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Stretch and Feel Better

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This summer, as a proud sponsor of Wanderlust, we get to sync up with amazing, grounded people, share cold-pressed juice, and get our yoga on. There, we were able to connect with Kerri Kelly, Wanderlust instructor and Executive Director of Off the Mat, Into the World to talk about how we can use yoga to create a 5-minute oasis to stop, be present, and give our bodies a stretch.

Here are four situations and great 5 min stretches go with them:

Waking Up:

There is nothing better than a good stretch as you wake up. These poses can actually be done in bed, before your feet even hit the floor.

Supta Padangustasana is Kerri’s “go-to” to wake up and realign the body.  Lay supine on your back and extend one leg up to the sky (for more support bend the opposite knee placing foot on the bed).

We also love a Lying Spinal Twist to release tension in the lower back. With both knees bent and arms outstretched, twist to the left or right. Keep shoulders flat on the bed and breath deeply in and out.

Beach:

Here, we asked Kerri about poses that promote relaxation and focus on re-centering, balance, being present – all great things with the beauty of nature all around.

Kerri’s favorite beach pose is Janu Sirsasana with a side stretch. It’s a great pose to stretch the hips/hamstrings while reinforcing the back. Adding the side stretch helps awaken the core and open the heart. It is both relaxing and bright, a perfect fit for chilling on the beach.

A ‘Half Tortoise’ or Ardha-Kurmasana is another of our favorites for relaxing and being present. Sit on your knees and bend forward with arms stretched in front of you, focus on elongating the spine and taking deep breaths.

Road or Car Trip Break:

We all know that feeling after a long stint in the car where our backs and legs could use a different kind of rest. We focused on standing poses that elongate the back and legs to give the spine a rest & stretch.

Kerri suggests that we face the car and place hands on the trunk. Walk feet back until you reach a 90-degree angle then plant your hands firmly and pull shoulders down back. If you’ve got tight hamstrings, bring a slight bend in the knees.  She says, “This is a great restorative pose to realign the spine, stretch the legs and calm the nervous system.  And it goes anywhere with you…on the road, in airports, at the office, etc.” We agree!

Post-Hike:

Long walks or short, we always benefit from a quick stretch break. Here, focus on stretching legs and hip flexors to relieve tension and give tired feet a rest.

Kerri offers a post-hike sequence starting with a low lunge to unlock the psoas/hip flexors, followed by a half-hanuman (hamstring stretch) with back toes curled under. She says, “It is great bang for the buck for the lower body getting at the hip flexors, hamstrings and feet!”

We also love Padangusthasana or the Big Toe Pose, which is a deep forward bend at the waist, elongating the back and stretching the legs.