7 Yoga Stretches for the Pool
One of the best ways to end your cardio in the pool is to STRETCH! STRETCH! STRETCH!
Stretching is so good for the health of our muscles and the stability & range of motion in our joints. Strong and flexible is how we want our muscles to be! I always make sure to allow myself a good 7-10 minutes at the edge of the shallow end to utilize yoga postures to stretch the front, back and side of my body, as well as do one or two shoulder and hip yoga stretching poses.
Here are the 7 yoga stretches I love to do the most:
1. Forward Fold
- With your hands on the edge of the pool, bring both your feet up between them. You can stay here with your knees bent or start to straighten them as much as your arms and hamstrings will allow.
This is a nice stretch for the backs of your legs, your lower back and across your upper back.
2. One-Legged Forward Fold
- While standing and looking at edge of pool, place your right foot on the wall of pool in line with your hip (toes pointing to the sky).
- Inhale, reach both arms up top the sky and feel a nice stretch.
- On an exhale, fold forward towards your right foot. Your hands may only make it to your shin or ankle (and that’s OK!) This is another great stretch for the calves, hamstrings and back.
- When it is time to come out of the stretch, reach arms and fingers forward towards your foot and then back up to the sky.
- Again, feel the big stretch (all the way to your fingertips!).
- Before releasing foot and switching to other side, practice the Standing T-Twist first (see Stretch #3).
3. Standing T-Twist
- With your right foot still on the wall of the pool and arms in the air (Stretch #2: One Leg Forward Fold) on an exhale, turn your upper body to the right while lowering your arms down parallel to the water in a T-position.
- Look to the right side edge off the pool or if you can, look over your right shoulder to your right hand.
- Breathe into this nice twist as you stretch around your ribcage, shoulders and neck.
- When it is time to release, inhale back to center with your arms over your head.
- Exhale to lower your arms and release your leg from the wall of the pool in order to switch sides.
4. Dancer’s Pose
- While standing an arms distance away from the edge of the pool reach back with your right hand for your right foot or ankle.
- With your left hand on the edge of the pool start to lean your upper body towards your left hand as you kick your right hand up and back into your right hand behind you.
- When it is time to switch to the other side, inhale to lift back up and release the back foot to the bottom of the pool.
This is a great stretch for your chest, biceps, abdominals, hip flexors, quadriceps, shin and top of your foot.
5. One-Legged Seated Figure-Four
- While standing with your hands on the edge of the pool lift your right foot and place your right flexed ankle on your left thigh while bending your left knee (as if sitting in a an imaginary chair). This creates a figure-four shape and is a “hip-opener” (an inner thigh and outer hip stretch). The more you sit down into the imaginary chair the deeper you may feel the stretch.
- When it is time to switch sides, slowly straighten the standing leg and release the crossed ankle, returning to a standing position.
6. Triceps with Side Stretch
- With feet firmly planted on the pool floor about hips width apart, reach your arms overhead and, bending your right elbow, reach up with your left hand to take ahold of your right elbow (triceps stretch).
- On an exhale, gentle guide the right elbow over to the left side (above head) – feeling a nice stretch up the right side of the body.
- When it is time to release, inhale your torso and arm back to center and exhale release arms to side.
- Switch sides.
This is a great stretch for your triceps and the side of your body.
7. Chest Stretch/Heart Opener
- With feet firmly planted on the pool floor about hips width apart, reach your arms out to T-position. Take a moment to rotate your wrists and wiggle your fingers.
- When you are ready, exhale and release arms behind your body, clasping your hands together and interlacing your fingers (if you can).
- As you draw your shoulder blades together, inhale and lift your chest forward and up.
- Allow your shoulders to melt down your back as you look up to the sky. This is great stretch for your shoulders, chest and throat.
- When it is time to release, inhale return your eyes to look to the edge of the pool and exhale to slowly release your arms, first back to a T-position and then gently down to your sides.