Reawakening the Instinct to Stretch
You would think that as we grow older and wiser we would automatically be better at doing what comes naturally ― stretching. Wrong. We need to relearn how to stretch as we once did as babies and young children. If you observe animals, you’ll notice, when they awaken they stretch. It’s their instinct that moves them. We need to reawaken this instinct in us. An easy, whole body routine should be followed daily as positive compensation for each days accumulated compressions. Stretching daily will promote a more natural alignment and whole body ease, reducing stress, improving overall health and increasing energy.
TIP: Never bounce into a stretch instead use steady, relaxed movements to work into a full extension. Allow your breath to flow easily and naturally during the stretch. And finally, do not force a stretch, rather extend yourself into the movement.
I never struggled with injury problems because of my preparation – in particular my stretching.
Create space around you, then roll on back keeping the knees bent and your chin tucked in the whole time you are rolling. (If the head comes up the body will straighten). Roll for two to three minutes. Pull knees to each side of the chest and hold at the same time pull shoulders and head up. Lengthen out and repeat pulling the knees towards the chest several times.
Continuing to lie flat on back, pull left knee up and toward left arm pit, hold shin with left arm. Straighten right leg by flattening foot and pushing heel to the sky, hold the extended leg with right arm. When fully extended, raise head and upper body towards the knee of extended leg. Hold pose and release. Repeat the process on the other side. Do extensions several times on each side.
Sit up and extend both legs forward, keeping them 6 to 8 inches apart. Reach under each hip and pull the “sit bones” back towards the wall behind you. This should locate the center of gravity forward and place the body in a better Bio-mechanical alignment. Now, with feet up and vertical to the ground, lift vertically and bring the navel point up and forward. Take a deep breath and release it. Let head relax down and allow gravity to help you extend forward. Stay for about 5 normal breaths. Hold on to the furthest part of legs, feet or toes to gently extend. Repeat this process.
Moving into a stradle pose, spread legs wide apart to the comfortable limit of your ability. Again, pull out the sit bones. Take a deep breath, go vertical and as you lift extend the navel point forward towards the right knee, lengthen arms to grasp leg, toe or foot. Let head relax down, maintain and breathe in this extended position. Come up and extend towards left knee repeating process. Next, sit up straight vertically and extend navel point forward in the middle of floor. Follow by grasping first right and then left leg, toe or foot. Relax, stay, and breathe in extended position.
Roll over on stomach. Position legs straight back and relax them slightly apart in a pigeon toed position. Place hands under shoulders and lift upper body into cobra position. Hands should be down with fingers spread wide. Raise sternum first then let chin guide head back. Release any tension in the gluteals and lower back. Breathe softly and let gravity help you STRETCH!
Cat and Cow
The Cat and Cow horizontal spinal flex is very powerful and will create whole body coordination and integrity. The exhalation through the mouth is on the pull up of the spine (Cat) with the inhalation through the nose on the arch up (Cow). Start this movement slowly counting each exhalation 5 seconds and each inhalation 5 seconds. Let the movement accelerate until it reaches a maximum speed of 2 seconds for each up and down movement.
Finish the exercise by relaxing in the
Gravity is the unseen, powerful force that is with us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, holding us on the planet. It is vitally important that we, as humans living in a gravitational force field, do anti-gravitational movements, in other words, STRETCH!