Stress Reduction Techniques
Multiplied by Conscious Attention

Butterflies

Stress reduction techniques work well for body pain because pain and stress are like the opposite sides of the same coin. Pain and stress are caused from faulty breathing and restrictive movement habits, which result in stiffness, soreness and tension. From a meditation practice, most people know that we can reduce stress with conscious attention to our breathing, but most of us do not realize we can also relieve neck, back or shoulder pain by the conscious attention that we give to our body as we perform a movement exercise program.

Many people perform an exercise with their attention elsewhere and therefore will never create the results they desire. A yoga person may be too focused on the muscle they are trying to stretch instead of how to move their body intelligently. A person performing an aerobic workout can have diminished awareness of his/her body moving best because he/she is moving too fast.

To feel deep relaxation from your stress reduction techniques you need to give attention to sensing your whole body moving slowly at the same time. With conscious attention, your body can now let go of your habitual habits of movement and develop functional new ones that can create less stress in your body. This process brings other muscles into play, which helps your skeleton move more efficiently for the maximum benefit.

With conscious attention you can start to resolve the patterns that created the pain and stress in the first place. Stress reduction techniques that do not bring body awareness with pain reducing movements are doing a disservice to you. Back, neck and shoulder pain develops out of emotional stress as well as the physical injuries.

What I am trying to have you understand is that your body is like a musical instrument that can only be played well by the amount of conscious attention you give to it. When this becomes a new habit all of your daily activities will be performed with less effort as well as reduce pain and stress in you.

I would now like you to experience how conscious attention can enhance stress reduction techniques for pain and stress. It is very important to experience this in order for you to understand what I am saying in this article. It will only take about six to eight minutes to do and will be very relaxing for you.

Turning Your Head with Conscious Attention

1. To begin with; sit towards the edge of a level chair with both of your knees' shoulder width apart and hands hanging at sides. The chair should be as flat as possible, not too high and with your feet directly under your knees.

2. To start, slowly turn your head to the right as far as you can without strain and mark a spot on the wall to where your head turned to. The point of your nose to a point on the wall will work fine.

3. Now keep turning your head to the right and back again several times for about a minute while paying full attention to the muscles in your neck. Keep the movement soft with your eyes closed. Move your head like you’re in a slow motion movie 15 to 20 times. Exhale when you turn your head right and inhale as your head turns back to the start position. Do not hold your breath.

4. Repeat the same movement for another minute with conscious attention to the movement of your shoulders and spine. Breathe as before while moving slowly.

5. Repeat the same movement of your head turning right for another minute with conscious attention to the ribs in the center of your back. Try to feel whatever moves with your ribs. Breathing is the same with exhaling to the right.

6. Repeat the same movement with breathing again for another minute while giving conscious attention to what is happening in your pelvis. Can you feel how your pelvis slightly moves the left knee forward while your head turns right?

7. Again repeat the same movement several more times feeling your whole body and all the parts moving together with the addition of your eyes leading the movement to look to the right as far as possible.

8. Now,test the beginning movement to see how much further you can turn past the point on the wall you marked from the beginning.

Even though you may think it was repeating the movement that created the change in you, I can assure you the biggest part of it was the conscious attention you gave to the different parts moving in your body at the same time. What this attention did was help you release the muscles to turn further as well as feeling how other parts of yourself contribute to the total movement. This is the key for all stress reduction techniques.

I will now have you prove to yourself the power of Conscious attention by turning your head to the left with only your minds imagination and not for real.

To start, only turn once to get a feel for the movement and mark a point on the wall and then continue sensing only in your mind all the parts you did when turning your head right. Three quarters of a minute for each round of conscious attention will be fine for using your imagination.

After you have completed all the movements in your imagination do it a few times for real and see just how far you can turn your head. Is it the same as turning right or does it turn even further?

This whole lesson is to show you that conscious attention creates more change in us that we realize now. Do you feel less stress from this lesson? Is your mind quieter and do you feel more grounded in your body?

What I teach people to do in my classes is self-correcting movements with conscious attention. The best stress reduction techniques apply this also as well as teach you how to move your body smarter and not harder.

“When you learn to play with your body with conscious attention to movement like playing a musical instrument, the ability to reduce stress and pain is absolutely possible”

Paul Tank

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