I might not have always liked stretching, but I have grown to love it. Most of the weeks I would dedicate a day on the weekend just to stretching. The poses I enjoy the most are twisting poses as they release toxins and make you feel lighter, taller and reenergized.
There are a few simple ways you could approach stretching without feeling overly pressured to do a workout routine of it. Think of it rather as if you’re performing a meditation in flow. I like to focus on my breathing while performing any kind of stretching, as I feel it makes it that much more powerful. The music or background noises are minimized and preferably calming. The scent of the room should be calming as well.
So, slow down your breath and try to imagine a place that puts you at ease.
I like to think that I’m sitting on a Mediterranean beach, the sound of waves lightly crashing to the shore in front, and the sound of pine trees leaves in the back with crickets chanting away their song. I know the exact smell to be a mix of salt water and pine trees.
Imagining this part instantly calms me down.
Put on your favorite leggings and sit cross-legged on the floor, bring your arms up above your head with an inhale and down with the exhale. Repeat a couple of times and add twists to it – bring one arm forward and the other back, follow the gazette the back hand, opening up the heart at the same time.
The second simple sequence is that you place one hand on the opposite knee and twist – make sure that with an inhale your feel your spine elongating towards the sky and keep your shoulders relaxed. With an exhale, feel the space creating in your spine.
Another similar exercise requires you to extended your legs while sitting down. Cross one leg over the other so your foot is placed next to the opposite knee. Bring the opposite elbow to hook it around the knee, look back and relax with every next exhale. Repeat on the other side. Twists are a great way for your body to release toxins, your joins to stay hydrated and limber.
I know that a lot of times when we set out to reach some fitness goal, we would like to see results immediately. And we go all out working hard the exercises that makes us sweat or lift crazy amounts of weight. But forget or underrate the importance to stretch afterwards and, therefore, feel the burn in the muscles afterwards for days justifying it with the hard work we’ve done. I’ve even been at classes when the instructor leaves the class after performing their last exercise planned (and I’m having no intention to returning to the same instructor again). Elongating the muscles after they performed hard work is just as important, if not more, then the workout part itself. It keeps your muscles flexible, strong and healthy. And we need flexibility to maintain the range of motion to our joints. It’s what keeps us limber and looking fresh and young.
So, make a stretching routine ‘a time for you’ and if only it is a couple minutes of it – let me know how you feel at the end of it. I would love to hear back from you.