Stretching is Instinctive!
The proof is in the way animals and babies stretch on a daily basis. All adults should still be stretching instinctively but our heads get in the way and we bury the stretching instinct somewhere in our to do list. That’s unfortunate because stretching has so many proven benefits such as: Better posture, better circulation, fewer aches and pains, better balance, increased joint range of motion, decreased risk of activity/sports based injuries, improved athletic performance, creates a cheerier outlook and the list goes on and on! Don’t have time in your schedule to go to a yoga class? That’s ok! Even though I’m a yoga instructor, I prefer to have someone else lead me in my yoga practice as I have a tendency to do the stuff I like and avoid what I don’t like and most likely need. Although I LOVE taking yoga classes, with my crazy schedule I’m lucky if I make it to 1 yoga class a week. When I can’t make it to a class, like today, I just pull up some yoga videos on you tube that are anywhere from 5-30 minutes long depending on how much time I have and get some great stretching in at my home or office. Remember you don’t need alot of space for yoga you just really need the amount of space that a yoga mat takes up. There are some great yoga videos on you tube and some really crappy ones too. Stick to a renowned instructor like Rodney Yee or Shiva Rea and you’ll be ok. If you’re a beginner, make sure you choose a video that says “for beginners” but if you’re an accomplished yoga practitioner, there are plenty on there for you too! Today I only had enough time for a quick 20 minute Shiva Rea video and it felt incredible! Totally changed my crazy day!
Yoga not your thing? That’s ok just stretch! There are plenty of good straightforward stretching videos on you tube as well. Go to youtube and do a search for “livestrong stretching” and you’ll have several safe and effective videos to choose from. You can also stretch on your own with stretches you have learned. Couple of things to keep in mind while stretching:
DON’T Consider stretching a warm-up! – stretching a cold muscle is one of the worst things you can do for your body! Stretching at the end of a workout or after a 5-10 minute warm up such as walking, biking, light running or easy sun salutation is safer and more effective
DON’T bounce! Stretch in a smooth manner. Bouncing in a stretch can injure a muscle
DO hold your stretch for about 30-60 seconds but DON’T hold your breath
DO ride the edge of your stretch! Expect to feel a slight resistance/tension but if you feel pain you’ve gone too far.
DO stretch regularly! A minimum 2-3 times a week or for a total of at least 60 minutes a week.
After just a few weeks of consistent stretching you will begin to uncover your stretching instinct and your body will start to ask for stretching and you won’t know how you lived without it! xoxoxoxo