Do you stretch before and after a work out? Yoga is a great option for stretching the body’s muscles. Stretching also reduces soreness we experience after intense exercise. If yoga is your only form of exercise, doing these stretches before, or after, a yoga session is helpful as well.
Last time, we talked about Top 5 Yoga Poses: Strengthening your Core. You can check back and review those. For now, go over these five poses, which will help you stretch sore muscles. You can also do these five poses before and after you take a steam shower.
This pose can be performed by itself or you can alternate it with Cat Pose. These poses are done almost exactly how they sound! During these stretches, the back is lowered into a cow position and arched up into a cat position.
To begin Cow Pose, place your body in a tabletop position on the yoga mat (like doing a push up on your knees). Your head should be in a neutral position. Look towards the ceiling and allow the stomach to gently lower towards the ground. Your back will arch like a cow’s. Exhale and return to starting position. Repeat this 15 times.
For Cat Pose, think of this as the opposite of Cow Pose. Use the same starting position, exhale and allow your head to move towards your chest. Your back will arch up towards the ceiling as you stretch. Inhale and return to the starting position. Alternate these poses by doing Cat on the exhale and Cow on the inhale.
Warrior II is transitioned into after Warrior I. While in the lunging position of Warrior I, exhale and twist your back foot so it is at a ninety degree angle. The foot at the top of the mat points forwards. Twist your body so you are lunging forward with your hands outstretched. Hands are parallel to the floor and palms are down. The front knee should be bent over the foot, and you face forward. Hold this pose for at least one minute, inhale and repeat the pose on the other side of the body.
Begin on the mat in the tabletop position. Place one knee at the top of the mat. Rotate your thigh and foot so that the foot at the top is in front of the other leg’s knee. Flex and align the body so the back leg is outstretched and straight across the mat. Lift the pelvis and keep the hips square. Feel free to use a yoga block or a yoga blanket if necessary. Inhale and lower the tailbone, exhale and place the hands at the top of the mat. Hold and then release and go into downward dog. Transition and repeat with the other side of the body.
The Pelvic Tilt Pose is completed while lying down on the yoga mat. It can also be done against a wall if you wish. While lying down on your back on the mat, bend the knees while keeping your feet on the mat. This is the starting position. Exhale and, without moving the buttocks and while keeping the hips on the mat, tilt the pelvis towards the face. This should straighten the back. As you inhale, return to the starting position and repeat.