Whether you’re actively training, going through recovery or are just feeling stiff, this five-minute morning stretch routine is a great way to loosen up your muscles and get into a calm headspace for the day ahead.
Find yourself a comfortable carpeted area (or place a towel or mat onto a level surface) for these moves. You can even do these on your bed. The key is to focus on your breath and move with your breath. This allows you to naturally create a sense of calm, which helps to combat stress and anxiety.
1. Reclined Figure 4
Start by lying down on your back and take a few breaths to centre yourself and become present, paying attention to how you feel. Bend your knees, pointing them up towards the ceiling and place your feet on the floor. From here, point your right knee out towards the right and place your right foot on top of your left thigh. Gently place pressure on your right thigh, feeling an opening in the hip. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the opposite side. If you want a deeper stretch in the outer hip, loop your hands behind the left thigh and gently pull the legs closer to your chest.
2. Cat & Cow
Turn over and kneel on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips and place your hands on the ground directly below your shoulders. Inhale as you lift your head and drop your belly, sticking out your sitting bones for Cow position. Look up towards the ceiling and feel the opening of your chest. Exhale and bring your chin towards your chest and round your shoulders as you look towards your belly button for Cat position. Press into your hands as you round your back and feel the opening of your shoulder blades. Inhale and repeat with Cow.
3. Downward Facing Dog
From a kneeling position, lift your hips towards the ceiling, straighten your legs and look towards your thighs. Your body should be in a triangular shape called Downward Facing Dog. Your body might feel stiff at first, so take a minute to bend each knee at a time while straightening the opposite leg, loosening your hamstrings. Thereafter, find stillness in the posture and hold for 10 seconds while focusing on your breathing. This helps to stretch out the lower body, improve posture and stimulate blood flow.