Most of us spend our days days sitting, and often with poor posture. This seated sequence will help stretch our spines straight, keep the spine supple and also strengthen back, core and leg muscles. We can actually help "train" ourselves to use better posture and in this seated position, we can focus in on stretching certain muscle groups, opening joints and increasing flexibility.
I love that you can do this stretch anywhere (at home, the gym, even in your office!) and it only takes a few moments. Give it a try and feel yourself not only gain strength, but release tension and become aware of the mind-body connection.
Photos courtesy of STAVRA
Begin with legs extended in front of you, arms down and hands pressed into the ground.
Sit up tall. Imagine your back is against a wall. Flex feet and engage leg muscles. Keep knees slightly bent if needed. Hold for several breaths.
Draw in left leg and hug knee into your chest. Keep sitting up as tall as you can. Hold for several breaths.
Take left knee out to the side and bring foot along inside of right thigh, taking your left heel towards your groin.
Keep sitting up tall and hold for several breaths. (You can assist a deeper stretch by using your left hand to press your thigh closer to the ground.)
Twist upper body to the left, looking over your shoulder and use your right hand on the outside of your left thigh to help pull you deeper into the stretch, twisting your torso.
Extend left arm behind you. Hold for several breaths.
Extend left arm overhead as you reach your right arm long in front of you. Hold for several breaths.
Hinge forward from hips, taking both arms towards your right foot and your chest towards your thighs. If you can, grab your foot, wrapping both hands around it.
Relax face and neck muscles and breath deeper into the stretch. Hold for several breaths.
Repeat sequence on the other side. You can perform the stretch a few times on both sides of the body, working to go deeper with each breath.
Photos courtesy of the author