“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~Lena Horne
Mounting stress levels have forced me to take a hard look at the way I carry the load of my job. My work place and the pressures and challenges I face there are unlikely to change, so I’m focused on changing the way I carry that load to reduce the stress it causes me.
What loads are you carrying in your life that might benefit from changing the way you carry them?
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I carry my stress in my shoulders. I have knots in my upper back that drive massage therapists crazy. And they cause me a good deal of aches and pains, including headaches, from my poor posture, tight muscles, and held tension.
I’m not alone in this. Most people I know carry tension in their shoulders, upper back, and necks. It’s an epidemic in our stressed-out, computer-focused society. This tension we carry around with us causes all kinds of aches and pain, with tension headaches high on the list.
Yoga is great way to become more mindful of the state of our body, so we can begin to recognize this tension happening before the headaches start. It’s also a wonderful training ground for learning better posture and for reducing our tendency to carry the tension around in the first place as we learn to let go.
I recently came across a wonderful article on specific ways that yoga can help with the prevention of tension headaches called Crick Fixes by Barbara Benagh in the online Yoga Journal. She shares her own story of neck, shoulder, and back issues and the way that she learned to use yoga to help remedy those issues after working with a teacher who “focused less on actively changing your body than on establishing a compassionate dialogue with it, inviting health and ease into it and then watching, waiting, and allowing change to come.”
The last page of the article (there are five pages altogether) contains a link to her Crick Fixes Asana Sequence that contains pictures and instructions for working through the sequence she developed and mentions in her article.
If you suffer from neck and shoulder tension and/or from tension headaches, I would encourage you to take a look at this gentle sequence and give it a try. There are ten poses altogether (one per page), and each one is easy to perform and well described in her instructions and pictures.
If you decide to try it, let me know how it works for you. I’ll be trying this one out right alongside you, so I’d love to hear what you think!