Feel Peace…Create Release

The process of loosening tension in the body is far more than a mechanical process.  It’s a biochemical and neurologic interplay with the muscles and connective tissue (fascia) of the body.  We will have some success in releasing the areas where our tissue is stuck and not gliding or lengthening as is functional.  But often this change is very partial or doesn’t last as we would hope.

Have you ever used a famed foam roller or other self-massage tool and felt completely overcome by the discomfort?  You hold your breath or rush through the process to get it over with.  When we move fast and lack presence with the sensations that arise, we can trigger receptors in the fascia that cause the tension to hold rather than let go.

This is where the nervous system, along with biochemical mediators can create a substantial shift in our efforts.  The autonomic nervous system regulates tension in our connective tissue. If we can engage the parasympathetic (calming) branch when we are attempting to release restrictions, we will have dramatically more success doing so.  This involves regulating our nervous system through the rhythm of our breath.  In particular, our exhale is correlated with heightened parasympathetic activation.  As we slow down our exhale we notice how that sense of peace feels like it’s washing over the body.  The breath is controlled by the nervous system.  However, conscious awareness of slowing down the breath in turn regulates the balance of the sympathetic and para-sympathetic branches so our wakeful moments are alert, yet calm.

When we are seeking to release tension, it’s potent to begin with this breath awareness and its ability to alter our emotions towards a more healing state.  We then have the choice to feel discomfort that we elicit with this release work, from a state of complete acceptance for how it presents itself.  It’s a true metaphor for how we can move through the gamut of discomfort that shows up in life.  I call it the rabbit hole of present moment acceptance.  Grab a tennis ball or foam roller and let me show you how to cycle through this process…click here.

Annette Bray

Annette guides clients through movement using postural awareness techniques and the modality of yoga to bring physical and mental balance.

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