Have you stretched today? If you’ve taken a class at The Studio MDR today, the answer is YES! As you may have heard from your instructor, every move throughout class actually incorporates stretching. For example, MDR instructor, Svetlana, says “Reverse Crunch” doesn’t just help you recover — it also helps you stretch your spine. MDR instructor Mary echoes that and says all lunges, but particularly “Reverse Super Floor Lunge”, help build muscle while offering a great stretch too.

But maybe you want to take your stretch game to the next level— and it’s no wonder‚ stretching has a whole host of incredible benefits – some of our faves include helping you feel more alert, increasing your body awareness, warding off injury, and more.

So kick off your weekend with some zen and check out these 3 easy ways to feel more flexible by Monday:

1) Attend the Shred & Stretch or Mega Stretch class
While the majority of poses you do in the studio already incorporate a great stretch (everyone’s favorite, Child Pose, for example), we also have a couple classes with more of a stretching focus. Lindsay Hallam teaches MDR Shred & Stretch — which is 35 minutes of moves you’d typically do in a (MDR) Total Body class and is followed by 15 minutes of stretch-based poses. An awesome stretch that she incorporates is Pigeon Pose, a yogi favorite deemed the “King of Hip Openers.” Looking for even more stretch? Albina Katsman teaches a class called (MDR) Mega Stretch which utilizes ballet-inspired ideas and a focus on progressive core movements to heal and stretch your body.

2) Hit your local park and stretch it out
We’re finally starting to see some beautiful sunny, blue-skied days after a period of (much-needed) rain— take advantage of the gorgeous weather and head outdoors to get your stretch on. Spending time outdoors is scientifically proven to improve your health in a number of ways, elevating not only your mood, but also in aiding your body to fight against everything from cancer to heart attacks. Bring a yoga mat and work on some hip flexor stretches or use a park bench for a relaxing foldover stretch. We love using this list of essential stretches from Self for inspiration – your body will tell you what you need!

3) Incorporate stretching as part of your bedtime ritual
After a long day at work, the last thing you might want to do is add one more item to your list. But make room for this one— stretching is a great way to wind down from the stresses of a day, relax your mind and muscles, and prepare you for sleep. By doing some pre-bedtime stretching, you can actually improve the quality of your sleep and lower your stress levels. A good stretch to start with is “Rag Doll” - simply stand with your feet about hips distance apart, bend over and grab opposite elbows. Let your head hang freely, releasing all tension, and breathe. For more on pre-bedtime stretches, read on here.