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A Simple Body Exercise To Begin Each Day

Most of us are carrying a lot of stress and tension in our bodies these days. We are in need of some body exercises to help us bring Jesus into the places we feel tension. We can start our day by taking a few minutes for this exercise and repeating whenever we feel the stress overtaking us again.

  • First, take a few minutes to quiet your heart before the Lord in his presence.
  • Begin by closing your eyes and remembering the Triune God lives within you. With your hands, tighten them into fists, then release your fists and tighten them again. As you tighten and release, where are you holding the tension? Is it in your neck, your shoulders or lower back? Maybe it’s in your head, arms or your legs. Take a few minutes and imagine Jesus with you as he brings life to those places of tension. (Give plenty of time to connect with the tension in your body; don’t rush any part of the exercises).
  • While you are aware of the tension, begin to breathe more deeply. On the count of four, breathe in through your nose, hold the breath for four counts and then release it slowly out through the mouth. Do this four times as you remember again: God is with you and gives you breath each day.
  • Now, open your hands, with your eyes still closed and your palms down, take some time to release what is burdening you. Maybe you are burdened about a family member or a friend; is it your work or school or finances? Are you burdened about your community or neighbors? Maybe you are concerned about another country or someone living in another part of our world? Will you or can you release them into the care of your Heavenly Father who holds the whole world in his hands?
  • Now, turn your hands over, with your palms in a receiving posture. What would you like to receive from God today? What do you need? What do you want? Take some time to prayerfully ask for what is on your heart and what you would like to receive from God today.

The more you practice this exercise, the more you will be able to release your burdens upon the Lord and experience more peace throughout your day.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28–30

Adapted by Judy TenElshof, director of Talbot School of Theology’s Spiritual Formation Core Program and professor of spiritual formation and marriage and family.