How often do you find your shoulders hanging around somewhere near your earlobes? If you're like many people I know, you'll find them that way a lot. As a yoga teacher I repeat the phrase 'soften your shoulders' umpteen times a week. I often pair this up with a gentle hand on the offending shoulders and I can immediately see tension drain from the upper body.
Tight, tense shoulders are hardly unusual. We tend to live with it and claim "I can't help it!" when it's brought to our attention. But what if we checked in - time and time again - and softened them every time we noticed them higher than they should be?
For years and years I was a shoulder-tension-holder. These days I seem to have a firmer stance with them and they behave a good lot of the time. Now, though, I find the tension sitting in my jaw or that space between my eyes.
It's the same thing and requires the same treatment - repeated 'checking in' and softening. It might mean checking in tens or even hundreds of times per day ... but it's well worth it. Not only does it feel better not to hold this tension so frequently, it's also a perfect opportunity to assess how you are in any given moment. As you check in with your shoulders/jaw/eyebrows/hips/fists (whatever is your tension storage house), it's a chance to make an assessment on a greater scale. Tight? What can you let go of? Relaxed? Awesome - do more of that.
So, this week it's all about checking in on the tension. Check, soften, repeat. Lots of little mindful moments.