Squeeze To Relax!
By Tim Webb
This heading may seem like a contradiction in terms. How on earth is squeezing anything going to allow for relaxation to occur? Surely it will generate more tension, won't it?
Well, not necessarily. Indeed, combined with focused breathing it is a great tool to alleviate stress and will help those stubborn tense muscles to let go!
It is a common affliction for many people to have unnecessary muscular tension throughout their bodies and this becomes the norm. Hectic lifestyles and sedentary jobs all contribute towards tension in the body as well as bad posture.
This being the case it may sound ludicrous to suggest creating more tension by squeezing. However, it is by initially squeezing that a wonderful physical contrast is created leaving the body feeling more tranquil. Also, once you have experienced the difference it will also encourage you to consciously become less tense and to use less energy when going about everyday tasks.
Below are some simple instructions that can be instantly used to experience how squeezing muscles and breathing in a specific way can help tension to subside!
1. Sit or stand comfortable.
2. Inhale and squeeze a muscle group.
3. Hold for a second and then, as you release this muscular tension, exhale slowly and fully.
4. Repeat this five to ten times. Note the distinction between how your muscles felt to begin with and now, after having let them relax from a contracted position.
5. Note - If you are looking for a quick way to loose tension all over your body all you need do is, from a standing position, inhale and squeeze your entire body and then on the long slow exhalation release all tension. Try this five times and feel the positive effects!
Whether you squeeze and then relax one muscle at a time or your whole body you should have the feeling of almost deflating like a balloon and loosing undue tension.
It is also worth bearing in mind there are no long periods of squeezing muscles and holding the breath! It is not required and is dangerous.
You can utilise this method whenever you feel stressed, tense, or angry and it will go a long way towards reminding you that a relaxed body is almost always better and happier than a tense one.
Give it a whirl and feel for yourself!
© Tim Webb 2005
About The Author
Tim Webb is a fitness instructor, Ju Jutsu instructor and competitor. He specialises in easily accessible deep breathing exercises that combine breath and mind together.