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5 yoga poses and stretches for cardio freaks

Check out these yoga poses and stretches to help keep your body loose.

Begin in a lunge position, with one leg in front and the other stretched back. Move through this position so that you are in Warrior II – where your arms are even and point to the front and the back. Make sure your knee is bent and lined up over your ankle, and that your core, quads and glutes are engaged. Then, enter the twist by maintaining your balance and staying lined straight up, but touching one hand down to your foot while the other raises to the sky. The twist will help open your hips and stretch your legs and core out. Then, twist to the other side. Move through this flow while maintaining a tight core and keeping your body balanced as you open your hips.

Flowing from downwards to upwards facing dog will help stretch out your hamstrings and calves. It will also help to open up your hip flexors and open your chest and shoulder area as well.

Sit with your right leg extended out, your left leg bent in with your foot resting against the inside of your right thigh. Then, reach your right hand all the way out to your right ankle and foot. Extend your left arm all the way up to the sky and lean to your right side – keeping your waist straight and keeping space between your ribs and your thigh. Be sure to flow through both sides.

This is more like a few different yoga poses in one. For the squat position, drop down so that your butt is just below your thighs and your legs are open – stretching your hips. Then, place your right hand by your left foot and extend your left arm to the sky – keeping your weight back on your heels and you will be able to feel your hips opening up. Flow through both sides.

Then, drop to the ground and bring the balls of your feet together – touching your heels and the balls of your feet together and pushing your knees down as close to the ground as possible.

The final movement, cross your right leg under your left – bringing your left knee to your chin with your right knee laying flat on the ground. As you feel the stretch, twist your body from side-to-side to maximize benefits. Then, switch legs and positions so you can get the other side as well.

Begin in downward facing dog. Lower your right knee down to the ground and move your left foot so that it is just under your shoulder. Drop down so that your elbow is on the ground, your hands pointing forward and your left knee up by your shoulder – making sure your left ankle is not past your shoulder. This movement will stretch out your hip flexors and your hamstrings – two areas that are major for running and spinning. Lean into this pose to intensify the stretch – and be sure that you stretch out both sides.

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