You would think that since I am a Let It Go Yoga teacher, and Let It Go Yoga is all about, well, …letting go, that I would be the most peaceful and calm person in the world. Well, sometimes I am and sometimes not so much. I get stressed out just like the rest of us, somedays are better than others but sometimes the dog barks a little too much, or I worry about my kids, there are bills to pay or the “to do list” gets a little too long. You know… life!
Even the most peaceful, together people still experience stress in their lives. A trip to the grocery store can be stress inducing when you get cut off by a absent minded driver. Just trying to get the family off in the morning can be stressful. Worries and fears, large and small, all add up and begin to take their toll. When we are stressed, tension builds in the body, cortisol is released and the sympathetic nervous system or the flight or fight response is engaged… we feel stressed, tight, full of tension. The problem is we usually have no way of releasing that tension, we can’t fight or flight…we can’t physically fight with the driver or run away from home! So we store it up, we tell ourselves to calm down and then stuff it neatly into one of our favorite little holding places in the body. For me when I notice that my shoulders tense up around my ears, I know I am holding lots of stress. The hips are a big baggage area for me as well. I have discovered that I can hold stress in my arms, hands and even my fingers!
Stress shows on our face and that, probably explains, why botox is so popular and… then …. what about clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth … just another way we hold onto stress.
Before yoga, when I sold real estate for a living, I was stressed most of the time. Commission sales are a tough way to go and when I did sell a house there was lots of stress to buffer from the parties involved, so that the house would actually close escrow. To release our stress my fellow real estate agents and I would get together and “talk shop”, and that helped some. Mostly we would either celebrate or commiserate, and eat rich food, have a few cocktails and smoke cigarettes. Fun, but not really very helpful. I did exercise when I could, but aerobics and running seemed to add more stress as I would usually over do it and end up getting hurt.
When I found Let It Go Yoga, it was such a relief! It was a relief from the daily stresses of life that I had no way of releasing. And I got to lay down to do it! Just lying flat on the floor and breathing deep diaphragmatic breaths will reduce stress. Let It Go Yoga allows you to consciously relax and notice areas of your body where you are needlessly holding on and allows you to find your holding places that are filled with tension and learn to let them go. Relaxing induces the parasympathetic nervous system or “the rest and digest” mode. This is nature’s way of rebuilding and renewing. Your body instinctively knows how to do this, but you must give it time to do so. We have found that by tightening up a muscle you can learn more about how to release that muscle tension. If you consciously apply tension by contracting specific muscles and holding the muscle tight when you release the hold, often the release allows you to relax deeper! Remember the Isometric exercises that were circulated in the 60’s? It’s the same idea, that by tightening up, you engage the muscles that store tension and when you release, you allow the muscles to release more. When we started adding this technique to our Let It Go Yoga practice, we were surprised how easy it was to teach our students to tighten their muscles. In fact, they knew that part all too well. We didn’t have to teach how to hold on, we all seem to know how to do that, but it seems we need to learn how to let go…and that’s where the benefit lies. It’s in the release – when you have turned on your relax response and your body has time to rest, and repair and renew. This technique works well during a yoga practice but you can also use it off the yoga mat, in your daily life. Once you learn the process you can apply it whenever you notice you feel tension. You can train yourself to relax deeply and let go of tension. In the release you will find the path to serenity, tranquility and inner peace.
Who wants to manage stress when you can just let it go…
Do you want to learn techniques for obtaining inner peace and know more about Let It Go Yoga, and how to incorporate it into your everyday life? Sue Anne and Jim Parsons invite you to sign up for Let It Go Yoga monthly newsletter and receive a FREE gift – a 10 minute Inner Peace Meditation. Sue Anne will take you on a guided inner journey that will leave you feeling calm, centered and relaxed.