How to stretch with a buddy – part two
As promised, here come the “fancy”, more involved buddy stretches. Again, it is remarkable to me how much deeper you can get into the stretch with someone guiding you, even slightly. Additionally, recall that while cooling down it is best to hold these stretches if possible for the magic release and reset amount of ninety seconds.
6. Back Stretch
Hang onto your partner’s ankles and have him/her walk backwards slowly to create the maximum stretch down your spine. In yoga this position is called “child’s pose” in case you didn’t know. 🙂 Breathe!
To add more excitement to the stretch above, have your partner place their hands on the back of the tops of your hips and apply gentle pressure. Be sure to communicate and let him/her know if you’ve got too much going on and to back off, or to dig in and apply more pressure! They should also feel a stretch down the backs of their legs, too.
7. Downward Dog Hamstring Helper
Pop up into yoga’s famous Downward Dog (also popular with real dogs 🙂 with your hands and feet on the floor. Ian’s Downward Dog is ridiculously good, so it was a surprise to me that I was adding any help. If your heels need to be up, fine. Mine do, and I want to get out of the calves and into the hamstrings and shoulder blade area. Have your buddy try one of two ways to add some depth to this stretch- by pressing gently into the mid-back as shown below. Breathe!
Try also gently pulling back on the hips as shown here. Again, communication is tantamount to having this be a pleasant addition to your normal stretch… if you pull too hard then your buddy’s muscles will rebel! 🙂 Breathe!
8. Half Moon Hip Opener
Ian is a yogini and can easily put his hand on the ground. I prefer a block or a low ottoman under my hand (rather than the ground) to lift me up a bit. I’ve got my left hip turned and supporting the back of his hip, and I’ve grabbed his hip bone and shoulder simultaneously and gently pulled both towards me. This feels fantastic! Breathe!
9. Inversion Hammy Stretch
If you thought the Downward Dog helper was fun, then let’s pump up the volume. Walls and doors usually work better than furniture, but our Chinese chest is super heavy and solid so it won’t go anywhere. Ian is gently pressing on my hips to increase the stretch in my hammys. Breathe!
I return the favor and help his mid-back and shoulders open up more. Breathe!
If your partner really wants to invert and use their feet to press rather than their hands, here you go! Breathe!
10. The dreaded Boat Abs Pose
– but more fun with your buddy and your puppy!
My back is rounded a bit, so do all in your power to make a perfect “v” as you sit on your sit bones in your hips. We were messing around trying to equal out the balance of power in between our feet. Your abs might be screaming after a minute and a half….Breathe!
11. Inside Hurdler Stretch
Instead of turning the knee in and foot out, try turning the knee OUT and the foot IN. Now lock forearms, and one partner puuuuullllls the other forward. You’ll feel your back, and your hips, and even your arms lengthen gently. Aaaaah. Breathe!
Give your buddy a footie “high 5”! Some people also call this Scorpion Down Dog, but I had never attempted the footie high 5 at the same time.
Way more fun! Open up that hip! Breathe!
Let me know in the comments below which you liked and which were challenging, but no matter what, have fun! Breathe!