Exercises

 

If you can set aside 15-20 minutes every day for some simple stretching exercises to maintain your flexibility and mobility. Find a quiet space. Take a few minutes to bring yourself into the moment by checking your posture and feeling a sense of lengthening through the crown and widening through the chest. Take a few breaths inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Visualise the lungs fully filling with air and then emptying all the stale air. Breathe in positive energy, breathe out any negative thoughts.

 

1. Shoulder rolls Clockwise, squeezing the shoulder blades together, sliding them down the ribcage and opening and widening across the chest. Remember to breathe evenly. Allow any tension to leave you. 10 times. Gently turn the head to the left and hold for a few seconds and then to the right. (Small ball tucked under your chin).

 

2. Roll-downs Take your time. Lengthen first, take a breath in and as you breathe out, tuck the chin to the chest, remember to hollow and start to roll down one vertebra at a time. Allow the neck to lengthen and release and feel the weight of the arms coming through the shoulders. Remember to keep the knees soft and bend them as much as you need to. Take a couple of breaths at the bottom, then on the out breath, remember to hollow again and restack one vertebra at a time. 3 times.

 

3. Cat Stretch Roll down onto all fours. Check that you are in neutral. Start to tuck the chin to your chest, slide the ribcage towards the pelvis and arch the back. Hold for a few breaths. Then, very slowly return to neutral. 6 times. When completed, sit down on your heels and come into shell or child pose to give your back a lovely stretch.

 

4. Abdominal Curls In your own time, come onto your back. Check you have got neutral pelvis and neutral spine before you start. Take a breath in and as you breathe out, tuck your chin to your chest. Slide your rib cage down and curl up. Try to retain the small gap under your waist and concentrate on pulling your tummy button through to your spine. Take a breath in at the top and as you breathe out, sequence down your spine. 10 of these if you can manage it. When your head is back down on the mat, gently turn it from side to side to release the neck.

 

5. Pelvic floor Gently lift your pelvic floor muscles for about 7 seconds, then release. 3 times. Make sure this is a light contraction, do not lift too deeply. Try not to clench your pippa.

 

6. Bridge Take a breath in and as you breathe out, flatten your back into the mat and gently start to peel your back away from the mat, lifting the hips and pushing through the knees. Don't overextend. Hold for a few breaths, then take a breath in and as you breathe out start to place your back down on the mat sequencing from the top of the spine, one vertebra at a time. Return the tailbone back to the mat Repeat 5 times.

 

7. Bring both knees to the chest by flattening the back into the mat and taking hold below the knees. Lengthen through the crown and continue to ease the knees towards the chest. Hold for however long is comfortable.

 

8. Lengthen both legs along the floor. Softly point the toes and allow the hips to release. Lengthen the arms along the floor before lifting overhead towards the ceiling and lengthening to the floor behind. Hold full stretch and breathe deeply. Again lengthen the arms along the floor, before bringing them in an arch back overhead down to your sides.

 

9. Finally, just take a few moments to allow your mind and body to come into stillness. Visualise a special place, a beach, a view, a garden somewhere you feel happy and safe. Bring your attention to your breathing. Become aware of it. Feel the contact of your back on the floor. Allow it to lengthen and widen. As muscles start to release, feel the weight of the body dropping and releasing into the floor. Allow the shoulder blades to soften. Take some deep breaths. When you finish, come into sitting slowly and again take some deep breaths.

 

10. Take time for yourself, so that you can give to others.

 

                             Louise x

 

P.S Remember, do not do any exercises that cause pain.