Are you overwhelmed by the stresses of life? Maybe it’s health issues that have you stressed. Or relationship issues that you can’t even begin to try to figure out how to get on the same path. Possibly it’s the ongoing cable news and social media that continue to let us know all the bad things happening on an around-the-clock basis. Being informed is good, but too much information can leave you stressed to the max. Relaxation techniques are used to quiet the mind, but the bonus is it creates a stable, relaxed state throughout your body.
A technique that has been used for decades is progressive relaxation. Mindful breathing, tensing, and letting go are the premise of this technique. To start, turn off the lights lie down in a comfortable position—some like a pillow under their knees. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth slowly for two breaths. On the third breath, tighten your shoulders and neck as you inhale. As you exhale, relax the shoulders and neck. You are slowly staying in the moment repeat three times. Then inhale and tighten your arms and hands. As you exhale, relax the arms and hands. Repeat three times slowly and mindfully. Inhale again and tighten your abdominals and lower back. As you slowly exhale, release the abdominals and low back. Repeat three times, staying with the breath, and at the moment, Take another deep breath and tense your glutes and upper thighs. Release the breath slowly and relax your glutes and upper thighs. Again repeat three times slowly. Inhale and tighten the muscles in your lower leg and pull your feet towards you in a flexed position. Slowly exhale and let your lower leg relax as you let your feet relax. Mindfully repeat this three times. Finally, take a few deep breaths and not tighten any muscles. A feeling of relaxation will come over you. With consistency, you will feel a sense of calm throughout your body.
I don’t always have time to lie down to do the above. But I’ve done this sitting with eyes closed. The point is once you realize that you have the power to slow and relax your body, you can do it anyplace.
Life happens good and not so good. Having the tools to quiet your mind and body is paramount to handling what life throws at you. Here’s to a new year of quieting our minds and relaxing our bodies. For more information about health and fitness, don’t hesitate to contact Kay Colgan at Middleburg Pilates, 14 S Madison Street, Middleburg, Virginia, or call 540-687-6995.