Tag Archives: bridge pose

4 Moves to Increase Your Flexibility

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

iGnite leader Amy Younkman shares 4 moves to increase your flexibility to get you on the path to increased mobility, reduced chance of injury and just plain feeling great!

1. Passive Hamstring Stretch

Pretty much all of us could use more flexible hamstrings, right? Who doesn’t want to be closer to touching their toes? This passive stretch is a safe and excellent stretch for the hamstring, best done in a doorway or on a corner where 2 walls meet.

Passive Hamstring Stretch

Passive Hamstring Stretch

  1. Lying on your back, lift one leg up the wall, while the other leg stretches out along the ground inside the doorframe.
  2. Settle the pelvis onto the ground and position the upward leg so that you feel a gentle, but not too intense stretch.
  3. Breathe and hold for 3 – 5 minutes.
  4. If you are recuperating from a hamstring tear or strain or need a less intense stretch, move the body further away from the wall so that you do not feel strain in the injured hamstring.

2. Front of Hip/Psoas Stretch

Stretching out the front of the hip/psoas muscle is something not many of us think to do, but it is a crucial area to stretch, especially for runners. Not only does the psoas enable you to walk and run, but it also promotes good posture.

Front of Hip/Psoas Stretch

Front of Hip/Psoas Stretch

  1. Come into a low lunge position on your knees, with the right foot in front and both knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
  2. With hands on the hips, lift the hip points up and root the tailbone down as you draw the navel towards the spine (creating a posterior tilt). You will feel a deep stretch in the front of the left hip.
  3. Lift your left arm on the inhale, exhale and side bend over to the right.
  4. Stay here and breathe for 8 breaths as you feel a deep stretch in the front and outer area of the left hip.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

3. Thoracic Spine/Chest Opening Stretch

After long days of hunching forward, sitting at desks, sitting in the car, and on and on, this stretch feels incredible — allowing you to open up your chest and counteract all of that forward bending.  Goodbye, hunchback!

Spine Stretch / Chest Opener

Spine Stretch / Chest Opener

  1. Lie back on a foam roller (a rolled up yoga mat can work as well) with the roller just below the shoulder blades.
  2. With knees bent and bottom on the ground, reach fingertips behind your head as you lengthen your neck.
  3. On the inhale, curl back over the the roller
  4. On the exhale, knit the ribs together as you curl up and draw elbows together.
  5. With each successive breath, see if you can find more ease and expansiveness as you coordinate movement with breath.
  6. Repeat 8 – 10 times.

4. Bridge Pose

The perfect pose to tie the first three stretches together!

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, heels in line with your sit bones, and toes pointed straight ahead.
  2. Root down through all four corners of both feet as you press your arms into the mat and lift your hips.
  3. Lengthen the back of the neck and feel a nice stretch along the sides of the neck.
  4. Firm your glutes, and stretch your knees out over your ankles, as you stretch the front of the hips while strengthening the hamstrings and glutes.
  5. Stay here and breathe for 8 breaths
  6. Slowly lower the hips as you gently lay the spine down, bone by bone.
  7. Repeat 3 – 5 times.

 

Photos by Catherine Sanderson

You Might Also Like:

Advertisements

Poses That Will Enrich Your Summer Travels

Image

No body is worth more than your body
― Melody Carstairs

iGnite yoga and yogalates leaders (and all-around superstars) Cary Fyfe and Amy Younkman share and demonstrate their favorite travel-ready yoga moves that will help you deepen the level of relaxation and mental clarity you can slip into on vacation this month. Look at our weekly schedule to find the next yoga class you can attend!

Why I love Cat/Cow Pose…
by Amy Cat/Cow: Step 2

  • Benefits: I love this pose because it is a great way to warm up the spine and stretch the torso and neck while focusing on deeply inhaling and exhaling.
  • Best When… Try cat/cow pose when your neck and spine are feeling tight or achy, or when you want to tune into your breath to release tension in the body. You can do it in a hotel room, on the beach, or before you leave the house to catch a flight! Try it!
  1. First start on all fours in table top position, lining up wrists and knees and keeping your head in a neutral position
    Cat/Cow: Step 3
  2. Then on the inhale, draw your chest and tailbone up to the sky, allowing your belly to sink down and your eyes to look straight ahead.
  3. Next on the exhale, reverse the tilt of your pelvis by curling your tailbone down and rounding your spine toward the sky as you release your head towards the floor.

Why I love Tree Pose…
by Cary

  • Benefits: I love this pose because it centers, quiets and balances me, while also strengthening all areas of my body.
  • Best When… Try this pose anywhere — either in the middle of the beach, or, for balance support, against a wall or other prop.
  1. From standing, place the sole of your right foot against your left ankle, shin or thigh. Avoid placing it on the left knee.
  2. Press the left leg and right foot against one another as you bring your hands to your heart in Prayer Pose.
  3. When balanced, release your arms overhead and blossom.

Why I love Bridge Pose…
by Amy

  • Benefits: I love bridge pose because it’s great for stretching the chest, neck and spine while calming the mind and stimulating the abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid.
  • Best When… Bridge Pose is a great pose to do anytime. It is a great release for the low back while reenergizing the legs, so try it when you arrive at your travel destination. Try it with us!
Bridge Pose
  1. While lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet hip distance apart, about 10-12″ from your sit bones.
  2. Press your inner feet and arms actively into the floor and lift your hips, keeping your knees directly over your heels.
  3. Draw your sternum towards your chin and try clasping your hands and reaching your fingers and tailbone towards your heels, creating length in the neck and broadening across the front of the chest.

Why I love Half-Moon Pose…
by Cary

  • Benefits: I love this pose because it is different every time I do it. No matter how far into it I go, it renews and strengthens me each time.
  • Best When… Try this pose in your hotel room, either free-standing or against a wall…Try it with us!

Half Moon Pose

  1. From standing, reach arms overhead
  2. Grab left wrist with your right hand.
  3. Stretch upwards, then over to the right, grounding through your feet as you reach upwards. Repeat on other side.

Come join Cary and Amy each week at yogalates in the park or yoga on Lady Bird Lake and perfect your moves before jumping on the plane and doing them on your own!

Not a current iGnite participant? Sign up for a risk-free two week trial and attend Cary and Amy’s classes- and many more- free for one week and at a discounted rate for a second week!

Related Posts: