A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that we spend more half of our waking hours sitting—in the car, at work, while resting at home—and that amount of sedentary behavior increases our likelihood of poor posture, compromised health and more.
Katie Brauer, the director of yoga and teacher trainings at Yoga Six, has five stretches that you can do in the comfort of your own bedroom before you decide to hit the snooze button or after your morning shower. These moves will stretch out your stiff muscles to counteract periods of inactivity the day before.
Stretch One: Standing Half Moon—Ardha Chandrasana1 of 6
The Instructions: Stand with your feet together and big toes touching, with the heels slightly apart (or hip-width apart for more stability). Interlace your fingers with your pointer fingers released. Then, stretch your arms up overhead and take a side body stretch to the right. Take 3 to 5 breaths and repeat on left side. If your shoulders are tight, you can bend your elbows and catch your wrists or upper-arm bones.
The Benefits: This lateral side stretch opens up the side body and rib cage.
Stretch Two: Chair Pose—Utktasana2 of 6
The Instructions: Stand with your feet together and big toes touching, with heels slightly apart (or hip-width apart for more stability). Then, bend your knees and sit your hips down and back. Take 3 to 5 breaths. You can stretch your arms straight out in front and elbows bent (also known as 'cactus arms') or stretch your biceps by your ears.
The Benefits: This posture builds strength in the legs.
Stretch Three: Forward Fold—Uttanasana3 of 6
The Instructions: Stand with your feet together and big toes touching, with heels slightly apart (or hip- width apart for more stability). Then, hinge at hips and fold forward so the crown of your head pours toward the earth. Take 3 to 5 breaths.
The Benefits: This move gives flexion of the spine to stretch the entire back line of the body. Additionally, it allows cerebral spinal fluid to bathe the brain.
Stretch Four: Low Lunge—Anjaneyasana4 of 6
The Instructions: Step one foot back and release your knee to the ground. Ensure your front knee is stacked right over the ankle. Place your hands to your hips; lift your chest and shoulders to stack over hips. Take 3 to 5 breaths. As an option, you can extend your arms up overhead for a greater stretch.
The Benefits: This move stretches the quads and hip flexors.
Stretch Five: Reclined Twist—Supta Matsyendrasana5 of 6
The Instructions: Lie on a mat (or carpet) and hug your right knee into your chest. Then float it over to the left in a gentle twist. Your left hand catches the knee and right arm stretches along the ground to the right. Look straight up, or gaze to the right. Repeat on the left side.
The Benefits: Provides a twisting of the spine and massages the organs.