Use this 10-minute active recovery yoga routine to recover from intense workouts (or to stretch out after sitting at a desk all day). Flow through these 8 yoga stretches to speed up muscle recovery and relieve tight muscles.
If you’re reading this post, you likely know that exercise is GOOD for your body. But by its nature, exercise and intense workouts put our muscles, connective tissues, joints and ligaments under stress and strain.
That means muscle recovery needs to be a fundamental part of any well-rounded fitness routine. And exactly why we include two active recovery or rest days per week in our free home workout plans.
This recovery yoga class is a great option to add into your fitness routine 1-2 times a week to aid your recovery.
Active recovery is any kind of low-impact movement that increases blood flow through your muscles. The goal is to push lactic acid (which causes muscle soreness) through your muscles after intense exercise. I recommend an active rest day (or an active recovery workout) at least 1-2 times a week. If you’re new to fitness, pregnant or postpartum, you may want to incorporate at least 2-3 active recovery workouts a week.
Recovery yoga is a yoga practice intended to help sore muscles. Yoga classes can help Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) or the reason you may feel fine during your workout, and then struggle to walk down stairs 24-to-48 hours later. Use this slow yoga flow to recover from intense training or high intensity exercise. Think of it as yoga for athletes to increase muscle recovery.
During active recovery sessions or yoga classes, you should focus on: increasing joint mobility, improving cardiovascular fitness, preparing the body for the next day’s training, enhancing mental health, and relieving stress or anxiety. Practicing yoga also promotes blood flow to help release sore muscles and increase flexibility and can reduce stress and inflammation.
The perfect 10-minute active recovery workout at home. Stretch every muscle group in your body with an emphasis on the low back, hips and shoulders.
Active recovery days not only improve exercise performance in the short term (by giving you better range of motion), but passive recovery days and yoga classes help you stay injury-free so you can achieve your long-term fitness goals too.
Support your fitness goals with this 10-minute yoga routine for active recovery.
Do these 8 restorative yoga poses for muscle recovery two or more days a week to increase mobility and relieve stiff, tight and sore muscles. Follow this recovery yoga flow routine post exercise or on a rest day.
No equipment, just your bodyweight and yoga mat.
Follow along with the guided Active Recovery Yoga Routine on YouTube, led by personal trainer Lindsey Bomgren.
The Yoga Routine Looks Like This:
Benefits: Stretches your hips and hamstrings and releases tight lower back muscles. The forward fold stretch has also been known to stimulate your digestive system, calm your mind and soothe your nerves.
Do This Stretch If: If you have low back pain, or if you feel tight and sore after sitting at a desk for several hours. This stretch keeps your spine strong and flexible!
Benefits: Strengthens and stretches the entire body – upper body, arms, shoulders, back, lower body, legs and feet. A great stretch for your posterior chain (backside of the body); increasing calf, ankle, hamstring and back mobility. Downward facing dog is a great way to stimulate blood circulation.
Do This Stretch If: You have a headache. Downward dog is known to decrease tension and headaches by elongating the cervical spine and neck and relaxing the head.
Modification: If this inversion is uncomfortable, try quadruped (table top) hip circles. Or move onto puppy dog stretch, which is just a slight inversion with the heart just higher than the head.
Benefits: Stretches neck, shoulders, spine and upper back.
Do This Stretch If: You need to release tension in your neck, shoulders and upper arms. I also really love doing this stretch before performing any overhead movements; a great way to increase range of motion for exercises like an overhead shoulder press.
Benefits: Opens tight hips and stretches the quads and hamstrings.
Do This Stretch If: You have tight hips. A great stretch for runners.
Benefits: Stretches tight quadriceps, groins and hips. A great way to increase range of motion in the lower body.
Do This Stretch If: You have tight hip flexors and quads. Another great stretch for runners or anyone who sits a lot during the day.
Benefits: Stretches the hips, inner thighs, feet, spine and back. A great stretch to calm your body.
Do This Stretch If: You want to relieve lower back back pain and stiff neck muscles.
Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, calves, low back and neck. A great stretch for improving circulation by reducing pressure in the legs and redirecting blood flow back towards your heart.
Do This Stretch If: You want to relieve tired legs and feet. A common stretch for endurance athletes like marathon runners. Also suggested as a ‘bedtime stretch’ as this stretch has been known to help you sleep.
Modification: Option to find a Wide Leg Forward Fold by standing tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width distance apart. Bend at the hips and place your hands flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. You also have the option to find a Seated Fold by sitting on the ground, hinging at the hips and reaching your fingertips to your toes.
Benefits: Stretches the lower back, hamstrings, hips and knees. A great stretch for relaxing the pelvic floor.
Do This Stretch If: You want to open tight hips and relax your pelvic floor. Also a great prenatal yoga pose to prepare for labor.
Modification: Option to find a Supported Yogi Squat by crouching down with your tailbone between your ankles, pressing your hands firmly together at your chest while pressing your elbows against your inner thighs.
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