5 Moves to Relax You This Instant

From Ladies' Home Journal

When you really—really—need to relax, you want to feel calm right away. But as lovely as a trip to the spa might be, booking a professional massage every time you feel stressed probably isn’t realistic. The fast and simple—and free—solution? This five-minute stretching routine. These moves soothe the spots where most people usually feel stiffness and tension—the hips, shoulders and back—but aren’t too challenging, meaning you don’t have to twist yourself into a pretzel to get relief. Find a quiet spot, put on some calming music and get ready to feel amazing.

1. Half rainbow.

Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Rest your right elbow next to your thigh, then raise your left arm over your head and reach as far as you can to the right. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

2. Child’s reach.

Kneel on the floor with your back straight. Inhale, then exhale as you reach forward, resting your palms on the floor. Bring your left arm under your chest and extend it along the floor, parallel to your shoulders, palm facing up. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

3. Spine twist.

Sit on the floor with your legs straight and your feet flexed and hip-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you and rest your palms on opposite elbows. Inhale, then exhale as you twist to the right. Hold for 5 seconds, then twist to the left. Repeat.

4. Cradle cross.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your left leg crossed over your right leg. Reach out and grab hold of your feet, then gently pull your heels toward your shoulders until you feel the stretch in your left glute. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

5. Seated glute stretch.

Sit on the floor with your legs straight and your palms on the floor about a foot behind you, fingers facing away from your body. Bend your left knee at a 45-degree angle and place your right ankle on your left knee; you should feel the stretch in your right glute. For a deeper stretch, bring your left heel closer to your butt, or your left knee closer to your chest. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

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