How good does it feel to reach your arms overhead, point your toes as far as they'll go and start the day with a nice, big stretch in bed? Sigh. Instant stress-relief.
But aside from that first moment in the morning, you probably don't devote much more time to intentional, deep stretching.
It's time for that to change. Stretching is a lot like self-care: It deserves your time and attention — even if it's just 10 minutes. And this full-body deep stretch yoga flow from yoga instructor and meditation specialist Hailey Lott is the perfect way to make stretching a part of your regular self-care routine.
All you need to do is grab a mat and get ready for a "beautiful, luxurious, juicy, deep stretch," Lott says.
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You can pause this yoga workout to spend as much time as you'd like in the individual poses, Lott says. Use your breath to deepen each stretch as your muscles ease up.
- Seated Cat-Cow: Sit with your hands on your knees, then reach up through the chest, rounding the back and tucking the chin as you exhale.
- Body Roll: Keeping your hips grounded, roll your upper body as wide or as narrow as you'd like to loosen up.
- Eagle Arm Variation (Right): Cross the right elbow under the left and find the best arm position for your level of flexibility.
- Eagle Arm Variation (Left): Repeat on the opposite side, settling into the best depth of the stretch for you.
- Lunge (Right): "Make this gentle and easy, because it might feel like enough of a stretch if you just stay put," Lott says. "Notice what feels good for your body."
- Side Lunge (Right): With your right leg extended straight out at your side, slowly creep your fingertips down your leg and arch to the right to intensify the stretch.
- Lunge (Left): Keep your left knee tracking above your left foot as you slowly ease into a deeper lunge.
- Side Lunge (Left): See what space you can create and what tension you can melt in your left leg as you bend to the left, Lott says.
- Child's Pose: "Release through the low back, the hips, the shoulders," Lott says. "We'll take a moment just to pause here to give ourselves some time to rest and breathe."
- Seated Position: Return to a comfortable seat and find gratitude for the stretch you just completed.
As you sit in your final pose, consider trying some simple meditation techniques to help calm your mind even further.