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Your body is an amazing blessing. It is the vessel that allows you to commit to working every day, it allows you to visit your loved ones and feel their embrace, it allows you to eat glorious food and nourish yourself with delicious things. It is also vulnerable, sensitive and has the ability to take on the stress that your mind and ego experience.
If you're feeling stress and tension anywhere in your body as an effect from your daily work, that is a sign you may be putting your mind under undue stress. FEAR NOT! There is a solution, and your body will thank you for it. Actually, there are many solutions, but the gentle poses below may provide a simple and efficient way to instantly release stored up stress in the body, especially after a long day at the office.
Do you sit at a desk all day? Stand up all day? Find yourself doing repetitive movements? Have you also found yourself making scrunchy faces when you move or feel that knot or crack in your back because you know that surely your body could be feeling a lot better?
If your answer is yes, then you are part of a collective - ambitious, hard-working and conscientious group of individuals who know their body deserves more.
Our mind and body are connected in a beautiful allegiance, as soon as you look after one, the other benefits too. However, as soon as you start neglecting one, you guessed it, the other feels it too. Tension in your body causes a distraction for the brain which makes your day harder, ease in your body means your brain can run at maximum capacity, which makes your day easier - who doesn't want that?!
Sitting down has been classed as the new smoking and whilst I'm not willing to think that my body is being harmed by sitting down all day, I do know that moving, stretching and exercising is a valuable practice we could definitely do more of. Releasing the tension in our bodies opens up more mental space, more longevity in our day and more feelings of ease, calm and grace.
Depending on where you feel the tension in your body, you may be subconsciously holding onto something that just isn't serving you. Fortunately, there is a super simple solution to release that stress and tension and increase the calm in your body.
So, let's tackle this in both ways - body and mind.
Below are some straightforward yoga movements you can integrate into your day to alleviate that tension.
This is perfect for those of us with tight shoulders. Start off by giving yourself a hug and reaching around for your shoulders blades. Then unravel the tops of your arms and try to bring your palms together behind you (backs of the hands touching is absolutely fine). All that's left to deepen the stretch is to drop the shoulders and lift the elbows. Voila! Beautiful shoulder stretch, with a heart opener to boot!
Ah, Child's Pose, the most beautiful of them all. Great for end of the day release, but ideal for opening the hips, shoulders and chest in a nice gentle way. Start by kneeling with big toes touching and knees together. Fold yourself over your knees and reach your arms forward, stretching in front of you, with your forehead touching to earth beneath you or supported by a rolled blanket, or block.
If you want a deeper stretch for the lower back, you can open up your knees (big toes still touching) a little wider. Visualize your fingertips stretching to the space in front of you, your tailbone reaching back, and your forehead supported by the earth beneath you. Breathe!
Such a lovely all over body stretch! This opens up your spine, releases tension in the hips, stretches out the shoulders and is a great way to relax the lower back. Sit with both legs stretched out in front of you, then cross your right leg over the left. Bend your knee and tuck your right foot on the outside edge of your left knee. Swing your left arm up and over the bent knee and hug your knee over to the other side of your body. Place your right hand behind you as a kickstand. Use your right hand to support your upper body by pressing into the floor and lifting yourself up. Twist a little more with every exhale.
Sore wrists and achy hands? Give this one a go. Sit like you would in Child's Pose, with your knees apart. Start with your hands flat on the floor between your knees, fingers pointing away from you. Turn both hands out to either side, and then back to have the fingers pointing towards you. Feel free to move around in this one, it's such a lovely release!
Now you have a physical practice to move through the tension, let's focus on what is going on in your beautiful mind. Below are some possible reasons why you may be feeling stress and tension in your body (other than the repeated physical movement) and affirmations from the powerful Louise Hay that you can adopt to alleviate that stress.
You may carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and sometimes feel like life is a burden.
Affirmation: I choose to allow all of my experiences to be joyous and loving.
You're feeling a lack of emotional support, or are feeling unloved.
Affirmation: I love and approve of myself. Life supports and loves me.
Guilt. You could be stuck in all that stuff back there or have the feeling of 'Get off my back'.
Affirmation: I release the past. I am free to move forward with love in my heart.
Do you have financial woes and concerns?
Affirmation: I trust the process of life. All I need is taken care of. I am safe.
Are you struggling to hold on to life's experiences?
Affirmation: I lovingly hold and embrace my experiences with love and joy.
You might have a fear of going forward in major decisions.
Affirmation: I am in perfect balance. I move forward in life with ease and with joy at every age.
Are you refusing to see another's side or position? Maybe you're feeling a little stubborn. Who/what is being a pain in the neck?
Affirmation: I am peaceful with life.
You're grasping on too tight, you're not wanting to let go. Maybe you're not 'handling' things well.
Affirmation: I choose to handle all my experiences with love and with joy and with ease.
You're a big worrier, always thinking. Maybe you feel as though you're 'under someone's thumb'.
Affirmation: My mind is at peace.
Do you have a fear of authority? Or is someone abusing your authority?
Affirmation: I am secure.
Your body is your vehicle to get things done so let's start looking after it, loving it and lavishing it with the treats it deserves. You'll notice a profound difference as soon as you start adopting these practices, I certainly have. Is there a certain set of movements you do daily? Or affirmations you use to feel better? If there are, share them!
Let your friends and family know, let your colleagues know, let everyone know because I know full well that they may be feeling the same stresses as you. You got this, your body will thank you and remember, everything is always working out for your highest good.