At the end of a long day, it’s nice to unwind and do something relaxing. Whether you are a healthcare professional or a client reading this blog post, you may benefit from some gentle yoga stretches to help improve relaxation by releasing tension in your muscles and relieving your mental stress.
Here are 3 simple yoga stretches that may help to restore your body and promote relaxation. Feel free to hold each stretch for about 30-60 seconds (or as long as it is comfortable for you). During each stretch, you may combine it with slow and deep relaxing belly breaths (read my previous blog post How to: Belly Breathing to read more about the belly breathing I am referring to). I usually hold my stretches for about 6-8 breaths and repeat them 1-4 times.
Please read: You should not feel any discomfort or pain. Stop if anything feels uncomfortable for you. Do not go beyond your body’s limit (the stretch that you do may look different from how it looks when I do it and that’s okay). If you are combining your stretches with belly breathing, stop if you ever feel lightheaded or dizzy. If you are unsure about these stretches or have any questions, remember to consult a registered physiotherapist or a physician before trying them. Otherwise, I hope that you can relax and enjoy these stretches!
1) Child’s Pose Tips: relax all of your muscles; rest your forehead on the mat (try to have your big toes touching, seated on your heels and knees separated around the width of your hips)
2) Apanasana – Single Knee to Chest, do on right and left side Tips: keep shoulders/neck relaxed, draw knee closer with each breath if you’re able to
3) Reclined Butterfly or Bound Angle pose Tips: one hand at heart, one hand on belly; relax the thighs and let your knees fall to the sides
Handouts for Download:
Gura, S. T. (2002). Yoga for stress reduction and injury prevention at work. Work, 19(1), 3-7.
Kirkwood, G., Rampes, H., Tuffrey, V., Richardson, J., & Pilkington, K. (2005). Yoga for anxiety: a systematic review of the research evidence. British journal of sports medicine, 39(12), 884-891.