This sequence of exercises is really lovely to do because it's quite relaxing. So if you haven't had much sleep, or your back's feeling a little bit achy and you want to stretch out a bit, it's really good. It's going to work and tone those muscles whilst also giving you a bit of relaxation.
We're going to start by working your backside. So I'm going to grab some towels – this is really good for protecting your knees, because you're going to kneel on one towel, and then you're going to put another towel between your knees. This is going to really work your inner thigh because you're going to squeeze in on the towel.
We really want to emphasize working these big muscles here. So what I want you to do is tuck your tail underneath you, then squeeze in on the towel between your knees, and just lean back a little bit. You're going to feel this in your thigh muscles here, but I want you to really tuck and focus on your bottom, so tuck your tail underneath you.
For the upper body, we're going to do something really nice and relaxing. We're going to take the arms out in front, take a nice big deep breath in – inhale – and then as you exhale, you draw your arm back. And this is called the "bow and arrow."
Now whilst I'm here, I'm going to focus on that bottom again. Tuck the tail, squeeze in on your tail, and then come back in. So take a breath in, exhale, slide the arm back and go out the other side. Tuck your tail again, squeeze your bottom, and then bring it back in.
So we're going to do that again, and you should really feel this in your bottom as you tuck your tail underneath you. It's really important to make sure that your hips stay facing the front as you do this, so that you've got movement through your back. That's what's going to really help to release tight back muscles.
We're going to now go on to an exercise that's going to really focus on your tummy. So for this one, you're going to come onto your hands and knees. So your hands are in line with your shoulders and your knees are in line with your hips.
You want to have what we call a neutral line, which is when your tailbone is slightly lifted. I call this "happy dog wagging its tail" position. So if you wag your tail, then you'll be in the right position.
You then want to focus on your core muscles. Just tuck your arms in a little bit, draw your shoulders down, and look down at the floor in front of your fingertips. Then focus first on your pelvic floor. So "stop the wind, stop the wee," pull in, and feel your tummy coming in.
Now though, we're going to take this into something we call the "cat stretch." Now this is a lovely way to release the back and work your tummy. So you're now going to think about pulling up your belly button with a piece of string up and out through the top of your spine.
So think of the midpoint of your spine, in line with your belly button. Imagine a piece of string, and start to pull up. Now as you pull up, you start to tuck your tail and your head – very, very slowly, so you get lots of isolated movement through your spine.
Then tuck your head and your tail as much as you can, allow your shoulder blades to part, then really tuck your head right in, and think of starting to lift your tail and lift your head. Draw the shoulder blades back and down, and tuck your arms in.
Now we're going to do that again, but add a bit more of a stretch in for your back. So again, start with your belly button – pull up into your tummy and then start to lift that piece of string up and out through the midpoint of your spine up towards the ceiling – tucking your head, tucking your tail, and then really lifting your tummy in, really squeeze it in.
From here, we're going to add a lovely stretch in your back as you sit back. So keep breathing, nice and relaxed, come back up, and now we're going to focus on your upper body. So tuck your arms in – again, into that "happy dog wagging its tail" position. Just get a little connection to your tummy and your pelvic floor, though. We're going to focus on the upper body, but still know that those muscles are there.
This time, tuck the arms in and bend and come forwards. Now really squeeze into your back muscles, and you'll really feel this in your upper body, really good toning for the upper body, particularly those "bingo wings" on the backs of your arms. And then come back up.
So you're going to lift from your belly button up towards the ceiling. Keep tucking your tail, tucking your head as far as you can go, so you're just going to keep tucking underneath. Then once you've tucked in as far as you can go, take it back. And then come back up and tuck the elbows in. Then you're going to come forward into your upper-body move, keep tucking the elbows in, and then come back up.
Whoa, that's a big workout for the arms! So we're going to finish off with a nice, relaxing stretch now. Take one leg out, knee out to the side, and extend the other leg out. You'll feel a lovely stretch going into your back.
It's really nice and relaxing, this stretch. And if you've got tightness into the lower back, then this will really help. It stretches into your hips as well, and into your bottom a little bit. And then we're going to finish off on the other side, and you can just hold it there.