It is important to stretch after a workout to prevent injury and relax the muscles, but stretching every day has its benefits as well: improving flexibility and reducing muscle tension. It can even help correct or improve posture. Stretching can be done at any time: while sitting, standing, talking, watching TV, or reading a book. Here are some stretches to do every day. The key is to go by how the stretch feels; it should never be painful.
This staple of any yogi’s arsenal is also beneficial for the non-practitioner. Start in plank position with shoulders stacked over the wrists. Gently push upwards and back to form a triangle with the body. Keep pressure off the wrists and knees by pressing down into the ground with all ten fingers and back with all ten toes. To make it even more dynamic, switch between plank position and downward dog. This pose is great for opening up the hips, back, and shoulders.
People hold tension in different areas of the body, especially when feeling stressed. The neck and upper back are two of the most common places. Neck rolls help loosen up this area. Begin sitting or standing in a relaxed position. Allow the neck to drop gently forward, and begin drawing circles with the nose. Go one way, then the other.
Seated Groin Stretch
This is great for stretching both hips at the same time. Sit on the floor, making sure to keep the spine and neck lifted. Fold the legs open and clasp both feet, forming a diamond shape with the legs. Inhale and lean forward from the hips, exhaling deeply into the stretch. Make sure to not round from the shoulders or neck in order to maximize the stretch in the hips.
This is another yogic pose that can increase blood flow and mobility up and down the spine. It is especially refreshing at night before bed or in the morning after just waking up. Get down on the hands and knees, forming a tabletop position with shoulders stacked over wrists and knees in line with the hips. Inhale, drawing the abdominal wall up to the spine and looking down at the floor. To make it dynamic, inhale into cat pose and exhale into cow pose.