Muscles remember the last thing you did. And if the last thing you’ve done is contract them over and over while walking, cycling or pressing dumbbells, they’ll end up tighter and shorter. What’s more, when your muscles are chronically tight, your body is thrown out of alignment, creating imbalances and poor posture. Ready to make stretching a more important part of your workout? Here is a simple, do-anywhere yoga routine, from yoga teacher Tom Larkin, to get you started.
YOU’LL NEED: A yoga mat or carpeted space
HOW TO DO IT: This 30-minute plan is designed to flow from one pose to another, so do the moves in the order given, taking time to breathe evenly and fully. When downward-facing dog is used as a transition, hold the pose for just a few breaths, then ease into the next move. Repeat the routine three times. You can do this practice daily, but try to do it at least three times a week. Begin with the main move. If it’s too tough, try the Make It Easier option.
STRETCHES AND FIRMS ARMS, CHEST, BACK, ABS, BUTT AND LEGS
Kneel on all fours with arms straight, wrists beneath your shoulders. Inhale and extend your right leg behind you, parallel to the floor. Exhale, bend elbows, keeping them close to your body, and draw your torso forward, lowering your upper body about 10cm above the mat. Inhale and, in one motion, with abs tight, press your torso back up, rounding your spine while bringing your right knee to chest (shown). Repeat six more times, then switch sides.
MAKE IT EASIER
Don’t raise your leg at the beginning of the move; keep both knees on the floor while drawing your torso forwards.