Postural Characteristics

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There are several specific areas in the body that will likely have the most tension when Holding In: shoulders, groin and inner thighs. Tension in the muscles of the neck called scalenes along with trapezius results from pulling the head into the shoulders. It is the most pronounced hallmark of this holding pattern, for virtually everyone tends to suck the head into its trunk like a scared or shocked turtle. Most people in distress also tend to clench their fists, which can be contributed to the grasping reflex particularly noticeable in small children. Such a hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is one of the main health hazards associated with stress, which is a result of "fight or flight*1 reaction to living in fear.

You may also experience tension in peroneus - the muscles on the lateral sides of the lower legs due to shifting more weight on the inner edges of the feet. You may notice inversion of your knees due to the excessive tension in adductors and pectineus (the muscles of the inner thighs and groin). This misalignment of the legs can make you rather unstable. Test it by asking your partner to push you from any direction. Your partner should be able to push you over effortlessly when you are Holding In.

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