Stress and muscle tension almost always go hand in hand. Don’t believe us? The next time you’re working on an important project, or thinking about repaying your loans, pay active attention to your body. Chances are that you will be physically as tense as you are mentally. Stress translates subconsciously to your muscles, and those uncomfortable knots in your back, or that splitting headache may just be fallouts of that muscle tension.An effective, inexpensive, and do-it-yourself remedy is progressive muscle relaxation.

Progressive muscle relaxation involves systematically tensing and releasing specific muscles all over the body, and doing it consistently.

To begin, ensure that you have enough time (about fifteen to twenty minutes), a place where you can relax without any distractions or disruptions, and are comfortable.This is also best avoided after a large meal, when injured or unwell, and even when plain exhausted.

The sequence of tensing and relaxing different muscle groups is flexible-- differentinstruction manuals proceed differently.

The idea is that wherever you begin, you work your way through individual muscle groups with equal care and attention.

You may begin with your forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, proceeding to your neck, shoulders, upper arms, forearms, hands, chest, abdomen, before finally moving to your back, hips, thighs, knees, calves, and feet.It is also possible tobegin with the feetand end with the forehead, or practice a cyclical motion with the hands and arms going first and the feet and arms going last.

While tensing each set of muscles inhale and hold the tension for about five seconds. Exhale while relaxing to the muscle’s ordinary state, and then focus on loosening the muscle further.Ensure that while tensing the muscles, you do not over-exert and injure yourself. The neck, lower back, and hamstrings are particularly susceptible to such injuries.

If a specific muscle continues feeling tense, try tensing and loosening it three or four times, and then shaking it out gently by wiggling or shrugging the limb or part of body involved.The basis is that by tensing a muscle first, it may be relaxed beyond its normal average capacity.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation seeks to build on the belief that most people are so physically wound up and anxious all the time that their bodies genuinely do not know how to relax-- they do not recognize the feeling of not being stressed.So, much like any dance form or sport, PMR trains the muscles to loosen up and recognize its state of tension, and take active steps to correct it.

Research shows that the act of physically relaxing actually contributes toward lowering overall stress levels. With regular and consistent practice, your body will automatically take note of a stressful situation, and subconsciously work towards loosening the muscles.Just a few weeks of practicing this technique ought to bring about an improvement in all stress-related physical symptoms like indigestion, migraines, stomach cramps, etc.

All you need are fifteen minutes every day.

Join a Yoga class near you to keep your mind and muscle relax :

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