One of the most common performance problems people have is that they're just too tight. In trying to excel, succeed, and win, they push and "squeeze" too much. They reduce their effectiveness and pleasure. Two of the best reasons for learning how to release tension are that it enhances performance and that it feels good. For many of my clients a practical beginning to developing greater mind-body control is learning to relax their bodies.
The word "relax" comes from the root word laxus, which means to be loose. To relax, then, means to regain a natural sensation of looseness and ease. The relaxation techniques described in this section are basic to high-level performance and well-being. They release blocks and inhibitions. They allow more energy to flow. And, they promote greater awareness and control.
For centuries, in some Asian cultures, all phenomena were viewed in terms of two equal and opposite forces, yin and yang. Yin is an expansive, dispersing force. Yang is a contractive, concentrating force. Neither force is better than the other. Both are necessary for optimal performance in all aspects of life. In yin/yang terms, many of the performance problems I deal with have strong yang features. That's because, under pressure, many performers tense and contract. In order to help them make balance and excel, I coach them to release.
Whenever a person perceives a dangerous or threatening stimulus, there's a natural, reflexive tendency to contract. This contractive ...