One of my favorite things to do is deep breathing and stretching. After being sick, enduring finals, finishing huge writing projects, or . . . going through monthly womanly experiences, taking the time to stretch deep into my aching body feels wonderful. It’s miraculous how much stress gets trapped in my muscles.
Today I dedicated my practice to breathing and stressing my anxiety out of my hips, legs, shoulders, and back. I wondered why stretching helps fight stress so effectively. A fun website Resilient Educator I found explains, “Stretching stimulates receptors in the nervous system that slow the production of stress hormones.” Ashley Previte explained in the article “Stretch Your Body, Stretch Your Mind” other benefits. Deep Stretching,
- Releases hormones for mood and emotions.
- Increases blood flow and circulation to your muscles and your brain
- Encourages a relaxed awareness of your body and mind
- Improves balance, flexibility, range of motion, and strength
- Focuses your awareness to the present
Though I prefer yoga sequences that push me physically, there are times like today, after I built up too much stress, I need to really stretch it out. These kinds of sequences, for me at least, don’t follow a predestined pattern. I like to pay attention to my body and ponder which muscles need a lot of focus. (Most of my stress goes to my lower body in my hips, lower back, and legs.)
What I especially like about these yoga sequences is how fun it is to think about how I would teach this to a class. There is nothing so liberating as allowing yourself to stretch and flow according to your needs. Because, when it all comes down to it, we do yoga for ourselves, not to please or impress other people.
All in all, I had fun today and enjoyed releasing several days of tension from my body.
Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.