Society trains us to be tense. More and more, people are seeking out both relaxation and massage in order to bring more balance into their lives. The beauty of Thai massage is that relaxation is tied up into all the other benefits of a massage as well. A trend that I’ve noticed over the past few years is that unfortunately many of us no longer remember how to truly let go.
In a Thai massage treatment it becomes evident very quickly when someone has lost the ability to relax. Because the postures often involve passive stretches and joint articulation, you soon get to know who still has the ability to release into your touch. From the perspective of a practitioner and teacher it’s troubling to see how so many people are unable to surrender and relax completely – how something so essential to health, happiness and ease in life can be forgotten. This residual/unconscious tension is so common in the general public that I now refer to those who can relax as “skilled receivers”.
The good news is that even though we have de-trained ourselves, we can effectively re-train the ability to relax. We can re-discover what it feels like to release the habitual tensions we carry.
Some of the methods I use to relax and stay connected to this ability are:
- Thai massage! As a practitioner receiving treatments is essential to my health and a solid connection to my own body. For me it’s also key to practice what I preach, obviously. We should all get more massage and compassionate touch.
- Meditation – even a short sit each day with a focus on breath will especially help in the stressful situations during your day that create some extra jaw-clenching tension. It doesn’t need to be seated meditation, by the way, it can be moving and can be during your regular daily activities – time spent cultivating dedicated attention.
- Restorative yoga – the practice of passive postures helps us to re-train the ability to release into the ground/props/support. One of my favourites is called “reclined cobblers pose” and and it involves lying on an inclined padded support, with your feet together but knees splayed wide (and supported). Give it a whirl.
Do you find that you can relax easily? Or are you continuously moving/thinking/reacting? Try out one or all of the above tools to help with your training. It may not be how you generally think of “training”, but it is definitely more important than any other workout.
As you race through your busy day, take a few mins to rediscover relaxation.
If you would like more tips about keeping your body stress-free, check out the following posts: “The 3 Most Important Ways To Prevent Tension Build-Up“, “3 Strength Exercises to Reduce Neck Pain” and “Turn Something Boring Into Something Useful: 5 Handy Tips“.