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Are you giving yourself the time to properly unwind after your workout? Whether you’re doing a gym session or going out for a run, it is so important to stretch and cool down after getting your sweat on.
These 7 stretches can be done without any props, just roll out your mat, or if you’re in the gym they can be done on the padded floor.
1. Ankle Stretch – From kneeling, bring the knees hip width distance apart. Shift the weight back on to your heels. Let the hands come down behind your back. Try to lift the shins off the ground as you shift the weight back. Keep the chest lifted as you draw the elbows and shoulder blades to the back.
2. Cat/Cow – Come to table top, with the wrists under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Spread the fingers, rooting down through the fingertips and knuckles. Inhale, drop the belly as you lift the gaze and your tailbone up. Exhale, push the ground away as you round your back, contracting chin to chest. Move through several rounds of cat/cow with your breath.
3. Low Lunge – From tabletop, step your right foot forward between the hands. Line the knee up over the ankle. Melt the hips forward and down. To take in to a twist, bring your right hand to the thigh and look back over the right shoulder.
4. Side Body Stretch – Keeping your knee at a 90 degree angle, lift the hips up. Bring your left toes to the long right edge of your mat. Shift the hips towards the right, moving into a side lunge. Bring the right hand to the top of the right leg. Keep pushing the knee open, as you press the hips down. Start to straighten the right leg as you turn the right foot parallel to the front edge of your mat. Let the left hand come down to the mat to the side of your left knee. Stretch the right hand up and over, coming in to a full side body stretch. Bring the right fingers back to the mat, return to table top.
Repeat 3 and 4 through on the other side.
5. Puppy Pose – From table top pose, keep your hips over your knees as you walk the hand forward. Melt the heart towards the ground, and bring the forehead to rest on the mat. Engage the low belly. Stay here with your fingers reaching forward. Or bring the palms together, bending your elbows, and reaching the fingers back towards the neck.
6. Sphinx – Slide forward on to the belly. Bring the forearms to the mat in front of you. Setting the elbows up in line with the shoulders. Pressing the palms and pelvis in to the mat as you come in to a little back bend. If you feel any pinching in the low back, lessen the stretch by moving the elbows further away from the body. Think about pulling the heart forward as you hold here.
7. Figure Four – Flip over on to your back, with knees bent and soles of feet on the mat. Cross your right ankle over the left thigh. Flexing the right foot. You may opt to stay here, or lift the left foot off of the mat, reaching the right arm through the legs and clasping hold of the left thigh or outside of the knee. Draw the leg in to the belly, keeping the tailbone rooted down. Relax the shoulders down to the mat, it’s not a curl up. Release the left leg, extending it on the mat, as you cross the right knee over to the left side. Open the right arm to the side and gaze towards the right fingers for a twist. Repeat through on the opposite side.
More of an auditory or visual learner? Cooldown with the video below.
Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.