It’s easy to rush off after a workout, but taking 10 minutes to stretch and cool down properly at the end of a training session will help you make the most of your session and optimise recovery. Have a go at these five simple yoga poses Reflex Elite Nicola Hobbs to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (the part involved with recovery), reduce risk of injury, increase mobility, and leave you feeling energised.
This is a great pose for releasing tightness from the upper and back and increasing mobility in the shoulders — perfect for after a back or shoulder workout!
- Begin in on your hands and knees and slide your fingers forwards, releasing your chest down towards the floor as you do.
- Rest your forehead on the floor and keep your bottom stacked over your knees as you relax through your shoulders and allow your chest to sink closer to the floor.
- Hold for 2-3 minutes and release by shifting your bottom back to rest on your heels.
This is a gentle backbend that will release tension from your back and shoulders and restore a healthy arch to your spine.
- Begin on your belly with your arms in front of you.
- Lift your chest and slide your arms back so your elbows are beneath your shoulders and you can prop yourself up on your forearms.
- Hold for 2-3 minutes and lower down to the floor slowly.
This pose helps to stretch out the hips, groin and inner thighs — ideal for after a run or lower body workout.
- Begin seated and bring the soles of your feet together with your heels about a foot distance from your groin. Drop your chin to your chest, let your spine round and fold forwards. Gently keep hold of your toes or rest your hands in front of you.
- Focus on relaxing the muscles in your hips and thighs by visualising your knees sinking closer to the floor. If you’re struggling to relax, sit on the edge of a cushion to tilt your hips forwards slightly.
- Hold for 2-3 minutes and gently release by bringing your knees together.
This pose is a deep hip opener helping to release any tension from hip flexors, hamstrings and glutes.
- Begin on your hands and knees and step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Slide your left knee back as far as you can while keeping your right knee stacked over your right ankle.
- Either stay on your hands or make your way down onto your forearms if you have the mobility.
- Hold this pose passively for 2-3 minutes and focus on relaxing into it. Repeat on your left leg.
Shoelace is a deep hip opener that releases tension from the internal rotators and stretches the piriformis.
- Begin sitting cross legged on the floor and slide your left foot under your right leg to bring your left heel to the outside of your right buttock. Stack your right knee on top of your left knee and bring your right heel to the outside of your left buttock.
- Anchor your buttocks to the floor and then bring both feet as far forward away from your buttocks as you can while keeping your knees stacked.
- Hold for 2-3 minutes, focus on relaxing the muscles around your hips and repeat on the other side.
Variations: If you have any knee issues then stay in Half Shoelace by keeping the bottom leg straight.
For more poses, stretches and yoga workouts, check out Nicola’s book, Yoga Gym: The Revolutionary 28-Day Bodyweight Plan for Strength, Flexibility and Fat Loss [link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yoga-Gym-Revolutionary-Bodyweight-Flexibility/dp/1472912888/]