I AM loving my yoga classes at the moment but I am now travelling with work so can't go any more. I was wondering what benefits it is actually doing and would you have any stretches I could do, when travelling, in my hotel room?
IT’S great to hear that you are enjoying the benefits of your yoga sessions. The feel good factor from it is totally different to any other exercise high you may have come across before — you are releasing endorphins but it feels totally different as you focus your mind on something else, leaving you totally chilled out as well.
In terms of what it’s doing for you, all forms of stretching such as yoga, pilates and tai chi will have the following benefits:
Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
Lower the risk of injury
Lower the risk of lower back pain
Keep you exercising when the weather is bad
Improve your mobility
Reduce the risk of falls, and
Reduce your medical bills.
Simply print off this page and bring it with you when you travel, as these stretches can be done anywhere and will keep you focused so you are still getting the benefits of all your hard work:
• Yoga upper body bends
Start with your feet together, your hands above the head, palms together. Take a deep breath in and stretch your arms up to the sky. Now, simply bend the body to the left and hold for 10 seconds. Come back to centre and now bend to the right for 10 seconds. As your body begins to loosen up you will find that you can bend further and further, but just ease into it.
• Shoulder Rolls
The school classic, these are great to loosen up the shoulder joints and muscles. Start with your feet together and hands together. Keeping the arms straight, roll the arms back in big circles for 10 and then roll forward for 10. These should be done slowly and aim to stretch the arms out as far as possible. Repeat for three sets.
• Triceps stretch
The triceps at the back of the arm can get quite tight and needs a good stretch. Start with your feet together. Straighten the left arm above the head and the right arm by the side. Now bend the left arm behind the head and try to touch the hands in the centre of your back. If you can't touch your hands, don't worry, just get a towel between your hands and move your hands up the towel as you get more flexible. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and change hands.
• Hip Rolls
Now let’s get the hips moving and loosened out! Start with the feet, shoulder width apart, and the back straight. Place your hands on your hips and roll the hips into big circles to the left for 10 and the right for 10. Go for three sets and try to make nice big circles.
• Knee Rolls
This is one of my favourite and most simple stretches. Place your feet together, knees together and place your hands on the front of your knees. Now just roll your knees in a circular motion to the left for 10 and then the right for 10. These should be easy and gentle, the idea is to loosen out the ligaments, tendons and muscles around the knee joint.
• Hamstring stretch
The hamstrings are a big muscle group at the back of the leg and if they become tight you are prone to lower back problems. With this stretch, simply start with your feet together, back straight and crossing your right leg over your left, lower your hands down towards your toes. Don't bounce on this one, just ease into it and stretch as far as you feel comfortable. Hold for 15 seconds and then change legs. Repeat for three sets.
• Quad stretch
The quad is at the front of the legs and is a seriously big muscle group. This is one of the simplest ways to stretch it out. Lie on your side, take your right ankle in your right hand and bring your right heel up to your bum. Hold here for 15 seconds and then roll over on to the opposite leg and do the same.|Repeat for three sets.