Imagine this...you wake up. You start off having a great day. Your meditation was good. Your coffee was extra hot or your water was extra cold. You're feeling good leaving the house and you are ready to take on the day. Then the day continues. Stress starts to build up. Your lunch is cut short. You are out of aspirin. You begin feeling stress in your shoulders. You know you are one problem away from getting a headache. What can you do to help you feel better? Stretch!
Stretching has physical benefits, of course. But stretching also have emotional and mental benefits. It increases blood flow, flexibility and improve your posture. It helps slow the production of stress hormones. Stretching can encourage awareness of your mind and body. That in turn can help you focus on the present moment and it can be a form of physical meditation. One of the best parts of stretching is you only need your body and some good intention. Focusing your intention on being compassionate and aware of your body will help you feel better.
Some good stretches to start with can be-
Forward Fold- Stand tall with your feet apart. Soften knees and bend forward slowly. Let your upper body hang loose. Sway side to side slowly to stretch out each side. slowly roll upward.
Upper Trapezius Stretch- Draw your head back. Place one hand to your side or behind your back. Place your hand on your head and gently stretch your head opposite of the one placed to your side.
Cat Cow Position- This is a personal favorite of mine. You get on your hands and knees, hands shoulder length apart. You tilt your pelvis back for pose and inhale. That’s cow. Then you tilt your pelvis forward and tuck your tailbone. That’s cat.
You can use any type of stretching to your advantage. Of course, there are physical benefits but there’s also the increase of serotonin that will help you feel better. If you take 5 minutes out of your day to stretch, it will do you a world of good.