Did all of that snow shoveling make your back tight and achy? Try the following yoga stretches and Pilates exercises to reverse the effects of your winter duties. They will open the chest and hips, and engage the abs.
Opens the chest, hips and lengthens the abdominals. Uses the back extensors to open the overworked front of the body.
From belly, place hands slightly in front of shoulders and start to peel the front of the body away from the floor, pulling body forward and up. Draw the shoulders back, use the glutes and hamstrings to open the front of the hips and thighs. Imagine that you are like a snake as you pull upper body through the frame of your arms.
Opens the chest and shoulders, utilizes the glutes and extends the hips. Uses the abdominals to control the movement and the obliques to minimize pelvis rocking.
Lay on your back, with your heels a little more than fingertip distance away from your hips, and your feet slightly apart. Pull your belly in, engage the glutes and lengthen the lower back toward the mat. Draw your pubic bone toward thr belly button and continue to roll the pelvis away from floor, stretching knees forward to open front of hips. Your ribs are the last piece to leave the mat. Rock shoulders under and clasp hands together.
Opens the chest and shoulders, engages the back muscles, obliques, inner thighs and glutes. Stretches the hips and hamstrings. Strengthens the deep core.
From a seated position with your legs turned out and your fingers facing toes, pull your belly in and up, engage the glutes and extend your hips toward the ceiling. Keeping your hips level, press into the left foot and lift right leg up as high as possible, stretching back of the right leg and front of left. Switch legs and repeat five times on each side.
Works the obliques and stretches the whole body in a controlled twist
On your back, pull the knees into your chest with your hands behind your head. Rotate the upper torso toward your right knee pulling in, stretch your left leg out, stretching right elbow away from reaching left leg so you feel your entire body twist and stretch. Switch sides and repeat 10 times on each side.
Opens the entire front of the body from the knee to the chest
From a kneeling position, step one foot forward and pull back, (make sure your hip is forward) utilizing the glute to open the hip flexor and the quad. Pull your entire torso up and away from the leg in order to open the front line of the body. Hold for 90 seconds, ensuring that the glutes stay active. Switch sides.
Julie Erickson is a Pilates and yoga instructor and founder of Endurance Pilates and Yoga. Endurancepilatesandyoga.com.