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Boost energy by stretching

By Gemma | April 05, 2020 | Fitness

Stretching is a word we hear all the time and one that many of us let brush right over our heads and think, I’ll do it tomorrow. However, tomorrow never comes. I have made a conscious effort over the past year to do bikram yoga twice a week alongside a foam roller programme and my dynamic stretches before I train.

It has been shown that stretching can improve athletic performance and speed (1). Yoga turns one of its focuses to energy and is known as the Pranamaya Kosha (vital breath or energy). It is said that this is the driving force behind our physical senses and the operation of our physical body (2). It is interesting that the art of yoga and stretching has been around for thousands of years yet we are becoming a nation that has little range of movement. Alongside this if your muscles are tight and stiff you may be restricting the nutrients you need to give the muscle its full energy supply.

It is not all bad news; I have put four energy-boosting stretches below for you to integrate into your stretching routine two to three times a week. Make sure you are warm before you attempt any of the stretches, follow the instructions thoroughly and remember to keep your breath smooth and consistent through the stretch. Enjoy.

Stretch 1: Warrior/ Virabhadrasana Ii

Start with your feet together. Take a large step to the side bringing your arms up to shoulder height palms facing towards the floor. Turn the right foot out 90-degrees to the side and slightly turn your left foot in. Both heels should be in alignment with one another. Slowly lower your right knee forming a 90-degree angle at the knee and making sure your knee keep in alignment with your ankle and doesn’t go past it. Keep the left leg straight and the torso straight in the middle of the two legs. Turn your head to look over your right hand and hold the posture for at least 30 seconds. Return to standing and repeat on the other leg.

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Stretch 2: Triangle pose/ Trikonasana

Start with your feet together. Take a large step to the side bringing your arms up to shoulder height palms facing towards the floor. Turn the right foot out 90-degrees to the side and slightly turn your left foot in. Make sure both heels are in the same alignment. Turn your right thigh outwards so that the centre of your kneecap is in the same alignment as the centre of your right foot. Exhale and slowly extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Rotate your torso to the left keeping your left side as long as your right side. Rest your right hand on your right shin or if you have the flexibility the ankle or floor on the outside of your right foot. Stretch your left arm up towards the ceiling rotating your head to look up at your hand. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds then slowly return to standing before going on the other side.

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Stretch 3: Rabbit pose/ Sasangasana

Kneel down on the floor and sit back onto your heels. Hold onto your heels thumbs on the outside fingers on the inside (You may need to pop a towel over your feel to improve the grip and avoid slipping). Tuck your chin to your chest the slowly roll forward bringing the top of your head to the floor. If you have space between your knees and your face slowly and gently walk your knees towards your forehead. Pull on your feet and slowly lift your hips towards the ceiling. Holds for a minimum of 30 seconds, then slowly roll back up to the seated position. Repeat.

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Stretch 4: spine twisting posture/ Ardha-Matsyendrasana

Start by sitting with both legs straight in front of you. Cross your right foot over your left thigh and place it on the floor on the outside of your left knee. Bend your left knee and place your left food on the outside of your right hip. Hold your right knee with your left hand and place your right hand on the floor diagonally behind you. Lift your left hand high and twist your torso as you bring the elbow down to the outside of the right thigh. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.

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  1. Fletcher I, Jones B. The Effect of different warm-up stretch protocols on 20 meter sprint performance in trained rugby union players. Journal of strength and conditioning research. 2004;18:885-888.

      2. Bharati S. five sheaths or Koshas of yoga. [Acessed 29.08.2014] Available from: http://www.swamij.com/koshas.htm.