Every day, we get caught up in situations that make us freeze. This simple exercise helps you to let go of the tension in your body.
If your body feels nice and loose, it means you move flexibly and you’re aware of your entire body. You feel the live tingling in your feet, your fingers, your lips. You feel your heart beating. It’s the same feeling you have at the end of a yoga class, enjoying the sun at the beach or relaxing in the spa: you realise your body is all yours, and completely free.
But everyday life makes us get tangled up in situations that make us freeze. And when we freeze, our body tightens. Letting go means nullifying blockages and letting it all flow.
1. Are there weak spots in your body that tend to get stuck, like your shoulders or your lower back?
2. Do you avoid physical contact, do you dislike kissing and casual touching?
3. Do you like to hang in your chair or on the couch, or do you unconsciously find positions that make your body turn stiff?
4. Do you need coffee to get going in the morning?
5. Do you prefer to sit down when people around you are dancing?
According to Inge Maassen, a senior teacher in Healing Tao, loosening up means to allow your emotions to be there. If your neck or shoulders are stuck, it could mean you’re pretending to be something you’re not. ‘In the body, you experience sadness, but you want to be radiant towards the outside world: this transformation is located in the shoulder area.’
‘Loosening up in your body, in fact, just means: remaining in the center of the emotion. Even if it’s a restless or unpleasant feeling. Especially when something feels unpleasant, like an emotion or nauseousness, you tend to avoid the feeling. Transferring your attention to your mind causes a muscular tension.’
‘From an early age, we learn to escape into our minds, but the physical is just as important, or even more important: the body feeds our mind. It’s only when you stay focused on the (sometimes unpleasant) feeling, you can move freely in your body and prevent convulsions.’
‘Unpleasant feelings are easily sedated: with one lump of sugar, you don’t have to feel for two hours, a cup of coffee sharpens your focus but has a similar effect. At first, it feels pleasant, but in the end your body gets tired. If you confront the unpleasant feelings, you end up in a pure power of being, the feeling that you are completely there. That’s very pleasant.’
Bending over is an exercise that relaxes and invigorates your body. Yoga teacher Amanda Ringnalda thought of a variation you can do anywhere, even sitting in front of your desk. Put your feet on the ground, not too closely to each other. Breathe in and stretch the upper part of your body. Bend over from the waist, and let your hands glide past your ankles onto the ground, while relaxing your upper body during an exhalation.
While you do this, think: I’m letting go of everything. Let the tension flow into the ground through your fingers. Roll up, one vertebra at a time, until you’re sitting up straight. Hello, world, here you are again.
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