“I love the feeling of tension in my body each morning.” – A quote by No-one Ever
If you experience things like excessive muscular tension, poor co-ordination, un-balanced postural alignment and joint pain … In today’s article I’m going to teach you, how you can:
- Re-align your body and restore your natural posture;
- Become free of long-held muscular tension, chronic joint pain and all that other nasty stuff that holds your body back;
- Improve the way your body moves for the little, but important things that you do all the time, like standing and walking, etc.
But before we get into how to do all of this helpful stuff, you’ve got to know the story of how I came to be sharing it with you …
A journey to re-discovering our natural human form.
In my perspective the human body was designed to be robust, adaptive and to move with fluidity, as one unified structure.
To give you the feeling of empowerment and freedom to move however you choose. And to ensure that you can avoid unnecessary injuries and pain while you move in a range of different environments.
If you’re here reading this, it’s likely that you also know the importance of improving your posture and mind-body connection, to return to your naturally robust human form.
To live with a well aligned body, that’s connected from head to toe and remains strong and mobile as you age.
It’s all well and good to ponder this intellectual ideal, however I needed practices to help me clear physical blockages, so I could actually feel and experience it …
I faced some road blocks on my journey.
I knew that there was more to experiencing the potential of the human body.
I had a glimpse of it during my teens as a high performing volleyball player.
I could jump high and run pretty fast.
But … there were still many imbalances lurking deep inside of me that affected my overall physical performance.
- I was strong, but in-flexible;
- I could move well in certain types of movements, but in others I felt completely disconnected from my body;
- My body worked great in my comfort zone, but I couldn’t adapt very quickly.
These imbalances ultimately led to a build up of excessive muscular tension in my body over the years, which became very obvious when my spine buckled like a cheap bike wheel.
I knew I needed to move better and develop more physical fluidity, but I didn’t quite have the wisdom, or practice to physically embody it.
And the mainstream health and fitness scene wasn’t doing me any favours either.
I thought I was doing all the right things, but something was missing.
I was taught that to develop a body that performed well I needed to do:
Strength training: involving weight lifting and kettlebells, so I could lift heavy objects and look rugged like a lumberjack;
Flexibility training: involving stretches for gymnastics, so I could go beyond just barely being able to touch my toes;
Body weight exercises: involving handstands, rings work and convict conditioning, so I could post impressive pictures on Instagram;
Meditation: So I could, well … become enlightened
All jokes aside these are all excellent and helpful physical disciplines that I still practice today, but something was still missing.
While I was improving with each of these activities …
- My arms and legs felt relatively strong and flexible, and my mind was becoming more calm.
- I could do pistol squats, chin ups and some other pretty cool body weight exercises.
But overall I felt like I was compartmentalising my body.
Even though I felt good in certain physical activities, I felt quite tense and disconnected in others.
The missing link was staring me right in the face.
The physical activities I felt the least connected in were the ones I needed to use every day.
Like walking, running, standing, kneeling and more.
Sure I could do them, but;
- After a long walk my back felt like sh*t;
- After a run my knees felt beat up;
- After standing at a concert my whole body hurt;
- I couldn’t even kneel on the ground for more than a couple of minutes before my feet went numb;
- And overall I felt like my body was fighting against itself, which sapped my energy levels.
Sound familiar to you?
I needed to ask myself;
What’s the point of being strong in the gym or looking good naked, if it doesn’t actually improve the experience of my body in the small, but meaningful movements of everyday life?
Beyond how I looked, deep down I just wanted to move with freedom and fluidity.
The battle between fluid movement and muscular tension.
I needed to change my priorities for my body. I needed to stop focusing on fitness and start focusing on … life.
I needed let go of everything I thought I knew about the body, and began to simply listen to mine.
And some powerful learnings and experiences resulted …
I learned that the key to having a body that is able to move fluidly during the activities that matter most, is more about clearing the debris and blockages that get in the way, than trying so hard to force the ability to move better.
And the biggest blockage to a fully connected and fluid moving body that I found was …
You guessed it – excessive muscular tension.
The more tension I was able to release, the stronger and more flexible I became. I was able to move better and maybe even became a little more enlightened
How did it all happen?
I took some steps back, to move forward.
After many years of looking to get to the source of the physical tension and disconnection that can restrict fluid movement, I realised I needed to bring things back to the basics of human movement.
So I observed and practiced the way we physically develop from babies to adults.
And saw how, along the way we can often gather a lot of physical habits that don’t always serve us.
To undo these learned and un-supportive, tension causing, physical habits:
I needed a more mindful approach to movement practice that was reflective of our natural way of physical development from baby to adult.
And here’s the 4 practices I found most simple and effective to release physical tension.
4 Essential Practices to a Tension Free Body
Within these practices I’ve distilled the most powerful and essential elements from internal physical arts like Tai Chi, Qigong and Nei Gong, etc.
And I’ve simplified and adapted them to be more applicable to improve essential movements you do each and every day.
Practice #1: Baby Like Breathing
Breathing is your life force. Sadly, due to excessive tension, trauma (physically / mentally / emotionally) most adults lose the ability to breathe correctly and naturally. This reduces the effectiveness of every facet of the human body.
So as you might imagine, having a practice to improve the way you breathe is pretty dam important.
Think of breathing like a giant pump for your body.
- The better the pump, the better the flow of fluids that transport biological cells (blood, water, lymph, etc).
- Better fluid flow, leads to better health of connective tissues (muscle, facia, tendons, ligaments, etc).
- Better health of connective tissues, leads to better movement (strength, flexibility, co-ordination) and less pain.
In the ‘Baby Like Breathing’ course (COMING SOON), you’ll learn:
How to get back to your natural state of deep, whole body breathing so you can massage your organs and oxygenate your whole body better, all day long.
In the mean time, here’s an article with breathing exercises to get you started.
Practice #2: Standing Meditation
Standing Meditation is a powerful practice that has been featured in internal martial arts for thousands of years (often referred to as zhan zhuang or ziran zhuang).
Because it’s one of the most effective ways to still the body, so you can become aware of, and gradually release deeply stored tension, that’s often being created habitually and unconsciously in your body.
Here’s an example from a Movement Monk student:
When I first began working with Daniel Spencer, this is how he stood.
While Daniel has quite a good physical foundation, he was still experiencing some restrictions deep within his body.
When we take a look at the way his body aligns during standing meditation, you can see certain parts of the body are taking more weight than others. And in these areas we build up muscular tension.
Above are some general guidelines that I gave Daniel to enhance his standing practice.
The problem is:
We can’t always feel our imbalances, because we’re used to the body we live in.
And over many years, these small physical imbalances can build up in the body and manifest in decreased movement efficiency, pain, or worse – surgery.
Through standing meditation practice, you keep the body in one place long enough to begin to more strongly feel areas that are in a state of habitual contraction, and the way your structure interacts with gravity.
As gravity places forces upon the body during your standing practice you can become aware of areas in your body that are doing too much work.
And once you gain this awareness you can consciously relax the area so weight distributes more evenly throughout the body.
The main intention of standing meditation is to learn to relax your body enough, so most of the forces of gravity and your bodyweight transfers into your feet, then into the ground. Instead of in your lower back, neck, hips and shoulders.
The challenge with Standing Meditation for some is that because it is so good at showing you where you’re holding tension, a lot can show up all at once and this can be overwhelming.
This observation is what led me to create the Tension Releasing Body course. The TRB builds your practice from the ground, up. It gives you the principles and step-by-step guidance you need to create strong body-mind foundations to support deep tension release. You’ll develop highly attuned internal senses to become a tension releasing machine
Practice #3: Joint Connection
When certain areas of the body are overly strong, or tense and others are the opposite, you begin to lose the ability to generate full body power.
In the TRB, you’ll learn the deeper essence of joint connection practices to improve the strength, flexibility, and function of the major areas of movement in your body, by co-ordinating them to move as one unified structure.
Here’s a video for more info of Joint Connection Practices:
When you connect your feet – hips – spine – shoulders – hands to move as one you experience true full body power and will gain a leading advantage in any activity you use your body for.
Practice #4: Tension Release Walking
Walking is one of the most fundamental, yet complex human movement patterns.
It can take a life time to master.
During a life time we take countless steps, and depending on the way your body is aligned each step – Walking can make, or break your body.
The most important advice I can offer is don’t take walking for granted. Practice it and aim to improve it every day. Your body will love you for it over the course of your life.
In the practices featured in the TRB, you’ll dramatically improve this fundamental skill.
Free Your Body of Limiting Tension with TRB
I created the Tension Releasing Body, so you can get access to the proven process that helped me overcome a debilitating spinal injury, and has helped my private students experience more freedom and connection in their bodies long-term.
I’m happy to now be able to share with you the result of my journey over 10 years researching what makes the body tick.
- The Tension Releasing Body (TRB) helps you re-connect your body from head to toe, so you can move your body as one unified structure.
- In the online course version of TRB you get detailed video teaching that will improve all of the practices outlined above.
- TRB works on very deep layers of your body, helps you realise where you hold muscular tension and gives you a step-by-step process to effectively release it for the long-term.
… Without having to spend hours in the gym, going to ongoing physical therapy (that can get really expensive), or getting frustrated by those annoying latex band re-hab exercises.