When your muscles are sore, it can make getting out of bed seem impossible, let alone returning to your workout. Sore muscles can even provide a good “excuse” to skip your workout. The best antidote to sore muscles, though, is deep stretching. So next time you’re feeling like you simply cannot move, try these 5 simple yoga poses to help you recover from muscle fatigue.
Viparita Karani/Legs Up the Wall
– relieves lower back tension and soreness and stretches hamstrings.
This pose is exactly how it sounds. Lay down on your back with your feet facing a wall. Walk your feet up the wall and scoot your seat as close to the wall as possible (ideally touching your sit-bones against the wall). Relax your legs and feet and allow gravity to do all of the work for you. Surrender your weight down toward the floor, and allow your legs to become heavy. If your hamstrings are tighter, feel free to soften at your knees.
Paschimottanasana/Seated Forward Fold
– stretches hamstrings, lower back, upper back and neck.
Sit down on the floor with your legs extended straight forward in front of you. If you have tighter hips or hamstrings, you can elevate your hips by sitting up onto a block or a stack of books. Lengthen and extend your spine up toward the ceiling, and then hinge from your hips and lead with your chest to dive forward over the legs. Relax your arms wherever they reach and surrender your muscles. You can have the knees bent or straight in this position. Choose whichever option feels better in your body – bent knees will stretch deeper into your lower back, straight legs will stretch deeper into your hamstrings.
Supta Baddha Konasana/Reclining Bound Angle Pose
– opens and releases hips.
Lie down on your back and bend into your knees. Bring the soles of your feet to touch and open your knees out wide toward the floor. Draw your heels in as close toward your seat as you can and surrender the weight of your legs down. Relax deeply into the muscles to open and stretch deeper through your hips. If your knees are far away from the floor and they feel tense, you can place blankets or pillows underneath them to support the weight of your legs.
– stretches lower back, upper back, ankles, hips and shoulders.
Start kneeling on your knees and then relax your seat toward your heels. If this feels too intense on your ankles, you can roll up a blanket and place it underneath your feet to alleviate some of the stretch. If there is a gap between your seat and your feet, you can also place a rolled up blanket between them to draw them closer toward each other. From here, hinge at the hips as you fold your torso forward over your legs. Relax your head onto the floor or a pillow. Surrender your arms beside your body with your palms facing up toward the sky. Relax completely into your lower back, upper back and shoulders and enjoy the soft, subtle stretch.
Gomukhasana/Cow Face Arms
– stretches arm, shoulders, upper back and chest.
Start standing or sitting in any comfortable position. As you inhale, reach your right arm up to the sky and bend your elbow, walking your hand down your back. Use your left hand to catch a hold of that elbow and gently draw the arm toward the midline of your body. Allow the weight of your head to press back against your right arm. You can stay as you are or, if you’d like a deeper stretch, you can release the left hand and slide the left hand up your back toward the right hand. You can hold onto a strap/belt or, if it’s accessible, you can catch hold of your right fingertips. Hold for a few deep breaths and, when you’re ready, release and switch sides.
Torn or exhausted muscles can be problematic. Working into deep yogic stretches can help you recover from muscle fatigue faster than ever before.