The weather outside is frightful, and the stiffness of our muscles isn’t so delightful! That’s not exactly how the tune goes, but that’s how a lot of us are feeling. Cold weather tends to make our muscles feel stiff and achy. It’s difficult to move, there’s less motivation to get outside, and there’s a higher risk of pulling or straining something. To give you the best preparation for a winter workout, we’ve put together some of our favorite stretches you can do on your yoga mat. These are gentle, effective stretches that feel good and are worth continuing year-round.
P.S. don’t forget to apply Sweet Sweat beforehand to warm up your body faster!
Seated Side Stretch | Hold 30 seconds per side
1. Begin in a seated position with your legs crossed or one leg extended.
2. Sit up tall and reach both arms above your head. Place your left hand on the ground and reach your right arm up and over your head. Your left arm can be slightly bent and you should feel a stretch in your side.
3. After 30 seconds, rise back to center and switch sides.
Cat Cow Pose | 8 Reps
Kneel on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Make sure your wrists are aligned underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Engage your core.
Cow pose: Inhale to arch your back, lower your belly towards the ground and pointing your tailbone up. Squeeze your shoulders back and keep your neck long.
Cat pose: Exhale to round your spine, tucking your pelvis under and drawing your chin to your chest. Continue alternating between cat & cow poses for 8 full breaths.
Thread the Needle | Hold 30 seconds per side
1. Begin on the floor on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
2. Lift your right hand up off the mat and thread your right arm underneath your left, bringing your shoulder and cheek to the mat.
3. Walk your left fingers towards the top of the mat and feel a stretch between your shoulder blades. Stay for 30 seconds and slowly come back to tabletop position. Switch sides.
Bound Standing Forward Fold | Hold 30 seconds
1. Take your hands behind your lower back and interlace your fingers.
Bend your knees and inhale to lengthen your spine. As you exhale, keep your hands interlaced and fold your chest over your thighs. Allow the hands to lift away from your lower back, stretching the shoulders.
2. Keep your knees bent enough so that your chest can rest on your thighs and let your head hang heavy.
3. Hold for 30 seconds and then rise back up.
Toe Squat with Wrist Stretch | 10 reps per side
1. Begin on the floor in a tabletop position. Tuck your toes under and slowly walk your hands back towards your legs to lower your hips onto your heels.
2. Sit your hips on your heels and lift your chest. You should feel a stretch through your feet, ankle, and quadriceps.
3. Take your hands in front of your chest and interlace your fingers. Begin to circle the wrists around clockwise and counterclockwise, 10 times each.
4. When finished, release your hands back to the mat, walk your hands back to a tabletop position, and untuck your toes.
Supine Spinal Twist | 30 seconds per side
1. Start by lying down on the mat with your knees bent.
2. Cactus your arms so that your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Then keep your knees bent and pick your feet up off the ground. Parallel your shins to your mat and draw your navel up in and towards your spine to engage your core.
3. On an exhale, lower your knees toward the right. Make sure to keep your left shoulder down and use your right hand to deepen the twist. Hold for 30 seconds.
4. Then inhale to lift your knees back to center and exhale to switch sides.
Written by: Natalie Anzivino