The Trouble with Tension by Christa Rypins

10/01/2018 6:38 AM | Anonymous

Tension is who we think we should be. Relaxation is who we are.
—Unknown

Tension is the underlying cause of so many pesky things: headaches, pain, injury, prolapsed organs, cardiovascular disease, crabbiness, low self-esteem, hamstring tightness, inability to feel, and collapsed arches—to name just a few!

The lucky among us discover yoga and meditation, which shifts our relationship with tension. The unlucky among us might find themselves in the above paragraph. 

Take note: Unattended tension becomes pain.

As a professional figure skater doing four shows a day, five on weekends, seven days a week, I know a bit about tension. With years of that skating schedule, the tension turned to pain. I loved skating and performing so much that I ignored the pain.

Until I couldn’t.

After nine years of professional skating, I discovered yoga. Sometimes yoga helped relieve tension. Sometimes it made the pain worse. I couldn't understand why.

My own experience, mixed with the opposing information on poses and body position, coalesced into a search to understand the body. That search lead to modalities such as SomaticsPilates, and finally the Franklin Method Imagery.

In the Franklin Method, we picture our own anatomy through “embodiment.” This practice causes tension to melt away and pain to disappear. It completely changed my neck, shoulders, hips, sense of myself, and in turn what I teach.

I begin every yoga class with a tension-relieving embodiment. This helps students feel more connected to their bodies. Tension melts away as they move through poses. The Franklin Method helps students move with more ease.

It is tension hidden in the deeper layers of the body that often cause the most pain. When the tension is released, the benefits ripple outward: reduced pain, ease of movement, and emotionally expanded sense of self.

Here are two warm-ups for deep muscles. Please practice them and share with your students.

Hanging Psoas Release

Obterator Internus Stretch

In Pelvic Power, my workshop with the YTA on October 13, we’ll use embodiment to picture and feel the bones of the pelvis. Tuning into bone rhythms is the fastest way to relieve tension and make pain disappear. The tension is replaced by vitality and pain-free living.

The format of the workshop is embody, practice, teach, repeat. You will leave the workshop with a clear picture of posture, felt alignment, practical tools, and pelvic empowerment. I look forward to being with you at Pelvic Power!

 Learn more about Christa at intelligentbody.net.

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