Post Workout Stretches
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Why Is Post Workout Stretching So Essential?
Stretching is super important after you workout. You know this, your body knows it, but somehow not everyone does it.
Part of what happens when you exercise is that your muscles get tight. You contract muscles of your body running, biking, doing crunches and pushups, lifting weights, or whatever else it is you do to keep in shape. Yet often people spend a whole lot more time making their muscles tighter than the do lengthening them.
When this tightening of muscles becomes imbalanced, certain muscles are stronger and tighter and start pulling at areas of your body which leads to pain.
For example, if your quads and hip flexors are tight from biking or running, they can pull the femurs more forward than they want to be which can lead to back, hip, and knee pain. Another example: often the muscles on the front of the shoulders are tighter and stronger than those in the back, pulling the head of the humorous (upper arm bone) forward which can create shoulder, neck, wrist and other pain.
The following video has an excellent sequence that will address all the major areas that you need to stretch after you exercise. Give it a shot - your body will thank you.
Video of Post Workout Stretches (Part 1)
Video of Post Workout Stretches (Part 2)
Stretch Your Mind with Yoga's Wisdom
Have you ever heard yourself saying or thinking along the following lines?
“Yeah, I should stretch, but I’m so inflexible.”
“I’ll stretch later. It’s not that important anyway.”
“I don’t have enough time to stretch – I’ve already taken time out of my day to workout.”
These are just a few of the excuses we tell ourselves to avoid stretching. But then we deal with being sore, having aches and pains, or just feeling really tight.
You don’t have to be bendy to stretch. As a yoga instructor I hear so many people say, “Oh, I can’t do yoga – I’m not flexible.”
Being able to touch your toes (or get anywhere near them) is NOT a prerequisite to yoga. There’s room for improvement as you go along, but you just do what you can in alignment, at your own pace, and you’ll feel a whole lot better.
*Always listen to your body - it will tell you if something isn't working for you. If you ever feel acute pain in yoga, back off or come out of the pose and re-adjust so it does not hurt.*
Working with an Anusara® yoga teacher in class or one on one is the best way to empower yourself with the skills to align your body in an optimal way.
The benefits of stretching mindfully, in alignment, otherwise known as yoga, are well documented and innumerable.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of yoga:
- Increased circulation, which supports health in myriad ways
- Increased lubrication of joints and connective tissue
- Increased breath capacity
- Balanced strength and flexibility
Yes, there’s a difference between just stretching and doing yoga. Simply stretching is often something people do without really knowing how to use breath or awareness to make the stretch more effective. Though yoga includes stretches within it, it’s a much more potent practice that can really affect the way you feel.
One of the most important aspects of stretching is learning optimal alignment. Some schools of yoga focus on alignment more than others. Anusara yoga, the yoga I practice, is known worldwide for its blend of powerful principles of alignment, philosophy, and fun, playful approach.
The alignment of Anusara yoga is intertwined with a philosophy that makes you feel good and is relevant to your every day life. It’s a profound combination – not flaky, but very real, healing and transformative on so many levels.
Have a question about yoga? Post it as a comment below or visit my website to learn more.
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