Nina Dobrev's Favorite Stretch After A Long Workout

Nina Dobrev, the actress famous for her role as Elena on the hit CW show Vampire Diaries, is perhaps just as well-known for her ability to "slay" in the gym. In fact, her home-gym obsession started during the pandemic, when she realized how much she depended on things outside her home to stay in shape, as per Shape.

Needless to say, we stay lurking in the shadows, waiting for Dobrev to toss us bits of workout advice that we can sink our teeth into. Lucky for us, she's not shy about sharing what works for her when it comes to keeping her mind and body in tip-top shape. In an interview with Self, Dobrev explained that her love of intense cardio, like running, cycling, rowing, and circuit training means she requires a lot of post-workout stretching, and her favorite way to unwind after a hard workout is sliding into the hip-opening pigeon pose.

Why hip-openers are so important

Our hips are the powerhouses that allow us to perform daily tasks like walking, squatting, climbing stairs, and working out (per Cleveland Clinic). So when our hips are tight and we can't access their full range of motion, it can cause real discomfort and limit what we are able to do. Overdoing it at the gym isn't the only thing that can put a strain on the hip joints. Simple things like sitting a little too much and wearing the wrong shoes can have a profound effect on our hips' ability to function properly.

Hip-opening stretches help your body's circulation, flexibility, and range of motion in the hip flexors, which benefits everything from our posture to our balance, as per Yoga Basics. The founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga, Bethany Lyons, spoke to Yoga Journal and shared some insight. According to Lyons, yogic tradition embraces the idea that the hips store negative, pent-up emotions, and opening the hips is the only way to release them.

Pigeon pose is one of yoga's most prominent hip-opening poses and Dobrev endorses it, telling Self, "It's just the most effective [stretch] for me to really open up my hips. It's great for maintenance and keeping everything loose."

How to practice pigeon pose

To get into the pigeon pose, Healthline recommends starting in a downward dog position, with your hands and feet on the mat and your butt reaching up towards the sky. Your body should look like an upside-down V. From there, bring your right knee forward, as if you were going to do a lunge, but instead of putting your foot down, place your right knee just outside your right hand, rotating your shin so it's parallel with the top of your mat and flex your right foot so that your toes also point toward the front of your mat. Gently lower your left knee until it's on the mat before extending your left leg so that it lies flat behind you. Then place your hands firmly under your shoulders, straightening your spine and looking forward. To take the stretch further, you can lower your torso to the ground, with your arms outstretched and your forehead pressed down on your forearms. Try to hold the position for 5-10 rounds of breath.

If your hips and hamstrings are particularly tight, the pigeon pose may look a little daunting. Therefore, try loosening up with some warm-up stretches before attempting the pigeon pose to avoid injury.