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.
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:
Why is proper alignment and relaxation important?
- It can relieve back pain and tight shoulders
- It could be beneficial for thinking clearly, de-stressing
- Improvement of mood (even during ‘those days’ at work)
- Can help with confidence (TEDTalk)
- Better digestion
- Thus, improved alertness and energy
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!