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Start Your Day with These Gentle Stretches

There’s just something about spending quiet, alone time in the morning that does wonders in improving your mood and attitude for the rest of the day. Before tackling the many things on your to-do list, why not start your day with soothing stretching and breathing exercises? This relaxing practice is great at keeping you balanced, especially early in the morning when the stress hormone cortisol is at its peak level. Experts say that calming your breathing on a regular basis can lower anxiety and reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. Now, that sounds like an awesome way to face an upcoming busy day!

Try this simple routine to calm frazzled nerves. It’s so easy to follow, you can do it in the comfort of your own room or practice it even when you’re out of town for work or leisure trips.

Soothing Stretch

Step 1: Sit with legs crossed, close your eyes and place your right arm across the top of your head, palm on left ear. Take a long breath. Use your palm to pull your head gently toward your right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides.

Step 2: Lie on your back; hug both knees to your chest. Deeply inhale twice. Then extend left leg parallel to the floor; hold bent right knee for 30 seconds then switch legs.

Breathe Easy

It’s common knowledge that the shoulders hold a lot of tension, but did you know that your stomach can get in a knot too? Ease the stress from your midsection with this breathing exercise: Sit cross-legged with your back straight to stretch your core muscles. Close your eyes; take five deep breaths.

Beauty Bonus

Extend your tension taming session well after your stretching and breathing exercises. When you’re ready to step into the shower, use your favorite scented body wash or gel—its aroma will linger throughout your bath time, invigorating your senses. Have a tub? Add rose petals to your bath or use a scented bath oil.

Trisha Bautista is a freelance writer, food and product stylist, social media manager, and violin teacher. She was formerly editorial assistant and social media editor for Women’s Health Philippines, and the assistant lifestyle editor and social media editor for Cosmopolitan Philippines. She enjoys discovering easy recipe hacks, working out by herself and trying out DIY workout programs, traveling outdoors, and enjoying wine and whiskey.