Monday’s are tough. Did you survive?
One of my favorite things to do to unwind after a long day is by lighting candles in my bed room and taking deep stretches for 15 minutes or as long as you need. I like to call this “candle light stretching.” When I first started doing this, I did this for only about 10 minutes a night because I felt so “busy” and the need to rest, but now it is so relaxing, that I usually do it for at least 30 minutes.
For the busy marmots, think of it as only three 5 minute songs, or the length of a 30 minute sitcom before a commercial. Trust me, this is not a time waster! This ritual can really help you get into a better sleep mood and prepare you for a deep sleep. You can try this with soothing instrumental music or if you’re up to it, in complete silence. If I am having a tough day, I do this in utter silence and listen to my the sound of my own breath. Something about the darkness and soft lights really keeps me grounded and takes the stress away.
You don’t have to be flexible to do this. Go at your own pace, listen to what your body wants, and do what feels good.
Try a few basic poses as outlined below. This post focuses on the back and legs.
1) For starters, warm up your body with 25 jumping jacks
2) Hamstring stretch: Place one foot in front of the other and fold forward as far as you can while keeping your back flat. You should feel a deep stretch in your hamstring. Breathe. Only fold forward as far as you can without exerting yourself. After 30 seconds of the hold, switch legs.
3) Pigeon: Bend left leg in front of you while keeping right leg straight in back. Feel this stretch in your left hamstring, right hip flexor, your lower back, and your glutes. Try folding your top body forward into your bent left leg. Try sitting up and slowly arching back to feel the back stretch. Breathe for 30 seconds and switch sides.
4) Child’s pose: Sit on knees and fold forward reaching out directly in front of you. Feel your body lengthen through the back, spine, and arms. Breathe and relax. While keeping knees planted, reach arms to the right and hold for 20 seconds. Switch sides and reach to the left side. You should feel a deep stretch in your lat’s or the sides or your back.
Hungry for more,
The Midwest Marmot