Yoga Stretches


Here are a battery of stretches I like to do, jotted here to jog my memory on the road. Yoga is beyond great for keeping limber and fit while traveling, plus it's eminently transportable. For more and better info, however, I'd highly recommend using this book found below.

BENT TORSO, STANDING (EQUAL WEIGHT ON BALLS OF FEET AND HEELS)
BNST-1 Uttanasana (forward bend) - Standing, loosely bend forward at waist, legs straight with muscles taught and rotated outward. Elongate the upper body to further stretch when exhaling. Distribute evenly between front and heel of foot. Bring fists to floor at first, later trying to flatten the palms on it.
BNST-2 Forward bend with arms behind back - Bend forward as in Uttanasana, but clasp hands behind back, palms away from body, while keeping arms straight and trying to bring clenched hands as low as possible. Switch order of finger interlacing.
BNST-3 Forward bend with arms behind head - Bend forward as in Uttanasana, but clasp hands behind head. Bend forward trying to kiss knees and elongate torso as low as possible. Switch order of finger interlacing.
BNST-4 Downward dog: Stand with feet forward hip-width apart. Bend at waist, lean forward and palm the ground torso with apart. Can walk hands until feet just stay flat or let heels rise. Rotate thigh muscles and feet to the outside; splayed fingers touch ground with index fingers pointing straight away from body. Arms should be straight and rotated out. Stretch torso.
BNST-5 Stand with feet forward hip-width apart. Bend at waist to let fingertips touch toes, straighten back look and forward levelly.
BNST-6 Stand with feet forward and legs straight and as far as possible apart. Rotate thighs and feet outward. Clasp straight arms behind back and bend forward and bringing arms forward as much as possible.
BNST-7 Stand with feet forward and legs straight and as far as possible apart. Rotate thighs and feet outward. Bend at waist level and palm the ground in front of the body with a straight back while looking forward.
BNST-8 Stand with feet forward and legs straight and as far as possible apart. Rotate thighs and feet outward. Bend at waist, putting palms on ground between legs and bending elbows while bringing head toward floor.
BNST-9 Standing with legs hip-width apart and feet forward, put arms above head and clasp elbows. Bend at waist fully, then come back up to 90 degrees and hold on inhale. Torso should be extended, leg muscles should be engaged and rotated outward.
BNST-10 Standing with legs together, bend over while keeping torso straight. Bring palms to floor and fingers under same side legs' respective heels. Flatten the palms as the head is brought toward the knees to ultimately kiss them.
BNST-11 Standing with legs together, bend over while keeping torso straight. Bring palms to floor and fingers under same side legs' respective heels. Flatten the palms as the head is brought toward the knees to ultimately kiss them.
BNST-12 Initially stand on both legs, bringing arms straight and down in front until palms touch. Drift one leg back, pointing toes out, as arms brought up levelly. Ultimately the arms and leg will parallel the floor, with the head looking straight down from between the arms. Always pull the hands and arms as far out from the body as possible.

UPRIGHT TORSO, STANDING (EQUAL WEIGHT ON BALLS OF FEET AND HEELS)
UPST-1 Doing arm twist, stand on one leg with the other leg crossing over it thigh over thigh and curling the foot around the calf. The lower upper arm should be on the same side as the leg that is crossing over. Switch.
UPST-2 Standing with ankles together or pigeon-toed, bring palms together with straight arms above head and begin to go toward a seated position as possible. Keep torso straight. Can also try with arms horizontal.
UPST-3 Stand with inner ankles together and with head allowing for a level forward gaze. Stretch arms downward, angled 30-45 degrees between body and ground, palms toward body and flattened.
UPST-4 Stand erect on one leg with level gaze. Bring top of thigh of other leg to chest and clasp hands to press it in from around the knee. Switch legs and clasping.
UPST-5 Stand erect on one leg with level gaze. Swing other foot up and in front of the body to rest the outer ankle as high up and into the groin as possible. Use the opposite hand to hold the foot and let the arm of the bending leg reach to the floor. Make the angle between thigh and calf as narrow as possible. Switch legs.
UPST-6 Stand erect on one leg with level gaze. With other leg, try to place the heel and entire base of the foot as high into the inner thigh of the other leg or groin as possible. Hold arms straight up, or up with palms together, or clasped hands with palms outward and as vertical as possible. Bent leg should be on the same plane as the back; straight leg should engage its muscles. Switch legs.
UPST-7 Stand with feet forward and legs straight and as far as possible apart. Rotate thighs and feet outward. Either bring straight arms together above head with palms touching, or have both straight arms rising up vertically, or leave straight arms going out from sides horizontally.
UPST-8 Start by sitting on heels with only the balls of the feet touching the floor and the knees in the air. On inhalation, go to standing, exhale to go back down.
UPST-9 Standing, drift one leg back and bend it until catching the ankle with the hand on the same side. Raise other arm to vertical as the leg forces its way away from the body.
UPST-10 Stand erect, with arms straight down at sides of body and palms facing thighs. Gaze straight ahead.
UPST-11 Standing, kick one leg out to catch its toes with the fingers on the arm of the same side. Straighten leg as torso straightens and other arm rises to vertical. The out leg will be above 90 degrees from the other.

NECK ONLY (STANDING OR SITTING, ARMS TO SIDES)
NECK-1 Neck bend and roll - Turn head to one side, then ease the chin down to rest on the collarbone. Do other side as well, then roll limply in both directions with as much extension and looseness as possible.
NECK-2 Neck plop and crane - Loosely let chin settle on chest, then move in the other direction and let back of head rest on back of neck while trying to look as far back as possible.

ARM ONLY (STANDING OR SITTING, LEVEL GAZE)
ARM-1 Upper arm/shoulder stretch - One arm at a time, reach over shoulder as far as possible and use the other hand to push on the back of the elbow to maximize the stretch. Forearm should be level.
ARM-2 Clasp hands together in front of body, then bring arms up to vertical, palms away from body, and stretch to sky.
ARM-3 Bring straight arms uniformly from sides to meet above head with palms meeting with pressure.
ARM-4 Cross arms over chest to grab shoulder blades with hands. In unclasping shoulders, keep one upper arm over the other while allowing forearms to cross over each other and palms to clasp while fingers align vertically. Hold with upper arms level to floor. Can lower upper arms to chest and hold again. Switch orientation of arms and repeat.
ARM-5 Bring one arm behind back, with the back of hand touching the back, and try to move the hand as high up the center of the back as possible. Bring the other arm over its shoulder and try to clasp hands in the center of the back. Over time go from from mere finger holds, to palms clasping, to grabbing wrists and so on. Switch arms.

KNEE (KNEES ON FLOOR)
KNEE-1 Kneel with thighs straight to hipbones and with shins and the tops of the feet flat to the floor. Arching back, reach hands behind back to grab heels, and try to look as far behind as possible.
KNEE-2 Child's pose - Kneel with knees together and shins and the tops of the feet flat to the floor. Rest chest on thighs and let head limply drape. Arms should be at sides, reaching back loosely (not trying).
KNEE-3 Kneel with thighs straight to hipbones and with the bottoms of the toes only on the floor. Torso should be vertical, gaze level, shoulders rolled back, and arms reaching to floor with outstretched palms facing body.
KNEE-4 With back to a wall, press one knee against the wall with the same leg's shin running up the wall. Plant the foot of the other leg such that the shin and thigh of it are 90 degrees one to the other. Work toward straightening the torso.
KNEE-5 Kneel with two knees hip-width apart, then plant hands on the ground in front. Go back and forth between convex and concave back positions, exhaling when the back goes up and inhaling when it goes down.
KNEE-6 Kneel on one knee, with the other leg's foot planted such that the shin and thigh form a 90 degree angle. Place the elbow of the downed-knee leg side over the other knee to its outside. Bring the other arm such that the palms press each other. Turn the head to look behind to effect a twist.
KNEE-7 Kneel such that the butt rests on the floor and the feet tuck just to the sides of the butt. Clasp hands with fingers interlacing and stretch arms straight up such that the palms face the ceiling.
KNEE-8 Kneel such that knees are wider than hips and butt rests on heels of feet that have been brought together. Bend torso to level with floor, resting head, as arms reach out ahead along floor as far as possible. Walk with fingers to further the stretch.

SIT (BUTT ON FLOOR)
SIT-1 Sit indian-style, then take one leg and plant its foot on the outside of the other leg's downed knee. Put the elbow of the arm of the downed-leg over the upright knee and press it to its inside. Twist by using the resistance between the elbow and the knee to "pull" the stomach through.
SIT-2 Sit with legs lying on floor, then split then apart as wide as possible. Grab each leg's toes with the fingers of the arm from the same sides simultaneously. Maintain an erect torso.
SIT-3 Sit with legs lying on floor, ankles together. Place palms of hands on floor to their respective sides of the butt, base of palm a little behind the butt itself. Maintain an erect torso.
SIT-4 Sit, with one leg extended out and lying on the floor. Bring the leg of the other one over it and the foot to the outside of the thigh. Bring the elbow of the lying leg over the bent leg and put it to the outside of the knee. Using resistance, twist torso and head to look behind while the other hand plants from a straight arm and the stomach is "brought through". Torso erect.
SIT-5 Sit with the bottoms of the feet pressed together. Clasp toes with hands such that thumbs meet above and the other fingers below the toes. Straighten torso while trying to bring knees down to floor.
SIT-6 Sit, with one leg extended and lying on the floor. Bend the other leg back such that the foot is brought to nestle against the butt. Straighten torso and then grasp the straight leg's toes with the hand of the same side's arm. Then switch arms, also now grabbing the outside of the foot for a larger stretch. Switch legs.

LIE ON BACK
LIEB-1 Lie on back, feet planted on the floor against the butt so that the shins are 90 degrees to the ground. Lift the pelvis a few inches from the ground, then extend a leg level with the torso. Switch to the other leg my not resting pelvis (eventually, can rest if difficult at first).
LIEB-2 Lie on back, feet planted on the floor against the butt so that the shins are 90 degrees to the ground. Lift the pelvis enough to allow hands to clasp beneath with arms lying on the floor. Lift the pelvis further.
LIEB-3 Lie on back, feet planted on the floor against the butt so that the shins are 90 degrees to the ground. Place hands above head and put the palms on the floor with the wrists away from the body. Lift up the body using the arms' strength, until head rests gently on floor. The higher the hands are from the head, the easier it is to do.
LIEB-4 Lie on back, legs lying on floor and slightly spread and feet possibly elevated. Arms lie on the floor as well, slightly spread from the torso. Relax.
LIEB-5 Lie on back, legs lying on floor at first. Lift one leg up and clasp toes with arm from same side's fingers. Straighten leg and hold before repeating for the other side.

HAND
HAND-1 In a doorway, place palms with wrists away from one doorjamb and middle fingers almost touching the doorjamb. Walk the legs up the other doorjamb, until one leg can be brought to vertical while the other one scissors. Switch legs. Strengthener for hand stands.

ELBOW
ELBO-1 Place elbows on ground, allowing hands to clasp to form a 'V' with the hands only a short distance from a clear wall. Walk legs such that one is straight and further out, the other nearer in and bent to kick out. Kick up into a headstand, not so hard that the body slams into the wall but in a controlled fashion.

Purchasing the following, linked book does not add to the cost of the purchase, but it does help pay the hosting landlord a nickel or two.
Light On Yoga - B.K.S. Iyengar, with all poses and pictures

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