General Fitness and Well–Being

Simple Ways to Release Tension Everyday

April 9, 2015

Releasing tension is something we can work on everyday. It can also help bring a sense of calm and clear-headedness.

Here are a few ways we can calm down (a bit).

Have you actually noticed when you’re holding unnecessary tension? If so, it could be due to a number of reasons such as doing a task that’s difficult, recovering from injury, or just feeling uncomfortable in a particular situation as it’s in our nature to ‘protect’ ourselves. If not, you’re in for an awakening.

Everyone’s body and ability is different, but there are a few ways we can at least gain more awareness about why we are tensing up in the first place. The most common problem areas are the neck, shoulders, and jaw. There are, of course, many more. Take time to find out yours.

Some causes of tension:

  • Stress and/or anxiety
  • Poor postural alignment
  • Poor abdominal/core strength
  • Sitting for long periods of time (why yes, I am standing as I type this post)

Enhance alignment and core strength when standing:

Align your bones ‘on top’ of each other:

  • Head over the shoulders
  • Shoulders over the hips
  • Hips over the knees
  • Knees over the ankles
  • Feet in-line with the knees
  • Imagine energy going downward through the feet and lengthen upward through the spine simultaneously
  • Continue to support your posture through your centre

Enhance alignment and core strength when sitting:

  • Use a pillow behind the back for support
  • If in a hard chair or on the floor, sit on a book and a pillow
  • Sometimes adding a book under the feet is nice too
  • Keep head in a slight nod, not too high or too low

Ways to find release:

  • If able, alternate between sitting and standing (I’m looking at you, office workers)
  • Draw your attention places of tension and relax those areas
  • Add deep breathing to your routine
  • Take a break already, you owe it yourself (and probably your computer)
  • And/or do one of the following:
    • Gyrotonic homework (nudge nudge)
    • Stretch (my favorite online go-to: Yoga With Adrienne)
    • Walk or cycle
    • Even just getting up to make tea or coffee will do

Why is proper alignment and relaxation important?

When can you practice?

Every day, every minute. Try releasing unnecessary tension while walking, at your desk, working out, texting, driving, on the tube– honestly, anywhere, anytime. Practice forms habit.

If you are still having problems, consider taking up Gyrotonic, Yoga, Pilates, or all three to cross-train your muscles. For severe problems, consider seeking treatment (i.e. Massage, Physiotherapy).

Have a good rest of your week!

xo

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