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I really want to tone up and become more flexible, but I am having a hard time finding stretches that are not to do with yoga. I don't agree with yoga and the spiritual awakening that happens when you do it. Does anyone have some good stretches that are nothing but stretches for flexibility?

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In before misunderstanding....

I get it...you want to do stretches for the sake of doing stretches, without it being any sort of spiritual or religious practice. Exercise and well being without the praying, chanting, poses, etc...not that you disagree with that...its just not something you want peresonally...makes a lot of sense. I'm in the same boat.

I recommend going online and getting a list of stretches that push you, do them in sequences, and be consistent. For inspiration look at gymnasts, dancers, ice skaters, athletes, etc online. Look closely at their training videos, or when they show them "warming up", it will help you get some good ideas. I'll try to find some for you to show you what I mean. 

Hold yourself accountable, be consistent, set goals, measure your progress, find a mentor....

Set  yourself up to succeed.

Look into Pilates.

I like Blogilates on youtube

I kind of have to laugh at this one. To start off with, I think whether you do yoga or adopt a vegan lifestyle there is some degree of "awakening" that happens. Is that spiritual? In the sense of believing in a higher power, as an atheist I do not believe so, in the sense of knowing your place and purpose in the universe, absolutely. If you don't want your world view, your mind to expand beyond what you know and currently experience, stop now. This is not the lifestyle for you. Yoga isn't spiritual in western/juedo-Christian sense of the word and there are many different kinds of yoga, not just the physical kinds we know about in the west. Typically the yoga classes that are taught in gyms are not in anyway spiritual and do not incorporate meditation or chanting.  

Someone I follow on twitter just posted this for some additional perspective: http://www.fitnessrepublic.com/fitness/yoga/yoga-debate-religion-or...

Agreed.  I have done lots of ballet and gymnastics stretching and yoga is definitely superior in so many ways.  I only like yoga for the physical benefits myself, which automatically makes you feel better and more in tune with your body and thus the world around you, just like other physical activities do.  

You might try a few different popular classes in your area just so you know for yourself what it can do.  I have found an an instructor I like that does not add any breathing exercises or visualization or anything other than the physical side.  

I actually just watched a video last night on yoga and all the teachers agreed that there is nothing inherently spiritual or spiritually awakening about doing yoga poses.  Yoga is a really broad term that can mean many things but in the west a regular old yoga class is just a physical practice that can really help many physical problems.  Many people have used yoga to heal all kinds of problems, I have seen numerous stories of  people that have avoided foot surgery from learning how to stretch and spread their toes, I have met others with back problems that got completely corrected, flat foot corrected, tail bone injuries corrected, lots of other stuff.  Sorry to go on but I hate to see anyone pass up on a good thing from what may be a misconception.

The reason I want to stay away from yoga is that it awakens a spirit that I feel is demonic in some way. I am a born-again Christian and the only higher power that I want to be under is God the Creator. And btw I do understand that not all "yoga" stretches are spiritual but the whole spiritual awakening is a lot more powerful than people realise. 

"If you don't want your world view, your mind to expand beyond what you know and currently experience, stop now. This is not the lifestyle for you"

So basically, if someone wants to improve their flexibility without indulging in other aspects of yoga, then they should stop perusing a healthy vegan compassionate lifestyle? If this is what you are saying, then I would have to respectfully disagree.

check these out too, Bethany:

I found some good ones on Do You Feel The Burn a youtube channel. With Ted Carr and Shay Mazza.

There is allot of information out there on stretches if you look for it. You could try typing in "stretches" into Youtube. I've learned allot from doing martial arts, circuit training and cheerleading.

I do the basic leg stretches after bike rides. I feel it helps recovery, keeps them ready to go, helps prevent them from cramping up when I do other exercises such as running.

I'm not an expert but some things I've heard time and time again for safe stretching are that you should feel warm inside before stretching for flexibility (e.g. ideally after exercise or warming up), you should not bounce in the stretched position, and you should ease into the stretches slowly.

Also, another stretch that I really enjoyed was the body roll, or standing toe touch. I always felt good after doing this, and after doing them for a while, I noticed a significant improvement in being able to touch my toes.

You will be very hard pressed to find a stretch outside of Yoga that isn't already there. What if you learn a stretch, only to find out years later that it is also in a form of Yoga? Worrying about these demons is probably worse for your health than doing a spot of Yoga.

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