Heal up those hamstrings after a hard day’s hiking with our stride-and-stretch routine. Hiker and yoga instructor Miri takes us through her ideal post-hike sequence to restore your body (and mind) after wandering in the wild.
Stay in each posture for five to 15 breaths and remember to come out if you experience any pain.
BalasanaBegin in this restorative pose, with a few deep, calming breaths in and out of your nose.
Hiking benefits: Gently stretches your thighs, hips and ankles.
Alignment tips: Lengthen your spine and neck, fold your body over your legs, take your knees a little wider and allow your belly to rest between your thighs.
Adho mukha svanasanaHiking benefits: Builds strength and stretches your hamstrings, calves, chest and shoulders while lengthening your spine. Helps to alleviate backache after lugging a pack around.
Alignment tips: Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and press down through your index finger and thumb. Feet are hip-width apart. Engage through your arms, broaden your shoulder blades and upper back and draw your navel in toward your spine.
Keep a small bend in your knees if your hamstrings are tight, and rotate your inner thighs in toward one another. Lift those sit bones upward.
UttanasanaHiking benefits: Stretches your hamstrings, hips and calves. The addition of ragdoll helps to calm your mind and the heaviness of your arms as you sway side to side, lengthening and releasing tension in your spine and neck while opening your shoulders.
Alignment tips: Allow your body to drape over your legs, with hands holding opposite elbows, and let your head and neck be completely relaxed. Keep feet hip-width apart with a little bend in your knees.
AnjaneyasanaBe sure to repeat on the other side.
Hiking benefits: Stretches your psoas, hips, groin and inner thighs. Opens your chest, heart and shoulders and builds core strength and mental focus.
Alignment tips: Engage through your inner thighs, front knee over your ankle. Draw your tailbone down while lengthening your spine up; engage through your core to support your lower back, and slowly raise your arms up overhead while continuing to lengthen your spine.
Ardha hanumanasanaBe sure to repeat on the other side.
Hiking benefits: Stretches your hamstrings, groin, calves, thighs and hamstrings while lengthening your spine.
Alignment tips: Find a nice stretch in your hamstring here by inhaling and lengthening your spine, drawing your heart toward your feet. Aim to keep your hips level and flex your front foot while keeping softness in your knee.
Eka pada rajakapotasanaBe sure to repeat on the other side.
Hiking benefits: Lengthens your hip flexors, stretches your glutes, groin, IT band and psoas and opens your hips.
Alignment tips: Ensure your hips are level and pressing equally into the mat. Your spine lengthens forward while your tailbone reaches back. Your front shin doesn’t need to be parallel to the front of the mat, especially if there is any pain in your knee. Soften your shoulders away from your ears.
Prasarita padottanasanaBe sure to repeat on the other side.
Hiking benefits: Stretches and strengthens your hamstrings, hips, calves, groin and spine. Adding a twist to this amazing yoga pose adds a detoxifying, rejuvenating element: massaging your organs and releasing tension in your spine. Plus, it opens and stretches your heart, shoulders and upper back.
Alignment tips: Draw in your navel toward your spine, engage your quadriceps, ensure a micro-bend in your knees and hinge from your hips with your feet pointing forward and in line with each other. Press your fingertips or hand flat into the ground and reach your opposite arm up toward the sky.
Supta matsyendrasanaBe sure to repeat on the other side.
Hiking benefits: Releases tension in your lower back and stretches your glutes, hamstrings, IT band, obliques and chest while lengthening your external hip rotators.
Alignment tips: Lying flat on the floor, hug your right knee in toward your chest, then let your shoulders settle on the mat. With your left hand, slowly draw your right knee over toward your left side, resting your knee toward the floor. Extend your right arm on the floor at shoulder height, palm facing up, and gaze toward your right hand.