I’m fascinated with people. Whether I’m standing in line at the grocery or sitting in an airport, I’m often noticing--with great curiosity--how we breathe, move and shape our bodies as we go through the world andrelate with each other.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that many people are unconsciously tensing some part of their body. In fact, I’m noticing that I’m tensing my shoulders right now. A natural amount of tension in different parts of the body is essential for well-being, but excess tension can lead to aches and pains or a body-gripping feeling of numbness.

As we learn to soften the tight places in ourselves, we become more relaxed, open and able to respond creatively to any situation. Here’s the basic practice:

1. Close your eyes and scan your body for any tightness you feel.

2. If you notice something (like a tight jaw, frozen shoulders or clenched toes), let your awareness rest on it.

3. Now tighten and then release that part of your body (without hurting yourself) two or three times.

3. With your awareness still resting on that part of yourself, take a few slow, easy breaths into your relaxed belly. With each breath, imagine that you can feel the tight part of yourself melting into softness. Do this as effortlessly as possible.

4. Now notice if the tight part of you feels softer. There’s no right or wrong answer. Just notice.

Each time you practice softening, you’re sending a new sensory message through your nervous system. You’re letting your cells know that it’s okay to relax. After a while, you’ll be so sensitive to your body that you’ll notice any excess tension as it arises--and will let it soften with your next breath.

Author's Bio: 

Since 1995, Gregory Newman, M.S.(www.bodycenteredcoach.com)has coached individuals and couples in body-centered skills that have made it easier for their lives, relationships and careers to blossom. Greg coaches over-the-phone and in-person and can be reached at 608-274-6962 or greg@bodycenteredcoach.com