At Home Workout - Yoga Stretch


I have never been the type of person to sit still. That's why Yoga has been both beneficial and difficult for me, all at the same time. I get bored easily and hate settling into my feelings or thoughts, I just want to put it all away, get up and go. But, I have come to learn that both your body and mind NEED to rest and stretch. You are actually doing your health a disservice by not taking a moment to ease those muscles and clear your mind.

When, where and how of stretching and resting are really up to you, but in general, when it comes to pre-workout stretching, it helps your body to become more pliable, which decreases your risk for injury. Post workout stretches are great for helping your body to move excess lactic acid out of your muscles, which can help you avoid post workout soreness and also helps get the muscle back to their original length.

I am sort of interchanging Yoga and stretching. But just to be clear, Yoga isn’t just stretching. It incorporates alignment, strength, and balance; all things that help to you become more powerful and aware. Just like lifting weight without stretching isn’t really too effective, stretching without the elements of strength won’t do anything for you. Simple stretching of the limbs or particular muscles does not require the same level of attention, focus and breathing that yoga postures require. So, it’s entirely possible for someone to look like they are doing yoga, when they are in fact just stretching. Yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. With regular practice, they'll improve your flexibility.

If you want to add an extra workout to your training that focuses on breathing, strength, and balance, among other things, opt for yoga. This series of flows and poses, is a practice I like to do either before or after a workout, if I am feeling particular tight in my hips or back. I would also suggest following this up with some foam rolling to really loosen up any knotted muscles.

Colleen Saltarelli

Extended Child Pose

Sit on your heels, then folds your body forward over your thighs, extending the arms over your head. Your hands, forearms and head rest on the ground, and your feet stay together while your knees are apart.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, while breathing deep within your belly.

Colleen Saltarelli Colleen Saltarelli

Cat Back to Cow Pose

Begin with your hands and knees on the floor. Make sure your knees are under your hips, and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your abs engaged. Take a big deep inhale.

On the exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling, and imagine you're pulling your belly button up towards your spine, really engaging your abs. Tuck your chin towards your chest, and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.

On your inhale, arch your back, let your belly relax and go loose. Lift your head and tailbone up towards the sky — without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck. This is the Cow portion of the pose.

Repeat this flow 5-6 times.

Colleen Saltarelli

Downward Facing Dog

Come onto the hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.

Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into the classic upside-down-V shape called Downward Facing Dog.

Spread your fingers wide, and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms, letting it lay heavy.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Runners Lunge with the Right Foot

Begin in a plank position with hands directly below shoulders.

Step your right foot forward to the outer edge of your mat next to your right pinky finger.

Relax through your hips and back, letting them sink toward the ground.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Left Hand Planted Dragon Fly

Plant your left hand firmly below your left shoulder, parallel with your right foot.

Raise your right hand up high, lifting and opening your chest to the right.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Extended Side Angle Left Hand High

Return your right hand to the ground, below your right shoulder, next to the inside of your right foot.

Straighten your back left leg.

Raise your left hand up high, lifting and opening your chest to the left.

Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Step up to Yogi Squat

Return both of your hands to the ground and step up with your left foot.

Squat with your feet as close together as possible.

Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs.

Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms to together and rest the knees into the elbows. This will help lengthen your front torso.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Wide Leg Forward Fold

Slowly begin to stand, then gently prepare to fold.

Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, not from the waist. As you descend draw the front torso out of the groins and open the space between the pubis and top sternum. As in all the forward bends, the emphasis is on lengthening the front torso as you move more fully into the position.

Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Runners Lunge with the Left Foot

Begin in a plank position with hands directly below shoulders.

Step your left foot forward to the outer edge of your mat next to your left pinky finger.

Relax through your hips and back, letting them sink toward the ground.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Right Hand Planted Dragon Fly

Plant your right hand firmly below your right shoulder, parallel with your left foot.

Raise your left hand up high, lifting and opening your chest to the left.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Extended Side Angle Right Hand High

Return your left hand to the ground, below your left shoulder, next to the inside of your left foot.

Straighten your back right leg.

Raise your right hand up high, lifting and opening your chest to the right.

Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Step up to Yogi Squat

Return both of your hands to the ground and step up with your left foot.

Squat with your feet as close together as possible.

Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs.

Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms to together and rest the knees into the elbows. This will help lengthen your front torso.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Wide Leg Forward Fold

Slowly begin to stand, then gently prepare to fold.

Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, not from the waist. As you descend draw the front torso out of the groins and open the space between the pubis and top sternum. As in all the forward bends, the emphasis is on lengthening the front torso as you move more fully into the position.

Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Downward Facing Dog

Come onto the hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.

Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into the classic upside-down-V shape called Downward Facing Dog.

Spread your fingers wide, and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms, letting it lay heavy.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Sit Back on your Heels into Hero

Kneel on the floor, with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, and touch your inner knees together. Slide your feet apart, slightly wider than your hips, with the tops of the feet flat on the floor. Angle your big toes slightly in toward each other and press the top of each foot evenly on the floor.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Half Camel Left Hand Down Right Arm Up

Come up onto both knees, placing them hip width apart. Place the palms of the hands on the sacrum with the fingers pointed down.

Inhale and press the knees down reaching the crown of the head up to lengthen the spine. Exhale and press the hips forward, squeezing the buttocks and thighs and supporting your weight with the arms as you bend backwards.

Very carefully reach the left hand down to the left heel. If you cannot reach the heel, keep the hand on the sacrum.

Inhale and reach the right hand up and back behind you. If it feels safe drop the head all the way back.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Sit Back on your Heels into Hero

Kneel on the floor, with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, and touch your inner knees together. Slide your feet apart, slightly wider than your hips, with the tops of the feet flat on the floor. Angle your big toes slightly in toward each other and press the top of each foot evenly on the floor.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Half Camel Right Hand Down Left Arm Up

Come up onto both knees, placing them hip width apart. Place the palms of the hands on the sacrum with the fingers pointed down.

Inhale and press the knees down reaching the crown of the head up to lengthen the spine. Exhale and press the hips forward, squeezing the buttocks and thighs and supporting your weight with the arms as you bend backwards.

Very carefully reach the right hand down to the right heel. If you cannot reach the heel, keep the hand on the sacrum.

Inhale and reach the left hand up and back behind you. If it feels safe drop the head all the way back.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Sit Back on your Heels into Hero

Kneel on the floor, with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, and touch your inner knees together. Slide your feet apart, slightly wider than your hips, with the tops of the feet flat on the floor. Angle your big toes slightly in toward each other and press the top of each foot evenly on the floor.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Half Pigeon with Left Leg Forward

Bring your left knee forward towards your left wrist. Depending on your body it may be just behind your wrist or to the outer or the inner edge of it. Your left ankle will be somewhere in front of your right hip.

Slide your right leg back and point your toes, your heel is pointing up to the ceiling.

Scissor your hips together, by drawing your legs in towards each other. Use some support under your right buttock if needed, to keep your hips level.

As you inhale, come onto your fingertips, lengthen your spine, draw your navel in and open your chest. As you exhale, walk your hands forward and lower your upper body towards the floor. You can rest your forearms and forehead on the mat.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Switch to Half Pigeon with Right Leg Forward

Bring your right knee forward towards your right wrist. Depending on your body it may be just behind your wrist or to the outer or the inner edge of it. Your right ankle will be somewhere in front of your left hip.

Slide your left leg back and point your toes, your heel is pointing up to the ceiling.

Scissor your hips together, by drawing your legs in towards each other. Use some support under your right buttock if needed, to keep your hips level.

As you inhale, come onto your fingertips, lengthen your spine, draw your navel in and open your chest. As you exhale, walk your hands forward and lower your upper body towards the floor. You can rest your forearms and forehead on the mat.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Downward Facing Dog

Come onto the hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.

Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into the classic upside-down-V shape called Downward Facing Dog.

Spread your fingers wide, and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms, letting it lay heavy.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Wide Leg Forward Fold

Slowly begin to stand, then gently prepare to fold.

Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, not from the waist. As you descend draw the front torso out of the groins and open the space between the pubis and top sternum. As in all the forward bends, the emphasis is on lengthening the front torso as you move more fully into the position.

Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.

Colleen Saltarelli

Root to Rise

Bring your attention back if it has wondered, begin to lift up from your hips, bringing your arms up however feels right for you.

Reach to the sky, leave your hands at your side, bring your hands to heart center, whatever finishing practice means to you.

Practice Complete.

Colleen Saltarelli

Colleen is an ISSA Certified Nutrition Coach, Culinary Institute of America Graduate and Your Gluten-Free Celiac Sidekick.

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Colleen is an ISSA Certified Nutrition Coach, Culinary Institute of America Graduate and Your Gluten-Free Celiac Sidekick.