Relieve tension and improve your posture with this fitness instructor’s 15-minute stretching routine

woman stretching into a forward lunge
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stretching can be a great way to warm up your muscles before a workout, but that’s not the only reason to add mobility exercises to your daily routine. This 15-minute stretching session is designed to strengthen your mind-muscle connection and boost your flexibility without weights.

You don’t need any equipment to get started either, although it may help to roll out one of the best yoga mats, as it can improve your grip and make things a bit more comfortable. But it’s not essential, making this routine ideal for when you’re tight on time or away from home.

All you really need is a bit of space where you won’t be disturbed and 15 minutes to spare to take on this short session designed by fitness instructor Ajay James. You don’t need to have any stretching or yoga experience, as James guides you through each position with proper form.

The routine comes from Alo Moves’ Body Restore program, a collection of 12 short classes designed by James to help improve “your blood flow, mobility, and range of motion.” And, like this 15-minute session, you don’t need any equipment to get started.

Watch Ajay James’ 15-minute stretching routine

James explains that the aim is to hold each stretch “a little bit longer. And [just] really concentrate on relaxing, not thinking about anything, and going deep into [the] stretching.” It’s a technique that’s designed to strengthen the mind-muscle connection and improve your awareness of your body.

If you stand up, how aware are you of the muscles in your legs, core and upper body as you’re upright? As these are sensations we feel so regularly, it’s hard to notice them all the time. But taking a moment to focus on the feeling can help us better understand how our bodies move.

It’s a practice that’s similar to mindfulness meditation, where you’re aiming to bring your focus to the movement of your breath. But instead of noticing sensations while you’re sitting still, you’re creating a movement to notice how your body feels as you stretch.

This can help improve your form during exercise, but it also plays a role in practices like yoga and Pilates, where small adjustments to your posture can make a big difference to the muscles you’re engaging and how comfortable it is to hold the position for extended periods.

But if you’re just starting out, James’ session can help ease you into the practice, especially as you’re sitting for most of the routine. Then, over time, you can strengthen the mind-muscle connection, relieve tension, and maybe add some yoga stretches for beginners into your routine, too.

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James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing. His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym. Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones. He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.