Tuesday, 29 March 2016

My Favourite Stretches

Somedays all you need is a good stretch. 

The occasional morning, I will wake-up and my body is begging me to forget about the workout I had planned. It is asking me to please grab my mat, the foam roller, play some calming tunes, and enjoy deepening into each stretch. If our family's schedule allows, these weeks, I also try to squeeze in a yoga class, because if my body is asking for that down time, I can guarantee my mind is also needing it. 

Full Body Stretch
spend approximately 30 seconds in each stretch (up to 60 seconds if needed)

Downward Dog
Start in downward facing dog with hips high. Press through your hands to push your heels closer to the floor. Lift one heel and then the other to "walk your dog". Continue this for 15 seconds and then hold in downward dog for 15 seconds. 
Kneeling Lunge | right
Kick your right foot high and bring it forward to land beside your right hand (in between your hands). Drop your left knee and lower through your hips until a gentle stretch is achieved. Hold. 
Reverse Lunge | right
Begin to straighten your right knee to lift your right toes off the floor and come overtop of your left leg. Feel the stretch in the back of your right upper and lower leg. 
Kneeling Lunge | left
Return to downward dog. Proceed to kick left leg up and repeat this side. 
Reverse Lunge | left
Repeat left side. 
Pigeon Pose | right
Press back through downward dog to reset. Enjoy a few moments here before moving your right knee through your arms again and landing it beside your right wrist. Lower your glutes to the floor. Your right foot should near your left quad or for a deeper stretch, your right calf can be parallel to the front of your mat. Your left leg should be straight out behind you. Lower as deeply as you can over your right knee. Try to have your head supported by the may, stacked elbows, hands, or fists. 
Pigeon Pose | left
Press back through downward dog and repeat left side. 
After your time in pigeon on the left, drop your glute and swing your right leg around. With shins parallel to the from of your mat, stack one on top of the other. Knees and ankles should be stacked and heels should be approximately a foot away from your inner thighs. Take your hands on either side of your hips and gently press down to shift your hips slightly forward. Hold and then repeat other side. 
Kneeling Upper Body Stretches
Come to your knees and tuck your toes under to provide a gentle stretch to your plantar fascia. Begin with a chest stretch by clasping your hands behind your back and lifting your arms until you achieve the stretch. Hold. Then, clasp your hands in your front body, press your palms away with straight elbows and allow your shoulder blades to round forward. Hold. With this same position, begin to press the palms of the hands towards the ceiling by lifting through the shoulders. Hold. Lean to the right. Hold. Lean to the left. Hold. Bring your hands down to either side and taking three deeps breaths, roll your shoulders. 

I hope you take away from this stretching time as much as I do. Make time for yourself and your body and mind will thank you!

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