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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to focus on our emotional well-being. However, with so much going on in our lives, it can be difficult to make time for self-care.

As one of the nation’s leading independent orthopedic practices, OrthoCarolina’s team has treated plenty of stress-related injuries – many of which could have been prevented by slowing down and checking in on ourselves! 

Did you know? Our bodies can hold stress and emotion in a variety of places. If we don’t check in on ourselves and take time to relax, this can manifest itself in tight muscles, aches and pains, and a variety of orthopedic problems. 

In this article, we will demonstrate some simple techniques provided by OrthoCarolina’s expert team of orthopedic physicians, physical and occupational therapists, and trainers to discuss how yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help ease these symptoms and prevent chronic stress from manifesting itself in your body.

Releasing Stress in the Body

Deep abdominal breathing is an effective way to restore equilibrium and peace within our bodies and minds and release tightness we may not know we have in our muscles. This technique can be done wherever – at your desk, while you’re stuck in traffic, or even as part of your nighttime routine.

How to practice deep abdominal breathing:

  • Simply sit quietly with your hands on your belly. (Scroll to the bottom of this article for an instructional video.)
  • If done before bed, this is a great way to let go of our hectic days and promote a much more restful night’s sleep.

Stretching: Specifically the Hips

It’s not commonly known that our hips are a major hiding place for emotions and stress. Most of us spend most of our days sitting at our desks for long periods of time, which can lead to tight hip flexors and abdominal muscles, further creating imbalance and pain in the low back, abdomen, and legs. Stretching unlocks the body, allows more effortless movement and breath, resolves pain, and helps us let go of emotions that we didn’t know we were holding on to.

Here are a few orthopedist-approved hip openers that even the most beginner yogis can do:

  • Baddha Konasana: Bound Angle Pose
  • Janu Sirsasana: Half Bound Angle Pose
  • Anjaneyasana: Low Lunge/Runner’s Lunge
  • Vrksasana: Tree Pose

You can watch our segment on WCCB’s “News Rising” where our friends at Melting Point Hot Yoga, demonstrate these techniques. We hope you'll join us this month in honoring yourself, your mental health, and your orthopedic well-being by taking five minutes to stretch during the day.

This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you are seeking specific orthopedic advice or assistance, please consult with your OrthoCarolina physician or locate one in your area through OrthoCarolina’s website at

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