Stretch Yourself to Release Tension

Tense muscles aren’t necessarily sore muscles, but they still aren’t any fun.

They’re what happens when muscles are partially contracted even when they’re not being used, and they can be caused by stress and anxiety, exercising, sitting at a desk for extended periods and repetitive movements.

You feel it in stiff muscles that often feel achy, and persistent muscle tension can lead to chronic pain in any part of the body.

It’s important to release the tension as soon as possible by learning how to cope with stress and safely stretching your muscles. These are some of the best yoga poses for reducing the strain.

Cat/cow pose

Assume tabletop position on your hands and knees.

Inhale and draw your belly downward, lifting your tailbone and chest toward the ceiling or sky. Stretch your neck and tilt your head backward, fixing your gaze in front of you. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds while taking deep breaths.

Then, exhale and round your back toward the ceiling, bringing your tailbone, head and neck in toward your chest and hold 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat 5 to 6 times.

Standing forward bend

Stand up straight, but with a neutral back (mountain pose) and bring your hands to your waist. Exhale and bend forward from the hips, keeping your spine straight until your head and neck hang down. Place your hands on your feet.

Try to bend further and bring your palms to the back of the ankles. Touch your forehead to your knees, relax and hold pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Inhale, bring your palms to your waist and gradually straighten your body, without raising your head until you are standing. Repeat 5 to 6 times.

Modified standing back bend

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale and straighten both arms overhead so your wrists and palms touch.

Engage your thighs and relax your buttocks to avoid crunching in your lower back.

Push your hips forward, gently lift and broaden your upper chest and begin bending back from your torso. Gaze forward unless comfortable looking up. Extend your arms along your ears if this doesn’t hurt your neck.