Updated: Nov 3, 2019
Your body knows best
Does your body feel sore and tight? Feel stiffness around your neck and shoulders, behind the shoulder blades? Feel like you need a massage to release the tension and release the inflammation within?
Have you ever thought your muscles are trying to "talk to you" and "alert you that you need to pay attention to your actions, thoughts and feeling?
Sounds silly, but ask your body what it is trying to tell you! Before you ask, pause and focus on your breath to become present, ask your question, then listen. You can do this anytime anywhere. You can also practice this on your mat as you move through asanas (poses).
I'd like to share with you my recent exploration of my muscle tension and how breathwork, curiosity and yoga practice
ignited the concentration I needed to listen to my internal self.
My muscles were feeling, sore and tight. I thought it was due weight training and sitting all day at my desk.
As I began my yoga practice, I set my intention to "release and let go of tension". I choose a slow and controlled hatha practice and focused on releasing the tension with each exhale. As my breath and body began to unify, I heard a slight whisper, that the tension was not muscular, but...emotional.
I began to ask my body why? My curiosity brought to the surface that my body was holding tension to protect me, keep me safe and resist me from moving forward. This was my "ah-ha" moment. I connected the physical tension in my body to the personal and professional decisions I have made recently propelling me forward in a direction that I had never thought possible. My recent decisions were actually causing me to feel fear and self-doubt and showing up as physical tension in my body.
I began to have this sense of how magnificent the body is to communicate with me through the muscle tension. My muscles were acting like a mother, wrapping her arms around her child to keep them safe. My muscles were gripping me so tight to signal me to slow down, pause and take a moment to explore these emotions. In order for me to move forward, I needed to let go of this self-doubt that has held me back in the past, even stopping me in my tracks.
How do you let go? Here are a two techniques you can choose to explore:
1. Create a personalized mantra (simple and memorable words or phrases of positivity to ignite wellbeing)
2. Cultivate the Opposite Positive (think the positive of negative thoughts, often times we have learned to think negatively and we can retrain our mind and body to think positively first, this takes practice...)
To let go, I called upon my yoga and created a mantra to guide the rest of my practice. With each exhale, saying “let’s move forward, lets grow!” Repeating this mantra with each exhale, I found the freedom and space to give my muscles permission to let go, remove the hold around my bones so I can move forward in the pose with comfort and ease.
Exploring this further, I was violating the 1st Yama of the 8th fold path, Ahimsa (harming): I was causing harm to myself through the fear and self-doubt. To change this, I practiced “cultivating the opposite” with an attitude of self-love and compassion creating new brainwaves of positivity to flow within!
You can bring this mat practice into your daily life.
As you embark on 2019 and continue on your journey of life, pay attention to the aches, pains and tension for they may just be telling you your drifting from your center, your path. Take a few minutes throughout the day to pause, breathe and ask yourself what it is you need so you can continue to move forward. Your body knows best.