Just Relax Already

I don’t know about you but being told to relax causes me to clench my jaw, grit my teeth, and generally do the exact opposite of relaxing. And yet relaxing is one of the healthiest things we can do.

In yoga, I remind my students to relax into the pose. That generally includes things like softening the muscles so it’s not a struggle and deepening the breath. It also includes releasing the holding in the mind, the striving to be perfect that makes everything so hard. On the yoga mat, no one fights relaxing; it’s often a big reason why they’re there.

Breath, muscles, and mind–three areas of potential relaxation off the mat as well. The possible applications off the mat are endless. For example, the next time you’re hunched over your keyboard, typing like a crazy person, frustrated with one typo after another, try this. First, sit up and take a deep breath, so deep that your belly can expand like a balloon (this is when you find out if your waistband and belt are really your friends). As you slowly let it out, take your fingers off the keys and stretch. Wiggle your fingers around a bit too. And then remind yourself that it’s okay not be perfect. We’re humans and humans make mistakes. I’m all for proofreading and fixing typos but it doesn’t have to be an exercise in crazy making. When you return to your work after your micro-break, notice how you feel. Are you still a knot? Or have you relaxed a tiny bit?

It doesn’t just have to be when you’re working either. How do you build relaxing into your day?

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