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Ask a Yogi: What are the best poses for a quick stretch?

Ask a Yogi: What are the best poses for a quick stretch?
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When yoga students ask me what they should do for a quick stretch, I'm often hesitant to give them a straight answer unless I know them well enough. Sometimes, I'll tell them some of my go-to poses that target general weak spots for most people like anjaneyasana or gomukasana.

The truth: you have to know what your body is looking for before you ever determine your go-to stretches. 

In my experience, my body craves hip flexor and hamstring stretches. These two areas are my weakest points.

How do you find out where your weakest points are? My hip flexor and hamstrings take a beating from cycling and running, after I leave my mat, they seam to tighten up instantly.

Another quick clue?

Usually the poses you hate the most, are the ones you need the most. 

Even when I wasn't teaching yoga classes or practicing on my own, I tried to sneak in a low lunge and a half split. After every workout, I took 5 minutes to sink deep into my weak spots. 

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Half Split (Arda Hanumanasana)

Other reasons I love anajaneyasana and arda hanumanasa: sciatic pain relief.

Sciatica occurs from spinal cord or nerve roots being compressed, it can lead to numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs. Sitting or leaning forward can reduce some of the pressure on the nerves, providing relief from the symptoms. This is why you often see older people leaning over their shopping carts at the grocery store. Stretching out your hips will often relieve some of the tightness associated with sciatic pain. 

What are your weak spots? What is your go-to pose??

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