When practicing Tai Chi, Qigong or stretching, our main goal should be to first identify an area of warmth or resistance, then secondly remove the resistance. Ideally, the removal of tension should be more than physical. Our body is incredibly adaptive, and once the tension has found a home, our tissue quickly remembers. Here are a few tools to break the ‘pattern’ of tension in the body.
- Identify the tension. For most, we never take the time to actually recognize that a part of our body is stressed. Simply bringing attention to the resistance can release the holding.
- Breath into the tension. If identifying the tension doesn’t trigger a release, next bring ‘breath’ to the area of resistance. As you breath in deeply, imagine expansion in the area affected by the tension. Visualize the area expanding, as if blowing up a balloon. A few breathes in and out may be enough to release the tissue or blockage.
- Contract/release the tissue. Lastly, if the tension still persists, bring a slight contraction to the area. Once you regain control of the tissue, then fully release.
Muscle tension and holding patterns can be very strong, so be persistent with your practice and you’ll soon realize a healthier, freer body.