A quick and easy way to aid relaxation. Practice in those moments when your body needs to recharge, or when you feel panic beginning to set in.
The following exercise will take ten minutes. It should leave you feeling calm, re-energised and ready to return to whatever life is asking of you. It can also be a useful ‘skill’ to develop, especially if you are prone to anxiety or panic attacks.
Ideally, take yourself away for the bustle of everyday life – into a quieter part of your house or workplace. (Some people tell me they regularly ‘take ten’ locked in a toilet cubicle).
Remove your shoes. Stretch out your toes, broaden the base of your feet, flex your feet. Hold for a few moments and really feel the tightness in your feet. Then consciously release the stretch and feel the relaxation flow into your feet. Repeat twice.
Now become aware of your lower legs and flex your calf muscles from your knee joints. Hold, release and repeat. Continue with your upper legs and hips. Then stretch and relax both feet and legs together.
Gently flex your spine first backwards, notice both the front and the back of your body feeling tight, then release and relax. Repeat by drawing your tummy area backwards and flexing your spine and shoulders forward. Hold, release and relax, then repeat.
By now you will have got the idea. Gradually work you way into your fingers, hands, wrists, then lower arms and elbows, upper arms and shoulders. If you find any area needs more attention, then spend more time with that body part.
Wend your way up your neck and the back of your head. Work your way through your forehead, around your eyes, nose, cheeks and mouth, stretching, holding, releasing and relaxing as you go.
When you have completed your whole body, pause and enjoy this relaxed stillness for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and really appreciate how your body feels.
To complete your ‘stretch and relax’ session draw your awareness back down into your feet and replace your shoes.
Practice for ten minutes on a daily basis and you will soon notice the difference. You should feel calmer, energised, more in control and better able to cope with the demands of daily life.
Once you have built up confidence with the technique, you will be able to use it to prevent panic setting in. Remember to practice regularly. That way relaxation can become an easy and enjoyable habit.
This technique can be practiced safely on your own. However, if you would prefer to learn in a class situation, come and experience a ‘taster session’ or book yourself a one-to-one session.