The Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has written, “When we walk like we are rushing, we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth‚Äö√Ñ¬∂ Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
Yes! How we walk and inhabit our bodies deeply affects our psychological state. Even our ability to be quirky–to be free and fully express ourselves like little kids do, with no reservations.
In our busy world, it is so easy for the tensions of the psyche to get stored in the body. When you are more free in your body, you are also more free in your spirit. This is why we start off my GetQuirky class by discovering and practicing our “quirkywiggles” (our own personal dance for infusing ourselves with a light self-accepting joyful quirky spirit).
My personal journey of becoming more free through relaxation
I learned a lot of about the tensions of my body through my intense study of tango. I was shocked to realize how much tension I was storing, almost everywhere in my body.
Dancing tango requires complete body awareness and relaxation of every part of the body: even your jaw, toes, fingers. That relaxation allows the the energy to flow between the two partners in the dance.
My favorite hyper-observant tango teachers would point out where I was holding tension. “Relax your jaw,” Geronimo would tell me. He teaches contemporary so he was so good at noticing body mechanics.
What an amazing thing to relax my jaw and then feel a waterfall of relaxation throughout my whole body. The conscious relaxation began.
Even how I write has been affected. Consciously relaxing as I write–typing like I’m massaging the keyboard rather than hammering at it and breathing deeply–helps me to slow down and get into a deeper flow of discovering more precisely what I want to say. The words are more alive and I feel more comfortable, less manic.
The first step is awareness of where you are holding tension
Simply knowing where you are holding your tension is the first step. It may be painful to notice, but priceless. Once you become aware, you can figure out how to release it. You might also discover where you hold tension through the study of a dance, yoga, a martial art, or a sport. You can do a body scan to discover where your tension spots are.
From here, you find your way of releasing tension. Personally, I have found Youtube to be a treasure trove of resources. Here are three genius videos that I have found to be very helpful to relax my tensions and freeing my quirkyspirit. . . try these out, and let us know about relaxation practices that really work for you.
KISS THE GROUND
As I got deeper in my tango study, I realized that supple feet help us to find our stability and balance, and make us feel grounded. Perhaps it’s the creeping stiffness of age, or the amount of time I spent dancing in tango heels but I noticed that when I get out of bed in the morning my feet are rather blocky, like clomping cinderblocks. My toes didn’t actually fully feel the ground first thing in the morning.
I wanted to have supple feet that kiss the earth more of the time. These calf and foot stretching exercises do the trick. I love this video for relaxing your calves and waking up your feet first thing in the morning after my morning tea.
I can hug the ground when I walk. Emotionally I feel more grounded with supple feet.
STRENGTHEN TO RELAX
Do you have deep knots in your upper back and shoulders? I always have. They never went away. Through trial and error, I found that strengthening my muscles in my upper back with this video with this Tank Top Arms video totally relaxed my upper back and shoulder blades. Weak muscles can lead to tension because my body didn’t have the strength it needed for proper alignment. Stronger muscles could help me relax in better posture. After a week of doing these exercises, my massage therapist in Buenos AIres told me that my back was unrecognizable!
If you have tension in your upper back, try this video. If it’s somewhere else, consider that strengthening those muscles could help you to relax.
DO YOUGA IN YOUR FACE!
Yoga in your Face is awesome! This is such an awesome way to wake up in the morning! It’s anti-aging of course, sans Botox. Go for it, do face yoga publicly! Be quirky and ridiculous and do yoga in your face while you walk down the street. 🙂 Let us know how it goes.
And let me know your ways of freeing your quirkyspirit. . .especially through your body.
P.S. If you want to get more free and let your quirky spirit come out to play, come play with us in my next session of GetQuirky in September. You will get plenty of practice getting free and loose in your body and spirit as part of a group of supportive, like-minded people. We take 21 days to build the habit of quirky self-expression, creativity, and self-acceptance TOGETHER. Click HERE to get the details about GetQuirky. See you there!