Are You Holding Stress?

Mar 21, 2014 | blog, Featured | 0 comments

by Nischala Joy Devi.
March 19, 2014.

Most of us go through our lives with little awareness of the way different parts of our bodies hold tension and, of course, are eventually adversely affected. The more aware we are of the ways stress affects us physically, the more we can develop kindness toward our own bodies by taking time to release that stress. Deep Relaxation, Yoga Nidra, is a beautiful way to sharpen this awareness.

As an example, think about the hands and arms. As we relax the hands and arms through Yoga Nidra, we realize the tension that is caused as the result of carrying a purse, a briefcase, packages, or even playing tennis or golf. Any repetitive movement or strain on the wrist, elbow, or arm can cause imbalance, especially if it is a unilateral movement. Carpal tunnel syndrome has become common as we keep our arms still and let our fingers do computer work.

Stretching out the hands and the fingers, we notice how they go in five different directions. How much space is there between each finger and the bones in the hand? How far back can you stretch the fingers? Most of us have our hands chronically gripping or in fists. Ready to fight? Holding on? How does it feel to consciously make the hand into a fist? Notice how the hand and the wrist and then the forearm begin to tighten and that tightening goes all the way up to the elbow, upper arm, and into the shoulder and shoulder blade. Could clenched fists be one of the reasons we have chronically tight shoulders in our society?

Become aware during the day if the hands are curled into a fist or gently relaxed. When we turn the palms up so the hands are open, we are placing them in a receiving position. This makes us feel mentally receptive. Because of our daily posture and habits, our shoulders and chests are caving inward. We carry great burdens on our shoulders, protecting our hearts against hurts—new or old—and harboring old emotional wounds. This makes us look older and more weary. Allowing the palms to face up helps us to rotate the shoulders and chest outward relaxing them while opening to receive.

Most of us find that our shoulders are chronically tense. Typically they are up near our ears. Many of us these days seem to shoulder too many responsibilities. How many of us carry heavy shoulder bags or hold a phone between the neck and shoulder, sometimes for hours at a time? If we can let the burdens go from our shoulders, we will look and feel more relaxed and happy.

Use Deep Relaxation/Yoga Nidra to start your awareness of tension held in the body. Then, take that awareness further so you are aware throughout the day and can release the stress on the spot.

Namaste. ❤

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