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Learn to bring your attention to stiff muscles and allow them to unwind.

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It's something you may have experienced before you sit down to get your Headspace and you're waiting or expecting a nice pleasant feeling in the body and the mind, and all of a sudden, you notice, perhaps it's during the body scan, that your body feels really tense. In fact, it feels very sort of, the muscles feel very stiff and tight in some way. It feels quite uncomfortable, and the natural response to that is to resist it in some way, and of course, as we resist that stiffness, that tension, so we actually create a loop, a cycle of more tension. So the mind resists it, the body recognizes the resistance, it gets tighter, it gets stiffer. So from the very beginning, we need to recognize the risk, the dangers of getting caught in that loop, and understand how we can step out of it. It goes without saying, make sure at the very beginning that you're not sitting in such a way that it's exacerbating, that feeling of stiffness, of tightness. Make sure the body is feeling relaxed as possible, and when it comes to effort in these sessions, some days you will have to probably focus a little more on sort of sitting, sitting upright in the focused aspect, and other days, it would be more about kind of, okay, just letting the body go perhaps a little more today and just finding that sweet spot, but stiffness arises in the body, usually, much like pain, it's a buildup of tension, and it can be through inactivity. It can be through overactivity. It can be as a result of too much kind of stress in our life. But when we sit and we're still, inevitably, we become more aware of it. It's tempting to think that the session itself, the technique itself is perhaps causing the stiffness. Of course, it's not, it's just making us more aware of it. As we become more aware of it, so we let go of that feeling. It may not happen immediately, and this is the risk. So letting go of any pain or discomfort or stiffness, it is a process, it's a natural process. We can't force it and we can't make it go any faster. In trying to make it go faster, we actually create more tension, more stiffness. So as much as possible, rather than getting caught up in projecting what you would like it to feel like rather than thinking ahead to a different kind of feeling or thinking back when you never had that feeling at all, instead, try to be present with that feeling of stiffness. If there's one particular muscle or muscle group that you can focus on, that you can bring your attention to, and as you do that, you may well notice a kind of, it's almost like a slow thawing out, as though the muscle just begins to relax, it only requires a very gentle, soft focus, and when we...


Duration4 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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