If you are starting your journey into more flexibility, starting with spine health and hip mobility is always a good start! Check out some simple stretches you can do at home and in as little as 5 minutes.
Cat/Cow: Super simple stretch that helps to get the spine moving in and out of flexion and extension, which will help with EVERYTHING you do.
Start in a table top position (on your hands and knees)with a neutral spine
Inhale and reach the chest forward making sure your shoulders are pulling away from your ears. Arching the back and shooting the tailbone up.
Exhale, round the spine, press palms into the mat, flexing the spine, tucking the tailbone (think bad dog tail between the legs). and look toward your belly button.
Connect your breath to movement, inhale extend, exhale flex the spine.
Laying on Stability ball: For folks who have difficulty with extension in the spine, laying on the supine ball, rolling back to increase the intensity and range is a supported way to move in spinal extension.
Balance a Large Stability ball in the middle of your back.
Plant your feet flat on the floor.
Connect your whole spine on to the ball, arching your back around it, staying stable on the floor
Reach your arms up over your head as you roll back on the ball
Bear Sit Position: This is a great way to help with hip mobility and overall flexibility.
Sit on the ground, knees bent and heels into the floor
Place hands behind you to stabilize and balance
With one leg, start rotating the knee inward, finding the end rage and then outward.
Here's the key: Start moving from the hip joint: ball and socket rotation, not from the knee
Keep your bum on the ground
Repeat on each leg
If you are looking to improve posture, strength and overall mobility, paying close attention to core strength will be a major factor.
Breathing: I know it sounds nuts, but most folks don't breathe properly. Most people lift up, flare out the ribs and do not engage the core when they breathe, which makes them prone to injury or not get the most from exercises. You can practice proper breathing with core engagement by:
feeling your ribs expand to the sides while you inhale
then as you exhale squeeze and contract the top of the rib cage and zip up your abs
thinking about pulling your navel up and in toward your spine bringing your belly button up and in exhaling all of the air out: think a Beyonce power pose stance.
Dead Bug: The dead bug exercise is a great move for beginners since there's a lower risk of injury because you are keeping the spine supported and not stressing the spine into flexion as you would doing sit ups or potential extension in plank.
Lay supine ( on your back )
Bend your legs, stacking your knees over the hips and calves parallel to the floor
Take the left palm and place it on top of the right thigh, so fingertips face up to the ceiling. YOu want to press, not pull, into the thigh and press the thigh into the hand to create resistance
Then, extend the opposite arm overhead and extend the other leg
Inhale as you switch and exhale as you press palm to thigh.
Ok folks! Try some of these stretches, exercises and reach out if you need anything! You can also hang out with us on Sunday evenings for stretch class!
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Reach out if you have any questions.