Sink and Relax became my mantra as soon as Charles said during my first lesson with him many years ago.
Jutta regularly reminded me to drop my shoulders (which would consistently creep back up while I was working on a new posture).
Steven constantly pointed out both my conscious and unconscious tensions to me.
Thanks to my teachers, the daily sinking into my body and the practice, the knots began to unravel. I became aware of the muscle bracing that happens in response to both external and internal events. I became aware of just how I tighten in response to certain thoughts and emotions. Awareness then allows one to choose to listen to the thought or fully feel the emotion rather than holding them at a distance by bracing the body against the awareness.
Once we can allow the sensations aroused by these thoughts, memories and emotions, even learn to welcome them, the tension tends to dissolve.
We can also become aware of the frequent mini explosions of joy that happen in the body throughout the day. The heart almost bursts with love on noticing the first daffodil has opened in the garden or on hearing someone singing downstairs.
I remember reading that awareness is exactly that, it is becoming more and more present in all of our life. The article said don't expect it to make you happier. I agree it doesn't necessarily make us happier but I find myself more joyful. There is a joy in discovering how I hold the world out, which sometimes even encourages me to open and welcome it in.