5 Exercises For Stress

From Jaycee Gossett, Instructor of  The Class by Taryn Toomey.

*The exercises were creating specifically for Meatpacking District’s Sweat Sessions, which are held outside every Tuesday.

Stress – on some level we all have it. Whether it’s related to work, relationships, family, physical illness, trauma, environmental, living space, societal, the news, financial, over doing…we are subjected to stressors all the time. At times it may feel like we can’t escape it. What can we do about it?

At The Class by Taryn Toomey, we believe in moving it. The Class is a cathartic mind-body experience created by fitness guru Taryn Toomey. The Class approaches fitness holistically to release stress. We work the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies simultaneously by using intensity to release deep-set stressors for an overall sense of well-being and peace. We use cardio blasts to flush the system and create new fertile space for positive change, unveiling untapped strength in every possible sense of the word.

According to Dr. Robin Berzin, founder of Parsley Health for The Huffington Post, “Stress levels are at an all-time high and we are seeing 1 out of 10 people taking antidepressants, In 2011, 75 million prescriptions are written for drugs to manage the effects of stress. Our bodies are not designed to be chronically stressed. Chronic stress leads to hormonal imbalances like elevated cortisol and secondarily, estrogen-dominance, causing us to gain weight, break out, have trouble sleeping, and for women, to often have irregular painful periods.” Clearly we are in a stress epidemic and need help as a whole to learn tools to mange the effects of stresson the body, mind, heart and spirit yet also train ourselves in stress resilience. At The Class By Taryn Toomey, we believe your workout can do so much more for you than just work the body. We are living in a time where people are turning to their fitness for a therapeutic, healing experience.

When not moved, stress gets stored in the body, creating stagnation. Stagnation kills life force, clarity, and our over all sense of being alive and whole. Here is a quick, effective sequence to clear any heavy stress and restructure your patterns.

The 10-Minute Stress Release Sequence

Move 1: Body Scan

Ground + Open

Plant feet hip width distance apart.

Soften the knees. Relax the arms by the sides.

Close the eyes. Begin to breathe deeply.

Scan the physical body and identify any areas that feel tense.

Check in with the emotional and energetic body – how does the body feel in this moment? How is the heart?

Pin point which areas and energy(ies) are in need of cleansing, purifying and clearing.

Work through this silent, meditative process for 3 minutes.

Move 2:  Shake the body

Purify + Awaken

Song: Shake Your Hips, Rolling Stones

Stand with feet hip width distance apart. Soften the knees, relax the arms by the sides.

Begin heel taps – Pick up the heels and let them fall back to the floor (to the beat of the music).

Let the body be loose, heavy and untethered as you create this vibration from the heels through the top of the head.

When ready, invite the whole body to shake, pulse and bounce in a way that feels good for you.

Do not control the movement.

Let the shaking intensify, get faster and get stronger.

Visualize the deep stressors that got trapped in the body, on the heart, in the mind, and begin to move.

Identify them as you shake to awaken them. Bring them up to flush them out.

Keep shaking to dive beyond the surface, allowing yourself to move deeper into the subtle layers of the emotional body.

Move 3: Jumping Jacks

Flush + Clear

Song: Up Up Up, GIVERS

Jump the feet wide and lift the arms above the head.

Jump the feet together and lower the arms by the sides.

Continue this movement pattern to the beat of the music.

Roll the shoulders back. Lift the heart and energetically create a current from the feet out the crown of the head.

Activate the glutes, abdominals and back body.

Visualize yourself clearing the space around you as you flush out stress and stagnation (triggers we identified in the body scan).

Move 4: Rotating Side Plank Push Ups

Open + Strengthen

Song: Intro, M83

Come to a plank pose.

Rotate your plank to the right, tap the right fingertips to the heart then lift them up to the sky.

Tap the fingertips back on the heart as you return to plank.

Do one push-up with elbows wide, chest open. (*Option to drop the knees to the mat/floor).

Repeat this series on the left side.

Fortify and purify the heart as you open, rotate and expand.

Move 5: Seated Meditation

Breathe + Seal or Integrate

Song: BARDO: The Dawning Space of Azure Light, Chris Bono

Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position.

Allow the organs to drop heavy into the base of the pelvis.

Lengthen your spine and lift the crown of the head to the sky.

Close the eyes. Inhale deeply and envision yourself drawing up a grounding, earth energy.

Exhale to release pressure and tension, softening the face.

Follow the breath in and out.

When your attention wanders, notice it and bring the attention back to the breath.

Also see this guide to at-home ballet, and these stretches that will aid your digestion