1. Shoulder circles. Sit or stand comfortably with proper posture – a straight, relaxed back and eyes looking ahead. Lift both shoulders and rotate them backwards in circles (move them backwards, down, forwards and up). We suggest repeating this 20 times before switching directions and completing 10 forward circles. This exercise helps relieve stress and tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back.
2. Lower back stretch. Place both of your hands on your lower back as if you were placing them in your pockets (palms on your back, thumbs facing outwards). Slowly, straighten your back and then arch it slightly so that you can feel a comfortable stretch. It is important not to over-arch. Hold this stretch for 5 to 10 seconds before returning to a resting state. Repeat this 5 times.
3. Knee-to-chest stretch. Lay down on your back on any flat surface with legs outstretched and arms by your side. Bring one knee towards your chest and use your hands to hug your knee tight to your chest for 5 to 10 seconds. Switch legs and repeat on the other side. Repeat this exercise 5 times on each side to stretch your lower back, hamstrings and glutes.
4. Child’s pose. Kneel on the floor, making sure that your big toes are touching and knees are hip-width apart. Sit back on your feet. Exhale and lay forward with your arms outstretched (palms up), feeling the stretch in your back and shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds, inhale and come up. Repeat this exercise 3 times. In yoga, child’s pose is known as a restorative pose that helps you gather your energy.
If you have any pain from previous injuries or difficulties completing these stretches, stop and consult with your physician. If you are able to do the exercises without any pain, try incorporating them into your daily routine to rejuvenate your body and spirit!