Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What is progressive muscle relaxation?

Today is one of those days that leaves me wanting nothing more than a blanket and some magazines. I'm tired for no particular reason, just tired. It catches up with me every once in a while, but I push on. For example, today is a yoga day and my goal is to do yoga once a week, I decided to go for a 20-minute strength and flexibility session from my Tara Stiles DVDs in lieu of not doing anything.

(What...your toenail polish doesn't match your yoga mat?! It had to be Instagrammed.)

Quick and to the point, that's what I needed. And then I just wanted to sit for a minute, to really let myself relax into my current state of blah for just a few minutes. So I did some progressive muscle relaxation, which I just read about in the December issue of Oxygen:

Progressive muscle relaxation is nothing more than tensing and relaxing every muscle in your body, starting with your toes and working your way up to your head. It's best done lying down in a quite place so you can really focus on and feel what your muscles are doing. You basically squeeze and release each muscle group, letting yourself sink into the floor for total relaxation. Deep breathing, of course, makes it even more effective. And once you've worked your way over your entire body, you can go back and re-squeeze any muscle groups that are still tense. In the end, according to Oxygen, you'll feel like "a relaxed, cooked noodle."

Here's a cheat sheet:

It's good stuff.

I cleared out a spot in our living room and let the sun shine down on me:

In the end, I could have fallen asleep. I was that relaxed.

Give it a try next time you feel stressed and/or in need of a moment. To quote Oxygen again: "A 2012 study in which women practiced the technique for just 20 minutes found that they experienced a decrease in the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol, and reported an increase in mental and physical relaxation."

Sounds good, right?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway. Free berries to two winners!

Question: What's your favorite stress-bustin' technique?


RunToTheFinish said...

I actually found this in high school with the drama team, we did it before plays and now I try to do it when I can't sleep!

di said...

I always finish my yoga classes with this before savasana.

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