As a yoga devotee, I have always enjoyed the numerous benefits that come from practicing regularly. However, it occurred to me that my 2-3 long duration (30-90 minute) yoga sessions per week might be better replaced with a shorter daily routine. That’s not to say that I won’t do those long sessions when I have time but switching my focus to an achievable daily routine seems to be benefiting my movement and stretching health.
I also noticed when I am doing a full body class that often certain muscle groups, such as my quads, front of the neck, chest, and shoulders, seemed to be neglected. This realisation led me to create my own daily full body 10-minute stretch routine to target all major muscle groups and complement my longer yoga sessions. In this article, I’ll share my personal experience and the stretch routine that has become an essential part of my daily routine.
My 10-Minute Daily Stretch Routine
I designed this routine for my personal physiology, it works well for my body. With that in mind I’ve also focused on making it available to most readers, so I’ve stuck to poses that most active people should be able to achieve.
As far as I can tell this routine stretches from head to toe, opening up the hips and addressing all major muscle groups in a comprehensive manner. Importantly, my routine also targets the lumbodorsal fascia, a critical connective tissue that spans the lower back and helps support proper posture and movement. With this well-rounded full-body routine, I feel confident that I am giving my body the attention and care it needs to stay healthy and balanced. I find that two deep breaths in each position works well for the routine duration to be about 10-minutes.
(Please let me know if you feel I have had any oversights or if you have knowledge that may improve this routine.)
Set 1: Table Top / Cat & Cow / Thread the Needle
(note, use thunderbolt to gently stretch the neck in multiple directions, warm up the wrists, stretch the fingers and forearms and commence mindful breathing)
Set 2: Downward Dog / Upward Dog / Sphinx / Bow
(note, I like to turn my head to each side during sphinx pose for an added neck stretch)
Set: 3: Forward Fold / Rag Doll / Tree / Figure 4
Set 4: Wide Forward Fold with Twist / Crescent Lunge with Knee Bend
(note, the crescent lunge with knee bend is advanced, I modify this, grabbing my rear foot with my opposite hand with a straight arm)
Set 5: Warrior II with Twist and Reverse
Set 6: Reverse Table Top / Yogic Squat / Half Pigeon / Side Lunge / Pyramid
(note, in the reverse table I like to bring my hips close to my feet and ‘sit’ into a deep shoulder stretch)
Set 7: Fish / Spinal Twist / Shavasana
(note, I do a variation of Wind Removing where I cross my ankles and hold the tops of my feet in order to stretch the tops of my feet and toes. I also like to add some facial stretches towards the end. Opening jaw, scrunching up face etc.)
Discovering the Importance of Daily Stretching
Integrating a daily stretching routine into my life has brought about numerous benefits that I hadn’t experienced with my weekly yoga sessions alone. Some of the most significant advantages I’ve discovered include:
Improved flexibility: Stretching every day has greatly improved my range of motion and flexibility.
Reduced muscle soreness: By targeting neglected muscle groups, I’ve experienced less muscle soreness and tightness overall.
Increased relaxation: The 10-minute stretch routine has become a soothing ritual that helps me start my day feeling centred and relaxed.
Since incorporating this 10-minute daily stretch routine into my life, I have experienced increased flexibility, reduced muscle soreness, and a greater sense of relaxation. This simple routine has become an essential part of my day and has significantly improved my overall well-being.
This routine is for already practicing persons, take this sequence for your starting point, mix it up and make it your own. If space is an issue, not a problem, this routine is designed for those with limited space. If you’re new to yoga ensure you seek instructions how to safely enter these poses and remember to practice mindful breathing.
The illustrations in this article are courtesy of POCKETYOGA pocketyoga.com – a great resource for teachers, practisers and those that wish to create yoga routines.
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