Stretching is a great way to increase your flexibility and stay in shape. Here are some basic yoga stretches you should know.
What you’ll need to complete the stretches
This is a medium-challenge routine for healthy, active people who currently lack any formal exercise in their lives. It’s designed for:
- Middle-aged people with busy lives
- Sedentary people in good health
- Active, healthy seniors
- People who have noticed a recent decline in energy
- Light dumbbells
- Mat, bed, or daybed
- Supportive chair
- Wall space
Try the cross and pull technique
This technique stretches glutes and lower back.
- Lie on your back and cross your right leg over the left.
- Lightly grasp your right knee with your left hand and your left knee with your right hand.
- Gently pull your knee toward your chest as far as comfortably possible.
- Hold, then release and repeat on the opposite side.
A simple standing calf stretch
This technique stretches calves.
- Stand at arm’s length from a wall and place your palms flat against the wall.
- Extend your left leg 0.6 to 1 metre (2 to 3 feet) behind you and press your left heel to the floor.
- Your right knee will bend naturally as you extend your left leg.
- Keeping both heels flat on the floor, press against the wall until you feel a nice stretch in your calf.
- Hold, then repeat with the other leg.
Easy tips for a downward dog stretch
This technique stretches hamstrings, glutes and calves.
- Kneel on all fours with your feet flexed.
- Press your hands and feet into the floor, raising your hips toward the ceiling (your body should look like an upside-down V).
- Keep lifting your tailbone toward the ceiling as you lower your heels to the floor as far as comfortably possible.
The right way to complete a flamingo stretch
This technique stretches quadriceps and hips.
- Stand (with your right hand resting on a wall for support, if needed) and bend your left leg behind you.
- Grasp the top of your left foot with your left hand, keeping your back straight.
- Slowly pull your heel toward your rear, stopping when you feel tension in your quads (the front of your thigh).
- Keep your hips and knees in alignment and tilt your pelvis slightly forward to deepen the stretch.
- Hold, then switch sides.
Keep these easy techniques in mind and start stretching the right way.