To warm-up, cool down, or just connect with your body.

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Stretching Yoga Poses
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So many of us are always going, going, going, and worrying about what's coming next — whether that's with work, relationships, or fitness. We often don't take the time to give our minds or bodies what they need — like deep breathing or stretching pre- and post-workout.

Peloton instructor Chelsea Roberts knows the importance of taking that five to 10 extra minutes for your body. The Ph.D. holder and certified yogi's mission in life is to study and teach the positive impacts yoga can have on individuals and communities.

She knows that committing that extra time can seem daunting, unnecessary, or too time-consuming. But tacking a few yoga poses onto your workout can be a fun way to stretch your muscles and allow your mind to slow down and decompress. And the yoga and meditation instructor practices what she preaches. Dr. Roberts has five favorite yoga poses that she uses to either warm-up or cool down have a multitude of benefits.

"This is a series of yoga postures to do as a warm-up pre-workout, cool down post-workout, or even take 10 minutes in isolation to get connected and anchored in the body," she tells us. "This particular workout targets the hips, psoas muscles, spine, and lower back."

You can save this page and refer to it before and after workouts or maybe when you just need a second to connect with your body and mind. The Peloton app (which you can try free for 30 days, even without a bike). also has a bevy of yoga, meditation, and stretching classes for you to choose from depending on your need that day.

How it works: Add these yoga poses onto any workout as either a warm-up or cool-down to stretch those muscles. Dr. Roberts says you can also perform these poses in an isolated practice. It should take you between five and 10 minutes.

You will needDr. Roberts says you'll need a yoga mat and a cushion (or folded blanket) to offer extra support to your lower back while you're seated on the ground.

1. Spinal Flexes:

Yoga Stretching
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A. Begin in a seated cross-legged position placing your hands onto your knees. Feel free to sit at the edge of a cushion or folded blanket to support your lower back. Inhale as you draw your chest forward, opening the throat, lengthening through the spine, and drawing the shoulder blades into the back.

B. On the exhale, fold your spine toward the back of your mat, drawing your chin into your throat and navel to the spine. Continue this pattern at a comfortable pace as you inhale each time the chest opens and exhale each time the chin folds.

Do this movement 5-10 times to warm up the spine.

2. Seated Side Body Stretch: 

Yoga Stretching
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A. Begin in a seated cross-legged position. Feel free to use a cushion to support your lower back. On the inhale, draw your right arm up toward the sky while anchoring your hips to the ground.

B. On the exhale, draw your extended right arm over to the left. Root down into your right hip and try to create the letter "c" as you fold over. Be sure to lengthen the spine and keep the chest open by drawing the right bicep over the ear. This posture is a great way to lengthen the spine and stretch the side body. Stay in the stretch for 3-5 full breaths. Release by returning to the first posture and release the arm.

Repeat on the other side.

3. Seated Spinal Twist

Yoga Stretching
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A. Begin in a seated cross-legged position (Easy Pose). Feel free to use a cushion to support your lower back. Inhale and draw both arms up toward the sky with the palms facing each other. Radiate energy out through your fingertips while staying anchored in your seat.

B. Exhale and slowly turn toward the right side of your body placing your left hand onto your right knee. Place your right fingertips on the ground behind you and gently shift your gaze over your right shoulder. As you inhale, imagine the breath tracing the pine and traveling upward towards the top of your head. As you exhale, return the breath back down the spine until you reach the base of the spine. Continue this breathing pattern for 3-5 rounds while in your seated spinal twist. When you are ready to exit, inhale your arms to the first posture.

Repeat on the other side.

4. Seated Hip Rocks

Yoga Stretching
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A. Bend your left leg with the left sole of the foot facing behind you. Bend your right leg and place the right sole of your foot above the left knee. Placing your left hand on your hip, anchor your right and onto the ground and lengthen through the spine. As you inhale, gently turn your torso and upper body towards the anchored hand. Bring awareness to the stretch in left hip flexor/psoas muscle and squeeze the left glute.

B. As you exhale, release the left glute and return the left side to the ground. Continue this movement as fluidly as you can for 5-7 rounds. Carefully release.

Repeat on the other side.

5. High Lunge with Spinal Twist

Yoga Stretching
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A. Begin by stepping your right foot forward framing your right foot with your hands. Stack your right knee on top of your right ankle and lengthen through your left leg. Gently press through the heel of your back foot and work to keep the heel vertical. Pause here for a few breaths and allow your body to anchor.

B. On your next inhale, sweep your right arm up toward the sky opening the right rib cage. Place your left fingertips onto the ground and outwardly rotate your right shoulder drawing the shoulder blade into the back. Hold here for 3-5 breaths and notice the stretch through the left hip flexor/psoas muscle while wringing out the spine. I like to imagine a sponge being filled with liquid while twisting the upper and lower halves in opposite directions to wring out the liquid. This movement supports our body in releasing tension in the spine while stretching the hip. To release, return the right hand back to the ground and step forward with the left leg.

Repeat on the other side.


HomeBODIES is our recurring column bringing you beginner-friendly workouts you can do from the comfort of home.