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Tension Releasing Exercises shake loose 'therapeutic tremors'

Tension Releasing Exercises are good for those who have suffered an injury or whose movement is restricted
Tension Releasing Exercises are intended to provoke 'therapeutic tremors'

I've been running for 30 years and lucky enough to avoid an iliotibial band injury until this year. But my luck ran out a few weeks back, and the physical therapist has banned many kinds of workouts for a while. That seemed the perfect time to try something called TRE, or Tension Releasing Exercises.

The exercises were developed by David Berceli after he saw how the body reacted to the traumas of life in war zones. He came up with an exercise sequence to "turn on the therapeutic tremor," said Nkem Ndefo, a nurse, midwife and the TRE teacher who led my class. The easiest way I could imagine it was the way my little dog, Beanie, reacted to Fourth of July fireworks — a trembling that worried me but that Ndefo said was a protective response.

Starting in October, classes will be at Kinship Yoga, 5612 N. Figueroa St.

Until then, mostly at Glendale Yoga, 746 N. Glendale Ave., or

Aura: My class of several dozen people took place in a multipurpose room at Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, but it's the kind of exercise that can be done anywhere there is room to lie down and a wall to lean against. Students were all ages, some of whom had obvious movement restrictions.

Effort: The idea was to run through the series of seven exercises, none so difficult that you'd expect to be sore the next day, to get the body to experience tremors that discharge tension. "I call this the anti-CrossFit," Ndefo said. The shaking happened at various points for people, but it happened to most of us. I was on my back on a mat, feet flat when my thighs started shaking. I found it surprising and interesting, if slightly discomforting. Some people keep it going for many minutes; I lasted maybe 10. It's that shaking that releases the tension.

Style: Soothing and gentle, with lots of reminders to breathe. If zero is lying on the beach and 10 is ouch, you should never feel more than a seven, Ndefo said.

Cost: Four-part series, with one in September at Glendale Yoga, or one-day intensive sessions $115 to $130. TRE can be taught one-on-one, even by Skype; prices vary. After completing a series, drop-in classes are $5 Sundays at 6 p.m. at Glendale Yoga.

If you have suggestions for classes, please let me know by email or Twitter (@mmacvean).

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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