I learned something while teaching #yoga this morning. I clench. I do. I clench my abs, my butt, my shoulders. I do it unconsciously which is worse. It's probably why my neck hurts a lot. Duh. There is a time for bracing and a time to be soft and let go. For example, in crow pose we need to use the core, engaging the muscles to protect the lower back. But in savasana, the final resting pose, it's time to release and just let go. During the holidays and during busier times of stress, it's easy to clench, walking around with tight butts, necks and shoulders. But it's not necessary. It's not good for us either. Clenching can activate the sympathetic nervous system - the fight or flight response. The body braces for action, increasing heart rate, breathing comes faster, adrenaline is released into the system, digestion is inhibited. So today in class we practiced appropriate clenching or firming of the muscles. And appropriate softening. That's what I love about yoga. It's a practice for everyday life. May you find #peace this #holiday season and let go when it is appropriate. And may you find a good yoga class in the new year smile emoticon By the way, this Friday on the podcast, we're also practicing softening; softening our hearts to those who may be struggling during this season of joy. There is a time to be tough with family and friends facing #addiction, but there is also real value in softening. You'll see.