When was the last time you properly stretched? We’re talking a full-body, arms-out-and-up-to-the-sky, head-to-your-toes kind of stretch. If it’s been too long to remember, let today be the day that changes.
Stretching is so beneficial for your overall wellness. Not only does it get your body moving but regular stretching is said to help lower blood pressure, increase flexibility, and improve mobility. It can also help calm anxiety and boost your mood.
To encourage more movement and bending in your daily life, our CCO, Sarah Howard, hosted a seven-day stretch challenge last week on our Snapchat. Lucky for you, we’re also sharing the routine in the below video so you can reference back to it and stretch along with us at your leisure!
We also reached (pun intended) out to the founder and creator of Pliability Stretch™ and CEO and owner of StretchSource®, Mara Kimowitz, to provide her expert insight and explain the benefits of each move.
“While yoga is based on meditation with some stretching components for mental clarity and calmness, stretching focuses on the pliability and flexibility of your muscle so that you can move without pain or limitation. Both practices definitely have similar movements,” Mara shares.
Day 1: Standing Stretch
The proper yoga name: Ardha Uttanasana
How to: Reach down and touch your toes. Hold for 20 seconds.
Advanced move: Put your palms under your feet and stretch up and out. Slowly roll up, stacking each vertebra in place, rolling the head last.
Focuses on: Hamstrings and back
Day 2: Seated Butterfly
The proper yoga name: Baddha Konasana
How to: Use your arms to push your knees down. Flatten your back and gently move toward your toes. Hold for 25 seconds.
Advanced move: Sit with your feet turned out and knees bent, hands in prayer, and push your legs out. Lengthen your spine as you sink deeper. Hold for 45 seconds.
Focuses on: You’ll give your inner thighs and groin a nice stretch, while the forward bend creates a calming, cooling effect.
Day 3: Lunges—with a Twist
The proper yoga name: Parivrtta Parsvakonasana
How to: Keep the knee down, then twist your arm up to the sky and follow your hand with your head and eyes. Hold for 20 seconds each side.
Advanced move: Lift the knee up and balance, then interlace your arms under your legs and reach your chest to the sky. Hold. Do the next side.
Focuses on: Upper body
Day 4: Toes + Shoulder Stretch
The proper yoga name: Yin
How to: Sit on your toes for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Advanced move: Add a shoulder hold behind your back. Repeat on each side.
Focuses on: Ankles and fascia of the feet + shoulders
Day 5. Cat Cow
The proper yoga name: Chakravakasana
How to: Get on all fours. As you inhale, arch your back and look up, and as you exhale, hollow your core and move your eyes to your belly button. Do this 3-5 times, remembering to inhale and exhale with each move.
Advanced move: Stretch the opposite arm and leg straight out and repeat on each side.
Focuses on: Spine mobility
Day 6: Child’s Pose
The proper yoga name: Balasana
How to: Put your knees hip-distance apart and stretch your arms as far as you can. Put your head down and hold for 15 seconds.
Advanced move: Loop your arm under your other arm and twist and look up. Hold for 25 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Focuses on: It provides a gentle stretch for the back, hips, thighs, and ankles.
Day 7: Downward Dog
The proper yoga name: Adho Mukha Svanasana
How to: With straight arms and strong legs, pedal your feet while evening out your body weight. Hold for 10 seconds.
Advanced move: Go from downward dog to upward dog. Hold each for 5 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
Focuses on: Calves, ankles, and shoulders
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