A Beginner’s Guide to Stretching, Part Three

15 stretches to keep you supple.

1 – Torso stretch

Start by lying on your back, arms resting on the floor by your sides.

Bend the knees & draw your feet toward your buttocks.

Bring your arms to a position above your head where you feel a mild stretch in the upper torso. Arms still resting on the floor. Maintain this position whilst trying to relax the muscles that feel tight or tense.

Breathe. Try to relax more on an outward breath.

Allow yourself to move further into the stretch when you notice the tension has released.

Try not to over arch the spine or to lift it from the floor. Allow the muscles to relax & the mind to become calm as the floor takes your weight.

2 – Buttock stretch

Remain on your back. Legs bent.Lift your leg & let the knee fall out to the side so that you are able to place your ankle on top of the opposite knee.Hold the knee & ankle of the raised leg & lift both legs as a unit, bringing them towards your chest to create a stretch in the buttock. Keep your back on the floor. Repeat on the other side.Again take it to an easy stretch & allow the muscle to accept this position before moving into the development stage of the stretch.Your muscles contract when they feel they are in danger of becoming damaged. By moving slowly into the stretch you can overcome this reflex.

3 – Adductors stretch

Bring the arms down & keep the knees bent. Allow the knees to fall apart & bring the soles of the feet together to stretch the hips.

Adjust the distance between your feet & your bottom until you can feel a gentle stretch.

You may also gently rock the pelvis from side to side to side as a unit. Use the arms on the floor for support.

4 – Upper back stretch

Bring the legs back to the upright position & wrap your arms around so that you are holding your shoulders to stretch the upper back.

You may also leave the legs open to combine this with stretch 3.

5 – Spinal twists

Roll onto your side & bring your self to sit cross legged.

Make a controlled rotation to your left while thinking of your spine spiralling upwards. Take the rotation more into the middle & upper back.

Place your left hand on the floor behind/beside you & your right hand on your left knee for support.

Repeat, turning to the right side.

6 – Hamstring stretch

Come to a sitting position. Ensure you are sitting on your sitting bones with your legs flat out in front or you.

Slide the sole of one foot into opposite inner thigh. Be sure that the foot of the straight leg points upwards

Place your hands on the floor for support & lean forward by rotating the pelvis forward at the hip.

 7 – Seated splits

Remain in a seated position open the legs into a split.

Again be sure to sit on your sitting bones with the toes pointing upwards.

Place the hands on the floor & lean forwards, allowing the pelvis to rotate forward & keeping the spine lengthened.

8 – Triceps stretch

Kneel in seiza.

Bring your left hand over your head & reach down to place the palm of your hand on your back.

Reach over with your right hand & hold onto the left elbow for support.

Repeat on the other side.

 9 – Chest stretch


Remain in seiza.

Interlace the fingers behind back.

Allow the shoulders to rotate, opening the chest.

Allow the upper spine to move forward & up.

10 – Neck stretch

Still in seiza, take the left arm around the back of the body to the right hand side & hold with the right hand.

Gently tilt the head to the right creating a stretch in the left side of the neck.

Repeat on the other side.

11 – Feet & wrists stretch

Come onto your hands & knees.

Curl the toes under & rotate the hands so that the fingers point towards you (palms flat on the floor) to create a stretch in the inner wrist.

You may also perform this stretch with the back of the hands flat on the floor & the fingers pointing towards each other to stretch the outer forearm.

 12 – Child pose

Return to a kneeling position.

Slide your hands forward & draw your buttocks back to create a stretch in the upper torso.

You can also perform this stretch standing with your hands against a wall.

13 – Lunges

Come back onto your hands & knees & bring your left foot forward to come into a low lunge stretching the hips, groin & thighs.

Be sure that the left ankle is directly under the knee & that the trailing leg is straight out behind you. The back foot may be flat or toes may be curled under.

Gently lower the hips downward & forwards while thinking of the spine lengthening out through the top of the head.

You can leave the hands on the floor, bring them to the front thigh or even raise them above your head with the palms touching.

Repeat on the other side.

14 – Quad stretch

Come to stand (you may need a wall for balance)

Hold onto the ankle of the left leg with the left hand to create a stretch in the front thigh.

DO NOT allow the knee to come out to the side or the spine to over arch.

Repeat on the other leg.

15 – Calf stretch

Stand with feet facing straight forward hip to shoulder width apart.

Take a step forward & bend the front leg. Keep the back foot flat on the floor & pointing straight ahead to create a stretch in the calve of the rear leg.

Rest the hands on the thigh for support (you could also try standing in front of a wall & using that for support).

Repeat on the other side.