Let go of that Christmas tension the Impala way!

I have just come back from a walking safari in The Kruger National Park in South Africa, which was an amazing experience. I felt very privileged.

I was struck by the impalas there. They are the prey for all the top level predators – cheetahs, lions, wild dogs and leopards. Their fight-or- flight reflexes are constantly being activated. They are ready to flee in an instant when a cheetah appears. But as soon as the danger has passed, Impalas return to normality and release tension. Their faces and bodies relax and they go back to munching grass.

We could learn a lot from the Impalas, especially over the forthcoming Christmas period. Are you getting tense at the thought of the festivities? Christmas shopping to do. Christmas lunch to cook. Family dynamics to deal with.

The problem with us is that unlike Impalas we don’t let go of our tension easily. We hold onto our stress, anxiety and tension. These can quickly become poor postural habits.

These habits mean the body doesn’t bounce back in to shape. That all too familiar neck and shoulder tension sets in and the back pain starts. Your poor posture then pulls you down, compresses the spine, makes your body heavy and affects your functioning.

I should add that our mental attitude isn’t always the sole cause of muscular tension and poor posture. Repetitive actions create the same response e.g. writing cards, wrapping presents, making mince pies.

The Alexander Technique has an excellent toolbox for dealing with stress and tension. The Technique starts to make you more body aware, more mindful and more aware of yourself in activity. You can then use The Alexander “tools” to let go of muscular tension before it hits crisis point and pain sets in.

Unfortunately, the last Alexander Technique course before Christmas has just finished, but here is a useful tip that will help reduce neck and shoulder tension and help your body spring back into good postural alignment.

When you start to feel your stress and tension levels rising then here’s what to do – Take 5 minutes out.

  • Find a straight backed dining/kitchen chair. Sit right back into the seat, making sure you are on your sit bones.
  • Use the back of the chair to support your thoracic area (the area around your shoulder blades).
  • Be aware of the contact of your feet with the floor, making sure they are at right angles to your legs. They should be roughly hip width apart.
  • Let your arms hang down by your sides. Let the weight of your arms fall down into your hands. Remember, an arm weighs roughly the same as a leg of lamb or two large turkey legs!
  • Use gravity and the weight of the arms to release the tension in the muscles around your neck and shoulders.
  • Then give your head a little nod, like you would if you were agreeing with someone. This releases the tension at the base of your skull.
  • Let go of your jaw. A bit of gurning won’t go amiss!
  • Bring your hands slowly up to rest in your lap.
  • Lastly, be aware of your breath coming in and out and enjoy the quietening of your body and mind for a minute or two.

The next “Improve your posture by balancing your body” course starts January 15th. Cost £90 with an early bird special offer of £80. To deal with demand we are introducing an afternoon session at 3pm. An ideal Christmas present for a loved one. Click here for more details Next course at The WOW Clinic

For those unable to commit to a 4 week slot. I will be running the same course on Saturday 20th January 1.30 – 5.30pm. A half day workshop to set up those good postural habits for the new year…

If you think you would prefer 1-2-1 sessions, then my “New Year – New Posture” Special Offer of 3 sessions for £120 could be just what you need. A saving of £15!

All the best for the festivities, Jane.

If you would like more information then please call for a chat on – 07775 618 822 or email –