Do you ever notice yourself scrunching your face when staring at a computer screen or slouching while sitting down?
Unconscious physical habits can lead to chronic muscle stiffness, tension and fatigue, all of which are also associated with stress. The mind cannot release its natural associations between the physical and mental states, and is quite disinterested in what comes first, if it is the emotion or the physical response. A slouching back and frowning face will inevitably worsen your mood.
Yoga for relaxation
Experience the simplicity of yoga techniques to release tension and the effectiveness of yoga for relaxation. Try this exercise:
- Observe how you are sitting in this very moment. Are you frowning or slouching? Are you comfortable in the position you are holding? Do you feel tense in any areas of your body?
- Notice also how you are breathing. Is your breath deep or shallow? Is it fast or slow?
- Lie down, or you may remain seated.
- Now, relax your face – release tension in your forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, cheeks, ears, hair – and put a contented smile on your face. Notice how that feels.
- Consciously relax all the muscles of your body, part by part. Work your way along each of your limbs first, then through the whole trunk of your body. Release tension in each organ and muscle up to your head. This may take a few minutes.
- Notice how you are feeling. Do you feel any different? Notice how quickly your mind responds to your physical state.
- Now focus on taking ten long, slow, deep breaths. Fill your diaphragm and your chest completely as you inhale, and release until there is no air left in your lungs at all.
- Notice how you are feeling. Do you feel any different? See what a big difference you experienced in just a few minutes of practice.
As you practice yoga, you begin to become aware when and where you are holding tension. You can practice yoga for relaxation and release tension in your body and mind through various yoga asanas, pranayama and kriya exercises.
Yoga is much more than striving to become a pretzel. It is about becoming aware of yourself, liberating yourself from bad habit and evolving into the best potential of yourself. Feel relaxed, free and happy.
Contributor: Melanie Drury