We all need a good stretch. Whether first thing in the morning, throughout your day, or right before you go to sleep. Stretching can help to put the mind at ease and make you feel more relaxed. The types of stretching you do should vary. Where are you tight? Do you sit at a desk or stand all day? What’s your sleeping position? All of these factors matter.
“Stretching is about much more than your body.”
Implementing a new aspect of your routine can be challenging. There are only so many hours in a day. Yet, we are all given the same 24 hours. If you want to feel better throughout your day, you must incorporate some variation of stretching. From personal experience, I can tell you that on the days I find time to stretch, I feel so much better. Over the past year, I have challenged myself to stretch more often, usually through traditional static stretching or yoga. But,
“Any stretch is a good stretch.”
Though static stretching is useful, I typically feel best after a tough yoga session. Yoga can be intimidating for beginners. There are many types of yoga, such as hot yoga, Bikram yoga, which is a form of hot yoga. There’s Vinyasa yoga, which involves stringing different postures together through breath. There’s also restorative yoga and power yoga. See how complicated yoga can become?
If you’ve tried any method of yoga, chances are, there’s already a name for it. The plentiful options can benefit those who bore easily and are always searching for new challenges, aka types of yoga. However, this can come off as intimidating to those new to deep tissue stretching. Let’s simplify things.
When stretching, we must remember the most vital aspect, breathing. Keeping your breathes in sequence with your stretching is very hard. Yet, it’s just as important as the actual stretch itself and once you achieve this aspect of stretching and realize how it makes you feel, you will never want to be out of sequence again. As we go back to the basics, we must look at the most effective stretches we can implement into our practice. The following yoga stretches are used by everyone, from yoga beginners to devout yoga masters.
Here are 3 yoga stretches for relaxation:
Standing Forward Bend (Hamstring, Hip, Calf): Perhaps the simplest of all yoga stretches is the standing forward bend. You start by standing up straight. Then, you lean over as you place your head right at the edge of your knees. You can either place your hands flat on the ground or grab your ankles, your choice.
Often, the simplest of stretches go a long way.
Cobra Pose (Back, Chest, Shoulders, Neck): While this stretching technique is a little more complicated than the last, it is worthwhile. It might be the most well-known yoga stretch. When most people think of yoga, they envision this pose. The cobra pose is excellent for several reasons. In my opinion, the best one is its impact on so many parts of the body. You’ll start by lying flat on your stomach. Then you’ll want to line up your shoulders, elbows, and hips, ensuring they are adjacent. You’ll lift yourself, tilt your head slightly, and hold the pose, creating a slight bend in the spine. As with any yoga pose, breathing will facilitate tremendously.
Stretching without breathing is like cooking without seasoning. It can be done, but it’s not recommended.
For every fantastic yoga stretch, it is a great idea to have a counter stretch. After you complete one of your stretches, the muscles and joints you stretched can feel a little out of whack. A counterpose is terrific to create a level of balance between all of your muscles and joints.
Child’s Pose (Hips, Thighs, Ankles): A nice counter to the cobra pose is the child’s pose. You’ll do the literal opposite. By doing so, you create a little yin and yang. You start by facing forward on your knees. You’ll then place your hands down on the ground. Slowly slide your hands up until your arms are fully stretched out. After this, sink your head in between your arms and breathe.
You’ll want to hold each of these stretches for at least 2 minutes straight and 5-10 minutes altogether. Don’t forget to concentrate on your breathing.
By implementing these 3 yoga poses into your stretching routine, you’ll ensure a level of body and mind restoration, overall balance, and relaxation.