Move With Hazel: Movements You Can Relax To

Hey everybody! Welcome back! Today we’re doing movements you can relax to! I’m Hazel – thank you so much for joining me again!

So, the current cultural environment can be somewhat anxiety-provoking for many of us, and in fact that’d be a completely normal reaction so if you’re feeling more anxious than normal – you’re normal! You’re like the rest of us!

So I thought we’d do a few movements that are really soothing to what we call the parasympathetic nervous system, which is just our rest, digest, relax, repair nervous system. 

So we’re gonna do four movements, and the first one is called the psoas release. The psoas is the muscle deep in here [points to stomach]. And all you’re gonna do is get some cushions, and stack them up – I’ve got cushion, two blankets, and my half bottle there, and I’m gonna put them up against the wall. Then I’m gonna put this bolster, basically, above, from pretty much where the bottom of my shoulder blades are and above. So there’s the bottom of my shoulder blades, they’re going on the bottom and I’m putting that [the half bottle on top of the stack] under my head so there’s a gap under here [pointing to bottom of back against the floor] and I’m not gonna do anything but relax, and let my psoas muscles up through here switch off. This is really calming for the nervous system. 

So you could set yourself up in this position and watch a video, watch a movie, or just relax, close your eyes, and take some nice calming deep breaths, in and out of your stomach. And smile! Did you know that smiling instantly makes you feel better? It’s magical!

If you get some gurgling in your stomach while you’re doing this, that’s great – it’s means you’re switching on that parasympathetic nervous system – so my tummy’s rumbling right now which is a good sign.

So you could stay here for 10 minutes – in fact, you could probably do this one last, because it’s super relaxing being in this position. So this is number one – the psoas release.

The next one we’re gonna do is the iliacus release. You don’t need to remember all these muscle names, I just wanna throw them out there in case you are interested in learning! The iliacus attaches from our femur bone in here [points to upper thighs] up into our pelvis.

So we’re gonna prop our pelvis up this time, so you need something like this [the half bottle] – slightly harder is better for this one. So if you’ve got a book, an encyclopedia, a dictionary, something like that’d be great. And you’re just gonna put it under your bum, here – but you’re gonna put it under your bum as far that way [points to feet] as possible. Because we want the pelvis to start to gently tilt backwards that way.

And again, you’re not going to do anything except relax with this slightly forward – as far down towards your bum as you can get it without slipping back off it. Lots of people ask me if they’re doing these movements right, and I say ‘if you feel relaxed at the end of it, you’re doing it right’.

So again, just an opportunity to put our body in a position it doesn’t get to be in much throughout the day, and just relax and take some nice deep breaths. So this one is called the iliacus release, and it’s super cool! I love this exercise. These two – the psoas release and the iliacus release, over the last four, five, six years have helped me to completely get rid of back pain that I had from playing heaps of cricket when I was young. Lovely!

Okay! The third one we’re gonna do is called the abdominal release. So many of us hold a lot of tension in our abdomen, many of us have been told that we need to suck in our abs to support our core, or suck in our abs to make our belly look small – what an absolute crock! We wanna let our belly relax!

And so to do this, we’re gonna elicit the help of gravity. So we’re gonna come into a four point kneeling position like this, and it’s not so much about moving your back, it’s about letting your abs go. So if your abs are sucked up like this, we want you to let them go.

So my teacher Katy Bowman says that if you can get your abs to touch the ground then you’re doing really well! But she doesn’t mean arching your back or anything – she means releasing your abdomen. 

And that’s it – you can also let your head hang here, lots of us hold a lot of tension in our neck and do things like this – you don’t wanna do that! So relax the head, relax the abdomen, and many of you will find that it’s actually quite challenging to switch off the abdomen. So just stay in that position for as long as feels comfortable.

So there you have it – psoas release, iliacus release, abdominal release. The other one is the quad release. So we kind of alluded to this in our first video which was Movements You Can Do in the Kitchen – many of us, when we’re standing up, have these muscles here, our quads, turned on. Which is a whole lot of tension that you don’t need!

So I’m gonna invite you to sit up on something so you’ve got a lot of room to move your hips. Come into this position [sitting legs wide out] and turn your quads on, so you’re putting a lot of tension into them, and then release it. Again, put that tension into the quads, and then release it. Put that tension into the quads, and then release it.

This is a really cool relaxation exercise that you can do with any part of your body, actually – you can tense your fists, feel that tension there, and then release it, and really feel that release. You can tense your feet! And then release them, and feel that release. You can tense your face! Make the funniest face you can possibly imagine! And then release it. You can tense all different parts of your body and then relax.

I actually find this a really nice one to do if I’m ever stressed out in bed at night, I just run through my body, start with my toes – tense my toes, release my toes. Tense my calves, release my calves. Tense this part of my body, release it. Tense here, release it, tense here, release it. You get the picture!

And then just focusing on taking some really nice slow breaths in and out.

Thank you so much again for joining me! I hope you’re having a wonderful day today! And if you are sore or more anxious than usual, please do these movements because they really help to switch on your parasympathetic nervous system which is gonna help you feel much more relaxed.