Stretch Your Way Through Festival Season With Whitney Kirk

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Festival season is here! That means it’s time to listen to many of your favorite musical artists in one location (possibly on several different stages). As phenomenal as the music festival scene is, it can also take a BIG toll on your body. But there’s no need to fret! We got the stretching and yoga pose goods straight from @whittydancer, who teaches yoga at music festivals, so now you’ll have an arsenal of poses at your side.

Overwhelmed? Just Breathe.

If you’re overwhelmed by the heat, the crowd or just the weather, take a moment to stop, close your eyes, and take a DEEP breath in through your nose and out through the nose or mouth. You’ll calm the nervous system and release stress.

Neck Kinks? Try Gentle Stretches.

Your neck might be sore from werking your best hairography, or just from after a night or two camping in your tent or car. Keep your neck stretches simple, especially if you’re in pain. Interlace your fingers around the back of your neck, draw your elbows in, then look gently down and up. Repeat as needed. You can also take your right arm across the top of your head to your left ear and gently tilt your head right, then repeat on the other side. It’s important not to pull on your head or neck.

Lower Back Pain Or Tight Shoulders? Do Back Bends!

Walking around from stage to stage takes a real pounding on your lower back, especially if you’re rocking cute new booties or sandals with no support. The good news is that some simple back bends can work out the kinks and strengthen your spine. Plus, heart openers really get the blood pumping and wake you up if you’re struggling to roll out of bed!

Start with cow and cat poses. While you’re on all fours, keep your arms straight, then alternately arch and round your spine. You can also try a gentle standing back bend with feet hip width apart and hands where your back pockets would be. Draw your tailbone down with your shoulders back, elbows in and chest and gaze up. To take the standing back bend deeper, try camel pose on your knees.

The key to all of these back bends is to make sure that rather than crunching down into

the lower back or worrying about “how far” you go, focus on the UPPER back bend. Remember that you’re looking to heal or lessen your pain.

Feet Sore? Invert.

Another solution to the constant pounding on your back is to get upside down. Find a solid wall, structure or even your car or tent and take viparita karani (legs-up-the-wall pose) for 2-5 minutes. Lie on your back as close to the wall or stable surface as possible and put your legs in the air, resting on the wall. This allows the stagnant lymph and blood to drain from the legs.

Forward folds are also great inversions and stretches for your back. Stand with feet at least hip width apart, then place your hands on the floor in front of you. Bend your knees if this aggravates your spine. Keep both hands on the floor or grab opposite elbows.

Legs Sore? Stretch Your Hamstrings.

After all of that walking and dancing, your legs will be sore. Luckily, there are stretches to help you! A standing forward folds is a great option. You can also sit with your legs outstretched, staying seated or reaching up and toward your toes. Remember that the more you engage the muscles in the front of your body, the deeper the stretch will be at the back.

Hips Feel Tight? Do Outer Hip Openers.

Most back pain actually stems from hip or hamstring tightness. If you open your outer hips every day, your back and hamstrings will likely feel better! A great go-to is butterfly pose. Sit tall, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall to the sides. Bringing your feet in closer to the groin increases the stretch, and bringing them further forward helps if it hurts your back. Just stay seated, or round forward like you want to kiss your toes. If you’re interested in more hip openers, try single pigeon or reclined pigeon. Butterfly is just the easiest to open both hips at once—and it’s also easy if you’re sitting down while watching any of the acts!

Need to Detox? Twist It Out.

Anytime you need to detox, twists are your best friend! Twists are great to wring out your internal organs, stimulate digestion and help with spine health and mobility. Lie on your back—knees bent, arms wide like a T. Let your knees fall right, your gaze left. Hold for a few breaths, then switch sides.

Namaste

Hopefully now you feel ready to take the stage by storm … or just really ready to rock out to some great music with your squad!

 

Whitney Kirk, @whittydancer 

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