Using Tai Chi to manage stress
In order to have a relaxed, pain free body and achieve flowing and graceful movement, students of Tai Chi spend time paying attention to their standing posture. Try these visualizations and see if they help you to be more comfortable in your skin.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, your knees soft (not locked back) and feet relaxed, as if melting into the ground. Try to have your feet parallel, toes and kneecaps facing forward. If your normal habit is to stand with the feet and knees pointing outwards, this new position may at first feel a little odd and just means that the muscles in your thighs and buttocks are over tight. Now allow all of your weight to sink downwards through the strong bones of your legs and feet into the ground. Scan your body for places where you holding on and let the tension in these places sink into the ground through your legs too. Allow the muscles of the legs and thighs to go as soft as possible, let the bones do the work and know that the Earth can take it all.
Next, imagine that you are a giant jam sandwich, (you may choose your own flavour) The front piece of bread goes from the hip bones up to the collar bones. The slice at the back goes from the top of the shoulder blades down to the top of the buttocks (or just where a t-shirt would end). As you breathe in, imagine the front slice sliding up and the back slice sliding down. Finally, allow the head to float upwards like helium filled balloon tied by a light thread to your heart.
If you make it your habit to stand like this you will gradually start to notice that your posture improves, that you have more energy and your muscles and joints move more freely.