Anyone who has ever given a presentation knows that feeling of overwhelming nervousness that happens before you take the stage. Speaking in public can be scary and our nerves can definitely get the best of us. It can be utterly exhausting and draining to be in a near constant state of anxiety in the days and hours leading up to your presentation. Regular stretching is a great way to relieve nervous tension and alleviate some of this anxiety. Deep breathing and stretching your muscles is very calming to the mind and body and can be beneficial for those struggling with nerves and anxiety. Before your next presentation, try one of these five stretches to relieve your nervous tension.
Legs Up the Wall
Use a blanket, towel or yoga mat and lay it on the floor against a wall. Place your buttocks as close to the wall as possible and stretch your legs straight against the wall with your feet facing the ceiling. Relax your arms by your side. Close your eyes and focus on taking deep breaths by counting to 5 as you inhale and counting to 5 as you exhale. This stretch should lower your heart rate and help to calm your nerves.
This popular yoga pose is a great stretch for tense muscles. Using a blanket or mat, place your knees on the floor tucking your legs underneath them. You can keep your knees together or spread them in a V shape as you slowly lean forward, stretching your arms in front of you as far as you can. Soften your muscles and try to release your head, neck, arms, and shoulders. Take slow deep breaths as your stretch forward.
Get onto all fours on the floor with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips, keeping your back straight. Slowly inhale, bringing your shoulder blades together and stretching your chest up to the ceiling. As you exhale, slowly draw your shoulder blades apart and curl your back into a cat’s pose. Continue these stretches, slowly inhaling and exhaling with each movement. This is an extremely relaxing stretch that allows you to focus on your breathing and clear your thoughts.
Standing Forward Bend
This is a great stretch that can be done anywhere and no mat is required because you aren’t lying or sitting on the floor. This stretch gives you energy and also relieves tension. Stand with your feet together or hip-distance apart and raise your arms straight overhead. Keep your back straight as you slowly hinge from your hips with your arms outstretched and reach down toward your toes. You can just let your arms hang and feel the weight release from your shoulders, upper back, and head. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and hold the stretch for as long as you like.
This is a great stretch for your back and helps to increase blood flow throughout the body, which in turn lowers your heart rate and lowers anxiety. Kneel on the floor and place your hands at your hips. Keep your knees and shoulders aligned with the soles of your feet facing upwards toward the ceiling. Slowly inhale, pushing your hips and tailbone out and arching your back. Slide your palms over your feet and straighten your arms. Keep your neck in a neutral position and hold the stretch for about 30-60 seconds before slowly rolling back up to your knees.