An exercise to release tension

Have you ever had a place of tension in your body (jaw clenched, arms up, shoulders forward, hands clenching reins, legs gripping, et.) that you had a hard time relaxing on a consistent basis.

There’s an important principle in performance training that goes like this. It doesn’t work to try to ‘get rid of’ something you don’t like, but instead replace what you don’t want with what you do want.

So in this case, we’re going to bring self-awareness to your trouble spot by you doing it over and over again (because most of the time we don’t know when we’re making an error) and then releasing, relaxing and repositioning it to the correct posture – over and over again.

That’s what this video is all about.


VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:
Hi, it’s Barb.

One of the things I know a lot of people would like to change is that feeling of tension or nerves that can happen for all kinds of reasons – not sure about your horse, you’re getting ready to ride in a show or in front of other people, or you’re even getting ready to do a practice session and you want to get it right.

When we ride, we are the leader in the relationship with our horse. By that I mean, we are the one who decides if we’ll ride in the arena, warm up, go down the trail or whatever. Because of that we need to be at our best.

And to be at our best, we need to be focused on our horse engaged with him, yet calm and focused.

There’s all kinds of ways and steps to do this, and I’m going to show you one today that works and it feels a little silly to do.

Something that makes a lot of sense to everyone is getting our bodies relaxed because we know excess tension gives the horse cues we don’t intend to do.

My new year’s theme was to make things fun, so I have a little fun, weird exercise for you.

Instead of just thinking “relax” you can choose where you get tight in your body, then tighten it a lot, and then relax it – on purpose.

Typical places are clenching your teeth, holding your shoulders, keeping your hands high, clenching your hands, gripping with your legs, just to name a few.

Pick one place and then just sit on your horse, over exaggerate tightening that spot and then relaxing it over and over again.

One “trouble spot” I see a lot is a triangle of the shoulders, arms and hands. When we’re tense, the hands tighten on the reins and they come up and sometimes out.

There’s an important principle in performance training that goes like this. It doesn’t work to try to ‘get rid of’ something you don’t like, but instead replace what you don’t want with what you do want.

So in this case, we’re going to bring self-awareness to your trouble spot by you doing it over and over again (because most of the time we don’t know when we’re making an error) and then releasing, relaxing and repositioning it to the correct posture – over and over again.

This will make it more likely for you to increase your awareness of this behavior on your own, and auto-correct it.

Now we’re talkin!

Print This Post Print This Post    Email This Post Email This Post   

Comments

11 Comments on An exercise to release tension

  1. Christy Agan on Sun, 16th Jan 2022 2:40 pm
  2. Ohmygosh – this is the BEST tip on nerves and tension! I’ve been trying so hard to ignore my “stage fright” or nerves when in fact I need to tune in and feel it, in order to release it. Brilliant!
    Thank you so very much, Chris

  3. LindaB on Sun, 16th Jan 2022 3:35 pm
  4. Very helpful, thank you.

  5. laurel laba on Sun, 16th Jan 2022 4:01 pm
  6. This exercise should really help me as I work on improving my sliding stops. I can feel the tension tighten my shoulders right up to my ears as I brace instead of drop into the stop

  7. Gretchen on Sun, 16th Jan 2022 7:47 pm
  8. I’m definitely going to try this.
    Lots of areas in my riding could use this.
    Every area you mentioned, in fact! 🙄
    Thank u!

  9. Dawn on Sun, 16th Jan 2022 8:37 pm
  10. Thank you! Very helpful

  11. Edie Watt-McDonald on Sun, 16th Jan 2022 9:21 pm
  12. It has been so cold I haven’t ridden in several weeks. I can really use this exercise this week because sometimes when I haven’t ridden, I get very tense in my legs. Thank you just what I needed hear and see

  13. robyn kilmister martin on Mon, 17th Jan 2022 12:38 am
  14. great tip, thank you again!!

  15. Lala on Mon, 17th Jan 2022 9:20 am
  16. This exercise also warms up the spine with the gentle twisting motion. Be sure and go in both directions

  17. Carol MacGregor on Mon, 17th Jan 2022 1:37 pm
  18. Hi Barb, Just watching your Sunday video today, Monday. I do love watching you and Nic demonstrate whatever subject you are talking about. And what you are saying does make a lot of sense. It will take some mindfulness on my part to even become aware of the tension that I think I carry around with me much of the time–especially during the cold weather. Thank you so much for taking your time, energy, and ability to continue to teach us training tips (also applies to normal life) for free. Such a blessing to our lives!!

  19. Lisa on Tue, 18th Jan 2022 7:36 am
  20. Hi Barb, I love it! It makes soo much sense to me.By tensing up,releasing and take a breath intentionally and doing it over and over again, you basically teaching your body to correct itself when you`re in a more high pressure environment. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Ellen Elen on Tue, 18th Jan 2022 11:40 am
  22. I love this because I get excited and lean forward, hands come up and forward to excelerate on Splashie and unless I use my legs there is no exceleration. So now thanks to you I have a tool to practice this. Thank you so much for all you do. Your help is priceless.

Tell me what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.