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8 gentle exercises to help you relax

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Here are 8 exercises designed to help create positive wellbeing and relax your mind and body.

All of these movements can help to:

  • Release any negative tension
  • Bring some small movements to tissues and muscles
  • Give you some breathing space within your day.

1. Fingertip reaches

This movement is good for mobilising and resetting the shoulder blades.

To do this:

  • Lie on your back on the floor or a comfortable surface. Your legs can be out long or with your knees bent.
  • Set the pelvis in a neutral position.
  • Lift your arms up towards the ceiling.
  • Reach the fingertips of one hand towards the ceiling, moving from the shoulder blade, so the shoulder slightly lifts up from the ground.
  • Gently bring it back down.
  • Alternate from one arm to the other several times.
  • Relax both the arms down.

2. Head nods

These are a good way to relax the muscles in your neck.

To do this:

  • Start by lying down on you back, as relaxed as possible.
  • Gently nod the head up and down.
  • Then turn your head from side-to-side, pausing slightly when you come back through the centre.
  • Keep the movement slow and steady.
  • Notice your movement against the ground underneath you.

3. Pelvic tilts

These help to reset the pelvis, especially after long hours of sitting or standing in a static position.

To do this:

  • Start by lying down on your back.
  • Bring your hands to rest on your hip bones.
  • Tip your pelvis back into a posterior tilt and then tip it forwards into an anterior tilt.
  • It can help to imagine that there’s a bowl of water on your pelvis which you want to keep as balanced as possible.
  • Move through this motion several more times and then come back to a neutral position.

4. Self-myofascial release (MFR)

MFR for the hands and fingers helps to stimulate the nerve ending and connective tissue in the hands. There are lots of different ways to perform this, you can use a tennis ball, a rolled-up pair of socks or a small rubber ball.

MFR Exercise 1:

To do this:

  • Place the ball on a stable surface.
  • Rest one hand on top of it and apply a small amount of pressure.
  • Roll the hand up and down over the ball.
  • Repeat on your other hand.

MFR Exercise 2:

To do this:

  • Rest your fingers on the surface of the ball like before, but roll the ball so it’s under the base of your palm.
  • Press the centre of the palm down and roll from side to side.
  • Repeat on your other hand.

MFR Exercise 3:

To do this:

  • Place the ball under your knuckles this time.
  • Apply a little pressure to the ball again, and gently roll from side to side.
  • Repeat on your other hand.

MFR Exercise 4:

To do this:

  • With the ball starting under your palm, begin to make a scribbling action in all different directions and move the ball up your hand and back down.
  • Go slowly at first to keep control, but then you can try speeding up as much as you feel is comfortable to.
  • Repeat on your other hand.

MFR Exercise 5:

To do this:

  • Press the centre of your palm down on top of a softer and squishier prop (e.g. a soft ball).
  • Release the pressure for a moment, and then press down again.
  • Notice the feeling when you do so, and adjust the pressure so you feel comfortable.
  • Repeat on your other hand.

Jude Evans

Jude Evans Yoga & Movement Teacher, Warwick Sport

Jude has a background in theatre, movement, and dance. She is passionate about bringing movement, yoga and creative practices to a wide range of people.

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