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Stretch it out at home!

Not every workout you do has to have you crippled over feeling the burn or sweating your socks off to be good for you. Some of the best things you can give your body are some good stretches. We love our stretch classes, not only are they great for flexibility gains (of course) but they're also really good for body awareness, maintenance, mindfulness and cross training.

SO.....put aside some time and melt your way through these stretches!

1. Let's start at the top - Neck & Jaw Common tension points these ones. Look up towards the ceiling and basically kiss it/pout your lips/try to whistle- this will help stretch out and strengthen your neck. Try 10 sets of 10 second purses/holds. Once you've finished, drop your head forward. Jaw release - place your fingers just under your cheek bone (if you clench your jaw you'll feel the muscle pop out under your finger) - press until you get to a pressure you're comfortable with and hold until it lightens/dulls. Move around the area and repeat. Variation on the jaw release While holding, open and close the mouth 5-6 times.

2. Shoulder stretch Nothing like a good stop sign stretch - a favourite for a few of our instructors! Lie on your belly, place your right arm on the ground bent at 90 deg angle (like a stop sign). Use the left arm to push your body over towards the bent arm. Use the top leg to help roll that way too. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat for 10 and then swap sides

3. Back A body waving styled cobra is a great gentle way to work and move through your back. Lie on your tummy with your arms out in front and slowly work them towards you into a cobra position. Once in cobra, release down then roll back up - repeat for 10. Variations At the end of your last cobra, turn to look back at your feet either side for some back twists.

4. Moving around that area - back stretch and chest opener You'll need a block of some kind (foam blocks, book, firm cushion, foam roller, folded towel etc) Sit with your legs long and place a block at the base of your tail bone. Lie back over the block aiming to get your shoulder blades to the floor. Variations To increase the stretch add another block/more height. To change which part of the back is being stretched, move the blocks further up your back.

5. Hips Nothing like a froggie to sit into those hips...comfortable for some, challenging for others. You'll want a soft surface particularly under the knees to do this one on. Lie on your tummy and prop yourself up on your forearms. Bring your knees up then widen them apart (outwards in opposite directions). Try and push your butt backwards to line up with the knees and sink your crotch to the floor. Variations Rock back and forward with the body Bring the chest to the ground Add some glutes work - isolate your butt by alternating glute squeezes

6. Your butt! Lie on the ground, bring one knee on top of the other, interlace the hands underneath the thigh and pull your legs to your chest. Hold for however long feels good for you and then repeat on the other side for 5 each side.

5. Legs and feet and shake it all out! Come into a downward dog, feet shoulder width apart, driving heels down & hip up to lengthen through your legs. Spread your fingers apart and push from the hands to lengthen through your arms. Rock back and forward between tip toes and down for 10. Once you've done that, bring one foot to the centre and come up onto the top of the foot to gently stretch it out, alternate for 10. Walk the hands to the legs, hug the legs, roll up and shake it out!


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