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Lazy days at the beach, surf, sand, sun . . . There's no better way to unwind this summer than with a dip in the ocean. But all that swimming could lead to major upper shoulder tension. So, rather than killing your beach buzz, try this easy three-minute yoga routine for a relaxing postworkout stretch in your living room.
"Like most repetitive actions, swimming can lead to muscular imbalances that create painful sensations in the shoulders, rounded posture and a less efficient stroke, so it's important to counter them with regular stretching," says David Magone, director at PranaVayu Yoga in Boston. "Because yoga provides a variety of highly effective stretching methods, it is an ideal complement to swimming."
See the swimmer's yoga series after the break!
Incorporate these three moves into your regular routine three times a week to "keep your body in balance, improve your stroke, and help you save energy by swimming more efficiently."
Lunging Half Moon Stretch
Come to a standing position and step your right foot backward 4 to 5 feet. Turn the heel of your back foot upward and bend the front knee to 90 degrees. Reach your arms up over your head and grab your right wrist with your left hand. Lengthen your body upward, keeping your torso squared straight ahead, and bend your torso to the left side to stretch all of the muscles on the lefthand side (above). Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Find your way to all fours with your shoulders stacked directly above your wrists. Stretch your back and neck by rounding your spine as you exhale. As you do this, press downward through your hands and roll your tail strongly under while curling your chin to your chest (top). Inhale, arch your spine in the opposite direction, curl your tailbone up toward the ceiling, and roll your chin backward to stretch your throat (bottom). Repeat 15 to 20 times.
Floor-Assisted Chest-Opening Stretch
Lie flat down on your belly. Extend your right arm outward to the side at shoulder height and turn your right palm to face upward. Roll onto the right side of your body, bend your legs, and place your feet flat on the ground with one or both knees facing up toward the ceiling. To stretch your chest, reach your left hand behind your back, clasp your hands, and sweep your hands up and away from your hips while gazing upward (above). If interlacing your hands behind your back is not possible, then simply rest your left hand on your left hip and squeeze your shoulders backward to deepen the stretch.