Your Lifesaver Cool-Down Sequence to Restore Post-Workout

Amber Scriven
Your Lifesaver Cool-Down Sequence to Restore Post-Workout

Restoration at the end of an intense workout is super important. What better way to find it than in your cool-down series? Here is a soothing, slow-motion yoga sequence you can utilize towards restoring yourself post-sweat sesh. As traditional Yin Yoga poses, the names may seem different from what you’re used to in Vinyasa classes, and are meant to be held for longer periods. This sequence is beneficial for the entire body, and remember to keep a slow, steady breath—let's begin!

Ragdoll

Prepare by taking a standing lateral stretch side to side and then forward folding with your knees bent in Ragdoll. It might feel good to dangle here for a moment from your hips, letting your back and shoulder muscles stretch out, or you could interlace your hands behind you and lift your head and your arms up for a little pectoral stretch. Either way, take huge breaths to oxygenate those muscles you just worked so hard.

Slow-Mo Vinyasa

Step to Plank, then transition the chest forward to prep for Up Dog. This will stretch your whole frontal plane, toes to chin, so pause here and juice it for a few breaths before sliding back to Down Dog.

Stretch out the hips, hamstrings and legs by spending 5 breaths in each of these shapes.

Dragon

Step one foot forward for low lunge with the back knee on the ground. Ensure your front knee is stacked directly over your ankle as you lean your hips forward for 5 breaths, keeping your hands on the floor or on a block for support. For more of a challenge, you can bring the elbows to rest on the ground (as pictured). 

Half Monkey

Image credit: Andrea Taylor

Straighten the front leg out for half split with the front foot flexed (toes peeling back towards your knee) and use your hands to push into the floor or block to lift into a long, straight up spine. This foot-flexed-and-spine-straight combo will give you a deeper hamstring stretch than folding forward.

Revolved Angle

Image credit: Andrea Taylor

Bend the front knee and lean forward with your left hand on the floor and your right arm high to the sky in a supported easy twist. There’s also the option to twist deeper. Bring the hands to touch and swivel the chest to the right, hooking the left elbow to the outside of the right thigh.

Note: Slide back to Down Dog and repeat all this on the other side before moving on to the lumbar stretches below.

Half Lord of the Fishes

Image credit: Dan Morgan

Cross one leg at a time into this yummy twist to release your middle spine. You can bend the bottom knee (as seen in the image above) or extended it out long—the key is to keep both sitting bones grounded. Remember to take it easy on your neck and only twist from the neck last if it is comfortable.

Happy Baby

Roll onto your back. If it is hard for you to grab your feet and keep your entire tailbone on the floor, then capture your shin bones instead so you can thoroughly stretch out your back. If your head is uncomfortable and lifts off the mat, use a block as pillow under your head so your neck and shoulders can relax. You already did the workout part after all!

Stretch out those abdominals, the IT band and the hip flexors in this next section.

Bridge

Lift your hips high in Bridge and tuck your shoulders deep underneath you for 5 breaths. Relax the glutes to avoid straining the lower back, and notice the gentle stretch. Take a break and then repeat for a second time over.

Twisted Roots

Image credit: Andrea Taylor

On your back, cross your right leg over your left, allowing both knees to fall to your right side. The weight of the right leg will stretch out the external edge of your left thigh–your IT band. Make sure both shoulder blades are on the floor in this twist even if you have to prop your knees up on a block or cushion to make that happen. The benefits will be far deeper!

And of course the most restorative shape of all…

Savasana

Image credit: Dan Morgan

Never say no to 2-6 minutes of blissful, mind-emptying quiet to transform all the adrenaline you got from your workout into cohesive and productive energy!

This little series should bring you back into your body and help make the adrenal surge that comes with a workout into something useful AND blissful.

Image credit: Debby Siegel