Five Favorite Simple Stretches

Right now my body is hurting, long story short I pushed it too hard in a variety of areas and my body has said ENOUGH. So I am taking time to find new exercises that work in my body and take a little break from others that don't feel good. That said, I wanted to share my five favorite gentle stretches that are great if you are taking it easy but still want a nice release.

Without further ado:

  • Supta Badha Konasana. I often start class this way when I am teaching, and if I am taking class I almost always slip in early, put two blocks under my spine and head and find this position. I adore it. It's so nice to open the chest if you snow angel the arms or take them out to goal posts. It's also lovely to take with a bolster along the spine.
septa badha konasana
  • Neck Stretch. I LOVE this one, I offer it in my class often. Basically, take your right hand over the head and place on your left ear. Then drop your head towards your right shoulder. For the deepest variation take your left hand out to the side as if your hand is one of those beach metal detectors and gently move it up and down, forward and backward to find that sweet spot. Then just breathe.
neck stretch
  • Low back release. I do this all day long even when I am standing, I probably look insane but it feels amazing especially when you get a little pop of release. To do this just press the heels of your hands into your hip creases and lengthen out through the crown of your head, getting super long and flat in your back and pushing your hips away from you.
low back stretch
  • Pyramid Pose. This can be a really deep not just gentle stretch but its also so simple I like to call it gentle in some instances. If this expression below is too much for you bring your hands to a block or do this next to a chair and place your hands on the back. Its a quick and dirty stretch to get into your hamstrings if you keep the hips nice and square forward.
pyramid pose
  • Modified Warrior Dog. I super hybrid of poses but basically you can come into it from a lunge starting with the right leg forward. Drop your left knee down and then walk your arms out to the upper left corner of the room. Make down dog arms but keep all of the weight in your low body so that you are getting a nice stretch in your engaged arms, think outer armpits. Make sure to keep reaching your hips back and drawing your shoulders down your back.
warrior dog