Feeling sore after a tough workout? Yoga is designed to keep your body fit and flexible for optimal health, but it may also be just the thing your body needs to reduce stress and tension in sore muscles after resistance training.
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Try some of these best yoga stretches for sore muscles and get relief.
Does your lower back ache? Try to stretch it like a cat by starting on all fours.
- Execute this stretch by arching and lowering your back.
- As you arch your back up, tuck your head between your arms to elongate the stretch to the neck.
- Hold for 10 seconds. Release and lower your back by raising your head and chin level with the floor.
2. Child’s Pose
Are your upper-back and shoulder muscles are sore? Give them a break with child’s pose.
- Start with your stomach to the floor and arms by your sides.
- Use your arms to push yourself back on your knees with a big stretch from your lower back to your arms.
- Rest to hold the stretch for 10 seconds to release the muscles in your back, and gain flexibility.
3. Downward Dog
Do you need relief in your legs and calves?
- Try starting in a pushup position with arms shoulder-width apart on the mat.
- Move your feet closer to your hands so that your body resembles an “L” shape or 90 degree angle from the side.
- Straighten knees and elbows, and push your head between arms to create tension in the muscles of the legs.
- Hold the stretch until the muscles feel relief in flexibility.
4. Knee Hugs
Are your legs and lower back feeling stiff? Give yourself some love with knee hugs.
- Start by lying on your back. Pull one leg to your chest with both arms and give it a gentle tug.
- Hold the motion until you find relief from the stretch. Release and alternate legs.
- Another option to soothe a sore lower back is to hold both knees to the chest and hug with the arms.
- Situate your lower back muscles to the mat and gently sway side to side to ease the tension.
Do you feel too much tension in your hips?
- Start by sitting on your knees. Extend one leg behind you. Sit on the heel to test the waters.
- If you have flexibility, pull the remaining leg forward by bringing it as far as a right angle in front of you.
- Flex the foot in front and hold for a long stretch.
- When the tension is released, alternate to the other side.
6. Thread The Needle
Does your upper back lack flexibility? It may appear as if you are just being lazy when you execute this yoga pose, but it’s actually quite an effective technique to relieve tension in the shoulders and chest.
- Start by sitting on your knees with feet up on your toes.
- Lean forward with a straight back, and place a shoulder to the ground with a twist.
- Take the hand of that same shoulder, elongate it in front of your face and hold with your other hand to feel the tension ease.
- Alternate to the other shoulder to complete the stretch.
Is your tummy tense and lower back in need of a stretch? The sphinx pose will knock out two birds with one stone. Some back injuries can be avoided with an arch of the back.
- Start with your stomach to the floor. Place the arms on either side of your chest, and take a deep breath to relax.
- First extend your stretch by arching your back.
- Push up onto the elbows until your head is level like the sphinx.
- If this is not enough, extend the arms straight.
- Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and release.
8. Kiss Your Knees
Can you feel the burn in your stiff knees? Then kiss those aches and pains goodbye with this yoga pose. There are two ways to execute this stretch — from the floor or standing up.
- Start by sitting on the floor with your feet stretched straight out in front of you.
- Stretch your arms tall up over your head and bend forward with a stretch until you kiss your knees (beginners will have to work toward this!).
- This works best when you flex your feet.
Tip:Exhale as you stretch forward, and hold. Repeat. You should be able to stretch farther each time.
The second traditional yoga pose for this requires you to stand. Start with feet just short of shoulder-width apart. Stretch the arms forward to the toes, and lean the head forward as if to kiss your knees. If you can go further than this, pull your head between the legs for an even deeper stretch. Grab ahold of the outside of your heels and hold with a stretch.
Did you forget to stretch? Sometimes the sore muscles can be avoided with a few techniques to boost your flexibility.