Spring has finally arrived but I’m already manifesting a quick approach to summer. Warmer temperatures and more sunshine beckon us outside and into nature. I admit I spend much of winter looking forward to the day when the mountains no longer have snow decorating their peaks. That’s my cue to open up the gear closet and dust off my hiking boots and backpack.
Hitting the trail occupies the majority of my weekends in the summer. Stepping away from the daily hustle and into open spaces gives my mind the mental break it so often craves. Practicing presence and gratitude becomes easier with each mile as I’m immersed in creation. Not only does hiking provide a psychological reset, it’s a great full-body workout. I love the feeling of all my muscles working together, engaging so I can move nimbly and swiftly up to a peak.
Post-hike, I like to give my my muscles some love and reduce the chances of becoming sore or achy the following day. The following 6 postures will stretch and strengthen a variety of muscles that could use some rest and release after your hike.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) This pose stretches your hamstrings, groin and quads - all the muscles that work hard as you trek through nature. It also expands your chest and lungs which will help take in more oxygen on your next outing.
Wide Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana) This pose lengthens the spinal column as well as stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, calves, hips and low back. Plus, after standing upright for hours, it feels good to release and hang upside down for a few deep breathes.
Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana) How do those glutes feel after all that climbing? I would guess tight. Bring some flexibility back by holding pigeon pose for 1-2 minutes. This will stretch out your glutes, groin and psoas muscle. What a sweet release for your hip flexor muscles!
Cobra Pose (bhujanga) Cobra is a great way to stretch the muscles in your shoulders and chest, while relieving discomfort or achiness in the low back. Energetically, it’s also shown to elevate moods and reduce fatigue.
Eagle Pose (Garudasana) There is a lot to focus on in this balancing posture, but your body will reap many benefits. Eagle loosens and strengthens your ankles and hips and release tightness between the shoulder blades and sacrum. This posture also strengthens the legs, preparing them to climb the next mountain!
Half Split (Half-hanumanasana) A great prep for full hanumanasana, this posture stretches the thighs, groins, hamstrings and back. You can play with activating different muscles by flexing and pointing your front toe. A more intense posture, continue to breathe through the stretch and only fold forward as far as feels comfortable.