Take The 10-Minute Relaxation Challenge

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I have a confession to make. Sometimes I do yoga for ten minutes. It's not my ideal scenario, but sometimes my life is too hectic to do any more.

A few years ago, someone sent me an exercise video called 10-minute Pilates. I would see it on my shelf and smile to myself about how it sounded like such a gimmick. When I was younger--and able to go to an hour-and-a-half yoga class three times a week--I used to laugh at the idea that I could see a change of any kind in ten minutes.

But as I got older--and busier--it became clear that ten minutes could actually make a difference. Sure, I couldn't completely banish tension from my mind and body completely, but I realized that ten minutes can really chance the tenor of my day.

I started thinking how we live our lives in big increments--an hour for lunch, eight hours at the office, ideally eight hours of sleep. But I wondered about living our lives in smaller increments, and how this might affect me. Now if I do come across a stray ten minutes, I decide what I want to do. Sometimes I stretch. Sometimes I breathe. I became interested in what other people do, so I took an informal survey of friends, finding out what they like to do (G-rated) to relax with ten minutes. Here's a few responses:


Read trashy magazines.

Stretch and self massage on my face, neck, and shoulders

Ten minutes of anything on Bravo!

A walk while doing deep breathing.

We want to know:

What do you do to relax with an extra ten minutes?


Nora Isaacs is a Bay Area-based health writer and editor.