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Basic stretching

Natural Therapy Clinic / Basic Stretching  / Basic stretching

Basic stretching

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy and we need that flexibility to maintain a good range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. It is important to stretch twice daily on rising and in the evening.

Lumbar Roll stretch

  • Lie on your back with your arms stretched out at right angles to your sides. Keep both of your legs straight, as if you’re on a crucifix. Always keep your arms and shoulders in contact with the floor.
  • Bend both knees keeping your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep both knees together and let them drop down to the right side.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 – 60 seconds.
  • Take your knees back to the starting position and then let the knees drop down to the left.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 – 60 seconds.

Benefits

The lower back rotational stretch can help relieve tension in the lower back and trunk. It also gently works the core muscles to improve stability.

Cat/Cow stretch

  • Go onto all fours on your exercise mat.
  • Align your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
  • Allow your back to assume its natural position, in a neutral spine.
  • Inhale: Arch your back slightly, allowing your head to rise and your bottom to stick up and out.
  • Exhale: Pull your navel in toward your spine and squeeze your bottom.

You begin with a Lumbar C Curve, meaning that your lower back is curved like a C, and then continue rounding into the upper back. Finally, allow the head to slowly drop forward. At this point, your whole spine should be making a C shape. Your back should be rounded to the greatest extent possible. Push your arms into the mat for extra resistance while stretching the upper back. Keep your abdominals and rib cage pulled in. Think of using this pulling action to stretch through your whole spine. Think of pulling your tail between your legs and rounding your back.

  • Inhale: Return to Neutral Spine, then start to arch your back, sticking your tail and head upward.
  • Complete 6 repetitions.

Benefits

  • Increases flexibility
  • Relieves menstrual pain
  • Strengthens your spine
  • Massages and stimulates organs in the belly.

Bridge Stretch

Push your heels into the floor and tighten your glutes and abdominal muscles as you lift your hips off the floor.

Benefits

  • Boosts flexibility
  • Reduces knee and back pain
  • Tightens up your buttocks – get ready to look better in your jeans!
  • Strengthens your core, including your abs
  • Whittle your waistline – including your obliques
  • Improves balance
  • Relieves back pain
  • Improves posture

Child Pose

  • Kneel and sit on your knees.
  • Lean forward, keeping your buttocks on your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor.
  • Move your arms so they’re next to your legs, palms facing up.
  • Inhale and exhale, slowly and deeply, for at least eight breaths.

Benefits

  • Child pose gently stretches your spine, thighs, hips, and ankles. 
  • Relaxation: Along with deep breathing exercises it can calm your mind, reducing anxiety and fatigue. 
  • Blood circulation: increases blood circulation to your head. 
  • Digestion: The light compression on your stomach in this pose can activate digestion. 
  • Tension relief: this can release tension in your lower back muscles, chest, hamstrings, and shoulders.

Supine spinal twist 

  • Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees pointing up toward the ceiling.
  • Press into your feet to lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them about an inch to your right. This is an important step because it sets your hips up to stack one on top of the other when you move into the twist. 
  • Exhale and draw your right knee into your chest and extend your left leg flat on the floor. Keep your left foot actively flexed throughout the pose. Inhale.
  • Exhale and cross your right knee over your midline to the floor on the left side of your body. Your right hip is now stacked on top of your left hip. You can hook your right foot behind your left knee if you like.
  • Open your right arm to the right, keeping it in line with your shoulders. Rest your left hand on your right knee or extend it to make a T shape with the arms. Turn your palms toward the ceiling.
  • Turn your head to the right, bringing your gaze over your shoulder to your right fingertips. You can skip this step if it doesn’t feel good on your neck.
  • On your exhalations, release your left knee and your right shoulder toward the floor.
  • Hold the pose for five to 10 breaths.
  • To come out of the pose, inhale and roll onto your back, drawing your right knee into your chest. Release both legs to the floor to neutralize your spine for several breaths before doing the other side.

Benefits

  • Helps Release the Lower Back.
  • Stretch for the gluteus, chest, and obliques
  • Opens tight shoulders
  • Elongates the supporting spinal muscles
  • Improves digestion
  • Quietens the mind

Hamstring stretch

  • Sit with one leg extended and your back straight.
  • Bend your other leg so that the sole of your foot rests against your mid-thigh.
  • Reach toward your ankle. Keep your knee, neck, and back straight.
  • Feel the stretch in the back of your thigh.

Benefits

Hamstring stretches can increase flexibility and improve the range of motion in the hip. Both benefits will help people perform daily tasks, such as walking up stairs and bending over with ease. When the hamstrings are too tight, the muscles rotate the pelvis backward.

I find that a huge percentage of people I see in my clinic have muscle and back pain. When asking them if they stretch, about 85% of people will say no or not much. I believe regular stretching can help avoid a large percentage of our muscular issues and pain.

There is no time like the present to start a stretching regime. Make a Myothodics appointment with us if you would like to start working on your trouble areas and have some stretches specific to your needs.

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Chris Tompson

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