Five Ways To Relax Right Now

Fern Nibauer-Cohen
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: September 11, 2013

The practice of yoga calms the mind by providing a deep feeling of relaxation and balance. Did you know that the very basics of a yoga practice can be done during your "everyday" life at any place or any time?

When you find yourself caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, give yourself the gift of "instant yoga" by practicing these quick and simple techniques...anywhere...anytime:

Staying Grounded: 5 Easy Ways to Take Yoga off of the Mat

Standing Pose

The next time you are in the middle of a busy doctor's office and feel overwhelmed by the situation, take a few seconds to ground yourself by standing with your feet hip's distance apart, relaxing your shoulders and fixing your gaze straight ahead. Take a few release breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This will reset your body and mind to allow you to continue with the remainder of your visit.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

If the wait to see your oncologist gives you a headache, try inhaling and exhaling through each nostril by closing off one nostril and breathing in to a count of 8 and exhaling out of the other nostril to a count of 16. Do a few rounds of this ancient yogic breathing practice slowly for relief of stress and anxiety.

Shoulder Rolls

When the endless appointments, blood draws and scans drive you crazy and cause stress, draw your attention to your shoulders and take a nice, long inhale bringing your shoulders up to your ears, circle them back and down. While you are at it, circle your neck around a few times while inhaling and exhaling slowly. You will feel a renewed sense of calm.

Lion's Pose

Are you tired of talking, smiling and socializing with well-meaning visitors? Go to a quiet place and try this pose by opening up your mouth wide and sticking out your tongue. Making the sound of a roaring lion helps, too. Sounds funny, but this ancient pose is a great release for the facial muscles and really helps if you have been doing a lot of talking.


Start each day calm and centered, with a few minutes of meditation. Just sitting silently with your eyes closed at any point during your day is very helpful to keep yourself in balance. Remember, it doesn't have to be for a long period of time...even just one minute of silent meditation in the midst of your busy schedule will go a long way!


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