That’s an odd kind of a statement, right?  On the one hand you know that it’s damn hard to turn off and on the other you’re almost programmed to think that relaxing is something you just do whereas stress involves activity, pressure and focus.  It’s not, surely, a matter that relaxation is hard, it’s more that you struggle to have time to do it.  But lets be honest if relaxation was easy, we wouldn’t need so much time in which to achieve it and we would wouldn’t get so stressed again when that time was over.

Very often what we do to unwind is little more than a distraction from the stress.  We don’t actually stop being stressed, we just forget about it for while and even that may be being generous, how often have you sat in front of the television and stewed over the issues of the day?  How much of you is really in the moment, enjoying your free time, and how much is already planning tomorrow.  How much tension do you really let go of?  The answer is ‘not much’.

Stress is habitual in life.  Our minds are in a hundred different places at once, desperately trying to achieve everything we feel that we ‘should’.  Tension becomes so much a part of how we understand our bodies that we stop even noticing it.  If you were able to take the time to allow your mind to settle into the moment with nothing to achieve, just allowed yourself to exist and simply be in your body, you’d be surprised at what relaxing actually feels like.  And then if you give yourself a moment more to explore all the pockets of tension and tightness that prevent your body from performing, you’d be horrified.  Ridding yourself of that tension involves a lot of focus, it won’t go away if you ignore it or run away from it or hate it or fear it, you sort of have to wrap your arms around it and nurture it and tell it everything’s going to be okay and it can let go now if it wants to.

That’s what yoga is about,  letting go of the need to strive for anything, just being human, spending some time with your poor body and getting to know how it feels, loving it a bit and helping it to relax and while you help it to relax, it helps you to relax because you and your body are all part of the same living entity and you were never really meant to be separated.  At least that’s how I understand it anyway.

Jacqueline Cooper says it better..




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