Instead of just sleeping or chatting with your friends while on all those long bus trips this marching season, here are a few stretches to keep you busy and put a spring in your march.
Sit up nice and tall. Take your right hand over to just above your left ear. Using the weight of your right hand, gently tilt your head to the right, making sure to maintain space between your right ear and right shoulder. You should feel a good, deep stretch on the left side of the neck. Hold for three breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Interlace both hands behind your neck. Squeeze your elbows toward each other, toward your face. Let the weight of your hands bring your chin down to your chest. Slightly tuck the chin, making the skin on the back of the neck long. Breathe into the front of your throat. Hold this feel-good posture for four to five breaths.
Lift your right arm up. Keeping your elbow pointing up, take your right hand just above your left shoulder. Left hand takes a light hold of your right elbow. You should feel a nice stretch along the back of your right arm. Hold for three breaths. Repeat on the other side.
With your feet planted flat on the floor, feet hip distance apart and the toes pointed forward, sit up with a straight spine. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Place your hands lightly on top of your knees. Inhale. As you exhale, curl your spine toward the back of your seat. Inhale and pass through neutral spine and press your chest toward the seat in front of you. Move with the breath. Breathe into your upper chest and deep belly. Do 10 repetitions.
Keep your left foot firmly planted on the floor. Take your right ankle on top of your left knee, so that your right foot hangs to the left of your left leg. Flex the right foot. Place your left hand just above your right ankle. Place your right hand above your right knee. Your legs should look like a figure 4. Apply a slight amount of pressure with your right hand. Breathe into your hips and across your lower back. Take three to four breaths. You should feel the stretch in the outside of the right hip. Repeat on the other side.
If you’d really like to challenge yourself, sit on the aisle side of the bus seat. Swing your feet into the aisle and face the people sitting across from you. Clasp your hands around the front of your right knee. Bring your knee up into your chest. Flex the right foot. Make sure to sit up tall—your spine will naturally try to compensate and curl back toward your seat partner. Breathe into the space between your shoulders. Hold for three to five breaths. Repeat on the other side.
About the Author
After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school.
She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with degrees in dance and English. She is now attending the University of Southern California and is getting her master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts).
Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.