold of their heels. In this case, curl your toes underneath you, which will have the effect of raising the heels slightly. If this is still not enough, place a yoga block on the outside of each foot and rest your hands on those.

head to knee forward bend 01Head to Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee, and draw the heel back and rest the sole of your right foot lightly against your inner left thigh. The outer right knee should be touching the floor, with the shin at a right angle to the left leg.
  3. Align the centre of your torso with your left leg (a mild twist). Hinge forward from the hips to fold over your left leg and try to get your torso to rest upon your left thigh.
  4. If possible, hold onto your left leg’s shin, ankle, or foot. Do not round your back.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modifications:

You can place a blanket under your buttocks if this is more comfortable in the early days, and underneath your bent knee to support it if it does not rest on the floor.

pigeon pose 01Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Stand on your yoga mat with feet about hip width apart. Hands by your sides.
  2. Take a big step back with the right leg. You can either curl your toes under, or place the top of your foot flat on the floor.
  3. Your left leg should be bent 90 degrees at the knee with the lower leg perpendicular to the floor. Make sure you can look down and see your toes. If not, you are leaning too far forwards.
  4. Place both hands on your left knee.
  5. Support yourself with your hands and move your left leg under into a kneeling position. You may find it easier if you slightly move the left foot to the right.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modifications:

As your flexibility increases, try to create a 90 degree angle with your leg so that your lower leg is perpendicular to your thigh.

standing back bend 01Standing Back Bend (Anuvittasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Place your palms on your lower back/sacrum with the fingers pointed down.
  2. Press down into the feet, and squeeze the thighs and buttocks.
  3. Press the hips forward and begin to arch the torso backwards.
  4. Keep the head looking forward, or if it feels safe let it drop all the way back. Use the arms to support your weight and keep the legs and buttocks engaged and strong.
Modifications:

As you progress with this move, slowly walk your hands down your thighs further towards your knees. For an advanced move, place your hands overhead with palms together (see picture).

Benefits:

The Standing Back Bend provides a really good stretch the front of the body. It also strengthens the respiratory, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.

Upward reverse plank 01Upward (Reverse) Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Sit on your yoga mat with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Place your hands flat on the mat, slightly behind you and shoulder width apart.
  3. Press down on your hands and at the same time lift your bottom off the floor until you form a straight line with the rest of your body.
  4. Keep your head aligned with your body, looking upwards.

Seated Forward Bend BSeated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

How to perform the pose correctly:

  1. Sit on your yoga mat with your legs extended out in front of you.
  2. Lift your arms up above your head.
  3. Bend at the hips and reach forward towards your toes. You are trying to rest your torso along your thighs. Not touch your knees with your head.
  4. Hold on to your shins or feet if possible.
Modifications:

seated forward bend 01

Beginners may find it easier to keep their knees very slightly bent throughout this movement, straightening them when your flexibility increases.

If you are unable to bend too far forward, try placing a yoga strap around your feet and use that as support. Do not pull on the strap hard in order to bend further. Take it slowly.

Progress

Once you feel comfortable holding the positions for 30 seconds, you can hold any position for longer if you feel you need additional work in certain areas.

If you are looking for more beginner poses to transform your body with yoga, then look no further than our

Beginners Guide to Fat Loss Yoga

It has everything you need to get started, including comprehensive instructions on how to perform all the poses correctly, a six week workout schedule, diet advice, plus core strength, flexibility, balance and posture guides!

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