Yoga Stretches: Time to Feel Great

by Cris Puscas

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Not sure about many of you, but, I honestly find stretching incredibly boring. I need it before my tango classes, but usually get away with a few shoulder rotations and toe touches. 

But boring as it may be to some of us, stretching is important to keep the muscles flexible, healthy, and strong. Without the flexibility, the muscles will shorten and become tight. One good example is sitting at the desk for an extended period of time. The hamstrings become tight, which makes it harder to extend your legs, which, in turn, inhibits walking. And when you want to play a sport, you may risk injury.

There are many yoga poses for flexibility. Combine them with the following fun stretches to keep your body lean and flexible.

Toebreaker

toebreaker yoga inspired stretch

This pose is great to stretch the quads, calves, and feet. Dancers and runners will appreciate it very much.

  • Sit on your heels, toes tucked underneath

  • Reach your arms overhead and hook your thumbs together

  • Lean back a little if it’s more comfortable

  • Hold for 10 deep breaths

Forward fold

forward fold yoga stretching move

This pose stretches the calves and hamstrings.

  • Stand up, with your heels planted on the ground

  • Keep your feet hip-width apart

  • Fold your torso over the legs, with a slight bend at the knees

  • Extend your hands towards the floor (or as low as you can go)

  • Hold for 10 deep breaths

Hip opener

hip opening yoga stretching exercise

  • Lie on the back with your knees bent and feet on the floor

  • Cross your right ankle over your left knee

  • Interlace your fingers behind the left hamstring and pull that leg towards your chest

  • Your other leg will follow

  • Keep your butt down and the feet flexed

  • Hold for 10 deep breaths on each side

You can also use a yoga strap around you tight and pull the leg gently with it. Or extend your lower leg further from the body.

Supported bridge

bridge back arch stretch move inspired by yoga

This pose stretches your psoas, which is a very important muscle in your body.

  • Lie on the back, knees bent, and feet hip-width-apart

  • Place a block of any height under your sacrum

  • Hold for 10 deep breaths

Secret prayer

back stretch with hands united in prayer move

This is a great pose to relieve back pain and alleviate stress. It also helps strengthen your arms.

  • From a comfortable seated position , bring your hands together in a prayer position

  • Do this behind your back, keeping the palms together and the fingers facing up

  • If you cannot get your knuckle pads to press against each other, aim for a fist bump


Disclaimer: before you start any exercise program, make sure to talk to your medical provider. Stop any exercise if you feel pain.


For awesome results, mix yoga with hiking, massages, spa time or surfing during a yoga and wellness retreat

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