Mini Stretch Sequence

14
Sep
Do you wish to feel energized in the morning? How about a mini-stretch sequence to kickstart your day? 

Karen Britton

For All Levels – Even Beginners!

Do you wish to feel energized in the morning? How about a mini-stretch sequence to kickstart your day?  You don’t have to be flexible to start; with regular practice you can become flexible. This basic sequence has modifications to meet most levels. These postures are suitable for those with little to no flexibility.

The accompanying video shows you how to do the sequence. I suggest that you watch the video first so that you know appropriate modifications, correct placement, and alignment of the body.

10 Little Minutes

The sequence takes less than 10 minutes. It’s great first thing in the morning, post workout, and anytime you need energy. If you just want to get started or slacked off on your yoga practice, or perhaps learn a few pointers, then this is for you.

It’s best to move slowly while stretching so that you can focus on how the postures and movements touch the body.  Be mindful of your breath. Conscious breathing is the best way to improve rib cage mobility, gently stretching thoracic soft tissues, and opening heart space. Holding of breath, and shallow breathing can cause muscle tightness in the very areas you are trying to open.

Cow/Cat Flow

The first part of the sequence is called Cow/Cat Flow. One Cow/Cat counts as one rep. Start with six reps and work your way up to twenty. Make sure when you come to cow posture that you’re not tilting the head back too much. Keep the back of the neck open.

Downward Dog

Next is Downward Dog. Hold five to ten breaths. Keep knees soft, don’t hyperextend legs or elbows, especially if you have tight hamstrings or a tight lower back. It’s ok to keep heels lifted off mat and knees slightly bent.

Child’s Pose

Then come into Child’s pose for ten to twenty breaths. If your knees bother you, lift them off your heels and come onto your forearms.  Should you have tight hips and lower back use a block, pillow or folded blanket for your forehead.

Repeat sequence one to four more times. Refer to the video for more modifications.

Benefits…

Cow/Cat:

  • Improves posture and balance
  • Strengthens and stretches spine and neck
  • Stretches hips, abdomen and back
  • Increases coordination
  • Massages and stimulates organs, e., kidneys and adrenal glands.
  • Creates emotional balance
  • Relieves stress and calms the mind
  • Strengthens the core
  • Stretches the feet

Downward Dog:

  • Energizes and rejuvenates the entire body
  • Stretches your hamstrings, shoulders, calves, arches, hands, and spine, while building strength in the arms, shoulders, and legs.
  • Decreases back pain by strengthening the entire back and shoulder girdle.
  • Tones arms and core

Child Pose:

  • Stretches the hips, thighs, chins, ankles, and back.
  • Relaxes the shoulders
  • Relaxes muscles on the front of the body while softly stretching the muscles of the back torso.
  • Quiets the mind while reducing stress and fatigue.

Watch the Video:

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About the Author

Karen Britton

Karen Britton

Karen Britton is a certified Yoga Instructor and a regular contributor to Fit to Print. She teaches Yoga classes and programs at Fitness Incentive.

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