|Chair Forward Bend|
tugging the forehead skin down toward the eyes
“Any type of physical activity that causes pain, such as exercise and eating spicy foods, releases endorphins in the brain. Excitement, laughing, crying, or engaging in risky activities can trigger the release as well. The body also releases them while relaxing with a massage, dancing, or when falling in love.
Endorphins, also known as endogenous morphine, are an arrangement of amino acids known as opioid peptides. These chemicals function as neurotransmitters that help regulate moods, sleep patterns and the way one responds to pain and stress. When present in the body, endorphins act as a natural painkiller and are able to provide a sense of comfort, wellness and happiness.”
Additionally, in Yoga as Medicine (by our contributing writer Timothy McCall), Timothy shares a similar exercise on pages 11 and 12, this one done while sitting, with the heel of the hands creating the same effect I describe above. Timothy notes that most people find the drawing of the skin down is more calming to the nervous system, but does not theorize exactly why. Yours truly is pictured doing the exercise!
If this idea is new to you, give a whirl and let us know what you observe.