Easing tension


The present moment is something we do not need to strive for. It is here, under our noses, so to speak.

However in our increasingly hectic lives, where we are switched on and constantly distracted, the present moment can seem a million miles away. Here are some very simple things you can do to help melt away that furrowed brow and bring you closer to yourself  in the right here and now.

Breathing and easing tension in the neck and shoulders

The first is to deepen the breath into the belly on the inhale and relax on the exhale. This can be done lying down, seated at your desk, driving, washing up. Basically where and when you remember. Extend the exhale, so that you can breathe into your belly on the inhale and gradually let go of tension and stress, feel it melting away as you breathe. Try breathing into your back too. Imagine you are breathing up behind your belly and start to feel the ribs in the back of your body move in and out as you breathe. If you are tight in the upper back, take the breath to in between the shoulder blades so the muscles there can start to unwind.

Through your day, tune into when you are not breathing into your belly/back, and notice how you are. Maybe you are also clenching your jaw, feeling stiff in the shoulders and neck. So soften the jaw, slowly lift and rotate the shoulders up and back a few times, take the ear over to one side and breathe into the neck, then over towards the other side.

Take your chin to your chest and breathe, easing tightness in the back of the neck, then inhale take the chin up to one shoulder in an arc, stay there, breathe and let go. Exhale the chin down to the chest, inhale up to the other shoulder, breathe and relax. Doing this a few times slowly every day will start to ease pent up tension in the shoulders and neck and bring more awareness.

There is a guided mp3 of the Full Yoga Breath below. It lasts just over 8 minutes and allows you to deepen your breath safely, enabling the body to start to unwind. Daily practice will help you ease tension in both body and mind.

Full yoga breath MP3 – click to download

See also Yoga Nidra