Staying active is one of the best ways to stay healthy throughout your life. However, between work, kids, travel or whatever else you have going on, it can become difficult to make working out a priority. Fortunately, it has been shown that doing a few stretches every day can help to improve overall physical and mental health. This is one of the reasons I fell in love with yoga. Practicing yoga helps me to remain mentally, physically, and spiritually well no matter what else may be going on in my life. However, there are times that even I get too busy for a fully yoga session. In those times, I have found a few amazing partner stretches that help both myself and my husband to decompress and recenter our lives.
Partner 1: Sit on the floor with your legs on the ground in the shape of a V, and your toes pointing upward. Sit with a tall back and relaxed shoulders. Be sure to keep your legs as wide as possible to get the best stretch. Lastly, stretch out your arms to grab hold of your partner once they get positioned.
Partner 2: Sit in front of your partner facing them. The soles of your feet should be touching their feet, or their legs if you are not quite as flexible as they are. Put your arms forward and grab hold of your partner’s hands.
The Stretch: This stretch works when one partner pulls the other. This allows for a stretch of the legs, arms, and back. Pull, hold for 30 seconds, release, and repeat. If you do this daily, you will notice your flexibility and your partner’s flexibility improve significantly. If you are someone who suffers from lower back pain, this should definitely become a normal part of your routine.
Partner 1: Sit down with your legs criss crossed and your back to your partner. Once they sit down in the same manner, turn your body to the right, take your right hand and wrap it around your partner’s leg. Place your left hand on your right knee to allow for a deep spine stretch. Switch directions after 30 seconds.
Partner 2: Sit down with your legs criss crossed and your back to your partner. Put your right hand on your partner’s left leg, and your left hand on your right knee. Twist to the right to allow for a deep stretch. Switch directions after 30 seconds.
The Stretch: This stretch is great for those who have spine pain or who sit in a chair all day for work. You will feel a deep stretch in your lower back, and your partner gets the same good stretch at the same time. Be sure to hold each side for 30 seconds at a time and repeat as needed.
Partner 1: Lie on the ground on your back. First raise your right leg in the air, keeping your leg as straight as possible. Keep your left leg straight and flat against the ground. As your partner pushes your right leg toward your head, communicate when you begin to feel the stretch and when it is a good place for your partner to hold. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides. Hold for another 30 seconds, then switch places.
Partner 2: Kneel down next to your partner. Keep your right knee on the inside of their left leg (straight on the ground) and put your foot over theirs to help keep it on the ground. Gently push their right leg toward their head and hold their right knee to keep it straight. Listen to your partner as they tell you when they can feel a good stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sids. Hold for another 30 seconds and then switch sides.
The Stretch: This stretch is great for loosening your hamstrings. Sometimes, it can be difficult to get the stretch you need all on your own. That’s where your partner comes in. Having them help you push your leg toward your head can help to get a stretch you wouldn’t be able to on your own.
Partner 1: Lay on your back on the ground. Assume the figure four stretch position. This means cross your left leg foot over your right knee and hold your right leg bent at a 90 degree angle. Use your left hand to push against your left knee to intensify the stretch. Hold this stretch until your partner is ready to help you. Communicate to your partner when you have a good stretch. Switch laces and begin again.
Partner 2: Kneel down on one knee. Allow your partner’s right foot to press into your chest and lean forward gently. Use your right hand to gently pull your partner’s knee toward you to intensify the stretch. Your partner will communicate to you when the stretch is good. Switch places and begin again.
The Stretch: The figure four stretch targets hips, lower backs, and glutes. These are the body’s largest and most powerful muscles. Ironically, they also happen to be some of the hardest muscles to stretch. This stretch is excellent when done with a partner because you can get a deeper stretch than you would be able to on your own.
Partner 1: Stand in front of your partner with your arms stretched straight behind your back. Allow your partner to raise your arms up as much as possible without you bending forward. Let your partner know once you feel a good stretch. Hold for 30 seconds total, with 10 seconds at first, then raised higher for another 20 seconds, and switch places.
Partner 2: Stand behind your partner and gently push their arms up. Make sure their arms remain straight, and hold the stretch when your partner says it is good. Switch places after 30 seconds.
The Stretch: This will help to stretch out both your biceps and your triceps. This is an excellent stretch to perform after a long arm workout. In addition, you will get a good stretch in your chest when performing this exercise.