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Tension, Yikes!

Common places you hold tension without realizing
We’ve all seen it — the parade of zombie-teens (and adults) wandering around businesses, bathrooms and parks hunched over their cell phones. Pokémon Go is sweeping the nation, but how is it affecting our bodies?  
The game brings up a larger issue. As a society that is so tech dependent, we all spend lots of time hunched over our cell phones and computers. This puts us in an uncomfortable position … literally! When we constantly sit bent over, looking down at the screen, tension builds between the shoulders.  
And shoulders definitely aren’t the only common place for tension. Another common area? Hips. We live in a society that is very linear—we move forward when walking, driving in cars or riding a bike. This doesn’t provide us with many opportunities to rotate the hip joints, causing tension in the hips.  
Yikes! Tension in the body can have many negative effects. One student of mine mentioned sleep issues because of lower back pain from his tight hamstrings. Many with tight neck and upper back muscles get stress headaches. Three top causes of tension are work, stress and repetitive movement. Who doesn’t have or do a least one of those things?  
But there is good news! By expanding their yoga practice, students noticed their aches and pains disappear.  
Yoga allows us to focus on our bodies, analyzing areas of high tension. Once a union is formed with our body, we can learn which areas are causing us pain. For students with stress headaches, we learned that stretching the trapezius muscles that run down the neck into the back eases headaches. My student with sleep issues started stretching out his hamstrings. Now he sleeps through the night!  
Developing your yoga practice is an ideal way to decrease tension. If you’re looking for a less movement-dependent solution, try facial massages, body massages and foam rolling. Stress causes tense bodies, but massage melts away stress. By utilizing body massages, which target areas of tension, we can help decrease tension and stress.  
And, best of all, get a good night’s sleep! 


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