I have grown to love stretching. There are some poses that are more uncomfortable than others. But then, there are also some that are enjoyable. For me, those are all the twisting positions.
If stretching is the only way of exercising for you on a particular day, you first obviously need to warm up. I like to do so by doing simple cat and cow positions and wiggling hips around in a freestyle motion to get the kinks out of the spine.
It is easy to stand in a mountain pose, then turning your torso to one side and opening your arms to the side with an exhale. With an inhale, bring them back up, and with another exhale, repeat on the opposite side. You can do this same stretch from a runner’s lunge position and even from a chair pose if you’re a more experienced yogi.
Then, start by going into a simple forward fold. Keep one hand on the ground and bring the other to the sky. Gently bend the knees. Open the heart in the direction where your top arm is going. Repeat on the other side.
Go back to the beginning – to a mountain pose. Bring arms to the side and twist your shoulders to one side, opening your chest as you go. With an inhale, bring your arms overhead. Then repeat on the other side.
Do that same move when you are in a crescent lunge position. You open your chest over the leg that is bent in front. Then, bring the back arm to the thigh of your extended leg for a reverse twist. Come back to a crescent lunge. Bring your arms to the heart center in a prayer position. Go into a crescent twist by bringing your inner elbow to the outer side of your knee. Try to keep your hands in the center of your chest. Then, go through chaturanga before repeating this same sequence on the other side.
Bring your legs into a wider stance than shoulder width. First, drop your head down and hold on to your elbows in a ragdoll position. Then, bring one hand down to the ground and extend the other one directly to the sky. If you’re going after an even deeper stretch, bind that extended arm around your back and hold it to the inner part of your thigh. Release and repeat on the other side.
Another great twisting stretch that I like to do especially at the end of routines is sitting with legs straight, bringing one knee over the other. Then, bring the elbow of the opposite arm to the outside of the bended knee and gaze back. This gaze can moreover serve you as an introspect into how far you’ve come whether it is your flexibility, personal life, professional career, or any other goal that you have in life.
Just the other day, I have been thinking how workouts make your body weaker in the short run; you burn yourself out the stronger that you work. Yes, I know they make you stronger in the long run. But just thinking of this instantly lead my thoughts to stretch and yoga. My body only got stronger once I started incorporating these kinds of routines into my daily 10 minutes of sports. It’s definitely worth trying. It made the biggest difference in my athletic performance and overall physical as well as emotional strength.