We always recommend that you do some stretching before you begin any exercise routine. It is also a good idea to get some blood flowing and loosen up a little before you stretch. This can be just some light running in place or a few jumping jacks to get things going. Want to know how to stretch? Below we recommend a few free stretching exercise that you can add to your routine. Use these to stretch out before your workout or use some of the back stretching exercises to loosen up after sitting in the chair too long.
You will notice that we have also added a few yoga poses to the recommendations. These are some great stretching tools to help you loosen up and to relieve the tension. With all the time that we spend in front of computers now days, the yoga stretching can help do wonders to alleviate that pain in the neck or the tightness in the shoulders.
I think everyone should know how to do these!
(These are a great warm up)
Running in Place
If you lack the coordination for jumping jacks or want to mix it up a little, you can always lightly run in place for a minute or two loosen up.
1) Place an outstretched arm against a wall or doorway and lean forward with that shoulder.
2) You should feel a stretch in your chest when you lean forward.
3) Hold and repeat for same arm then repeat 2 stretches for other arm.
1) Standing with a shoulder width stance and hang onto an object for support.
2) Bring one foot up and grab with your hand.
3) Pull your foot up until you feel a stretch on the front of your thigh.
4) Hold, relax and repeat before changing legs.
1) Sit in upright position. Tuck foot near groin with opposite leg straight.
2) Bending from the hips and leading with the chest, reach down until a stretch is felt in back of thigh.
3) Remember to keep the low back straight to isolate stretch in hamstring.
1) Sit in upright position and place heels together.
2) Spread knees apart and pull feet toward groin until a stretch is felt in groin and inner thigh.
3) Remember to keep low back straight to emphasize stretch.
Lower Back Stretch
1) Lie on back with right knee drawn toward chest.
2) Slowly bring bent leg across body until a stretch is felt in the lower back and hip area.
3) Remember to keep shoulders squared and flat on ground at all times. Bottom leg should be bent so that your knees are aligned.
1) Start by kneeling on the ground with your arms out in front of you.
2) Slide your arms further away and slowly shift your hips back towards your feet until a comfortable stretch is felt.
3) Now slide your hands to the right until a stretch is felt down the side of your torso. Repeat to the left.
Yoga Spinal Twist
1. Begin by sitting legs extended, bring the left leg over top of the right leg, foot flat on the floor and keep the right leg extended, lift the right toes up towards the sky, contract the right quadricep muscles.
2. Hug the right knee into the chest with the right arm and place the left hand behind the body. Look over the left shoulder and allow the breath to increase the stretch.
3. Maintain a straight spine, sitting bones rooted down towards the ground and crown working towards the sky. Hold this posture for 5 to 15 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Mudra Roll Up
1) Begin standing in a forward bend position feet are hip-width apart toes are facing forward head and arms are relaxed down towards the floor.
2) Bend the knees and interlock the fingers behind the body. Now straighten the legs and reach the arms away from the body slowly, roll the spine up vertebrae by vertebrae until you come back to the standing position.
3) Allow the head to be the last thing that comes up. Keep the palms pressing towards one and other and the shoulders rolled open and back.
4) Repeat this exercise 5 times breathing.
Yoga Cat Stretch
1) Kneel on all fours, knees under hips and hands under shoulders. Spread the fingers out on the floor with palms flat and contract the abs to bring the head, neck and back in alignment.
2) Inhale and tip the tail bones towards the ceiling while drawing the shoulders back and down away from your ears; look up.
3) Exhale and tuck the chin while pulling your belly towards your spine. Round the back and feel a stretch down your spine.
4) Repeat for 4 to 6 breaths, moving smoothly between each move.
Yoga Child Stretch
1) From the Cat Stretch, sit back on your heels and bring your arms down along your body, palms facing up.
2) Relax and breath for as long as suggested.
Yoga Slide Stretch
1) While in the Child Pose, place your right hand next to the chest, elbow bent and stretch your left arm up over your head, palm resting on the floor, keeping your hips straight.
2) Turn your head and look under your arm, feeling a stretch down the left side of your back.
3) Hold for 3 or more breaths and switch sides.
Yoga Cow Stretch
1) Place the hands shoulder-width apart and the knees hip-width apart, tuck the toes under, arch the spine.
2) Lift the tail bone towards the sky, drop the belly down towards the floor look up release the lower jaw and open the chest.
1) Begin by lying on the stomach on the floor. Place the hands behind the shoulders and bring the legs out to the side slightly wider than hip-width.
2) Relax the buttocks and the legs. Inhale and push evenly down through the hands and lift the chest up towards the sky, gently arching the spine. Roll the shoulders back and down and away from the ears, look up towards the sky.
3) Do not allow the lower back to collapse down towards the floor. Stay connected to the core musculature by pulling the navel in towards the spine and lifting the pelvic floor muscles.
4) Keep the fingers and thumbs spread evenly pushing down through all four corners of the palms. Relax the buttocks and the legs. Lift the thighs and chins off the floor pushing down evenly through hands and through the tops of the feet.
5) Do not allow the lower back to collapse and keep connected to the core. Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
1) Lie on your back on the floor. Bend the knees and pull the heels towards the buttocks. Bring the feet into a slightly pigeon toed position. Place the feet so that they align with your hips.
2) Bend the elbows and place them behind the head. Palms are flat on the floor on either side of the head. Fingers pointing towards the shoulder blades. Gently press down through the palms and the feet and slowly push your shoulder blades back and lift the hips up off the floor and place the crown of the head on the floor.
3) Take 5 breaths here. Pull the navel in towards the spine, lift the pelvic floor muscles and inhale shift your weight from your palms to the front of your feet and push the torso up in one single movement.
4) The weight should be equally distributed on the hands and the feet. You can add the strap by placing it around the legs, just above the knees. This will help to build you into the full upward bow position.
5) Hold the posture for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Yoga Shoulder Stand
1) Refer to the plow posture for the starting position. Whether the feet are on the chair or the floor, support the lower back with the hands and gently walk the elbows in towards each other.
2) Slowly float one leg up at a time towards the sky bringing yourself into the shoulder stand position. If there is any strain on the neck, shoulders or upper back, come out of the position.
3) If you are a beginner, bring yourself to a wall and place the feet on the wall with the head and shoulders approximately 1 to 2 feet away. Keep the knees bent and the feet flat on the wall.
4) For intermediate and advanced students, lift the legs straight up towards the sky, legs together, toes spread. Walk the elbows towards each other and palms on the lower back. Do not look sideways in this posture.
5) Keep the weight across the shoulders not on the neck. The hips, knees, ankles and feet are all in one line. Keep the chin gently tucked in to support the cervical vertebrae. Hold this posture for 10 to 20 deep breaths.
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