Neck Stretching and Head Rolls
Human bodies carry a lot of stress and tension in the neck and shoulder muscles. A great way to relieve neck-muscle tension is to gently stretch the neck front and back and then side to side, assisting with one hand for a bit of extra weight. Hold each position for a few deep breaths before moving on. Head rolls can help increase range of motion and relieve neck tension.
For a deep stretch of the muscles along the ribs and lower back, sit on the floor in a cross-legged position. Keep your back straight and your spine properly aligned while stretching. Slowly bending the torso to the side, reach over the head with one arm while pressing the other to the ground by the side. Hold the position for 15-30 seconds on each side and repeat 2-4 times.
Seated Pike Stretch
The pike stretch targets the hamstrings while also engaging the back, spine, and shoulders. For this stretch, the person is seated on the floor with legs extended in front. Reaching up to the sky, bend forward at the hips, keeping the back straight. Ideally, one should be able to reach their feet with their hands. Breathe in and out slowly and hold the position for a couple of minutes.
While stretching, it’s important to have at least one stretch dedicated to the hip flexors. For this position, be seated on the ground with the spine and head straight and aligned. Putting the soles of both feet together, knees out to the side, grab the tops of the feet, and lean into the stretch with the elbows pressing down the knees. Be sure to engage the core and not lean in too hard. Hold the pose for up to 30 seconds and don’t forget to breathe!
The Spinal Twist
This is a stretch for the entire back, spine, core, chest, and shoulders! While lying on the back, extend the arms to a T shape and bend both knees to a bit over 90 degrees. Engage the core, twist the bent legs to one side until they touch the floor, hold for 15 seconds, and alternate to the other side.