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Yoga Stretch

The following workout involves exercises based on Yoga and Pilates.  The exercises are designed to help you relax and stretch your body.  Throughout the exercises, focus on your breathing (following the breathing patterns taught in the first exercise) and finding a comfortable place in each pose.

Precautions

See your doctor if you have any injuries, illnesses or medical conditions.

Equipment Needed

An exercise Mat

How to 

Perform the exercises as shown, modifying according to your fitness level and flexibility. 

Pelvic Tilts
ysupinebreathing.jpg (8258 bytes)
Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale and arch the back, rocking the hips forward. Exhale and rock the hips back, rounding the back against the floor. Continue going back and forth between the movements for 4-6 breaths.
Cat Stretch
ycatstretch1.jpg (11630 bytes) ycatstretch2.jpg (10695 bytes)
Kneel on all fours, knees under hips and hands under shoulders.  Spread the fingers out on the floor with palms flat and contract the abs to bring the head, neck and back in alignment.  Inhale and tip the hips towards the ceiling while drawing the shoulders back and down away from your ears; look up. Exhale and tuck the chin while pulling your belly towards your spine.  Round the back and feel a stretch down your spine.  Repeat for 4 to 6 breaths, moving smoothly between each move.
Child's Pose
gentlechildspose.jpg (10980 bytes)

From the Cat Stretch, sit back on your heels and bring your arms down along your body, palms facing up.  Relax and breath for as long as you like
 Side Stretch
gentlesidestretch.jpg (6281 bytes)

While in Child's Pose, place your right hand next to the chest, elbow bent and stretch your left arm up over your head, palm resting on the floor, keeping your hips straight.  Turn your head and look under your arm, feeling a stretch down the left side of your back.  Hold for 3 or more breaths and switch sides.
Sun Salutations
yforwardbend.jpg (17681 bytes) yspineprep.jpg (15687 bytes) 
Stand up with toes together, heels apart. Inhale and sweep the arms up overhead. Exhale and fall forward, (bend knees if you need to). Place the hands on the floor, your ankles or shins.  Inhale and look up, pulling your back up until it's flat. Exhale and fall forward. Inhale and sweep the arms up as you come back to standing position. Exhale and take the arms down. Repeat this series 4 times.
Bridge
gentlebridge.jpg (8398 bytes)

Lie on the floor with knees bent, heels close to the hips.  Exhale and press feet into the floor as you lift hips up until thighs are parallel to the floor.  Relax the glutes, feeling your quads activate to hold you in place. Hold for 3 or more breaths and slowly roll back down onto the mat.   Pull the knees into the chest to stretch the back and relax.
Back Stretch
gentlebackstretch2.jpg (5365 bytes)

Lie on your side with knees bent and hips, knees and ankles stacked.  Stretch the bottom arm straight out and rest top arm on top, palms together.  Keeping your hips stacked and abs engaged, draw the top arm across your body (fingertips trailing the body) and out to the other side.  Feel a gentle stretch in your back.  Draw the arm back in, stretching over the bottom arm and repeat 3 times before switching sides.
Corpse Pose
gentlecorpse.jpg (6667 bytes)

Lie on your back with legs and arms out from the body.  Let your feet flop out and relax your fingers.  Close your eyes and relax the muscles round each eye as you breath deeply.  Starting at your feet, consciously relax each part of your body, letting all your tension go as you breath.  Stay here for 5 or more minutes.
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