Rise and Shine Asteeza Insiders, don’t know how you slept but I slept like a baby, waking to the sun shining in my face, with the energy to take on the world, and as I lay there enjoying one last cat-like stretch before getting up to begin my daily rituals, I got to thinking…Ever wonder why your first instinct when you wake up in the morning is to stretch, actually to be honest why it is nearly every animal’s first instinct. You won’t see me or my cat Louis having any kind of friendly contact until we each have got our morning stretch in (him more sensitive than I.) Seeing my cat Louie stretch after his third nap of the day made me think, what is it that drives us all to feel compelled to twist our bodies like a pretzel even before it feels like our brain has woken up yet. For some reason stretching has become an instinct. Don’t believe me; try to go the tomorrow morning without it. But what is it? Besides the fact that it feels amazing, it actually does help to wake you up. Stretching works to increase flexibility, improve circulation and relieve tension.
Tired of having a constant soreness in the neck, tight, cramped muscles, back pain and serious inflexibility may be the cause. Try these easy 5 stretches tomorrow morning, and see how much more relaxed you feel all day long!
1.) Chest Release
Targets the chest, front of shoulders and biceps.
Holding a wall, door frame or window ledge with left arm, step forward with left leg and turn entire body to the right especially at the hips.
Hold stretch for 4-6 deep breaths increasing stretch with the pivot at the hips. Repeat on the other side.
2.) Side Stretch
Targets the IT band (outer thigh), obliques and shoulders.
Standing with right hand on bed or wall, cross left leg in front of right leg, feet pointing forward.
Shift into the left hip and reach left arm up and over head, creating a long line from the left ankle to the left fingertips.
Hold and take 2-3 deep inhales and exhales. Repeat on right.
3.) Standing Hamstring Stretch
Supporting yourself for balance as needed, bring right leg up onto a step or bench, increasing height as flexibility increases. Keep legs hips distance and parallel and keep back leg straight (if possible) and front foot flexed.
If you need to increase stretch, hinge at the hips (not the waist or back), keeping the spine completely straight. Don’t round the spine.
Take 4-6 deep breaths. Repeat other side.
4.) Standing Quad Stretch
Holding a chair, wall or bed for support, stand with feet hip-distance apart. Soften left knee and reach for your right foot or ankle, bending the right knee to point straight down to the floor.
Keep pelvis neutral and spine tall with the crown of your head reaching to the ceiling.
Hold for 4-6 deep breaths. Repeat other side.
5.) Standing Forward Bend
Targets hamstrings and lower back.
Standing with feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips. Allow your upper body to hang over your legs and clasp elbows.
(Note: Do not “hang” from elbows if you have any lower back issues. Instead, place hands on floor or legs for support.)
Hold for 2-3 deep breaths while you gently shake your head no and even more gently nod your head yes. To come up, pull in abs and gently round up one vertebra at a time.
Let us know what you think, or any stretches you think the rest of us can benefit from:)