With the pace of life growing rapidly as well as the amount of cumulative stress taking its toll on our health, emphasizing easy-to-use postures, exercises, and recovery techniques throughout the day and week can help our nervous system down-regulate and avoid staying in a chronic fight-or-flight state.
Try these simple techniques to enhance your recovery post-workout AND decrease your stress response on a daily basis.
1. Waterfall Inversion– Sit next to a wall and place both feet up the wall with legs straight. Place your arms above you shoulders with your elbows straight. Breathe deeply and slowly focus on safety and regeneration of your body at all levels. I have found this to be very helpful post-workout after allowing for my heart rate to normalize. Stay for 5+ minutes to feel the shift in your nervous system. As blood is aided in its return to the heart, the nervous system switches to rest and digest. Rest your arms at your side or bend your knees and place both feet on the wall at any point, especially if you feeling tingling, falling asleep sensations. Let the circulation come back to your limbs before resuming.
2. Prone breathing– Lie face down with your arms, legs, and head resting comfortably. Focus on breathing slowly from your diaphragm, filling your abdomen, ribcage, and sacral area with nourishing breath. Elongate each breath until you feel a sustainable breath pace that doesn’t require too much focus or physical effort. Less effort and more ease is success. Prone breathing is a great way to rest prior to sleep. Learn more about breathing techniques.
3. Shaking– Tremoring is seen throughout the animal kingdom as a way to process pain and trauma. Humans can and do tremor for the same purpose. Read more about how to release tension and stored trauma from another blog post here.
4. Foam Rolling– Use your foam roller for post-workout recovery, or my favorite, before retiring for a night of deep sleep. Combine with the strategies above and you have a powerful sleep and recovery aid. Set aside 5-10 minutes to roll out these major muscle groups: spinal erectors, upper trapezius, glutes, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, lats, triceps, biceps, and forearms. By massaging muscle groups you are aiding circulation and easing myofascial tension built up throughout the day.