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If you aren’t naturally flexible, any kind of yoga or stretching can feel like an exercise in pain management. (How far can I go today before my hamstring wants to split in half? Such a fun game!) I know, because I come from a long line of very stiff people who regularly struggle to touch their toes. Believe me when I say that yoga has been an uphill battle for me from the start.
So how do you increase flexibility when you’re starting from scratch? You can begin by modifying your stretches, which is exactly why we’re spotlighting this TikTok from yoga instructor Reyna Cohan. In the TikTok, Cohan demonstrates three “super simple stretches for super inflexible people,” all of which use a chair to provide extra support and make the poses more accessible. Here are Cohan’s recommended stretches:
- Modified Cat-Cow: Place your hands on the seat or back of a chair and perform the Cat-Cow stretch, arching and bending your back.
- Standing Hip Circles: Place your feet hips-width apart and circle your hips clockwise, then counter-clockwise, with your hands on the back of a chair. Spread your feet wider and repeat.
- Side Bend and Twist: Place one hand on the back of a chair. Using it for support, stretch your other arm overhead and bend over toward the chair. Straighten up, then reach your arm across your body to tap your opposite shoulder.
The chair is effective, Cohan explains, because it offers different heights. The back of the chair is taller, so you don’t have to bend over so far; once that becomes comfortable, you can switch to the seat of the chair, which is a lower height and will challenge your flexibility a bit more. So next time you’re feeling stiff, give these moves a try to get your muscles stretched out and feeling more flexible.