We’re all busy, and no doubt you’d love to do a full morning session on your yoga swing, but before you know it, you’re out the door and often the morning stretching routine gets neglected.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact just 5 minutes of yoga swing stretches can have a huge impact on your day, by getting you moving and uplifting your mood.
Everyone knows that stretching daily is good for you and many incorporate this discipline by doing yoga, but did you know that yoga swing stretches can be quite practical and quick?
Not to mention, it’s got a positive, fun feel to it, which is just what we need in the mornings to increase your energy and outlook on the day ahead.
So what are some quick daily stretches that you can do with yoga swings to get the most out of the time you have available before your day really gets going?
We’re going to show you four stretches here in this article that are easy, enjoyable and help to mobilize the entire body. We’ll also share some specific benefits of stretching and explore each pose so you’ll feel more inspired. Let’s get into it!
Starting Your Daily Stretching Routine
You can obviously stretch at any time of the day, however you will need to adjust your stretching technique between dynamic and static stretches, based on whether it is before a workout or after.
We’ll just be focusing on a simple morning routine you can do with your yoga swing that is a great all-rounder to get you going, and is not necessarily designed for pre or post workout stretching.
This will help you improve overall flexibility and reduce muscle tightness and pain.
If you’re new to a regular stretching routine, particularly in the mornings, take it slow, as your body needs time to get used to the stretches you’re performing and likely after a night’s sleep, you will need to ease into it due to muscle stiffness, otherwise, you risk injuring yourself.
Also having just woken up, you may feel sleepy, but make sure you pay attention to your technique and listen to your body. Ideally, spend a few minutes to warm up with some circles through the shoulders and hips, and even add a bit of brisk cardio too, such as jogging on the spot.
When doing a general stretching routine, it’s best to focus on the major areas of your body that help with mobility, which include hamstrings, calves, hip flexors and quads for lower body, and try to stretch the shoulders, neck and back, when targeting the upper-body.
Hold each stretch for approx. 30 seconds and avoid bouncing. You can do this a few times, gradually going deeper. On the last rep, hold for as long as comfortable and as time permits.
Daily Stretching Benefits
As we already know, there are many benefits to regular stretching, but I’m just going to spend a minute to highlight some of the main ones in the context of yoga swing stretches and your new morning routine.
Increase flexibility and Range of Motion
Daily stretching can help increase your flexibility, which is an important factor of health and fitness.
Not only can better flexibility help you to perform everyday activities with relative ease, but it also helps delay any potential mobility issues as you age.
Tight muscles can lead to a decrease in your range of motion. Regular morning yoga swing stretches can help increase your range of motion and gives you more freedom of movement which has a big flow on affect to the quality of your life.
Not only can stretching help increase your flexibility, but it can also improve your posture.
Muscle imbalances are common and can lead to poor posture. This is especially true if you sit at a desk for long hours in your day job.
One study found that a combination of stretching along with strengthening specific muscle groups can encourage proper alignment and may correct your posture over the long-term.
Performing yoga swing stretches on a daily basis may improve your circulation, and with increased blood flow and oxygenation to your muscles, you’ll feel less lethargic throughout your day and it will shorten your recovery time after any exercise you may do, and reduce muscle soreness as well.
Stress can cause muscles to become tense and tight, leading to discomfort and eventually even chronic pain. Pain and discomfort can take a considerable toll on your mental health and cause unnecessary stress.
Daily stretching can ease muscle tension quite effectively, thereby reversing the cycle of pain and stress.
Not only that, stretching has been shown to increase serotonin levels, which is a key hormone that helps stabilize our mood and relieve stress.
It makes us feel good and generally eases feelings of depression and anxiety, setting you up for a positive and productive day.
Reduce Back Pain
We touched on lacking range of motion which comes from tightened muscles, and when this happens, you increase the likelihood of straining the muscles in your back.
Yoga swing stretches can help heal an existing back injury by stretching the muscles in a supported manner.
Inverted yoga swing stretches are especially helpful, as this allows for spinal decompression while your vertebra have a chance to relax and lengthen.
Being able to move a joint through its full range of motion will reduce your risk for muscle strain and can also help prevent future back pain.
5 Quick Yoga Swing Stretches
There are so many yoga swing poses to choose from which can make it quite confusing to choose the most “efficient” all-round stretches to start your day.
We went with some gentle poses, which you can modify to your liking, making them more or less challenging.
Also, when deciding on the five to include below, we wanted to cover as many muscle groups as possible and include quite a lot of movement and mobility.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
The Standing Forward Bend is a wonderful start or end to your stretching routine, because it is easy and considered as a stress-relieving and soothing stance.
It’s a great way to stretch your hamstrings and calves, and open the hips, lengthen the spine, and is particularly good for a stiff lower back.
It is one of the most common poses you’ll find yourself doing if you attend any yoga class, along with poses such as downward facing dog, both having similar benefits, although downward dog is slightly more challenging.
Keep your back flat and spine long as you forward fold over your legs on exhale and hold for a few counts.
It’s a good idea after the initial hold, to repeat the process a few times and as you come up to standing, roll your back vertebra by vertebra to get even more mobility from your joints.
You can also progress this pose by simply widening your stance to target the adductors as well.
Another way is by locking your fingers together behind your back, and then as you go into the forward bending position, raise your hands overhead, as this incorporates a shoulder opening as well.
Standing Spinal Twist (Parsva Hasta Padangustasana III)
From the forward bend you can move into a standing pose alternating one leg at a time placed in your aerial hammock or yoga swing. The best position for this is at your ankle, keeping your leg straight.
This is fantastic also for hamstrings but also incorporates a bit of muscle warming, strengthening and balance due to the stabilizing nature of the pose. Then we go a step further and add the spinal twist to really open you up through your torso.
If you don’t quite feel up to this pose in the morning, I completely understand, so here is a nice variation that can be comfortably done on the floor, and is much more relaxing —
Laying Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana).
This pose does not focus on the hamstrings, but will still instead open up your lumber spine and chest much more. You can just comfortably allow yourself to relax and stretch in this position, and changing from side to side in your own time.
Aerial Crescent High Lunge Pose (Ashta Chandrasana)
Ashta Chandrasana (High Lunge) and Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) are both classic full body pose found in most yoga sequences, and are similar to warrior poses, testing your balance, strength and ability to focus.
They offer a wide range of health benefits and are a great stretch for many muscles, including the arms, shoulders and opening the chest; glutes and hips, groin, psoas and quads, hamstrings and knees; upper and lower back muscles, and even has a slight backbend for good measure.
They will also work muscles throughout your entire body, and build strength in the back, legs and ankles. Hence we included it here as a key pose with your morning yoga swing stretches.
Take this opportunity to really feel deeply into the stretch with the yoga swing as support.
While in the lunge position feel free to a raise your arms overhead and reach up. Then after a pause, clasp hands together and lean slightly side to side, bending through the lumbar spine to stretch out the Quadratus Lumborum, and lengthening through the entire side of your body.
Lastly, keeping your hands clasped you can gently move into a lunge twist if you want to.
Bound Angle Pose Aerial (Baddha Konasana Aerial)
At this point it might be nice to get off the ground and become suspended in your aerial hammock for a while with the Bound Angle Pose Aerial, which mostly benefits the Hips.
It’s just a good pose to relax a bit after the lunges as you will likely be feeling well stretched now, especially through the quads and hamstrings.
It’s also a great transition pose before we do a full inversion for the last position before we wrap up your quick morning session.
Inverted Butterfly Pose Aerial (Inverted Baddha Konasana Baddha Hasta)
Lastly, let’s finish with a good relaxing stretch through the spine with a full inversion.
The Inverted Butterfly with Bound Hands Aerial pose benefits much of the same muscles we have already stretched but in a much more relaxed and passive way, so it will feel quite relieving. It may also have a little more emphasis on mid-back, abs (core), biceps and triceps, shoulders, and even feet and ankles.
You can also extend your arms to the floor and add an optional twist side to side, although since you have already actively incorporated quite a few side bends and twists during your standing/laying twist and crescent lunges, so no need to overdo it.
Feel free just to use this pose to relax and center yourself before you go about your day.
Safety Tips for Stretching
Just before we leave you for today, we’d like to share a few extra safety tips to ensure that you are going about it in the right way.
Stretching may not always be safe, especially if you have an acute or existing injury, get the “all clear” from your doctor or sports physician and only perform stretches you are comfortable with.
If you have chronic injuries, it’s best to have a professional design a modified stretching protocol that suits you.
There are a few standard safety tips for stretching, regardless of your fitness level that you should follow to avoid hurting yourself.
Firstly, try not to go straight into your stretches cold, because they are less pliable, and at risk of strain. The best time to stretch is after you work out, but if you’re not exercising before performing your stretches, such as first thing in the morning, consider warming up for 5 to 10 minutes with some light cardio, such as walking or jogging, jumping jacks, and so on.
Experts now suggest to avoid bouncing (ballistic stretching) for general stretching routines as they may cause injury. A physical therapist may recommend this technique in specific situations.
Don’t stretch beyond the point of comfort. While it’s normal to feel some tension and slight discomfort when stretching your muscles, you should ease up if you start to feel any pain.
It may not seem like it, but stretching puts stress on your body and if you’re stretching the same muscles multiple times a day, you risk over-stretching and causing damage. So don’t overdo it!
Spend a minimum of 5-15 minutes a day stretching, ideally first thing in the morning.
Get the body moving first with a bit of light cardio and then even moving your arms, your torso, the hips in circles. Expand and collapse your chest with arms out to the side, arch your back, bend your knees, shake out your legs, circle your neck right down to your ankles.
Then start with the yoga swing stretches as described above, holding each pose for 30sec to a 1min each, before moving to the other side.
We have quite a bit of focus on the hamstrings, along with the spinal twists, because these stretches will help to keep the back flexible and avoid back pain often caused by our sedentary lifestyle.
Most of all remember smile, be gentle with yourself and have some fun with it!