If we want to experience physical, mental and spiritual well being, the first thing we must do is relax. There is no peace without relaxation. Each day we add to the tension in our body and mind by our daily habits and the stress and pressure that often seems to surround our lives. Relaxing is not something that is encouraged and we often find ourselves doing more and more in the quest to be productive and keep up with all the activity around us. Being relaxed should be our natural state, but it isn’t. Instead we have to work at it. We have to consciously tell ourselves to relax and set about practices and experiences that help us let go of all we are holding on to. We have to create the internal conditions to free our body and mind from tension.
When we are relaxed, we feel vital, open, present and ready to handle anything. If we are already tense and some of our tension may have been built upon since childhood, everything seems harder and there’s a feeling of constant resistance. It’s the difference between riding your bike into the wind and having it at your back. When the wind is with you, you are in the flow and movement takes no effort. If you’re riding into the wind, you work and work and still feel like you’re getting nowhere.
Tension is different than strength, tension works against your strength. Bruce Lee, known for his amazing strength, promoted being relaxed as an essential state in order to be fast, light and strong. Tension is counter to all these things. Make relaxation a priority. Do the things that make you feel peaceful and take time from work to spend time in nature. Practice asana (postures) and pranayama (breath work) to strengthen, stretch and release tension from the body and meditate to help quiet the mind. Most importantly….PLAY! Do not take yourself and this world so seriously.
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