“Yoga Warm-ups”: A Simple Method to De-Stress Your Body and Mind
We hold stress in our bodies, especially right now, with this virus situation. Even in normal circumstances, Americans aren’t actually that hot at stress reduction: anxiety, depression, brain fog and sleeping problems abound and most of us have been affected by these in some way. Similarly, many of us show the signs of stress not only in our mental state but in our bodies at a very high rate: high blood pressure, headaches and back and neck pain, to mention a few expressions of stress in the body. We see this every day as Physical Therapists here in Santa Maria.
So what do we do now that we’re stuck at home? The gym is closed, we’re busy taking care of the nieces and nephews or grandkids, or working from home now, or even just hanging out with our spouse but the normal routine is all messed up? In our last blog post, 7 Things To Do To Stay Active and Healthy Indoors, we outlined some ideas of movements and exercises and even some breathing exercises, which I hope help lots of people to keep moving and also de-stress.
But in this post I wanted to share just one quick method that helps me personally and that I give lots of people in our Physical Therapy office which kicks out mental and physical stress all at the same time. I call it the “Yoga Warm-ups.” From our work with people healing injuries over the past 20-something years, the most effective strategies usually integrate 2 things: the mind and the body.
The thing I like about the Yoga Warm-ups is that they help release tension from both the body and the mind, leaving you feel less stiff, less stressed and more peaceful. Physically, it moves EVERY SINGLE JOINT in your body, lubricating the joints, bringing blood flow and mobility to the muscles. It also integrates the mental/internal benefits of breathing and mindfulness into it, meaning it shifts the activity of the brain from thinking/analyzing/talking/planning regions and connects multiple other areas of the brain together, enhancing relaxation, healing, clear mindedness, and even digestion.
So without further ado, here’s the link to the video we put together (see below). It walks you through the whole routine from beginning to end, starting with some breathing techniques, moving on to the physical movements, and finishing with a bit more breathing. One thing I recommend: see if you can keep your awareness on the breathing during the WHOLE routine. Easier than it sounds. Once you try it a few times and get more used to the movements this will get easier.
My recommendation is to try it once, then see how your body feels the next day. If you’re a little sore in your muscles, it means it gave you a little workout – either stay with that intensity or back off a bit. If you have pain with any of the movements, either skip that movement or make the movement smaller or slower. If you just felt looser and more relaxed afterwards, great, that was the idea. You can do this routine sitting down, too, if that’s better for you. Just do the motions that feel good! Try doing it once in the morning and once in the afternoon/evening. It’s the perfect thing to do right before bed – it downshifts your brain while releasing tension in your body. You may find that you fall asleep easier and are more flexible in the morning (because you entered the static position of sleep with less stiffness in your body).
Let me know how it goes for you! Send me a note on your experience and ask me any questions you may have on how to optimize it for yourself to get the best benefit for YOU.
Yours in healing,
PS, If you liked this post, please SHARE it with your friends – I bet we all know someone stuck at home right now who could use a little stress relief 😉