Good Moves

The Only 5 Stretches You Need To Loosen Your Full Body in Just About 5 Minutes

You know that feeling when you roll out your yoga mat with the best stretching intentions...  and suddenly forget every stretch you've ever learned? If this sounds familiar, you may benefit from an everyday stretch routine that you can memorize once—and feel the benefits throughout your lifetime. And luckily, Clara Baini, founder of Good Day Pilates, made you the perfect sequence.

On this week's episode of Trainer of the Month Club, Baini dreamed up a five-move everyday yoga class that unwinds the muscles of your neck, side body, shoulders, hips, hamstrings—you name it. In total, this bite-sized class comes out to be about five minutes long—so it's easy to slot into your morning ritual, lunch break, or pre-bed routine.

Pretty soon, you'll know these stretches by heart. But for now, go ahead and grab your comfy clothes, queue up the video, and start moving.

Baini's 5-move everyday stretch routine

1. Seated cat-cows

Come to sit on your shins (or on a block, if that's more comfortable for you). Lift your arms up overhead. Interlock your fingers at the top of your neck and gently drop your head into this makeshift cradle, lifting the chest as you do. Look up at the ceiling and breathe. Slowly, come back to the center and tuck your chin towards your chest, curling your back like a cat as you do so. Move back and forth between opening and closing off your chest.

2. Seated side stretch

Staying seated, walk your left fingertips about a foot away from your hips. Reach your right arm up alongside your right ear, gently bending toward the left without letting your chest spiral toward the ground. Feel the stretch up your entire right side. Return to center and repeat on the other side.

3. Thread the needle

Come onto your hands and knees. Take a moment to double-check that your hips are directly above your knees and your shoulders are directly above your wrists. Reach your right arm up to the ceiling on your right side, allowing your gaze to follow. Then gently thread that right arm underneath the chest. Place your right cheek and right shoulder onto the mat. Spiral your right chest to the right side. Breathe. Come out of the pose slowly, and then switch sides.

4. Downward-facing dog

Come back to all fours. Tuck your toes and lift your hips up to the sky, keeping a generous bend in the knees. Do what feels good here: Shift your weight from side to side, bend the knees to touch the chest, or lift one leg at a time to open up the hips. You decide.

5. Standing forward fold

From your downward-facing dog, walk the hands back to meet the feet. Keep your knees bent enough that your chest drapes over them, and you feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Let your fingertips graze the floor or grab your elbows with each hand.

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