In week four of this four week Stretch Series, the aim will be to stretch the entire body. The exercises and techniques taught in the three previous Stretch Series classes will be used to achieve a full body stretch. The class will focus on stretching the shoulders, spine, hamstrings, and hip-flexors. This class is ideal for anyone who feels stiffness, aches and pains or for anyone who simply wants to become more flexible.

Lunge with Spinal Twist

This exercise is particularly good when trying to remedy posture-related pain. It helps open your hips and improve thoracic (mid-back) mobility which is also beneficial for people who sit for prolonged periods of time. The pose starts by standing straight with both feet together. From there, take a big step forward with one foot and bend the knee of that leg to drop into a lunge. Keeping the other leg stretched out straight behind you, you should start to feel a stretch down the front of your thigh. Finally, place the same hand as straight leg on to the floor and twist your upper body toward the bent leg while raising the other arm up towards the ceiling. Hold this pose for between 30 seconds and 2 minutes before repeating on the opposite side. The benefits of this pose include stretching the hip flexors, quads and back as well as helping to lengthen the muscles and provide better flexibility and range of motion.

Pigeon Pose

This pose has many benefits. Physically, it stretches the hip flexors, opens the glutes and relaxes the psoas muscles. Whilst internally, it stimulates the abdominal organs and aids digestion. To begin, start on all fours. Then, bring one knee forward and place it more or less behind your wrist. From there shuffle the foot and ankle forward so that your calf is as close to parallel with the top edge of your mat as possible. Then slide your other leg back until it’s totally straight and in line with your hip – not drawing out to the side. Untuck your toes and rest on the top of your foot so that the sole is facing up towards the ceiling. Once in the pose, thinking about drawing your legs in towards each other to help keep your hips square. To take the pose deeper, gently lower yourself down either on your elbows, forearms or alternatively coming to rest on the forehead with the arms extended forward on the mat. Stay here for at least 5 breaths, trying to release the tension in your hip with each exhale, before moving on to the opposite side.

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