9 Relaxing Stretches You Can Do in Bed

9 Relaxing Stretches You Can Do in Bed

Stretching has a way of melting away stress and worry, but there’s no need to unroll your yoga mat. Here are nine stretches you can do in your pajamas and your bed u2014 either before you go to sleep or once your alarm goes off u2014 or both! Do all nine if you have time, or just pick a few. Either way, you’ll feel more relaxed, whether you’re heading to the land of nod or waking with the sun.

| Spinal Twist

Here’s a stretch that seems like it was made to do in bed. It will target your lower back.

  • Lie on your back in the middle of your bed. Bend both knees into the chest, and then cross them over to the left side of your body. You can even let your knees hang slightly over the edge of the bed for a deeper stretch.
  • Extend your arms in T position, and gaze to the right.
  • Stay like this for 30 seconds or more, feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some cracks.
  • Use your abs to lift your knees back to center, and repeat on the other side.

| Knee to Chest Back Stretch

You’ll love this simple lower back stretch.

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
  • Gently bend your left knee into your chest. Clasp your hands in front of your shin and gently pull down to increase the stretch. Release any tension in your shoulders and neck.
  • Keep your right leg relaxed in a comfortable position.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the right knee bent.

| Reclining Hamstring Stretch

Here’s a relaxing way to stretch one hamstring at a time.

  • Lie on your back. Raise your left leg as high as you can, keeping your pelvis flat on the ground. Hold your lower thigh and encourage the leg to move toward your head. Flex your bottom foot to stretch your calf too.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

| Lying Side Quad Stretch

This relaxing stretch will target your quads, hip flexors, and shoulders.

  • Lie on your left side. Bend your left elbow and prop your head up with your left hand.
  • Bend your right knee and hold on to the top of your foot with your right hand. Pull your heel toward your bum. If you find it tough to balance, bend your bottom knee as well.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, pressing your hips slightly forward to increase the stretch in the front of your thigh.
  • Release the stretch, roll over onto your right side and stretch your left quad.

| Half Happy Baby

This variation on the yoga pose Happy Baby lengthens the lower back and opens up always-tight hips.

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
  • Gently bend your left knee and hold on to the sole of your foot with both hands. Gently press your knee toward the bed so it’s next to your torso and just below your shoulder. Your back and head should remain resting on the bed.
  • Keep your right leg relaxed in a comfortable position.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the right leg.

| Happy Baby

Here’s more hip and lower back love!

  • Lie on your back, bend both knees and hold on to the outside edges of your feet.
  • Gently use your arm muscles to pull your knees toward the floor beside your chest. Relax your shoulders and your head, staying here for 30 seconds.

| Cobra

This gentle stretch lengthens the muscles in your abs, chest, and neck; it also increases flexibility in your spine.

  • Roll over onto your belly and extend your arms out in front of you. If you’re tall, you can hang your feet over the end of the bed.
  • Keeping your legs and pelvis grounded, slowly begin to walk your hands toward your chest. As your torso lifts off the bed, keep a slight bend in your elbows. Walk your hands in until you feel a nice stretch in your abs. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your neck. If it feels OK, lower your head back between your shoulder blades, and you’ll feel a nice stretch in your chest and neck.
  • Stay here for 30 seconds and then lower your torso back to the bed.

| Fish

You’ll not only stretch the muscles in your torso and feel your spine elongate, but you’ll also feel this position bring length to your neck, chest, and shoulders.

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
  • Lift the head and upper back off the bed and prop your torso up with your elbows.
  • Relax your head back, opening through the throat.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

    | Butterfly

    Here’s a great pose to end with that will stretch out the hips and lower back.

    • Sit with both knees bent, soles of the feet touching.
    • Fold forward as far as you want, resting the hands on your ankles or on the bed in front of your feet.
    • Enjoy this stretch for 30 seconds.

    9 Relaxing Stretches You Can Do in Bed

    9 Relaxing Stretches You Can Do in Bed

    Stretching has a way of melting away stress and worry| but there’s no need to unroll your yoga mat. Here are nine stretches you can do in your pajamas and your bed u2014 either before you go to sleep or once your alarm goes off u2014 or both! Do all nine if you have time| or just pick a few. Either way| you’ll feel more relaxed| whether you’re heading to the land of nod or waking with the sun.

    | Spinal Twist

    Here’s a stretch that seems like it was made to do in bed. It will target your lower back.

    • Lie on your back in the middle of your bed. Bend both knees into the chest| and then cross them over to the left side of your body. You can even let your knees hang slightly over the edge of the bed for a deeper stretch.
    • Extend your arms in T position| and gaze to the right.
    • Stay like this for 30 seconds or more| feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some cracks.
    • Use your abs to lift your knees back to center| and repeat on the other side.

    | Knee to Chest Back Stretch

    You’ll love this simple lower back stretch.

    • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
    • Gently bend your left knee into your chest. Clasp your hands in front of your shin and gently pull down to increase the stretch. Release any tension in your shoulders and neck.
    • Keep your right leg relaxed in a comfortable position.
    • Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the right knee bent.

    | Reclining Hamstring Stretch

    Here’s a relaxing way to stretch one hamstring at a time.

    • Lie on your back. Raise your left leg as high as you can| keeping your pelvis flat on the ground. Hold your lower thigh and encourage the leg to move toward your head. Flex your bottom foot to stretch your calf too.
    • Hold for 30 seconds| then switch sides.

    | Lying Side Quad Stretch

    This relaxing stretch will target your quads| hip flexors| and shoulders.

    • Lie on your left side. Bend your left elbow and prop your head up with your left hand.
    • Bend your right knee and hold on to the top of your foot with your right hand. Pull your heel toward your bum. If you find it tough to balance| bend your bottom knee as well.
    • Hold for 30 seconds| pressing your hips slightly forward to increase the stretch in the front of your thigh.
    • Release the stretch| roll over onto your right side and stretch your left quad.

    | Half Happy Baby

    This variation on the yoga pose Happy Baby lengthens the lower back and opens up always-tight hips.

    • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
    • Gently bend your left knee and hold on to the sole of your foot with both hands. Gently press your knee toward the bed so it’s next to your torso and just below your shoulder. Your back and head should remain resting on the bed.
    • Keep your right leg relaxed in a comfortable position.
    • Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the right leg.

    | Happy Baby

    Here’s more hip and lower back love!

    • Lie on your back| bend both knees and hold on to the outside edges of your feet.
    • Gently use your arm muscles to pull your knees toward the floor beside your chest. Relax your shoulders and your head| staying here for 30 seconds.

    | Cobra

    This gentle stretch lengthens the muscles in your abs| chest| and neck; it also increases flexibility in your spine.

    • Roll over onto your belly and extend your arms out in front of you. If you’re tall| you can hang your feet over the end of the bed.
    • Keeping your legs and pelvis grounded| slowly begin to walk your hands toward your chest. As your torso lifts off the bed| keep a slight bend in your elbows. Walk your hands in until you feel a nice stretch in your abs. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your neck. If it feels OK| lower your head back between your shoulder blades| and you’ll feel a nice stretch in your chest and neck.
    • Stay here for 30 seconds and then lower your torso back to the bed.

    | Fish

    You’ll not only stretch the muscles in your torso and feel your spine elongate| but you’ll also feel this position bring length to your neck| chest| and shoulders.

    • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
    • Lift the head and upper back off the bed and prop your torso up with your elbows.
    • Relax your head back| opening through the throat.
    • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

      | Butterfly

      Here’s a great pose to end with that will stretch out the hips and lower back.

      • Sit with both knees bent| soles of the feet touching.
      • Fold forward as far as you want| resting the hands on your ankles or on the bed in front of your feet.
      • Enjoy this stretch for 30 seconds.

      Here’s How to Relieve Period-Related Back Pain

      As if pimples, emotional outbursts, cramps, exhaustion, and feeling bloated aren’t enough, the PMS demons have to throw uncomfortable back pain your way too.

      Lower back pain during your period, or primary dysmenorrhea, is caused by contractions in the uterus. Every month your body builds up a thick uterine lining (called endometrium) in preparation for a fertilized egg. If you don’t become pregnant, estrogen and progesterone levels drop and cue your body to break down and detach the lining, and it does that by contracting. If your uterus contracts too strongly, it can press on nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the nearby muscles, which is the reason pain occurs in the abdomen and radiates to the lower back and even to the thighs.

      Chances are, if you’ve always had similar menstrual discomfort, it’s nothing to worry about. But see a doctor if you’re incapacitated for more than a few days a month or if you’ve noticed a sudden change in your symptoms. Meanwhile, you can ease the back pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, or try a warm bath or a heating pad. Avoiding foods that contain caffeine and salt can also help. And even though you have about as much energy as it takes to plop onto the couch, women who exercise regularly often experience less menstrual pain, so keep up with your routine by doing some light cardio or these cramp-relieving yoga poses.

      Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

      Here’s How to Relieve Period-Related Back Pain

      As if pimples| emotional outbursts| cramps| exhaustion| and feeling bloated aren’t enough| the PMS demons have to throw uncomfortable back pain your way too.

      Lower back pain during your period| or primary dysmenorrhea| is caused by contractions in the uterus. Every month your body builds up a thick uterine lining (called endometrium) in preparation for a fertilized egg. If you don’t become pregnant| estrogen and progesterone levels drop and cue your body to break down and detach the lining| and it does that by contracting. If your uterus contracts too strongly| it can press on nearby blood vessels| cutting off the supply of oxygen to the nearby muscles| which is the reason pain occurs in the abdomen and radiates to the lower back and even to the thighs.

      Chances are| if you’ve always had similar menstrual discomfort| it’s nothing to worry about. But see a doctor if you’re incapacitated for more than a few days a month or if you’ve noticed a sudden change in your symptoms. Meanwhile| you can ease the back pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen| or try a warm bath or a heating pad. Avoiding foods that contain caffeine and salt can also help. And even though you have about as much energy as it takes to plop onto the couch| women who exercise regularly often experience less menstrual pain| so keep up with your routine by doing some light cardio or these cramp-relieving yoga poses.

      Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

      8 Stretches That Can Help Ease the Pain of Sciatica

      8 Stretches That Can Help Ease the Pain of Sciatica

      Are you dealing with shooting pains or numbness from sciatica? Discomfort is caused when the sciatic nerve (which runs from the lower spine down the back of each leg) gets pinched. It can be caused by an injury such as a slipped disk or pelvic fracture| pregnancy| or tight muscles in the lower back| hips| and legs. Whether you feel yours at night or after sitting or standing for a long time| relief is just a yoga mat away with these eight poses.

      | Half Moon

      If your sciatica symptoms are caused by sitting or standing for long periods| stretching the outer leg can offer instant relief.

      • Stand on your hands and feet in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your hands| and rise up into Warrior 1. Open your hips| arms| and chest into Warrior 2.
      • Place your left hand on your left hip| and stretch your right arm straight out| creating length through the right side of your body. Shift weight onto your right foot| and lift your left foot up. Plant your right palm flat on the ground under your shoulder.
      • Distribute your weight evenly between your right hand and foot. Lift your left arm up| and gaze toward your left hand. Hold for five breaths| and then release the pose| coming into Downward Dog. Then try Half Moon on the left side.

      Find more details on this balancing pose here.

      | Seated Spinal Twist

      Creating some movement in the spine through twisting poses can relieve pressure from the sciatic nerve. As a bonus| this pose also targets the oh-so-tight piriformis muscle.

      • Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended in front of you. Bend both knees and place your left heel as close to your right sit bone as you can. Cross your right foot over your left knee and plant it on the floor so your outer right ankle is next to your left knee.
      • Reach your right arm behind you| and place your palm on the floor. Cross your left elbow over your outer right thigh to gently increase the twist.
      • Gaze behind you and over your right shoulder| staying here for five breaths. Then release the twist| straighten your legs out in front of you| and do this pose with your left knee pointing up.

      Check out this post if you’re itching for a deeper variation.

      | Open Lizard

      This variation of Lizard pose will open a different part of your hip| as well as offer a nice stretch for the hip flexor| which can also contribute to sciatica discomfort.

      • From Downward Facing Dog| step your right foot forward between your palms. Keep your hands on the mat| and lower your left knee to the floor| pointing the toes.
      • Slowly lower your right knee to the right| so you’re resting on the outside of your right flexed foot. Keep your arms straight| pressing your chest forward just like in Upward Facing Dog. This will help encourage your hips to lower| increasing the stretch.
      • Gaze forward| and enjoy this pose for five breaths. Then switch sides.

      | Locust

      Strengthening the back muscles can offer relief| and here’s an effective and relaxing pose to try.

      • Lie on your belly with your legs together. Place your arms by your sides so your palms are facing up.
      • As you inhale| lift your legs| head| and upper body off the floor. Keep your hands on the floor for support. As you breathe| extend the crown of your head away from your toes| lengthening as much as you can through your spine.
      • Stay for five breaths| and then release back to the mat.

      Here’s a more detailed description of how to do Locust A.

      | Pigeon

      Take this pose as deeply as you want to target the areas of discomfort around your lower back| hips| and thighs.

      • From Downward Facing Dog| step both feet together| and bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat. If your hips are more open| inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat.
      • Stay here with your hands resting on your hips or your right leg| or walk your hands out in front of you| allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.
      • Hold here| breathing into any areas of tightness and tension| for at least five breaths. Then place your hands on the mat in front of you| tuck your left toes| and step your right foot back. Repeat Pigeon on the left side.

      Here are more details regarding the common hip-opener.

      | Figure Four

      This relaxing variation of Pigeon really targets the tight piriformis muscle| which is a common cause of sciatica.

      • Lie on your back with both legs in the air. Place your right ankle on your left thigh above your knee. See the shape of the number four? It is there| just upside down.
      • Reach your right hand through the open space created by your right leg and grab your left hand| which is reaching around the outside of your left thigh. Slowly bend your left knee toward your chest. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your right hip.
      • After five breaths repeat on the other side.

      | Reclining Big Toe Pose

      This gentle variation of Reclining Big Toe pose is done with a bent knee so you can really focus on stretching the lower back and hamstring of the leg that’s raised.

      • Lying on your back| bend your left knee slightly and plant your foot on the floor. Raise your right leg into the air| keeping your pelvis grounded. Hold your lower thigh or place a strap over the arch of your foot.
      • Keep your torso relaxed| and hold for five breaths. Repeat on the left side.

      | Half Wheel

      Some people will experience relief from engaging the glutes and hamstrings| so give this backbend a go.

      • Begin lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body and your palms facing down. Bend your knees| placing your heels as close as you can to your bum.
      • With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground| lift your hips up. Keep your palms on the mat or clasp your hands together below your pelvis| extending through your arms. Or you can also bend your elbows and rest your hands on your lower back. If your feet are close enough| you can also hold your ankles.
      • Stay here for five deep breaths| lifting your hips up as high as you can.

      If you want more details on how to do Bridge pose| keep reading.

      Quick Fix For Back Pain ¡ª?Stretch Your Hip Flexors

      Low-back pain is plaguing the nation! And if your run, bike, or sit too much, tight hips could be contributing to the ache around your spine. A major hip flexor muscle, the psoas, not only draws the thigh toward the abdomen, but is also attached to the five lowest vertebrae of the spine. When the psoas shortens and tightens from activities like sprinting or cycling, it can pull on the vertebrae, creating a sensation of tightness in the low back. The good news is that stretching out the hip flexors can alleviate a lot of lower back pain. Once you are warmed up, and after every workout, you should stretch your psoas. Try these two stretches after you next run or ride.

      Hip Flexor Stretch

      This is an effective stretch you can do anywhere to lengthen the quad, the muscle on front of the thigh, along with the psoas.

      Begin in a lunge with your right foot forward. Slowly lower your left knee to the floor.Take a few moments to find balance, and once you’re stable, reach your left arm back to grab your left foot. Pull your foot toward your pelvis to increase the stretch. Squeezing your left glute will increase the stretch, too.Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly release your hold on your left foot. Come back to the high lunge position, then switch sides with your left foot forward to stretch your right hip.Psoas Stretch on Roller

      If you have a foam roller, try this passive, relaxing psoas stretch.

      Place the roller perpendicular to your spine and lie with your sacrum, the back of your pelvis ¡ª not your spine ¡ª on the roller.Pull your right knee toward your chest, keeping your left heel on the ground. You should feel a stretch on the front of your left hip.To increase the stretch, reach your left arm over your head and open your knee slightly out to the right.Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.Image Sources: Megan Wolfe Photography and POPSUGAR Photography

      Quick Fix For Back Pain ¡ª?Stretch Your Hip Flexors

      Low-back pain is plaguing the nation! And if your run| bike| or sit too much| tight hips could be contributing to the ache around your spine. A major hip flexor muscle| the psoas| not only draws the thigh toward the abdomen| but is also attached to the five lowest vertebrae of the spine. When the psoas shortens and tightens from activities like sprinting or cycling| it can pull on the vertebrae| creating a sensation of tightness in the low back. The good news is that stretching out the hip flexors can alleviate a lot of lower back pain. Once you are warmed up| and after every workout| you should stretch your psoas. Try these two stretches after you next run or ride.

      Hip Flexor Stretch

      This is an effective stretch you can do anywhere to lengthen the quad| the muscle on front of the thigh| along with the psoas.

      Begin in a lunge with your right foot forward. Slowly lower your left knee to the floor.Take a few moments to find balance| and once you’re stable| reach your left arm back to grab your left foot. Pull your foot toward your pelvis to increase the stretch. Squeezing your left glute will increase the stretch| too.Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly release your hold on your left foot. Come back to the high lunge position| then switch sides with your left foot forward to stretch your right hip.Psoas Stretch on Roller

      If you have a foam roller| try this passive| relaxing psoas stretch.

      Place the roller perpendicular to your spine and lie with your sacrum| the back of your pelvis ¡ª not your spine ¡ª on the roller.Pull your right knee toward your chest| keeping your left heel on the ground. You should feel a stretch on the front of your left hip.To increase the stretch| reach your left arm over your head and open your knee slightly out to the right.Hold for 30 seconds| then switch legs.Image Sources: Megan Wolfe Photography and POPSUGAR Photography

      Skip the Ibuprofen and Do These Yoga Poses For Menstrual Cramp Relief

      Got cramps? You’re not alone. Many women suffer from severe menstrual pain (known as dysmenorrhea) with sharp, throbbing, burning, or nauseating cramps in their lower abdomen and back. The cramps may come right before you get your period or during, but thankfully they go away when your period is over.

      These crippling, can’t-get-through-your-normal-day kind of cramps are caused by uterine contractions and can be aggravated by emotional stress. They tend to cause headaches and a really heavy flow ¡ª twice the fun. Some women take pain meds to deal, but you may want to give these yoga poses a try, since getting your body moving (and out of fetal position on the couch) can really help with cramps.

      Half Bound Squat

      Hip pain can be part of the whole cramp scene, so stretching them out feels really good. Here’s how to do Half Bound Squat.

      Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips-width-distance apart. Bend your knees, and lower your hips all the way down. Take a peek at your feet, and see if you can press your heels out, bringing your feet parallel.Press your elbows against your inner knees, and lengthen through your torso. Hold like this in a Wide Squat for five breaths.Then bring your left arm between your knees. Lower your left shoulder as far under your left knee as possible, so you hug your knee with your armpit as you reach your left forearm around your back with your palm facing away from your body.Reach your right arm up as high as you can, bend your elbow, and bring the back of your right palm to your lower back. If they’re close enough, hold your right wrist with your left hand, with the right palm facing behind you.Stay here for five deep breaths. Come back to Wide Squat for one complete breath to release the pose, and repeat on the right side.

      Arching Pigeon

      Pigeon Pose also opens your hips, but sometimes it feels better to work one side at a time. This variation will also stretch out the lower belly.

      Sit on the floor with your right knee bent and your left leg extended behind you.Place your hands on your hips, and gently arch your back. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of your left hip, but if this variation is painful, then lean forward, placing your hands on the floor in front of you. If you want more of a stretch, raise your arms in the air.Hold for five or more breaths, and then repeat this pose on the other side.

      One-Armed Camel

      Stretching out your abs and the front of the hips can also relieve cramps. Here’s how to do One-Armed Camel.

      Stand on your shins so your knees are underneath your hips.Reach your right hand back, placing it on your right heel or on the mat behind your right toes. Extend your left arm in the air. Shift weight forward onto your knees to increase the stretch in your quads, belly, and chest. Lower your head behind you, and stay here for five breaths. Switch sides, holding for another five breaths, and then lift the torso up to release.

      Wide Child’s Pose

      If you feel cramps in your lower back, then Wide Child’s Pose is sure to offer relaxation and relief.

      Place your knees on the floor, widen them to a comfortable distance, and then fold forward, extending your arms in front of you.Rest your forehead on the mat or turn your head to one side, holding for five breaths. Turn your head to the other side for another five relaxing breaths.

      Reclining Twist

      Here’s a relaxing way to increase side-to-side spinal flexibility, which can also help relieve pain in the lower belly and lower back.

      Lie on your back, and cross your left knee over to the right side.Extend your arms out wide, gazing to the left.Hold here for at least five breaths, feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some “cracks.”Use your abs to lift your knees back to center and repeat on the other side. Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

      Skip the Ibuprofen and Do These Yoga Poses For Menstrual Cramp Relief

      Got cramps? You’re not alone. Many women suffer from severe menstrual pain (known as dysmenorrhea) with sharp| throbbing| burning| or nauseating cramps in their lower abdomen and back. The cramps may come right before you get your period or during| but thankfully they go away when your period is over.

      These crippling| can’t-get-through-your-normal-day kind of cramps are caused by uterine contractions and can be aggravated by emotional stress. They tend to cause headaches and a really heavy flow ¡ª twice the fun. Some women take pain meds to deal| but you may want to give these yoga poses a try| since getting your body moving (and out of fetal position on the couch) can really help with cramps.

      Half Bound Squat

      Hip pain can be part of the whole cramp scene| so stretching them out feels really good. Here’s how to do Half Bound Squat.

      Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips-width-distance apart. Bend your knees| and lower your hips all the way down. Take a peek at your feet| and see if you can press your heels out| bringing your feet parallel.Press your elbows against your inner knees| and lengthen through your torso. Hold like this in a Wide Squat for five breaths.Then bring your left arm between your knees. Lower your left shoulder as far under your left knee as possible| so you hug your knee with your armpit as you reach your left forearm around your back with your palm facing away from your body.Reach your right arm up as high as you can| bend your elbow| and bring the back of your right palm to your lower back. If they’re close enough| hold your right wrist with your left hand| with the right palm facing behind you.Stay here for five deep breaths. Come back to Wide Squat for one complete breath to release the pose| and repeat on the right side.

      Arching Pigeon

      Pigeon Pose also opens your hips| but sometimes it feels better to work one side at a time. This variation will also stretch out the lower belly.

      Sit on the floor with your right knee bent and your left leg extended behind you.Place your hands on your hips| and gently arch your back. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of your left hip| but if this variation is painful| then lean forward| placing your hands on the floor in front of you. If you want more of a stretch| raise your arms in the air.Hold for five or more breaths| and then repeat this pose on the other side.

      One-Armed Camel

      Stretching out your abs and the front of the hips can also relieve cramps. Here’s how to do One-Armed Camel.

      Stand on your shins so your knees are underneath your hips.Reach your right hand back| placing it on your right heel or on the mat behind your right toes. Extend your left arm in the air. Shift weight forward onto your knees to increase the stretch in your quads| belly| and chest. Lower your head behind you| and stay here for five breaths. Switch sides| holding for another five breaths| and then lift the torso up to release.

      Wide Child’s Pose

      If you feel cramps in your lower back| then Wide Child’s Pose is sure to offer relaxation and relief.

      Place your knees on the floor| widen them to a comfortable distance| and then fold forward| extending your arms in front of you.Rest your forehead on the mat or turn your head to one side| holding for five breaths. Turn your head to the other side for another five relaxing breaths.

      Reclining Twist

      Here’s a relaxing way to increase side-to-side spinal flexibility| which can also help relieve pain in the lower belly and lower back.

      Lie on your back| and cross your left knee over to the right side.Extend your arms out wide| gazing to the left.Hold here for at least five breaths| feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some “cracks.”Use your abs to lift your knees back to center and repeat on the other side. Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

      Yoga Sequence For an Aching Runner’s Back

      Yoga Sequence For an Aching Runner’s Back

      If you run| it’s not unusual to experience back pain at some point. This pain can be caused by tense upper back muscles and shoulders| weak abs| tight hamstrings and hips| or a combination. You’ll be amazed at how a regular stretching routine can help! Sleep better and tie your shoes with ease by going through this 11-pose yoga sequence after every run.

      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Butterfly

      Start by opening up your hips and lower back with Butterfly pose.

      • Begin on your mat and bend your knees so the soles of your feet are touching. Use your hands to open your feet up like a book.
      • Inhale with a straight spine| and exhale as you fold forward| pressing your elbows against your inner thighs to deepen the stretch.
      • Relax your shoulders away from your ears and stay like this for five breaths.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Boat

      A tried-and-true pose to target the abs and increase hamstring flexibility| Boat pose is the perfect complement to running.

      • From Butterfly| inhale to lift the legs and extend them in the air in front of you to make a V shape with your body. If it’s too difficult to keep the legs straight| bend the knees.
      • Keeping the spine long and the chest lifted| hold for five complete breaths.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Wide Straddle

      Since tight inner thighs and hamstrings can cause lower-back pain| do this relaxing Seated Wide-Legged Straddle to stretch the backs of your legs and your lower back at the same time.

      • From Boat| release your legs to the floor so there’s about three to four feet between your heels. Inhale to lengthen your spine| and on an exhale| slowly fold forward as far as you can with a flat back| making sure your toes and knees are pointing straight up.
      • Keep your spine long| and avoid hunching. Rest your hands on your feet| your legs| or on the floor in front of you. As you feel your body opening up| work on lowering your chest toward the ground.
      • Stay here for five breaths.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Arching Pigeon

      This variation of Pigeon pose stretches the glutes| hip flexors| and lower abs while increasing spinal flexibility.

      • From Seated Straddle| sit up| bend your left knee| and extend your right leg behind you.
      • Place your hands on your hips| and gently arch your back. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of your left hip| but if this variation is painful| then lean forward| placing your hands on the floor in front of you.
      • Hold for five or more breaths| and then repeat this pose with the right knee forward.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Kneeling Twist

      This effective twist increases spinal rotation| which can decrease with the concentration on forward motion of running.

      • From Arching Pigeon| come onto the hands and knees with your knees hips-width distance apart| hands underneath the shoulders.
      • Inhale to raise your left arm into the air and then exhale to swing it back down| threading it through the space between your right hand and knees| lowering your left shoulder and left side of the head to the mat.
      • Inhale to raise your right arm in the air and draw it behind you as far as you can to open the chest and deepen the twist. Exhale to turn your head to the right.
      • Hold here| breathing deeply for five breaths| then come back onto the hands and knees and repeat this pose on the other side.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Sphinx

      This gentle backbending pose increases flexibility in your spine while opening the chest| shoulders| and abs.

      • From Kneeling Twist| come onto your belly with your legs behind you.
      • Place your forearms on the mat so your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders. Keep the hips resting on the floor as you gently press your chest away from your hands.
      • Actively roll your shoulders away from your ears| elongating the neck. Gaze in front of you or lower your head back between your shoulder blades to deepen the stretch.
      • Hold for five breaths and then exhale as you release your belly to the mat.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Frog

      This funky pose stretches out the front of your thighs| but it will also give you a nice stretch in the chest and shoulders. No need to force this position| since it might feel foreign to your body u2014 just play around.

      • From Sphinx| bend both knees and reach your hands back to hold on to your feet.
      • Turn your fingers so they are pointing in the same direction as your toes| and lift your elbows up so they’re pointing toward the ceiling. This will allow you to get more leverage so you can use your upper body strength to press the soles of both feet toward the floor| which will increase the stretch in your quads. Lift your chest as high as you can.
      • If you experience pain in the knee| don’t press your foot down as hard| or do one side at a time.
      • Stay here for five deep breaths.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Bow

      Here’s a pose that will stretch out the abs| chest| quads| and shoulders; strengthen the back muscles; and increase flexibility in the spine.

      • From Frog| keep the knees bent and turn your hands so you’re holding onto the outsides of your ankles.
      • Try to keep the toes together| either pointing or flexing your feet. Lift your feet up as high as you can| and shift your weight forward so that you’re resting on your naval instead of on your pubic bone.
      • Hold for five deep breaths.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Wide Child’s Pose

      This next pose offers a wonderful lower-back release.

      • From Bow pose| release your hands to the mat underneath your shoulders. Press your hips back| sitting between your heels. Exhale as you lower your belly between your knees| lengthening the spine.
      • Enjoy this stretch for five breaths.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Reclining Hero

      Move onto this relaxing quad and shin stretch. If lying down in this pose is beyond your current yoga abilities| just sitting in Hero is great for your legs.

      • From Wide Child’s Pose| sit up and draw your thighs together| sitting in between your heels. If this is too much| sit on a block and stay here.
      • Take a look at your feet and curl the arches around the curve of your bum| so your toes are pointing behind you and slightly toward one another.
      • If you’re sitting on the floor| shift weight back and lie flat back. Try to keep your knees as close together as possible to feel a deeper stretch in your quads. Lift your arms overhead and hold opposite elbows.
      • Breathe deeply in this pose for five breaths.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

      | Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

      End with a pose that will target tight hamstrings and shoulders.

      • From Reclining Hero| slowly sit up| resting on your shins for a complete breath. Inhale to press your hands into the floor in front of your knees| tuck your toes| and exhale to slowly straighten the legs| keeping your torso folded over your thighs.
      • Inhale to bring your arms behind you| and interlace your fingers| pressing the heels of the palms together in a double fist. Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest.
      • Separate the feet about three to four feet apart| and as you exhale| fold your torso deeply between your thighs| tucking your chin. Make sure to lengthen through the spine by reaching the top of your head toward the floor.
      • Stay like this for five breaths| and when you’re ready to come out| actively press into your feet| engage your thighs| and slowly lift your torso back up to a standing position.
      Photos: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio