6 Stretches to Incorporate into Your Mindful Movement Routine
Incorporating mindful movement into your daily routine is about so much more than a run on the treadmill or hour on the Peloton. We hear all the time that high-intensity exercise is good for us, but the benefits of taking the time to mindfully move your body, focus on your breathing, and gently moving your muscles through stretching are just as impactful.
To help us begin with some basic stretches to incorporate into our daily routine, we talked with Daniela Schiller, a certified yoga instructor who has been teaching yoga for ten years, currently teaching in Los Angeles, California.
Remember, anytime you incorporate a new movement into your routine, take it slow, be cautious, and if in doubt, attend a yoga class where an instructor can oversee your progress.
Uttanasana is a stretch of the entire back body that covers the territory from the soles of the feet to the point between the eyebrows, stretching and lengthening the hamstrings and calves. Uttanasana is regarded as a relaxing and stress-relieving pose that is even known to help relieve insomnia. Daniela show us this stretch adding a bound arm variation to open the shoulders.
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2. Ardha Hanumanasana | Half Monkey Pose
Half Monkey pose is an intermediate forward bend that stretches the ankles, calves, hamstrings and lower back. It’s called Half Monkey because the Sanskrit name for the pose is ardha (half) hanumanasana after the famous Hindu monkey god, Hanuman.
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3. Anjaneyasana | Crescent Lunge
Anjaneyasana is a deep lunge. It provides a powerful stretch to the groin, quads, and iliopsoas of the back leg. Remember to breath as you hold this pose, allowing your body to stabilize as if you’re setting roots into the ground under your feet.
4. Utthan Pristhasana | Lizard Pose
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Lizard Pose is a great way to stretch your hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps. Strengthening these muscle groups will help you maintain a full range of motion, and can help alleviate low back pain or sciatica by releasing tension.
Daniela also shows us a variation on Lizard pose which ads a quad stretch for an additional benefit.
5. Supta Kapotasana | Reclined Pigeon Pose
Supta Kapotasanam, also known as Reclined Pigeon Pose, is a combination of a gentle hip-opener and an effective hamstring stretch. This pose is a perfect stretch for runners to use during recovery to release any strain in the hamstrings and glutes.
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6. Parsva Upavistha Konasana | Side Seated Wide Angle Pose
Parsva upavistha konasana is a wide-legged seated asana where the torso folds forward over each leg, one at a time. This stretch opens the hips and stretches the backs of legs and hamstrings while opening up the ribcage, expanding the side of the body and diaphragm to allow for deeper breath.