Maybe it’s the week after the home projects-filled holiday weekend or just that we’ve finally hit those hot and humid summer days… Either way, I’ve been dragging…no energy to do what I need to do. Maybe you feel the same… Here are some of my favorite energizing stretches. Maybe try these in the afternoon instead of that third cup of coffee.
As always, try to practice these after your muscles are warm – either from full flows (sun salutations) or from other exercise (walk, run, bike, etc.)
Standing Cat & Cow – Stand with your feet wider than your shoulders, knees slightly bent. Inhale and open your arms out to the side, lifting your sternum, and exhale as you round your spine, tuck your chin towards the chest and bring the arms back in front. Continue moving each way 4-6 breaths.
5 pointed Star – Continue in that same wide stance, with feet straight ahead and arms out in a “T” shoulder height. Draw your belly button towards the spine and stand tall, relaxing the shoulders. Feel the strength in your arms and lift the sternum without arching the low back. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Reverse Warrior – Turn your right foot out and bend into the right knee. Make sure the right knee is stacked right over the right ankle. If you need to, widen your stance to make this more comfortable. Drop your left arm down by your side and lift the right arm overhead. You should feel grounded in the legs, but a nice lift in the upper body. Gaze up at the right hand or down at your left foot. Hold for 3-5 breaths and switch sides.
Chest Expansion – Standing in Mountain pose, draw your arms behind you and lift with your sternum. Try to keep the low back in a neutral position. Draw the shoulder blades closer together behind you. Hold and breathe for 3 breaths.
Standing Forward Fold – From Chest Expansion, soften your knees and fold forward, allowing your upper body to dangle and relax. Hold opposite elbows if that’s comfortable, relaxing the head, neck and shoulders. Breathe and hold for 4 breaths.
Move down to your back on the floor…
Knees to Chest – Hug your knees in toward your chest. You may rock side to side or just hold here and feel your back supported by the floor.
Flowing Bridge – Place your feet hip width apart and right under your knees with arms down by your side, palms down. As you inhale, gently press into your arms and feet and lift the hips off the mat. As you exhale, release back to the floor. Continue 6-8 times, moving with your breath.