Drain the face! Get slack-jawed!

Here is a little technique I like to use to help myself relax on the bike. Often when we're riding or even just living, we don't realize the little muscle engagements that are going on.

A perfect example are the muscles in your face. As we stress under hard loads, or squint into the sun for to long you may not realize that that squinting, or that slight grimace actually uses extra muscles. Those muscles aren't actually doing any work for you so engaging them means your body is working more than it needs too. The goal is to put all your energy into the work that needs to be done. Letting a little energy disappear though unproductive muscles is like leaving a window cracked open in the winter when trying to heat the house. At the risk of exposing my true identity these two pictures show what I mean..

Next time you are working hard on the bike for an extended amount of time remember to try and let the stress drain out of your face. That means relaxing the muscles around your forehead, eyes, cheeks, and mouth. I sometimes like to use my hand as a cue to do this by wiping from the widow's peak down. You can help relieve stress on the face by wearing those shades too. They're not just for safety. Reducing glare and eye stress helps the body stay relaxed... 

Also, relaxing the jaw and letting it slack a little can improve breathing by removing constriction from the airway. 

Try this and let me know your experience!