Letting Go of Tension
May 31, 2021
We carry too much tension in our muscles. It shows in our posture, our movements, our attitudes, our thoughts, and our emotions. We are over-stressed, anxious, sensitive, and raw on any given day if not almost every day. Once in a while, we catch a glimpse that something is not right because we are not responding to life or being in life who we want to be. We know we are not this frightened, tense, angry, anxious, depressed, rigid person we often express ourselves to be.
We know we can do better.
We know we are better.
But how do we let go of all this tension and allow our intended selves to unfold?
There are many options, but I want to discuss the easiest one - a physical approach. If we can remove tension from our bodies, we can remove anxiety, anger, fear, frustration, and other energy-consuming emotions and states of being from our minds and emotions.
And, if we can remove tension from our bodies, we may provide our bodies with the opportunity to heal from the cascade of mental and physical calamities caused by negative tensions and thoughts. If we can allow our bodies to heal, we may discover that our minds will also follow suit. Everything about us dances together - we are whole beings. In a sense, the body is the mind and the mind is the body. Whole...
Two “movements,” I think that would serve us well in letting go of excess tensions are breathing and rolling.
Yes, another word on breathing, but it’s okay! Breathing is the foundation of life. If we don’t breathe well, nothing else about us will be right. So we might as well invest time in making sure our foundation is rock solid.
It is your breath that is the key to letting of tension. Breathe right, and you’re Cool Hand Luke. Breathe wrong and you’re a blind, long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I’m not going to go terribly deep into breathing “right” but I am going to give you a position to practice:
- Get on your forearms and knees, similar to a child’s pose in Yoga.
- Rest your head on your hands or a pillow.
- Close your lips and breathe in and out through your nose.
- RELAX your body. Search your body for tension and LET IT GO.
- Relax your neck, your shoulders, and your belly. Melt into the floor.
- Let your belly move with your breath.
- Let your back and your sides move with your breath.
- Allow your pelvic floor to move with your breath.
- Fill your lungs from the bottom to the top, from the front to the back. You can find this if you allow yourself to notice what you are feeling.
- Every time you exhale, try to melt more and more into the floor. Let your exhales literally melt your tension away.
- If it helps, here is a video:https://youtu.be/vJDZtWhWMS8
The other movement we want to get good at is rolling, specifically rolling like a fluid wave. To paraphrase Bruce Lee, “Roll like water, my friend.”
To roll like water is to teach the body to move without excess tension. It teaches your body to move fluidly and it also helps your mind to stay free from burdensome worries, keeping your emotions chill thus also keeping tension out of your body. ESPECIALLY if you continue breathing well.
There are several rolls you can do to learn fluidity, but I just want you to start with the lower body segmental roll, in slow motion.
Slo-Mo Lower Body Segmental Roll
- Lay on your back with your arms overhead.
- Relax and KEEP your upper body relaxed the entire time.
- As slow as you can, pick your right leg up towards your chest until your knee is fully flexed and your hip is fully flexed.
- Then, reach across your body with the right leg and continue REACHING with it as if you are trying to touch something 100 yards away.
- Now, from your belly, stretched out like Superman, as slow as you can, bend your right knee to 90º.
- Lift your right leg as if you are trying to touch the ceiling.
- Then, reach across your body with the right leg and continue reaching with it as if you are trying to touch something 100 yards away.
- Then, do the left leg...
- The entire time you are doing this, breathe.
- Keep your lips shut.
- Don’t allow tension to enter your body.
- As you breathe and roll, try to melt.
- If it helps, here is a video (only do lower body) (ok, you can do both if you want) ( but do in slow motion): THE STRETCHING ROLL
We are made to breathe a certain way and move without tension. If we breathe the way we were intended, if we let go and allow our bodies to flow as we move, we can and will feel better. We can be our authentic selves, free of anxiety, stress, fear, and anger. We are meant to feel good, all of us, the whole of us.
Investing in breathing well and rolling fluidly is a fantastic way to let go of tension and help keep it at bay. It’s very simple. It can work wonders. It just requires that we make the investment.