Stretching Out to Avoid Stressing Out

This time of year can be stressful as we attempt to wrap up all our loose ends before summer begins. School is ending, summer camps are starting and the thought of incorporating a new schedule into our perfectly planned lives is enough to keep even the most Zen of us up at night. Planning and sometimes even taking a vacation can be a stressful experience, and not planning anything can make you feel like a failure. OK, so maybe I’m a little more sensitive then most people but what I do have as my saving grace is a stretching routine to ease my body, and in turn my mind. Stretching reveals where we are holding our tension, and some areas are more of a surprise than others. Typically we hold our stress in our neck, shoulders, lower back, and hamstrings, but did you know the sides of your torso could harbor tight muscles as well? Since you’re probably not sleeping anyway, click on the link below to follow along with me as I take you through my stress relieving stretch routine that is appropriate for all levels of flexibility.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCrHNSEip7o

Useful to have: a towel, belt, or resistance band to assist in first stretch.

1. Target Area: Hamstring, back of the leg stretch, and lower back.

Set Up: Lie down flat on your mat, bed or rug.

1. Place one foot inside the band and lengthen the leg towards the ceiling.

2. Hold the leg in the air for 5 counts.

3. As you hold your leg up try to breath evenly, and relax your shoulders.

Repeat on other leg.

 

2. Target Area: Gluteus muscles, knee, shoulders, and lower back.

Set Up: Place your band on the floor and cross one leg over the opposite leg’s knee.

1. Lace your fingers together behind the leg that is pulling the other leg in.

2. Draw your knee close to your chest while working to keep the pelvis square.

Repeat on the other leg.

 

3. Target Area: Quad and hip flexors, hamstrings, and ankle tendons.

Set Up: Lunge forward onto one foot, and stretch the opposite leg back with one knee on the floor.

1. Hold this position with your head down for 3-5 deep breaths.

Sitting back on one leg

2. Sit on your heel as you drop your torso and head forward towards the ground.

 

4. Target Area: neck, spine, shoulders, hips, and lower back.

Set Up: Sit cross-legged on your mat.

1. Contract your torso by rounding your spine and look down.

2. Lift your chest towards the ceiling and look up.

Repeat 2-3 times.

 

5. Target area: obliques, Spine, neck, and shoulders.

Set Up: Sit cross-legged on your mat.

1. Stretch your arms out to your sides and leanover to one side, lifting one arm up and over your head.

2. Stretch to the other side, lifting the other arm up and over your head.

3. repeat the stretch to the side a third time and then swing the torso around in front of you.

Repeat starting on the other side.

 

6. Target area: neck, spine, and shoulders.

Set Up: Sit cross-legged on your mat.

1. Gently turn your head to one side.

Repeat other side

2. Roll your head gently and slowly around in a circle, and then reverse it.

3. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears, then release them down as you exhale.

Repeat 3 times

 

7. Target area: neck, spine, shoulders, hips, and lower back.

Set Up: Sit cross-legged on your mat.

1. Drop your head forward and stretch your body out in front of you, exhaling as you go.

2. Reverse your forward movement, with a deep inhale, as you return your body to the sitting position.

Hope this gives you a stress free moment:)