Give Yourself the Gift of This 8-Minute Stretching Routine

This isn’t your standard New Year’s plan. No restrictive diets, no weekly weigh-ins, no “whole new you” for this new year—because, hey, you’re pretty great already. These four expert-led plans—designed to help you move your body, eat more veggies, get a better night’s sleep, or show yourself some loving care—are all about developing healthy habits that better align with your goals.

If you start every morning with perfect WFH posture, but then somehow end the day crumpled up on the couch with your laptop sideways—you’re not alone. Luckily, we have just the thing to give your muscles some much-needed relief from spending months in a pretzel shape. For your last workout of the ReNew Year Movement Program (we made it!), fitness expert Ashley Joi has given you the gift of this 8-minute stretch routine that will help you unwind from head to toe.

Over the past four weeks, as Joi explains, this program hopefully met you in the present moment to push past boundaries, limitations, and self doubt to grow stronger, both inside and out. “Now, here you are at the finish line, proud and accomplished," she says. This tension-relieving workout is the perfect way to spend your last active recovery day, so take some time for yourself to enjoy some active recovery and to thank your body for supporting you through it all.

Experts In This Article
  • Ashley Joi, CPT, six-year fitness industry veteran who currently works with Centr

Say goodbye to tight muscles all over with this 8-minute stretch

1. Downward Dog: We’re starting off today's stretch with this full-body tension-reliever. With your hands on the ground and your weight evenly distributed through your five fingers, pike your hips up towards the sky. Release your shoulders away from your ears, and remember to relax all of the muscles in your face (try smiling—it helps!).

2. Quad stretch: For this next move, walk your feet up to meet your hands to come up to standing. Bend your knee to grab one foot back behind you at a time, pressing it into your hand until you feel a nice stretch through the front of your thigh. Remember to keep your hips square, and try to keep your knees as close together as possible.

3. Alternating side lunges: This next move will help you stretch and strengthen at the same time. Taking a wide stance, give that right knee a generous bend and sink your hips back and down to stretch your inner thighs. Place both hands on the ground to really sink into this one. Then, take it over into your left for a side lunge stretch, hold for a few beats, then switch over to your right.

4. Standing side reach + shoulder stretch: Standing up tall with one hand on your hip, reach your other hand up and over your body for a side bend. Make sure you stay on each side for a long, luxurious inhale and exhale (or longer for a little extra love).

5. Figure four stretch: We’ll be on the ground for the rest of this series, so get comfy. Lying on your back with your feet planted and knees bent, cross one leg over the other (think about placing your ankle on top of your thigh), and reach through to grab your bottom leg and pull it towards you. Be sure to flex your foot on your top, working leg to protect your knee.

6. Seated forward bend: Sitting up tall, send your legs straight out in front of you and reach for your feet, ankles, or shins—place your hands wherever you need to for that deep hamstring stretch. Take this moment of stillness to really breathe through any discomfort you may be feeling.

7. Cat-cow: We’re finishing off on all fours for a stretch that will feel oh-so-good on your spine. On your inhale, press your upper back towards the sky and drop your head. On your exhale, bring your belly down towards the ground and tilt your head up.

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