6 Stretches You Should Be Doing Regularly, According To A Yoga Teacher
There will always be days when time gets the better of you and it's kind of impossible to get a workout in. But the body and mind definitely feel the lethargy when you sit still for too long. So, no matter how busy you are, it's crucial to stretch all your major muscle groups every day.
Elite Daily spoke with with Buti and vinyasa yoga teacher Vanessa Dunleavy about the most important daily stretches for your body, whether you're going for a long run, or just hanging out at home.
Every body is different, so the best stretches for people will vary. But what's generally important to keep in mind is hitting all the major muscle groups.
She explains stretching every day keeps the muscles long, releases tension, and helps keeps the fascia tissue healthy.
Here are six stretches you should definitely incorporate into your daily routine.
1. Sphinx Pose For The Front Body
Dunleavy tells Elite Daily this pose “acts as a heart- and chest-opener that is great for the spine.”
Lay on your belly with your legs side by side. Think about lengthening your tailbone toward your heels while gently rotating your thighs inward.
Reaching your toes behind you, place your forearms to the ground parallel to each other, with elbows under your shoulders.
Starting from your lower abdomen, lift upward, keeping your legs on the ground, causing a slight curve in your upper back.
2. Forward Fold For The Back Body
Try a seated or standing forward fold. This releases the spine and gives the muscles in the back a stretch and release.
Dunleavy says, depending on your body, if you'restanding, this can be done with straight legs, or a slight bend in the knees.
Forward fold is also a great stretch for the hamstrings and calves -- trust me, you'll feel it.
Remember to be mindful of your lower back by supporting your core, bringing belly to spine, and always maintaining an even breath.
3. Open Your Shoulders With Eagle Arms
While this is a slightly more complicated yoga pose in its full form, doing just the arms of "eagle pose" has great benefits.
According to Dunleavy, "eagle arms stretch the rhomboid muscles between the shoulder blades."
To get into this pose, reach your arms straight out in front of you, crossing the right elbow over the left. Bend your elbows so the fingers reach upward, and intertwine the hands so your palms touch.
Breath into your upper back, then repeat, crossing left over right.
4. Don't Forget About Your Neck
This is pretty darn simple, but oh so wonderful. Keeping your shoulders dropped and relaxed, reach your right ear to your right shoulder, then left ear to left shoulder.
A great stretch for the back of the neck, Dunleavy adds, is to then guide your nose to your shoulder on each side.
Doesn't that feel nice?
5. A "Figure Four" Stretch For Your Hips
You've probably tried pigeon pose before if you've ever been to a yoga class, but a great alternative to this move is doing a “figure four” stretch.
You can do this lying on your back or sitting in a chair. If you want to do it while sitting, start with both feet on the ground, and keep your spine straight. Place your right ankle over on top of your opposite knee in a straight line, parallel to the floor.
Then lean forward toward your calf, making sure to keep your back straight.
6. Stretch Out Those Quads
Standing on one leg (you can steady yourself on a wall if necessary), bring your right heel toward your right hip bone, grabbing the top of the foot with your corresponding hand.
Dunleavy suggests gently sending the hips forward and breathing into your quads (the long muscle of your thigh, above your knees).
Switch sides, and repeat.
Above all, Dunleavy wants you to remember these stretches are meant to connect the mind, body, and breath, all of which work in tandem to create a perfect, peaceful harmony.