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Five 1-Minute Relaxation Exercises

Inspired by lessons from my yoga teacher, these are 5 quick relaxation exercises you can do anywhere, from the office to lying in bed, that will give you a moment of calm and re-energise your senses.

1. Soften your eyes

Close your eyes and take a few breaths. Soften the outer corner of the eyes, then the inner corner of the eyes, and notice what a difference this makes.

We hold a lot of tension in our eyes and forehead and by focusing on relaxing the corner of the eyes that stress can just melt away.

2. Breath into your back

Breathe into your back, focusing on breathing into the back rib cage. With each inhale, imagine you are pushing both sides of the back rib cage away from each other, then exhale naturally. Keep your core still.

We don’t really think about how we breathe, usually just breathing in and out of the stomach, but this exercise is great for re-energising the body and relaxing the back, shoulder and neck muscles.

3. Relax your tongue

If your tongue is planted firmly on the roof of your mouth (like most people) simply relax your tongue and let it float in your mouth.

We hold a lot of tension in our mouths, and not only does this add to feeling stressed, but it’s one of the causes of ageing. By relaxing the mouth we take the pressure off the lines between our nose and mouth as well as the fine lines around the mouth.

4. Squeeze your fists and feet

Take your shoes off and squeeze your feet tight. Squeeze as tight as you can go for a few seconds. Then relax them. Repeat, then do the same thing with your fists. Scrunch your fists into tight little balls (don’t raise your shoulders up into your ears) then relax.

This is a great way to bring circulation into your feet and legs, as well as hands and arms. If you’re at the office this is a great excuse to pop into the bathroom and give yourself a 1 minute relaxation boost.

If you’re finding it hard to get out of bed in the mornings this is also a nice way to prepare yourself for the day ahead!

5. Child’s pose

Position yourself on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keep your arms where they are and sit back, so you are lying over your calves. Enjoy this lovely stretch. This is a great opportunity to breathe into your back (see above). Let your mind focus on your breathing.

This is a lovely relaxing stretch for the often overlooked back and arms, as well as the back of the thighs.