Stretching is one of the most important aspects of any workout that’s often overlooked or forgotten, but it should always be top of mind. When we exercise our muscles contract and following post-workout yoga or a gym routine they stay contracted for an extended length of time after.
When you stretch, you help those muscles relax and reduce stiffness and aches the next day and reduce muscle imbalances in the long-term as well.
Post-Workout Yoga Stretches: Child’s Pose
A classic pose and one that’s great for stretching your back and hamstrings. Kneel down and sit on your heels reaching your arms out in front or behind you and touch your forehead gently to the floor breathing naturally. You may want to use a small pillow or yoga mat to rest your forehead more comfortably.
Stay in this pose for about one minute.
Despite the name, this won’t have you or your toes screaming. Transition smoothly from being on all fours to tucking your toes in and sitting on your heels back straight. Bring your palms together and roll your shoulders back.
Focus on making your inhaling and exhaling the same length while in this pose.
If you’re doing these stretches in the order we’ve mentioned them, this one is an excellent transition from screaming toe and likely a pose you’ve heard of before.
To get the most out of it position your feet shoulder-width apart and transition from being on all fours to lifting your knees and dropping your chest toward your thighs. Your body should look like an upside-down “V” doing the pose correctly. Avoid letting your lower back round and stretch through your ankles, calves and hamstrings.
You’ll also want to change your breathing for this pose by sealing your lips and breathing through your nose as much as possible. Hold this pose for about three to five breaths.
Perfect for your lower back, walk your hands back to feet and place your hands on opposite elbows to cross your arms while still bending over. Gently sway from side to side to get the full effect and keep your knees slightly bent so that your lower back muscles relax more.
Like downward dog, while you’re in this position you should seal your lips and breathe through your nose. Try to take long, slow breaths and let the weight of your body help you stretch further.
This particular stretch is better to do after downward dog. To perform it, bring your hands back down to the mat and walk them forward into Downward Dog.
Breathe in deeply then exhale, and step your left foot in between your hands. Drop your right knee and release your back foot.
This pose is a little “flexible” (see what we did there?) because you can either keep your hands beside you in more of a low lunge position or sweep your arms out and up to the sky.
Your hip flexors will get the most benefit from this pose and we recommend holding this pose for about three to five breaths per side.
Stretching is not only a more relaxing way to end a workout (especially post-workout yoga) but helps your muscles too. There are plenty more stretches you can do and we definitely recommend doing all the ones that relate to the exercise you just did.