Monday, Sep 25, 2023

It Only Takes 8 Minutes A Day To Get More Flexible With This Stretch Routine

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Are you feeling stiff lately? Maybe your routine could benefit from some dedicated stretching. You only need a mat and these top yoga stretches by Obe trainer Eve Lynn Chrust CPT. You will quickly notice and feel real changes. These exercises can be completed in eight minutes or less. You may also want to linger for 20 minutes and do a stretch session.

These are the best yoga stretches you can do every day. They can increase flexibility and your full range of motion, from head to foot. These stretches are good for your hips as well as your back, hips, shoulders and arms ( everything).

Remember that static stretching is about staying in a position for long enough to allow your brain to send a message your muscles to let you loosen up. This takes about 30 seconds to send the message to your muscles. So make sure you nama-stay in every pose for at least that amount of time to maximize the effect.

It can be a great way to reap the many benefits of this ancient practice by taking the time to slow down your flow and settling into these yoga stretches. Shweta Jain is a certified yoga instructor at MyYogaTeacher. Yoga can improve your mobility, posture and joint health as well as your blood circulation and breathing.

Here are 14 yoga stretches you can do to increase your flexibility and overall health.

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1 Child’s Pose

Useful for: hips, legs, thighs, ankles

How to:

  1. Place your feet on the floor, with your toes touching and your knees bent.
  2. Move your arms forward so that your hands are straighten, with forearms on the floor and lower torso on the mat.
  3. Keep the stretch going for at least 30 seconds

Modification If your hips or lower back are tight, grab a blanket or bolster. Jain says, "Place a bolster and/or stacked blankets along the length of your mat." "As your body is lowered to the ground, place your torso on the blanket or bolster.

2 Thread The Needle

Useful for: neck, shoulders, chest, arms and upper back.

How to:

  1. Get on your toes.
  2. Right arm should be lifted towards the ceiling. Rotate your torso to the right.
  3. Continue to rotate your upper body in a clockwise direction. Next, extend right arm through center and to left. Bring right arm and shoulder to the floor behind left palm. Place right ear on the mat.
  4. For at least 30 seconds, hold the stretch and then switch sides.

Modification If you feel tightness in your knees or strain, grab a yoga-block. Jain suggests that you squeeze a yoga block between your legs to improve alignment. For more support, you can place a block underneath your shoulder.

3 Cobra

Useful for: hip flexors, chest, abs, and hip flexors

How to:

  1. Place your stomach flat on your stomach, with your arms extended behind you. Keep your palms on the ground by your ribs.
  2. To raise your upper body, push through your palms. If you feel pain in the lower back, stop.
  3. Tend to stretch for at least 30 seconds.

Modification Jain mentions that if you feel like lifting too heavy with your hands on the ground, you can rest your arms on the ground and lift half the weight.

4 Upward Facing Dog

Useful for: quads and hip flexors. ankles. chest.

How to:

  1. Place your stomach flat on your back, with your arms extended behind you. Keep your head up so that the spine remains neutral.
  2. Push your palms forward to raise arms straight up. Next, lift your torso straight up so that you can see straight ahead.
  3. For at least 30 seconds, hold the stretch.

Modification If your lower back strains or arm is causing you to have trouble lifting your entire body off the ground, Jain suggests that you only lift your body half way. You can also place a towel, blanket or yoga mat under your thighs for support.

5 Puppy

Useful for: upper back, shoulders, arms, abs, and elbows

How to:

  1. Place your feet on the ground and sit down.
  2. All fours, place your hands on the floor.
  3. Lower your forearms to the floor and bring your forehead to the mat.
  4. You can hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds, while keeping your hips elevated the entire time.

Modification If you feel tight in your shoulders or back and are unable to get into the pose, Jain recommends that you use stacked blankets underneath your forearms.

6 Downward Facing Dog

Useful for: hips and hamstrings, calves

How to:

  1. Get on your toes.
  2. Toes should be tucked and hips lifted into the air. Legs should be extended straightening and weight shifting into feet to form an upside-down "V" shape.
  3. For at least 30 seconds, hold the stretch.

Modification If your hamstrings or lower back are tight, Jain suggests lifting your heels and gently bending your knees to prevent straining. For stability, you can place a towel, blanket, or yoga pad under your heels.

7 Chair Pose

Useful for: glutes

How to:

  1. Stand straight with your feet together and your arms extended.
  2. To lower into a squat position, push butt back and downward. Then, raise arms overhead and bring biceps to your ears.
  3. For at least 30 seconds, hold the position.

Modification If you have knee pain or trouble balancing (e.g., you're wobbling in the pose), Jain suggests you practice it against a wall. She says, "As you get into the pose, stand about a foot from the wall and rest your back against the wall."

8 High Lunge

Useful for: hip flexors, ankles, calves and hamstrings

How to:

  1. Stand straight up on the mat, feet under your hips, and arms extended to your sides.
  2. Place your fingers on the floor and fold forward. Step left foot so that the right knee can bend at 90 degrees.
  3. Elevate your torso so that the shoulders reach above your hips. Then, extend your arms overhead, keeping your biceps close to your ears.
  4. For at least 30 seconds, hold the pose. Next, move to the opposite side.

Modification If your front leg feels strained or wobbly, Jain suggests shifting your body weight and putting your back knee on to the ground. For added stability, you can place your hands on the hips.

9 Extended side angle

Useful for: abs

How to:

  1. With right leg extended, knee bent at 90 degrees, and the heel extending to the inner arch of the left foot, you will be in a warrior II pose.
  2. To position your right thigh above the right, tilt your torso forward so that your fingertips are on the right side of your right foot. Next, extend your left arm forward and bring your bicep to your ears.
  3. For at least 30 seconds, hold the pose. Next, move to the opposite side.

Modification If you have difficulty balancing or are unable to place your hand on the ground, Jain suggests you rest your forearm on your front bent leg or rest your hand on a block near your front foot. To balance in this position, you can use the chair's seat to support your front bent foot.

10 Triangle

Useful for: hips, hamstring, front leg

How to: Stand with your right leg up, your left leg behind, your feet wider than your shoulders (right toes on top of the mat, outside of left toe parallel to bottom), and your upper body straight at shoulder height. Lower your torso so that right hand can rest on the block, floor, or ankle. Then, extend your arms straight up and look up at the ceiling with left hand.

Modification If you feel pain in your knees or tightness in the hips, Jain recommends that you sit on a blanket or block and place your feet further from your body.


Useful for: Inner thighs

How to: Sit straight up with your legs bent and your feet on the ground. Keep your spine long and your hands in line with your knees. Spread your legs open like a book, and place the soles of your feet together. Grab your toes. Push your knees towards the mat.

Modification If you have tight hips or hamstrings, place your hand on a block placed next to your front foot to support your back and prevent straining.

12 Bridge

Useful for: quads, hip flexors

How to: Lay on your back, with your arms extended and your legs bent. Keep your feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips up by squeezing glutes. Bring your shoulders together and clasp your hands under the mat with your hands.

Modification: Jain recommends that you place a blanket under your shoulders or a block underneath your lower back if you feel tension in the neck or spine.

13 Plow

Useful for: Shoulders, back, neck and calves

How to: Lay on your back, with your arms bent at the sides, and your feet flat on a hard surface. Pull your arms back and raise your legs up onto the mat. Next, lift your legs overhead and bring your toes towards the floor. Balance on your shoulders. For extra support, bend your arms and bring your hands down to the lower back.

Modification If you have trouble contacting your toes with the floor, Jain suggests that you place a chair behind yourself and rest your toes on it.

14 Wheel

Useful for: chest, shoulders, chest, abs and hip flexors.

How to: Lay on your back, with your feet flat on the ground, and your arms straight up so that your palms touch the mat at the ears. Push down on the heels and glutes, allowing your body to rise off the floor using your hands.

Modification If you feel pain in your lower back, keep your knees bent over the ankles and not extended out to the full extent of your legs.

Jain suggests that you only lift half the weight and keep your knees bent if you feel strain in your lower back or have difficulty holding the pose. For additional support, you can place stacked bolsters along the length of your mat.

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