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A Few Simple Stretches

Author: Cheryl Lynne Bradley

© Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2001-2, cannot be reproduced without author's consent.

Here are a few simple Yoga stretches for those days when life gets you in the
neck, in the back, in the shoulder or for the dreaded internetitis rigor mortis.
Always work within your comfort level, it is meant to relax and stretch the
muscles not to force them. Tip for blondes: chairs used should not have wheels.

Neck Stretch
Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe. Inhale
and as you exhale, gently let your right ear drop towards your right shoulder.
Repeat as many times as your comfort level allows. Do not force the stretch, let
gravity pull your ear towards your shoulder. Inhale again and return to the
centre position. Repeat for the left side.

Shoulder Rolls
This is the stretch you should use if you have been
working at the computer for a long period of time. Sit on a chair and slowly
roll your shoulders forward, up and back. Repeat several times within your
comfort zone. Roll your shoulders the other way, starting at the back and moving
up and forward. Lift your elbows as you roll your shoulders forward and back to
accentuate the stretch.

Chest and Shoulder Blade Stretch
Stand comfortably, reach your
hands around your back and clasp your hands. Inhale and as you exhale, pull your
arms straight and out behind you. Hold and breathe. Work within your comfort

Forward Bend
Sit on the edge of your chair (Note: See tips for
blondes) with your back straight and your feet planted firmly on the floor about
two feet apart. Inhale and as you exhale, reach your arms down towards the
floor, resting your ribs on your thighs. Let your arms hang. Hold and breathe
deeply. You will feel the stretch along your spine. Inhale, round your back and
slowly climb your legs with your hands until you are back in a sitting position.

Side Stretch
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms
over your head and clasp your hands. Reach towards the sky and inhale a deep
breath. Exhale reaching up and over to the right side. You will feel the stretch
in the left side of your body. Hold and breathe. Inhale and return yourself to
the centre position. Slowly while exhaling, unclasp your hands and lower your

Sun Salutation
This is a great warm-up or just a nice stretch to
add to your daily routine. It is an easy way to build strength and flexibility.
This is a series of twelve poses performed in a flowing movement. Work within
your comfort level and don't expect a smooth flow immediately, that will come
with time and practice. Proceed as follows:

Mountain (Position One)
Stand with your feet together but slightly
pigeon-toed. Big toes touching and heels apart. Clasp your hands at your heart
level in a prayer position.

Back Bend (Position Two)
Inhale and stretch your arms over your
head and arch your back. Keep your legs and bum firm and your feet firmly
planted on the floor. Do not force the bend.

Forward Bend (Position Three)
Exhale and stretch forward and down.
You are trying to bring your hands flat to the floor beside your feet and your
head to your knees. Work within your comfort level.

Lunge (Position Four)
Inhale and hold your breath while reaching
your left leg back to rest on the ball of your foot. Your right knee is tucked
under your chest. Align your knee over your ankle and your shoulder over your

Plank (Position Five)
Still holding your breath, reach your right
leg back, keeping both legs straight and tightening your abdominal muscles.

Stick (Position Six)
Exhale, lowering your legs, hips and chest
together to within a couple of inches of the floor.

Cobra (Position Seven)
Lower your hips, point your feet and inhale.
As you inhale, lift your chest towards the sky. Keep your elbows slightly bent
and pressed close to your ribs.

Downward Dog (Position Eight)
Tuck your toes under and exhale.
While exhaling, lift your bum and bring your body into an inverted V shape.

Lunge (Position Nine)
Lift your head and inhale while bringing your
right foot forward between your hands.

Forward Bend (Position Ten)
Exhale and bend forward. Bring your
left leg up to meet the right and drop your head to your knees.

Arching Back (Position Eleven)
Inhale and straighten your back.
Bring your arms above your head. Look up and arch your back while keeping your
feet firmly planted.

Mountain (Position Twelve)
Exhale and return your hands to the
prayer pose.

You then repeat the entire sequence stepping back with the other leg. This is
quite a thorough stretch for the body and a deceptively simple but vigorous

Whether you devote a few minutes a day, 20 minutes three times a week or use
as required, any of the above stretches will bring relief, release and physical
benefits. The illness-wellness continuum requires us to nurture our minds,
bodies and spirit. Yoga nurtures all three in a positive way.

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Build a Better Body on a Budget
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A WAlk A DAy
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