This Active Recovery Workout Will Help You Bring Your A-Game to Every Routine

Give your sore, tight muscles the self-care they've earned with this active recovery workout from Sweat trainer and yoga instructor Phyllicia Bonanno.

If you have grown to love your fitness routine, it can be tough to give it up — even for a day. You understand firsthand what moving your body, working toward goals, and getting the powerful rush of endorphins can do for your mental health and overall wellbeing. Nevertheless, if you aren't allowing yourself a proper rest day, you're setting yourself up for failure down the road.

See, without adequate recovery and rest your risk for injury, chronic fatigue, burnout, and boredom — all things that can lead you to entirely revolt against your seemingly iron-clad commitment to exercise — increase greatly. So, while it might seem counterintuitive, taking a day off from your grueling or regimented workouts will actually help you reach your goals faster — and pain-free.

"Stretching, particularly after exercising, is an important part of rest and recovery as it helps both your body and mind reset and prepare for all the challenges ahead," says Sweat yoga instructor Phyllicia Bonanno.

Below, you'll find Bonanno's own active recovery workout, which begins with breathwork and then utilizes nine different stretches centered around beginner-friendly yoga poses to relieve tension from head to toe.

recovery-workout-Phyllicia Bonanno

Active Recovery Workout

How it works: Begin with some light breathwork and meditation to find present. Then, move through these nine yoga pose stretches, holding for the allotted breath before flowing directly onto the next stretch.

You'll need: a comfortable surface or mat for cushion

Seated Breathing Meditation

Take a comfortable seat on the mat and allow yourself to focus on your breath. Throughout the practice, breath will give you power, strength, balance, and focus for each pose.

Take 5-10 breaths.

Seated Side Stretch

  1. From a seated, cross-legged position, reach and extend left hand up to the sky while grounding right hand on the floor next to right hip.
  2. Feel the stretch across the side of the body with the lifted hand.

Take three breaths. Switch sides; repeat.

Seated Twist

  1. Place right hand behind hips on the floor, and left hand on right knee.
  2. Twist and gaze over right shoulder. Twist a bit further with each exhale.

Take three breaths. Switch sides; repeat.

Cat Cow

  1. Start from a tabletop position with hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  2. Inhale, allowing belly to drop as gaze lifts.
  3. Exhale to curl and round spine, gazing at belly button.

Take 5 breaths.

Low Lunge

  1. From cat cow, lift and plant right foot in between hands on the mat.
  2. Bend deeply into front knee, with back knee resting on the ground.

Take 5 breaths, then move onto Half-Split (below) on same side.


  1. From low lunge, sit back onto the heel of the rear leg.
  2. Extend front leg straight and fold torso forward.

Take 5 breaths. Switch sides; repeat Low Lunge and Half-Split on the opposite side.

Cobra Flow

  1. Start lying face-down with hands under shoulders. Inhale, pressing through palms to lift chest, stretching abs and squeezing glutes to protect low back.
  2. Exhale to release back down to mat.

Take 5 breaths.

Pigeon Pose

  1. Start in downward dog (from high plank, lift hips to form an upside-down "V" shape with body).
  2. Bring right knee to right hand as right foot meets the left hand, lowering leg onto the floor with the shin parallel to the front of the mat.
  3. Slowly lower down in front of shin on forearms.

Take 5-10 breaths. Switch sides; repeat.

Reclined Bound Angle

  1. Lay face-up on the floor and allow knees to splay open as the soles of feet touch.
  2. Place one hand on the heart and the other on the belly.

Take 5-10 breaths.

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