Between running, weightlifting, and not doing nearly as much yoga as I should, I’ve started to notice my hamstrings and hip flexors tightening up. Inspired by a few friends who took up various 30 day challenges, I decided to put together one of my own for stretching. After forcing myself to stretch every day, with threat of public internet ridicule if I slack off, I should be well established into a habit and easier to keep up with it every night. Or at least a majority of nights.
I started by looking at what the internet had to offer for pre-made challenges. I found some helpful guides, a couple online communities, and tons of new dynamic stretches.
Antranik’s Toe Touching Routine became the base of my personal challenge. While I haven’t gotten tight enough to stop my fingertips from touching my toes, I want to be able to hinge bend at the hips and put my palms down flat. There are progression guides outlined as well, which I’m sure I’ll get to eventually.
I have to remember to not just focus on my thighs and hips, though. Everything is connected and just because I’m fixing one area doesn’t mean I can let another go into disrepair. Luckily Antranik’s guide is good about leading you to incorporating the rest of your body as well.
A quick and easy way to get a full body stretch is with a Sun Salutation Sequence. Anyone who’s had some yoga classes notched into their belt knows what this is. For those stumbling in from who knows where from the internet, a Sun Salutation Sequence is a set flow of poses. It’s probably exactly what you think of when you think ‘yoga’, but you didn’t know it had a name. Yoga has a deep and complex history spanning cultures and generations, and can be anything from a slow relaxing meditation to an intense session of Bikram performed in a heated room. But for me its mostly a great way to get a deep stretch. It also involves a lot of mindful breathing, which will help me focus on how my body moves through the flow and predict problem areas before they’re problems. For my challenge I’ll be using the two basic Surya Namaskar sequences.
Complete Daily for 30 days.
- Wake up with Surya Namaskar A every morning.
- Warm up with Surya Namaskar B before evening Hamstring/Hip Focus.
- Using Antranik’s Toe Touching Routine:
- Calves: Incline calf stretch & heel drops
- Glutes/Hips: Active Pigeon followed by static deep stretch
- Hamstrings: Crossed Leg Hamstring Stretch, Downward Dog and Supine Straight Leg Hamstring Stretch
- Hip Flexors: Couch Stretch. (yes, I chose this video because of the dog.)
- Auxiliary: Neck/Shoulder Rolls, Bent Over Shoulder Rinse, Cross Armed Shoulder Stretches, Lying Twists, etc needed problem areas.
- Cool Down with Surya Namaskar A
1:♦♦ – 2:♦♦ – 3:♦♦ – 4:♦♦ – 5:◊◊ – 6:◊◊ – 7:◊◊ – 8:◊◊ – 9:◊◊ – 10:◊◊ – 11:◊◊ – 12:◊◊ – 13:◊◊ – 14:◊◊ – 15:◊ – 16:◊ – 17:◊◊ – 18:◊◊ – 19:◊◊ – 20:◊◊ – 21:◊◊ – 22:◊◊ – 23:◊◊ – 24:◊◊ – 25:◊◊ – 26:◊◊ – 27:◊◊ – 28:◊◊ – 29:◊◊ – 30:◊◊
Will report back.