Use this checklist to help you breath, release and relax your muscles. I use it all the time both for myself, my clients and in class.
Being aware of the different parts of the stretch will keep you focused and present in the moment, which in turn will calm you down.
If you are strapped for time, hold each stretch for 3 breaths. That’s about 15 seconds. More time equals more flexibility, relaxation and breathing. It’s good to note that holding a stretch for 6 to 12 breaths equals about 30 seconds to a minute.
So, next time you find yourself stretching, use this checklist to help you focus your energy:
- Isolate the muscle – focus on the core muscle you’re going to stretch
- Find zero tension – once you’ve found the muscle, you need to relax so you don’t feel any tension
- Find the first awareness – focus on the second the muscle begins to stretch
- Use minimal force – keep it gentle
- Allow loss of tension – now that you’ve stretched the muscle, focus again on relaxing into the stretch
- Breathe – make sure you keep breathing throughout the stretch; it’s amazing how often we hold our breath while doing an activity
- Be patient – I know it’s hard. Breathe