Start by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position on the floor or on a yoga mat. To get your blood flowing and wake your body after a night’s rest, lace your fingers together and raise your hands above your head. Make sure your palms face upward and you’re pushing the sky away from your body. It’s important you are sitting up straight and elongating your spine so you’re also feeling this stretch in your rib cage as well as your arms. Hold the pose for about 10 seconds or a few deep breaths and then repeat this pose leaning over to your left, and then your right.
NECK AND SHOULDER STRETCH
In the same cross-legged position, sitting up nice and tall, Let your ear fall right towards your shoulder and hold that pose for a few breaths. Then, let your head start to rotate down, dropping your chin into your chest and circling slowly until you’ve met back at your right shoulder. Reverse the circle stopping at your left shoulder for a few breaths then continuing around slowly until your ear is again over your left shoulder.
Change up your cross-legged position into a triangle with your legs, placing your left foot on top of your right knee. Be very careful in this stretch as to not over extend you ankle or push too far to bother your knee. Sitting up tall, hinge forward at your waist. Slowly forward fold over your legs and if it feels good to you, sway just a bit left and right. Hold this pose for a few breaths or about 15 seconds. Sit up, and then switch legs so your right foot is on top of your left knee. Repeat the same actions, hinge forward, sway and hold for about 15 seconds.
Laying flat on your back, bend your right leg (keeping your foot on the ground) and slowly rotate your bent leg over your left leg with your left hand. Keeping both shoulders on the ground, rotate your head to the right. Hold this stretch for about 10-15 seconds. Return to center and switch legs. Bend your left leg (keeping your foot on the ground) and slowly rotate your bent leg over your right leg with your right hand. Keeping both shoulders on the ground, rotate your head to the left. Hold this stretch for about 10-15 seconds.
Staying on your back, with a squared pelvis, keeping your leg straight, begin to lift your right leg. As you lift your leg higher and higher, if you’re able to get ahold of your ankle, calf, or foot, slowly pull the leg closer to your body – again keeping the leg as straight as possible without adding strain to your knees. This stretch isn’t intended to get you in the splits, but rather as a way to wake up your legs. Hold the pose for at least 10 seconds. With your leg raised, you can also rotate your ankles. Slowly bring your leg down and repeat on the left side.
You can do this post on the ground or standing, you choose. If on the ground, roll to one side with your hand placed under your raised head and your bottom leg extended. Bend your top leg back and use your top arm to assist in gently pushing the leg towards your behind. Maximize this stretch by squeezing your butt while active in the position. Hold the pose for at least 10-15 seconds. Roll to the other side and repeat. If you’re standing, the pose will require a bit more balance but the action is very similar. Standing on one foot, bend the other back and assist the bend with the same side arm for a deeper stretch. Holding the pose for at least 10 seconds, bring your leg down and repeat on the other side. You can also use a wall or bar for stability if you choose the standing option.