What do you do at the end of a long day of sitting and working? To steer myself away from reaching for a block of chocolate, hitting the wine or flopping onto the couch, I’ve gotten into the habit of setting aside a few moments as soon I get in the door for a quick stretch. The ritual reenergizes me, irons out the kinks and resets me for a positive, relaxed evening.
The following are my five go-to stretches to unwind after a long day. Hold the poses for as long as you’re able, breathing through each pose to release any remaining tension. Who knows, you may surprise yourself and feel so good after a few poses that you decide to linger a bit longer with my Quick-fix “reset” yoga sequence.
Better yet, come up with your own unwinding poses to cap off each and every day. Happy stretching!
As soon as you drop your things at the door, find some space along with a pillow or blanket to pop under your knee if you have a hard floor. Step forward into a lunge. You can use use the pillow/blanket under your knee if you need it. This pose releases your thighs and hips — perfect after a long day sitting at the desk.
2. Half splits
From the lunge, extend your front leg forward and straight while leaning into the back leg, then pour your chest over your front leg. This is another great leg stretch that releases the hamstrings, while the forward pose is very calming. Prepares you for full splits eventually.
3. Wide leg forward bend
Come up from your knee and turn so that your hips are square, your legs are wide and your feet parallel. Keeping legs strongly engaged, bow forward and bring your hands to the floor. Feeling tight? Keep you legs straight, but elevate your hands onto a block or a low chair. This stretch gets right into the groin, while the forward fold also has a calming effect on the body.
4. Triangle pose
Next, turn your right foot forward. Keeping both legs strong and straight, hinge from your waistline and place the right fingertips to the floor. If they don’t quite reach, use a block or even a low chair under your right hand. Repeat the pose on the other side. This pose gets deep into your waistline, legs and side body for an invigorating opening.
5. Dog splits
Begin in downward dog. Lift your right leg up high in the air and gently allow your hip to open. An option to deepen the pose is to bring your left hand underneath your left shoulder and lift your leg up higher. Repeat on left side.
After this final pose, come to rest in child’s pose for a few moments. Next, go hug someone and have a great night.