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International Yoga Day, Stretch with Banish

June the 21st is International Yoga Day, so we’re delving into all the benefits that stretching can have on your mental health. Find out how you can stretch your way to feeling better with certain poses and how Banish can help. Let’s jump right in…

The Benefits 

The poses in yoga have been around for thousands of years, used to improve the spiritual wellbeing of humanity. In today’s world, these stretches are used as a way to reconnect with yourself whilst strengthening your mind and body. Here are just a few of the benefits…

Improve your flexibility and strength – Stretching and holding your muscles in these poses can help increase blood flow and warm up muscles. Most stretches tend to revolve around having a strong core, which is achieved through deep breathing and engaging your abdominal muscles.  

Reduce anxiety and depression – Studies show that yoga can help to fight stress and depression whilst boosting your mood and mental health. Stretching helps to clear the mind and add a little relaxation to your day. 
Find clarity and focus – A routine of stretching can bring focus to your mind whilst grounding you in the present with breathwork. This routine can also bring a sense of purpose and balance to your day.

Aid recovery – Doctors and physios will prescribe a series of stretches for rehabilitation or pain management after an injury. This is common with back pain such as sciatica and chronic lower back pain.

Warm it up and cool it down

We love incorporating yoga poses into our workout routines as they are a great way to warm up those muscles before your workout and stretch out after. Here are some of our favourite poses… 

Cat/Cow pose

This pose is great for gently stretching your back and it can be used both before and after your workout.  

Cat/ Cow Pose

How to: 

  1. Get on your mat on all fours in a tabletop position. Make sure that your wrists align with your shoulder and knees with your hips
  2. Gently concave your spine so your belly button gets closer to the mat, taking your gaze to the ceiling. 
  3. Hold for 8 seconds. 
  4. Round your spine towards the ceiling, moving your chin to your chest. 
  5. Hold for 8 seconds. 
  6. Repeat 8 times. 

Warrior Pose

This pose stretches your chest, lungs, shoulders, neck, belly and groin. It also strengthens your shoulders, arms, and back muscles, as well as your calves, ankles, and thighs. This can be used both before and after your workout.  

Warrior Pose

How to: 

  1. Stand at the bottom of your mat. 
  2. Take a large step forward with your left foot bending 90 degrees at the knee. 
  3. Turn your back (right) foot outwards at a 45-degree angle whilst ensuring your body stays forwards. 
  4. Contract your core, and regulate your breathing. 
  5. Reach both your arms above your head and meet both hands together in prayer formation pointing towards the ceiling. 
  6. Gently bend into the stretch and look up towards the ceiling, hold this pose for 10 seconds. 
  7. Repeat this pose switching feet.

Why not head to the Banish app and take your workout to the next level? We have some great workouts and core exercises that would complement these yoga poses.