Have you noticed if you contract muscles in your body without thinking about it? Where is your pain? Begin noticing if your muscles in this area are tense and contracted. I have noticed that I contract my pelvic muscles sometimes. And that of course doesn’t help me in my endometriosis illness. The blood needs to circulate freely there. Another example is headache. It´s a well known fact that the muscles in neck and shoulders often are contributing to headaches. You can try this Mini Yoga set for Headaches here. I´ve suffered from headaches for years, and I´ve noticed that shoulders are often involved, but there can be even other muscles involved like the tongue. And of course other problems like bad digestion, food sensitivity etc.
When muscles are tense the blood stops flowing in that area and you are in a constant fight or flight mode. Over time the result is often pain. In the old times we needed this stress response that tightened our muscles when we needed to escape from a lion or other danger in life. We needed this to escape and survive. But today the chances are not so high that you need to run, except if you need to run to catch the bus or have to move quickly avoiding to get hit by a car. Still we are so stressed and anxious. And that has consequences in our life and health. But don´t worry there is something you can do about it!
Be aware of it
The first thing is to be aware of the problem. Notice and sense in your body what´s happening. Are the muscles tensed or relaxed?
There are some techniques for this:
- Scan your body from top to toes.
Notice if you´re contracting the muscles. Be aware of every muscle in your body, even the muscles you would not think about. The jaw, tongue, shoulders, pelvis, buttocks… Take a couple of deep big breaths and relax in the area that is tense. When you have scanned a couple of times you´ll soon notice if you have any specific problem areas, so when you continue your daily body scanning you can only focus on the them. Try to do this a couple of times a day, as a break in whatever you´re doing.
-Contracting relaxing technique
Sometimes, especially if you´ve had the tension for a long time, it can be difficult to sense if you´re tense. What you can do then is to use a technique that is contracting/relaxing muscle by muscle. This is how you do it:
Lie down on your back. Begin to contract your right foot for 5-10 seconds. Relax the foot for 10-20 seconds (double the time as when you contract). Continue with left foot in the same way. Contract in 5-10 seconds. Relax 10-20 seconds Move your focus to your legs. Contract-relax. Continue through your whole body: Buttocks, pelvis (not if you´re menstruating), belly, chest, back, shoulders (push them up towards your ears), grimace your face, push your tongue upwards in the mouth. Relax a couple of minutes when you´ve worked through your whole body. Try to do this at least once a day.
Please share your thoughts and experiences with us!
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”