These simple stretches are perfect to do throughout the day to release tension and help you tune in to how your body is feeling. You can hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds or for as long as feels good.
Hands Clasped Overhead
Clasp your hands together and stretch them directly above your head. Inhale and exhale deeply through your nose, and think about relaxing your shoulders down as you stretch your arms up.
Release your arms and notice how you feel: do you notice sensations in your neck, back, or arms?
Bend one leg and clasp the ankle with the corresponding hand, squeezing it in toward your buttocks. If you need the support, rest your other hand on a piece of furniture or the wall. Otherwise, challenge your balance and try holding the pose without support.
Breath deeply. If you want to go further, extend your opposite arm above your head, and, if you feel stable, try pivoting forward bending at the hips. Mindfully release the clasp on your ankle and replace that foot on the ground. Repeat on the other side.
Come into a squat position, with feet hip distance apart and knees bent. Shift your weight to one foot and lift the other, placing the heel, with foot flexed, directly above the knee of your standing leg. Rest your hands on the ankle of the crossed-over foot or hold a piece of furniture for support. Breath deeply and play with intensifying the stretch by varying the bend in the standing leg.
When you are ready, release the bent leg back to the ground. Repeat on the other side.
Step your feet about a leg’s length apart, and point the toes of your left foot out to the side and angle your right toes slightly in. Stand up tall and take a deep breath in, extending your arms out to your sides. Keeping both legs straight and your torso facing forward, bend toward your left leg until your left hand rests on your left ankle or shin (if comfortable). Extend your right hand overhead.
Breath deeply. When you are ready to come out of the pose, use your extended right hand to guide you back to an upright position. Switch the angles of your feet and repeat on the other side.
Hands on Tabletop
Stand in front of a waist-height table and place your hands on its surface. Step backward, hinging at your hips, until your arms are fully extended and your torso is parallel to the floor. Breath deeply, feeling the stretch in your shoulders and lower back.
To come out of the pose, press your hands on the table and step forward to return to standing.
About the Author: Lili Hanft is a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She is passionate about the power of real food to support the body’s innate ability to heal, and she believes that nourishing ourselves with nutrient-dense foods can be a profound source of joy and empowerment.
When working with patients at GrassRoots, Lili emphasizes education on the “whys” behind nutritional recommendations, as well as support with the practical steps of dietary change.