20 Quick Somatic Stress Relief Exercises

Carving out self-care moments can feel like an elusive endeavour. Surrounded by unending requests and obligations, dedicating even a few precious minutes to somatic exercises becomes a transformative act that reverberates positively throughout your well-being.


Whether you have just 90 seconds to spare or a more leisurely 5 minutes, engaging in these swift yet potent exercises becomes a rejuvenation ritual, allowing you to untangle the knots of tension and bask in the soothing embrace of relaxation.

Please read the entire blog, including the disclaimer at the bottom, before attempting any of the suggested exercises.

Here are 20 suggestions:

Take what works and leave the rest!


1. Deep Breathing (90 seconds):

  • Find a comfortable seat or stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your ribs and belly. (Shoulders inactivated)
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, releasing tension.
  • Repeat for 90 seconds, focusing on each breath.
  • Choose a pattern where the exhalation is longer than the inhalation. Example: Inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 6-8.

2. Neck and Shoulder Release (2 minutes):

a. Sit or stand tall, gently tilting your head to one side.

  • Hold for 15 seconds, feeling the stretch along your neck.
  • Bring your head neutral for a moment.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat side to side for 1 minute

b. Bring your shoulders up towards your ears, hold, and release.

  • Repeat for 1 minute to ease tension in your upper body.

3. Mindful Body Scan (3 minutes):

  • Close your eyes and bring attention to your toes.
  • Slowly move your awareness up through each body part, noting any tension.
  • Breathe into tense areas, allowing them to relax.
  • Spend 3 minutes scanning and releasing tension throughout your body.
  • Youtube video suggestion: Body Scan 3-minutes

4. Grounding Exercise (4 minutes):

  • Sit comfortably, feeling your feet on the ground.
  • Inhale, imagining roots extending from your feet into the core of the earth.
  • Exhale, releasing any negativity into the ground.
  • Repeat for 4 minutes to enhance a sense of stability.

5. Flowing Body Movement (5 minutes):

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Inhale, raising your arms overhead.
  • Exhale, bending at the waist and reaching towards your toes.
  • Inhale, rolling up slowly.
  • Repeat for 5 minutes, connecting breath with movement for a full-body release.

6. Chair Yoga (2 minutes):

  • Sit in a chair comfortably, feet flat on the ground/floor.
  • Inhale, reaching your arms overhead.
  • Exhale, bringing your hands to the center of your heart.
  • Repeat for 2 minutes, focusing on gentle movements to release tension.

7. Mindful Walking (3 minutes):

  • Find a quiet space and begin walking slowly.
  • Pay attention to each step, feeling the connection with the ground.
  • Inhale for a few steps, exhale for a few.
  • Spend 3 minutes walking mindfully, letting go of stress with each step.

8. Seated Spinal Twist (4 minutes):

  • Sit with a straight spine and cross one leg over the other.
  • Inhale, lengthen your spine.
  • Exhale, twisting towards the crossed knee.
  • Hold for 20 seconds, switch sides, and repeat for 4 minutes.
  • Video without leg cross example

9. Somatic Meditation (5 minutes):

  • Find a comfortable seated position.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  • Inhale for a count of four, and exhale for six.
  • Spend 5 minutes in this meditative state, allowing thoughts to come and go without attachment.
  • 5-minute meditation music with bells video

10. Shoulder Rolls and Neck Tilts (2 minutes):

  • Sit or stand comfortably.
  • Roll your shoulders backward for 30 seconds gently.
  • Tilt your head to one side, holding for 15 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue for 2 minutes to release upper body tension.

11. Dynamic Stretching (3 minutes):

  • Stand with feet apart.
  • Inhale, reaching arms overhead.
  • Exhale, bending at the waist to touch your toes.
  • Inhale, stand and reach backward.
  • Repeat for 3 minutes, promoting flexibility and reducing stiffness.

12. Physiological Sigh (1 minute):

  • Sit in a comfortable position, hands on your lap.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose and feel your ribs expand, followed by your belly. (Shoulders inactive)
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, releasing tension.
  • Then, take two sharp inhales through your nose and a long exhale through your mouth. Repeat a few times or more.

13. Wrist and Ankle Circles (2 minutes):

  • Sit or stand comfortably.
  • In circular motions, rotate your wrists and ankles for 2 minutes.
  • This exercise helps release tension in often overlooked areas.

14. Legs against a Wall (3 minutes):

  • Find a quiet space and lie down on your back
  • Extend your legs up against a wall, use pillows where necessary. Scoot your bum as close to the wall as you can without pain or strain.
  • Inhale deeply and count to four, then exhale, counting to six.
  • Focus on the breath and count for 3 minutes, promoting relaxation.
  • Here’s a link for more Wall Yin Yoga options:

15. Lymphatic Hops (4 minutes):

  • Stand comfortably for you on a yoga mat or towel, unless you have a rebounder/mini trampoline and start to jump gently and quickly.
  • Football/Soccer players are seen doing this often but the benefits are numerous including stress reduction.
  • This is a video to use a guideline but adapt to suit your body and needs.

16. Somatic Neck Nodding (5 minutes):

  • Sit comfortably and gently nod your head forward and backward.
  • Inhale as you nod forward, exhale as you nod backward.
  • Spend 5 minutes in this rhythmic motion, releasing neck tension. Try for at least 45 seconds and then check-in with yourself.

17. Gentle Somatic Yoga Flow (2 minutes):

  • Move slowly through gentle yoga poses, focusing on the connection between breath and movement.
  • Spend 2 minutes in this flow, promoting flexibility and relaxation.
  • This is 20 minute yoga for beginners to get some ideas for poses.

18. Breath of Fire (3 minutes):

  • Sit comfortably with a straight spine.
  • Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose at a rhythm that is comfortable to you.
  • Continue for 3 minutes, promoting alertness and stress release.
  • Breath of Fire Tutorial Video
  • Breath of Fire + Humming Video (5 minutes)
  • Contraindication: Please don’t do this exercise if any cardiac issues, pregnancy, on your cycle, spinal issues, or respiratory conditions

19. Somatic Foot Massage (4 minutes):

  • Sit or stand, and roll a tennis ball under one foot.
  • Apply gentle pressure and roll for 2 minutes per foot.
  • This helps release tension and stimulates relaxation.
  • Here’s a cute short video demonstration: It’s under 2 minutes and includes reflexology

20. Ear Massage




  1. Incorporate somatic exercises into your routine based on your available time.
  2. Play around with different combinations to suit your needs.
  3. Consistency is key!
  4. Remember, the key is to be mindful and present during these exercises to experience their stress-relieving benefits fully.


Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. The suggested somatic exercises are general in nature and may not be suitable for everyone. It is essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or fitness expert before engaging in any new exercise or movement program, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or concerns. The reader assumes full responsibility for any risks or injuries that may occur as a result of implementing the suggested somatic exercises. By participating in these exercises, you acknowledge that you have read and understood this disclaimer and agree to proceed at your own risk.


xx Allison

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek your physician’s advice or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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Allison Lund is board certified with the American Association for Drugless Practitioners
as a Personal Empowerment Coach, Gentle Trauma Release Practitioner, and Reiki Master.