Technique: Stand with your legs wider than shoulder width apart, and turn toes slightly outward. With your abs and buttocks tight, lower your body, bending at the knees, so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Place your hands on top of your knees. Lift your pelvis (engage the muscles you would use to stop urine flow). Inhale and keep good posture as you press your right hand down on your right knee; exhale and turn your shoulders to your left. Breathe in and out three times (about 20 to 30 seconds total). Stand up, then repeat the stretch on the other side.
Technique: Sit on the floor with your knees bent underneath you to your left. With your left hand, hold on to your ankles. Raise your right arm and inhale. Extend and reach that arm over your head, and exhale as you feel the stretch along the right side of your torso. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat twice; switch sides and do three reps.
Seated forward bend
Technique: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Hook a yoga strap or towel around the bottoms of your feet, and leave it there for now. Inhale and reach your arms up to the ceiling. Exhale and begin to bend forward gently by hinging at the hips, and bring your belly down to your thighs. Grasp the yoga strap or towel, keeping your back straight. “You want to lengthen the spine and keep your neck in line with your body,” says Eva Redpath, a personal trainer and the founder of Body Conditioning by Dancers in Toronto. Take another breath and, as you exhale, see if you can bring your upper body even closer to your legs. Hold for between 30 seconds and three minutes. Go as far as you comfortably can, and build from there each time you do it. “Stretch until you feel mild tension, nothing strenuous or painful. Over time, as you practise this stretch, you’ll be able to go down farther.”
Looking for more workout moves? These are the best arm exercises for women.