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> Back to Plus-Size Fitness Excerpts List

Plus-Size Fitness Excerpt from Don't Weight

How do I Move from Overwhelmed to Hopeful?

There are many ways. I have a friend who meditates when she starts to feel stress. If you would like to use meditation to help you to look at things in a new way, learn more about it. Experiment with it. I have not had much luck; I probably am doing it wrong. I end up thinking about lists of jobs instead of relaxing. So, I have developed a more active way to relax. I focus on my body movements and breathing in an exercise I call "Tune In & Chill Out". One of the most important things about this exercise is that it takes less time than going to the bathroom. (No matter what is going on in your life, when you gotta go, you gotta go.) If you have time to go to the bathroom, you have time to:

Tune In and Chill Out (an active relaxation technique to rejuvenate and energize)

  • Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor for balance and your ribcage lifted in good posture. Relax your neck. Make sure your shoulders are low and relaxed.
  • Enjoy slow shoulder rolls, one side, then the other. Breathe in and out deeply as you roll your shoulders. Yawn if you want to. You may start to feel like a cat stretching. Do as many as you want, until your neck is relaxed and warmed-up.
  • Next, you will be relaxing tension in your neck area. After you have warmed up your neck and shoulder muscles, sit in good posture again. Inhale as you sit tall. Exhale as you lean your head gently to one side with your ear toward your shoulder. Think about stretching the muscle along the side of your neck. Take three gentle breaths while leaning your head to the side. On each exhale, feel the muscles melt into relaxation. Come back to good posture and do the same relaxing breathing and stretching on the other side.

Finally, you will alternately stretch between your shoulder blades and release tension in the chest wall.

  • Roll forward: Start out sitting tall with your hands out at your sides as if you were holding a hula-hoop. Inhale. As you exhale, slide your hands forward along the imaginary hula-hoop until you are rounded forward with your hands together in front and your back rounded. Feel the stretch between your shoulder blades. Take a few gentle breaths, relaxing on each exhale.
  • Stretch up tall: Inhale as you come up, tracing the hula-hoop back until you are sitting tall with your hands at your sides pressing as far back as possible (that is not very far.) Feel your chest wall stretch as you press your hands back. Breathe gently stretching, relaxing, then come back to good posture. It feels really good to do a few of these "roll forward" and "stretch up tall" in sequence.

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