When you start suffering from stress-related back pains or muscle tension, you might hear people say, ‘Just do some yoga’ or ‘Have you tried meditation?’.
We decided to bring in professional help courtesy of Daniela Draeger. She is a health-insurance-certified yoga teacher, non-medical practitioner and gymnastics teacher and therefore the perfect relaxation expert for our test. She arrives at Körnerplatz at the Olympic Park with a bag full of yoga mats and other tools to help our eSports athletes relax. Eren and Tom are there to greet here and are prepared for the perfect wind-down. But before they can get into the relaxing part, there are some basics to go over.
Daniela: Are you tense ahead of your games? How can you tell?
Tom: Of course you feel tension ahead of a game, but I’m relaxed the night before. When it’s about to get going though, my heart races and I feel warm.
Daniela: Yes, that’s the central nervous system reacting to the stress. That is completely normal. What about you, Eren?
Eren: I was very tense ahead of my A-level exams. But I tend to get cold sweats.
Daniela: Yes, that’s also a very normal reaction, which is a good thing. Let’s begin then. It’s best if you take your shoes and socks off and we’ll begin with some yoga.
And the test is underway. The dog, cobra and crow yoga poses certainly got our eSports athletes’ sweating. Perhaps relaxation isn’t all that relaxing after all. Here are some of the highlights from our yoga session:
Daniela Draeger helps Tom sit up properly. At the same time, Tom is doing an exercise to relax his neck muscles, which works best with progressive muscle relaxation – alternating between tensing and relaxing. This exercise is particularly useful for Herthaner who spend a lot of time in front of a computer.
This yoga exercise is called downward dog. It works the whole body and stretched the back of the legs and the back muscles, which are often tight. It also relaxes the shoulder and neck area. Daniela’s top tip: Breathe properly, even if the exercise is strenuous.
There was also a little flying lesson for Eren and Tom – the crow yoga pose requires body control and concentration.
Instead of their working with their usual speed and stress, the eSports athletes get the job done easier if they take their time and focus on their body – a first step towards successful relaxation.
Special breathing techniques can have a very calming and equalising effect on our body. One of them is so-called alternative breathing, where you alternate breathing in and out between individual nostrils.