How to release accumulating stress from the body, mind and heart

Dec 20, 2020

Is your life as full as your asana postures?



“Extension is attention. Expansion is awareness. Extension brings space and expansion brings freedom. Freedom is precision and precision is divine.“ BKS Iyengar Light on Life.


When you extend the body completely this “opens up the nerve endings and allows you to release all the accumulated stress building up on your body. When we don’t do this or we limit the amount we can extend, the stress and toxins accumulate and lead to dis-ease.” BKS Iyengar Light on Life


Often we practice to what we think is our limit, holding ourselves back or we over stretch and over extend aggressively.


Last week, I introduced the idea of straightening vs. stretching. (click on video)


Did you practice this idea of stretching as an activity of mind awareness or spreading of the mind? How did that change the posture?


There are places that get stuck and require some effort to open and bring movement. I suggest using a technique called touch and go. This means, for example, if you are in a twist and you feel stuck, press the arms and turn then release just a bit and then a few more times pulsing to bring movement then stay and see if you were able to discover more mobility.



  • In dog pose, often the thoracic spine is tight especially from all our sitting.

  • Lift your chin and pump your chest towards your legs as you lift the roots of the thighs up and maintain the elbows extended.

  • Do these two actions simultaneously and repeat until you feel some movement come into your thoracic spine.

  • If you are a overly mobile person, do dog pose with your hands and feet together and feel the stabilty this gives your spine.


Does your practice bring you mental flexibility when you are in discussion with someone, can you pivot and hear another opinion? If something bothers you, can you let go and not get sucked up into a whirlwind of emotions. Some of us are quite addicted to these big emotions and it might feel like nothing is “happening” if there isn’t a big drama. We might be addicted to “Feeling” while in a pose to the point of injury and overdoing.


I’d like to share a personal experience where I was able to release a lot of really difficult feelings that I had been holding on to for years which had been accumulating on and in my mind and body.


My mom and I were together on holiday on a remote beach. It seems an unbearable prospect to speak about the unspeakable and so over the years we just don’t. And then that unsaid stuff sits inside, repressed and rotting and causing so much more pain. But then we get used to that pain. To speak is to extend beyond the fear or uncomfortable comfort that has now become so familiar.


While at the beach, we had conversations that have been waiting under the surface for over 30 years. Sitting side by side, watching the ocean waves break on the shore, we were able to share some of the deepest long held hurts and pains, listen to one another, hear one another and those pains washed away.


Why could that happen after so long? There was something about the expansiveness of the ocean and horizon, the rhythm of the waves that allowed us the freedom to speak from the heart and release all the stress and toxins. And this was truly a divine moment.


This is how the yoga philosophy is not just a scholarly subject but one that we take into the realm of asana and into the realm of our life experience.


Happy Practicing,



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#yoga #iyengar #BKSIyengar #yogasutras #destress

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