Stretching is an important part of both prepping the body for movement and for recovery. It allows for safer and more effective movement and improves mobility and flexibility. Properly stretching tight muscles can prevent injury and strain. Try the following stretches for tight muscles to prime your body and to recover.
Cross your right arm over your chest at shoulder height, grabbing your right upper arm with your left hand, encouraging a shoulder stretch. Hold for around a minute before switching sides and repeating on the left.
From a standing position, bring your right foot into your right glute and grab the foot with the right hand. Encourage your foot toward the glute with your hand and hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Start standing with your feet hips width apart. Take a deep breath in and on an exhale, fold over your legs. Keep a gentle bend in the knees and allow the head and neck to hang heavy. You can let your arms heavy to the floor or grab opposite elbows to add extra weight to the stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
From child's pose, come up to all fours. Stack your wrists underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Keep a long straight spine and gaze down at the floor directly beneath you. On an inhale, drop your belly, arching your spine and bringing your gaze toward the sky. On your exhale, press the mat away and round the spine, directing your gaze toward your navel. Continue moving in this pattern, linking your breath to the postures. Move slowly and with intention as you repeat these motions for 10-15 rounds.
Place your right foot in between your hands and extend your left leg behind you, tucking the toes under and engaging your quads. Keep the front leg bent at a 90 degree angle, stretching into the hip. Keep your hands planted on the ground surrounding either side of your front foot, or place them on the right knee. Hold for around 30 seconds and then switch sides.
From your back, bring both knees into the chest and drop them over to the right. Gaze over to the left as you stretch through your abdomen and side body. Stay and hold for 30 seconds before repeating the same on the left.
Gabrielle Marchese is a certified yoga instructor.