3 Power Stretches for better Energy, Posture, and Movement: Tension, back pain, stiffness, fatigue…

They can all stem from tightness in the legs and hips.Finding immediate relief, having better posture, feeling more fluid through your movements and getting a boost in energy is just a few simple stretches away.

A few weeks ago, I went on a little road trip and spent 8 hours in the car. Sitting all day left my body tight, stiff and cranky—which was draining my energy.

When I arrived at my destination I took a few minutes to restore my energy, posture, and ability to movement more like a human and less like a robot!  I noticed immediately that my back & neck felt better.  My hips were relaxed and I was totally energized—ready to enjoy my trip.

I admit even I was kind of surprised at how quickly and easily I restored my body and mind!

Give each of these Power Stretches a solid 5-10 breaths per side—longer if you’re able.

Aim to stretch at least every other day.  However, daily stretching is a smart idea, especially if you sit at a desk all day.  Many people have seen noticeable changes in their posture, movement patterns, and energy after just one session.

Lying Hamstring Stretch:

Why: Supple hamstrings are a primary source of healthy posture and mobility.  They connect the sits bones of the pelvis with the bones of the thigh and calf.  Tight, short hamstrings create a tilt in the pelvis that leads to poor posture, back pain, and difficulty sitting & walking with proper spinal support.  Regularly stretching the hamstrings will improve your posture whether seated, standing or walking.

How: Lie on your back with neutral curve in the back & pelvis.  Wrap a yoga strap, tie, or towel around the ball of your foot. Extend the leg straight up into the air, keeping the back of the knee open and flexing your foot. Your toes should point down to your face as you reach your heel to the ceiling.  Breathe length into the back of the leg and exhale out any tension you may feel.  Repeat for the other side.

Lying Hip/ Piriformis Stretch:

Why: The piriformis is primarily an external rotator, one of a number of small, deep muscles that rotate the leg outward at the hip and provide much needed sacral stability during movement patterns.  A tight Piriformis can be part of sciatic pain that is, at it’s worst, totally debilitating.  Adequate stretching of this muscle can help keep you pain free and moving with both stability and lightness.

How: Lying on your back, cross your right ankle over your left knee.  Press right knee away while holding left knee in. Keep the right foot flexed and energy pressing through the heel to protect your knee and open up the right hip. Breathe deep down into the hip releasing any tension as you exhale.Repeat for other side

Low Lunge/Psoas Stretch:

Why: the psoas is far more than a core stabilizing muscle; it is an organ of perception composed of bio-intelligent tissue that embodies our deepest urge for survival and desire to flourish.  Opening the front of the hips stirs up energy in many ways—metabolism is kindled as digestive organs are given space and freshly oxygenated blood for healthy function; in addition, the emotional centers within the gut and nervous system are woken up leaving you feeling alert and energized.

How: Standing up on knees, set the right foot forward so that the ankle is aligned under the knee. Tilt pelvis, tucking tailbone down to create a stretch across the front of the left hip. You can use blocks under hands if you can’t quite touch the floor and place padding under your back knee for comfort.  Remain lifted through the chest, lengthening the rib cage.  Take deep breaths into the belly to release tension.

A healthy, supple body and great energy is so easy to achieve—just take a few minutes each day to listen to what you’re body needs.  You’ll be so thankful you did.

For photos of these stretches, click here.

In Love & Gratitude,

Missi Holt

P.S.  If you loved these simple stretches you will really enjoy my Targeted Pain Relief Yoga sequences.  They’re quick, easy to follow videos that you can do in the comfort of your own home.  You’ll transform your mind and body in just a few sessions.