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The Bodywork Perspective – Learning About Body Tension - page 6


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Muscular Tension

We've covered most of the parts and areas of the body now, so let’s talk about muscular rigidity.
One way to become adept at noticing muscular tension is to look at specific body zones on people you meet.
Obvious areas to look at are the jaw, the shoulders and neck, and the pelvis, legs and feet.


tight jaw

Jaw

The jaw is pretty easy. Watch the person talk. Notice how much "mobility" there is to the jaw. Are they able to open their mouth flexibly? Or do they seem to be talking through "pursed lips" or gritted teeth?

The less mobility, the less the person is willing to share of themselves. You can see this sort of base-line tightness in the picture to the left.


rigid neck and shoulders

Tight Shoulders, Neck

The shoulders and the neck should be loose, neutral and relaxed.

Have a look. Are the muscles seized? Does the head seem restricted, turning in a small range of motion?

Is the neck flexible and loose, or locked up into strange positions and angles?

Are the shoulders locked up, forward or back, and seem to never change position?

These are rigidities, and are about protection of the self, over-responsibility, and again, the person's unwillingness to be open and revealing.


tight

Pelvis

Watch the person walk. The pelvis should actually move.

Many people have almost no pelvic motion, having learned to contain themselves – their passions, their drive. Although it’s difficult to see, many people are "tight assed"; (see photo to the left) the muscles of their butts are squeezed.

If you try that – clenching your butt cheeks together, and then walk, you’ll get a feeling of how restricted this is.

When there is pelvic freedom, the person walks very loosely in his or her pelvis – there is a fair amount of hip and pelvis mobility.


relaxed legs

Legs

The legs should be comfortably relaxed. The muscles should yield to the touch or squeeze, not be like rigid cables. There should be little or no pain from pushing on the major leg muscles.

The knees should ALWAYS be slightly flexed – never locked.

As you watch the person walking, the legs should seem graceful and fluid, not constrained.

The front muscles on the thighs are often clenched in an effort to lock up the pelvis. We’ll be talking about releasing the blockages as we go along.

Suffice it to say that the thighs have to relax in order for the pelvis to move freely..


the feet

Feet

Lastly, the feet.

Hard to see in shoes, but there should be a comfortable arch to the feet.

Too high, and the foot looks like a claw, digging in to the ground to keep the person from flying away.

Flat footed people plod. They are so anchored to the ground they couldn’t fly if they wanted to.

The neutral foot makes firm contact with the ground, without seeming to sink in.



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