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Post-Workout Yoga Stretches:
Page 2: All-Purpose Postures

These basic Yoga stretches are all very effective:

(Article continued below.)

  • Adho Mukha Shvanasana - Downward Facing Dog
    This offers just about the best overall stretch and is good after nearly any exercise routine. It stretches out your calves, your hamstrings, opens your shoulders, stretches your spine and refreshes you. If you're in a real hurry, Down Dog can take the place of several stretches (although it works best as an enhancer). Take a number of deep breaths while you are in the pose and notice where your muscles are the tightest. Send your energy there to get them relaxed. Don't do this pose, however, if you are a woman who is menstruating, if you have wrist pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or (of course) if your doctor advises you against it.
  • Uttanasana - Forward Bend
    This soothing pose stretches out your back and feels especially great after a run, or after any activity in which you've been upright for a long period of time. Post-workout, however, is not the time to see how close you can get your head to your shins. Use Forward Bend here as a releasing pose - allow yourself to bend your knees and just hang. There is a modification that is excellent for this kind of stretching called Rag Doll. You can either let your arms hang or clasp your elbows. Breathe. Breathe some more. If your back is bothersome, stand a couple of feet away from a sturdy chair and drape your elbows over the back of it.
  • Malasana - Garland Pose
    Here is a pose that opens up the hip joints, groin area, and ankle joints. As the link mentions, Malasana is good for the back pains suffered by menstruating women, but it also eases back aches for both men and women who are runners or who use their legs quite a bit. While this variation shows the model bending forward, you can also remain upright, like you're playing leap frog (this pose is sometimes called Frog). Either hold your hands in prayer position with your elbows at the inside of your knees, pushing your legs open, or if you need to balance, put your fingertips on the floor between your feet. It's okay if your heels don't touch the floor - prop them up on wooden blocks if you feel the need. Remember that your feet should point outwards at a slight angle. This gentle squat is especially nice after any athletic activity.
  • Jathara Parivartanasana - Lying Spinal Twist
    One of the most relaxing methods of releasing your back is through this pose. While the Sitting Spinal Twist is more active, the Lying Spinal Twist uses gravity to accomplish the stretch. As in all yoga postures, remember to breathe. Here the rhythm of your breathing should match your movements, as the instructions explain.
  • Mudhasana - Child's Pose
    Not only is this a great way to end your stretching session, it can be done any time you want to take a break from the day's pressures. There's something very calming about this fetal-like pose. Just lie there in one of the two variations - with your arms stretched out, you will get a bit of a shoulder stretch; your hands by your side is the more meditative pose - and breathe fully, filling your abdomen in the same way a baby breathes. This pose is another gentle back release.

These are only a few of many poses that can be adapted to a post-workout stretching program. Ask your yoga teacher for more suggestions.

Previous page >> Stretching Yoga to Fit Your Workout >> Page 1, 2

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