Relaxation Techniques and Stretches

Woman practicing mindfulness and meditation

Before starting any exercise routine check with your doctor that this new routine is right for you. If you feel any pain while doing any of the stretches, stop immediately and consult your doctor.

Place your hand on your stomach and breathe into your belly. Focus on the sensations of your body and breath rather than the thoughts of your mind.

Take three deep breaths in a row. Take a long inhale through your nose and then hold the breath for 2 beats and then take a long exhale through your mouth, you can even make a sighing noise with your exhale.

Find a word or memory or image that helps you relax. Bring this word image or memory into your mind and breathe into the feeling it brings you, trying to make this feeling bigger and bigger until it washes over your whole body.

If you are feeling anxious or worried about something, picture this as negative energy, give it a colour if that helps and focus on exhaling it from your body.

Stretch out the back of your neck by bringing your chin down onto your chest. Only go as far as feels comfortable for you. Breathe and hold the stretch.

Stretch out the side of your neck by tipping your right ear towards your right shoulder. Breathe and hold. Repeat on the left side.

Do some slow shoulder rolls, remembering to breathe with the movement.

Open and close your hands into a loose fist, breathing with the movement. Then make slow circles feeling the movement in your wrist.

Seated forward bend Bring your hands on to your thighs. Slowly slide your hands down your legs, bringing your upper body with you. Stop wherever feels comfortable for you. Let your head be soft and hang in between your shoulders.

Side bend, step your feet wide apart, place your right forearm on your right thigh. Raise your left arm up towards the ceiling. Bend your upper body over to the right. Hold and breathe. Slowly come back up. Repeat on your left side.

Hip stretch. Sitting in a chair, place your right ankle on your left thigh. Take your hands to your right knee and gently press down. If you want to deepen the stretch fold your upper body down and rest it on your right leg. Hold and breathe. Slowly come back up, letting your head be the last thing to come up.

Hold your foot off the ground slightly and circle your foot around your ankle. Do this slowly remembering to breathe with the movement.

Finish your stretching by breathing again. You can bring the attention of your mind to different parts of the body, starting with the feet and moving up to the head. With each body part, breathe in relaxation and breathe out any tension you are holding there.

Practice patience and forgiveness with yourself and others. Remind yourself of positive things.

Find joy in life, laughter can truly be the best relaxation technique.