Cat – hip and spinal mobility

x 8 repetitions

Starting in four point kneeling: elongate your spine; pelvis and spine is in a neutral position; your back of your head is at the highest point and your sacrum is at the lowest; knees below the hips and; hands below the shoulders and lightly pressing the floor away.

  • Inhale to prepare
  • Exhale to engage pelvic floor and deep abdominals
  • Using your core connection, start to curl your tailbone towards your pubic bone, creating an arch in your lower back, which travels up to your neck and head
  • Inhale and hold feeling the stretch from your tailbone to your head
  • Exhale to lengthen the spine back to the start position being aware not to sink in the shoulders and chest.

Spine Curls / Bridge – great glute strengthener, hip opener and spinal mobility

x 8 repetitions

Starting in relaxation position lying on your back: Feet and knees at hip distance apart; pelvis and spine in a neutral position; use a head cushion to support your head if necessary; arms rested by your side.

  • Inhale to prepare
  • Exhale engage your pelvic floor and deep abdominals
  • Tilt your public bone towards your belly button using your lower abs and start to lift the pelvis off the floor and the spine bit by bit, vertebrae by vertebrae
  • Use your glutes to help you lift up making sure you’re not pushing through your lower back
  • Lift and curl the spine to a point where the pubic bone is at the highest point, then it’s your hip bones and then it’s your chest
  • Inhale maintain a position where your ribs are soft and your hips are as open as they can be (see picture)
  • Peel the spine down vertebrae by vertebrae and bring the pelvis and spine back to neutral position lying on the floor.

Cobra – wonderful back strengthener and hip opener

x 8 repetitions

Starting in prone position: lying on your front with your elbows bent and palms of your hands on the floor; hands are wide enough to allow your shoulders to feel relaxed; feel the areas of your pubic bone and potentially your hip bones, legs are wider than hip distance apart; legs can be turned out or parallel; head can be rested on a cushion.

  • Inhale to prepare
  • Exhale to engage pelvic floor and deep abdominals
  • Inhale to lift your head to bring it inline with the rest of your spine
  • Feel your sternum lift forwards and up, opening your heart as you peel your spine off the floor, extending it upwards, feel the length in your abdominals from the pubic bone to the crown of your head
  • Your hands will help you to press up but make sure you don’t push and sink into your lower back or hunch your shoulders up to your ears
  • Exhale to return the spine back to the start position
  • Please note that this exercise can be performed to make the movement smaller i.e. a mini cobra keeping your lower ribcage in contact with the mat.

Side Bend – very good lateral back stretch and excellent for opening up your ribcage for breathing efficiency

x 6 repetitions on each side

Starting in seated position with feet together: pelvis and spine in neutral; sit upright as much as possible on your sit bones (you can sit on a chair or block if sitting on the floor is uncomfortable); spine is lengthening up to the ceiling and chest is soft but collar bones are open; think about the shoulder blades sitting in pretend trouser pockets in your upper back; arms rested by your side.

  • Inhale to prepare
  • Exhale to engage your pelvic floor and deep abdominals
  • Inhale and float the right arm out to the side but slightly forwards so that it stays in your peripheral vision. Feel the arm pits lengthen and the top of the shoulder soften in the joint socket
  • Exhale and start to tip your head slightly to the left taking your spine into a side bend. Feel a stretch down your right side of your spine and waist
  • Lengthen both sides of your waist up to the ceiling avoiding collapsing to the floor and keep the sit bones on the floor, particularly feeling the right sit bone heavy
  • Inhale at this point sending the breath into the sides of the ribcage increasing the stretch
  • Exhale return your spine vertebrae by vertebrae back to the start position
  • Repeat on the left side.

Hip flexor stretch – excellent to stretch the front of your thighs

x 3 and hold for 30 second to 3 minutes on each side

Start with your right knee below your hip and the left leg in front with knee bent at a right angle and foot placed on the floor. Try to square your pelvis off as much as possible keeping hip bones pointing forwards. You can place a cushion under your right knee of necessary.

  • Engage pelvic floor and deep abdominals
  • Using your lower abs, curl your pubic bone upwards towards your belly button
  • Feel the tensioning in the front of the thigh and your right glute engaged
  • Hold this position up to 3 minutes
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Keep the breath flowing and reengage core if connection is lost but this is not essential.