3 yoga moves you should try - even if you don't like yoga
The following postures might not be something you experience in your regular yoga class. But here are three of my favorite stretches that can help release a tight and overstressed body.
Single leg kneeling hamstring stretch
- Kneel on the ground and extend one leg forward, keeping your knee slightly bent.
- Place your hands either side of your extended leg. Start on your fingertips and with practice you can eventually progress to being able to have your palms flat on the ground.
- Pull your front toes towards your face and squeeze your quad, trying to get your extended leg straight.
- Once this feels comfortable, pull your ‘sitting bones’ towards the back of the room and think about drawing your belly button to your thigh (folding from the hips, NOT rounding your spine).
- Keep your chest and head up by breathing wide through your collarbones.
- As your hamstring frees up, you can drop your head and think about getting belly, chest, then nose to your straight leg.
We tend to hold a lot of tension in our hips, usually from sitting for too long or from activities like running, sport, or weight training. This can lead to lower back issues. This stretch can help to stretch your hip flexor (front of hip) and groin (inner thigh) muscles.
- Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until your front knees is bent at a 90-degree angle. And the back one is straight. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle.
- Keep both hands (palms flat) on the INSIDE of your front leg. Your front foot should be in line with your hands.
- Think about being a long straight line from your back heel to the crown of your head.
- To increase the stretch, squeeze your back knee, drop your hips, and open your chest upward.
Seated pec stretch
- Sit with your legs outstretched in front of you.
- Place your hands behind your bottom (fingers pointing towards your feet).
- Walk your hands back until you start to feel a stretch starting in your shoulders.
- Keeping your hands flat (and fingers still pointing towards feet) take a deep breath in, roll your shoulder back, and press your chest up.
- Breath out, then slowly start to bend your elbows, you’ll start to feel the stretch increasing in your shoulders.
- Stop at a comfortable level, then slowly start to squeeze your elbows together (this will give a deeper stretch again)