In addition to its amazing benefits for the body, sport is an incredible way to relax. With a few simple tips, a good workout - whether intense or laid-back - will let your body and mind let go of tension.


Try abdominal breathing

To relax before, after or even during your workout (depending on your sport), try abdominal breathing: Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth as slowly as possible.

Take the time to disconnect from the world around you. Visualise and concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes. Close your eyes and focus on the air as it comes into your lungs and moves down into your belly, making it expand slightly. Then follow it again as you exhale and the belly relaxes, releasing tension.

Abdominal breathing can energise you when you're feeling tired. You'll instantly gain tone by practising this breathing whenever possible.

To visualise and concentrate on your breathing, lie down or sit cross-legged or on your heels (Vajrasana pose) in a calm place. It is important to be comfortable in whichever pose you choose.


Do yoga

Sports don't get much more zen than yoga. It will help you let go, concentrate on how you move, get stronger and become more flexible.

To do yoga, find or create a calm, quiet space where you can practise for 30 minutes to an hour. While you practise, think about what you feel while doing the asanas to increase your state of relaxation.


Go hardcore

For athletes who need a more active outlet to ease tension, highly physical sports are another good way to eliminate stress.

The feeling of relaxation and well-being that comes after an intense workout is in large part due to endorphins released by the brain to the nervous system that have a positive effect on anxiety and stress.

The concentration required to do a physical sport and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards can also help you forget about stress and create an intense feeling of relaxation after sport.


Remember to stretch

Stretching throughout the day - even when you're not specifically doing sport - is a great yet gentle way to wake up and unwind the body. Stretches can help ease tight muscles and calm the mind, and just a few minutes will do you a world of good.

You can reduce stiffness in the body and alleviate tension in the muscles and joints before it becomes chronic. When you stretch, your body gradually warms up and the contracting/releasing of muscles alters the pressure in your blood vessels, improving circulation and flushing out toxins.

A flexible body is better equipped to deal with stress for one very simple reason: any time you move, you depend on two opposing muscles. As one contracts, the other releases. When you're stressed, both muscles are contracted, which blocks joint mobility and creates pain.


Meditation and visualisation

Schedule some time for relaxation! When you relax after a workout, you can combine a visualisation exercise - with your body relaxing little by little, muscle after muscle, as you breathe calmly.

Visualise the muscles of your face, jaw, shoulders, chest, back, arms, hips and legs all letting go. Stay a few seconds, just feeling the relaxation in harmony with your breathing.

Then, as you end the exercise, visualise a vital energy that fills your body like a battery recharging.

For athletes, you can also visualise the emotions of a recent race, win or great training session!


It's very trendy to do yoga on holiday and there are more and more resorts offering yoga courses. Don't wait: get going and enjoy your summer of relaxation and meditation…