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Three stretches to energize your body and mind

Spring is here in all its splendor. Look around, and you will see Mother Nature waking up from her winter slumber fresh as ever! Maybe you are just like me, and can remember when and where your favorite flowers are in bloom. Maybe you too count down the days ’til the freshest produce is in season, ready to make family recipes for loved ones. These and other spring pastimes draw out the best of us humans.

Spring is also a time for trying out new things, and so consider yoga as an ideal way to renew, reinvigorate, and refresh your life, just like
Mother Nature’s spring blooms. The recipe to any yoga success is one simple ingredient. Yoga isn’t about stretching, straining, or ending up sore like normal exercise. Yoga is just like Mother Nature’s new spring growth: graceful and soothing. Yoga’s secret is that it turns the elegant shapes and forms of Mother Nature’s beauty into an exercise.

Now that Mother Nature is waking up from her winter rest, it’s time for you to follow her lead and learn to exercise just as nature intended it. Here are three yoga exercises to get you started!

Bird Reach

1) Sit on the floor or in your bed. Draw your right foot inward and extend your left leg.
2) Nestle your left arm along the left leg. Watch your right arm soar like a bird through the air.
3) Feel the breeze. Never get your arm stuck in the same place twice.
4) Instead of stretching higher or harder, keep your lips loose and your gaze light.
5) Just like a bird glides effortlessly, reach your own new heights!


Vine Twist

1) As your right arm leans your balance right, draw your left foot backwards and to the side.
2) From your bottom, feel your two arms growing like a vine, twisting your spine to the right.
3) Twist out all of your dead wood by relaxing, and grow new tender vines gazing further right.
4) Just like a vine grows through the tightest of spaces, there are no dead ends for your twist in sight!



1) Bring the soles of your feet together.
2) Loosen your lips toward your heart.
3) Like a butterfly flapping its wings, inhale and lift your knees and neck with an upward motion, then exhale and bring your knees and lips downward.
4) Feel the air carrying you.
5) Repeat these exercises with your newfound expertise on the other side.


Charlie Higgins is a graduate of Reed College and a certified yoga instructor. Charlie specializes in yoga for retirees, and his classes focus on range-of-motion, peripheral awareness, balance and breathing. As a guest author for Milestone Retirement, Charlie is excited to share fun, safe and easy tips for senior health & wellness.  To learn more, or explore more exercises by Charlie, visit his website: