Your Flexibility and Range of Motion May Represent Your State of Mind
The concept that our thoughts and emotions are related isn’t anything new. That the mind and body are related is obvious. However, it might not be as obvious that when we are stiff in mind, we tend to also be literally stiff in body, and vice versa.
We’ve always called certain people “stiff” because they were mentally inflexible and incapable of entertaining ideas outside their reality bubble. The stiff personality has characteristics which make them unlikely to do anything mental or physical flexibility self-improvement activities. The flexibility of your body is a mirror of the flexibility of your mind and vice versa.
The more flexible we are in mind, the easier it is to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. If we can work on improving our mental flexibility, we are less likely to be affected by our suffering.
Flexibility doesn’t need to hurt, and any is better than none. You don’t want to rust in place or freeze up permanently; if you can’t move, you might be dead. Getting enough motion into our lives is extremely difficult in the modern era of technology. Everything we do keeps our arms held out in front of us, from pushing a shopping cart, working on the computer, or making dinner. This type of activity will tend to strengthen certain muscles and weaken others; this pulls your shoulders, elbows, and wrists out of balance and causes aches and pains, even numbness.
Flexibility vs Rigidity
Flexibility of your body is not pain. The rigidness of your body is pain. Being stiff is the opposite of being flexible. Everyone prefers feeling flexible, in both body and mind. Your optimum performance only happens in a flow state, and something which flows is flexible. Anything which can help you to become less rigid and more flexible is something which benefits your mindbody health.
Flexibility is achieved through the lengthening of your muscles and just a wide range of motion in general. Stretching doesn’t need to be painful to get you limbered up. Some of the best gentle stretches you can do will make you say, “Ahhh!”
By improving your flexibility, you will also improve the range of motion of your joints. Pairing well and hand-in-hand with Postural Alignment, your flexibility is one of the easiest ways for you to take conscious control of your body to release tension, pain, and all that rigidity.
Your body will thank you.
Avoid Tin Man Syndrome
Allowed to persist long enough, the lack of range of motion in your life will inevitably translate to a gradual seizing up of muscles and flexibility. We call this “Tin Man Syndrome” (it’s a Wizard of Oz reference).
Anyone in middle age who sits at a computer long enough will recognize the stiffness of Tin Man Syndrome. Five or ten minutes of walking around aren’t going to be enough to compensate for the hours and days of accumulated rust.
If your body is rigid due to the nature of your chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia, then logic follows that your mind must also rigid, because the mind is not separate from the body. It is the nature of ourselves that our decision-making self-awareness portion of our consciousness is bypassed when we’re in extreme pain all the time. It takes an enormous level of effort to overcome the rigidity that must be felt by such diseases, especially in the mornings.
The stiffness of the body makes it extremely difficult for us to be ready for unexpected changes or upsetting news in our lives. In such a condition, we’re likely to have pain flare-ups more easily as we become more sensitive to any external stimulus. Thus, learning to wind down the mind and increasing our self-awareness will help to reduce the depths of our suffering.
Flexibility & ROM
1,500 Stretches: The Complete Guide to Flexibility and Movement
Hardcover – October 24, 2017
by Hollis Liebman (Author)
2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses
Hardcover – November 10, 2015
by Daniel Lacerda (Author)
The Anatomy of Stretching, Second Edition: Your Illustrated Guide to Flexibility and Injury Rehabilitation
Paperback – October 4, 2011
by Brad Walker (Author)
Stretching to Stay Young: Simple Workouts to Keep You Flexible, Energized, and Pain Free
Paperback – December 13, 2016
by Jessica Matthews (Author)
Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic
Paperback – September 1, 2002
by Darren Main (Author), Stephen Cope (Foreword)
Anatomy and 100 Essential Stretching Exercises
Paperback – October 1, 2015
by Guillermo Seijas Albir (Author)
Stretching: 30th Anniversary Edition
Paperback – Special Edition, April 6, 2010
by Bob Anderson (Author)
Gain more control over emotions and thoughts
The difference in perspective with a body-awarenes approach is that we can learn to separate our conscious self-awareness away from the suffering caused by our body. By doing this, we will learn to gain more control over both our emotions and thoughts. In this way, we become more resilient to the fluctuations life drags us through.
To get started, we need curiosity, self-compassion, and a belief in ourselves, which we can gain by exploring, combining, and practicing the modalities found in the Ultimate Healing Guide. The journey to find what works is what self-healing is all about.
It’s not our fault that we are pleasure-seeking people who will do almost anything to avoid our pain, most of which comes from our childhood traumas and traumatic accidents or events. Either our animal mind will bypass our free will, or we will learn to reverse that pattern and take control with full self-awareness. This is why self-awareness is the first step of The Self-Healing Path.
Avoid compound kinkage
We all wake up with kinks after sleeping on a mattress. Some of us notice them and others ignore them. If we aren’t taking the time to work out our kinks every morning, then they accumulate. Our kinks build up until we can move our neck, or we can’t bend our knee.
With the continued avoidance of the necessary steps required to maintain our flexibility, our kinks add up until one day we’re practically wearing a coat of armor made up of micro-spasms all over our bodies. These constant micro-spasms keep us bound up tight so that we can’t breathe as deeply, and our posture becomes compromised, and we can’t exercise. To make matters worse, this combines with poor nutrition and lack of sleep to make us completely miserable in a seemingly never-ending loop.
This cascading reduction of our motion and the compromise of our musculoskeletal system is what chains us down more than anything, and is what causes us to fall further and further away from self-awareness and lose control of our self, body, and mind.
Self-healing and reduction of suffering is possible.
Small steps towards flexibility and range of motion
You don’t have to stretch like you’re training in boot camp to feel better. It doesn’t need to take a long time to stretch, maybe only 5-10 minutes shortly after you get up in the morning. Since it helps get your circulation going, morning stretching can really help you get a good start to your day. A bit of stretching before bedtime to get the kinks out will help you get to sleep.
“When you start your day with a stretch, especially if you can do so in a quiet or serene location, you completely de-stress your body and prepare your mind for productivity.”
A daily “practice” should provide the combined benefits of both a calm mind and a flexible body. You should not just do exercise or stretching for the sake of doing it. It only makes sense when you can re-establish a relationship with your body and become aware of how you’re really feeling. Focus on calming yourself down in whatever you do.
Flexibility doesn’t need to be difficult
Our flexibility deteriorates with age, so naturally it requires more discipline to prevent a loss of mobility as we get older. We may also experience more back pain as a result of all the sitting we do if we don’t take time to stretch out during the day.
But we don’t need to stretch like we’re training in boot camp to feel better. It doesn’t need to take a long time to stretch or warm up either; maybe only 5-10 minutes shortly after you get up in the morning. Since it helps get your circulation going, morning stretching can really help you get a good start to your day. A bit of stretching before bedtime to get the kinks out will help you get to sleep.
Stretching doesn’t need to hurt to be effective
Instead of thinking of stretching as pulling, tearing, or ripping the muscles to get them to stretch, it’s more about allowing your muscles to relax into new positions. The least you could do is some limbering, warming, loving stretches. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sitting on the floor, sitting on a chair, or standing up leaning against something.
While you’re there on your back, on your hands and knees, standing or sitting, start moving around bending at the waist, rolling your shoulders, rocking from hip to hip or knee to knee, shifting weight in your body and becoming more aware of how the pieces interlink and connect together. Rock your hips forward and back, always smooth motions, engaging your muscles, feeling for where the soreness is worst. Linger longer in a position where you feel your muscles are taught, and will them with your mind to relax, relax, relax! Focus your attention where it hurts, and pay attention to how you feel and how things are connected.
When it feels like you’re doing exactly what your body is asking you to do in order to get all the kinks out… you are thus rewarded with pleasure. It’s what self-compassion should feel like for everyone!
A little self-massage where you need it most
Maybe after you’ve spent some time trying to stretch out a little bit, self-massage on that area of your shoulders, your forearm, your lower back, your calves, where it aches and where you can reach. Find those muscle knots and push on them until you push the knot out. Using pain cream, you can work the ligaments around the areas you’ve hurt before, perhaps the area around bones you’ve broken in the past, or wherever you feel the hurt in your body after a loved one has made you feel smaller.
You can listen to your body where it hurts. Is it trying to tell you something? Is there a particular trauma that impinged upon your being sometime in the past which rests there now in the aching muscle?
This is what you watch for when you’re stretching. And this is what you watch for when you consciously perform mindbody therapies upon yourself in an effort to heal yourself from the pains of the past.
Self-healing is possible, especially if you believe it is.
Such simple self-care helps you sleep better
Flexibility maintenance for mindbody is a good way to start off your new relationship with your body. Your relationship needs to start somewhere, and the fastest ways in are through conscious breathing and through body self-care. Simple flexibility exercises promote mindbody self-awareness, decreases back pain, reduce stress and increase your circulation.
Such simple care as maintaining your flexibility will help keep you from getting a stiff back that’s all rusted up, or stiff hips which you’ll later think you need to have replaced. If you could just take the time now to keep your bodymind machine working in a flexible manner, it’s doubtful that you’ll ever end up feeling bone-on-bone grinding in your hips due to cartilage loss. The primary way bodies break down that severely is through abuse, misuse, and a sedentary lifestyle.
You can prevent your late-in-life stiffness by vowing to yourself to work on your flexibility today and by making a habit out of it. Just 5-10 minutes every morning will go a long way to helping you get your day started, and maybe another 5 minutes before bed will help you sleep better.
Get flexibility training in Denver
Find practitioners and therapists in your area which specialize in the following:
Traditional Physical Therapy, Yoga, Pilates, Egoscue Method, Eldoa Method, Rolfing Integration Therapy, and Foundation Training.
Once you spend a couple of sessions getting trained on the therapy modalities which are most effective for your situation, you can take your practice home with you and combine them for huge results.
There are 2 ELDOA locations south of Denver:
H2U Customized Bodywork & Wellness: http://h2uplus.com/
Pierce Family Wellness: http://www.piercefamilywellness.com/
Learn more about Flexibility & Range of Motion
The Egoscue Method – Eliminate Chronic Pain and Enjoy an Active Life
Foundation Training – Take Yourself From Pain To Performance
Welcome to Eldoa Method – Whole Body Awareness, Heal Your Spine, Improve Joint Quality & Posture
The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration
The Importance and Purpose of Flexibility
What Are Guidelines for Safe and Effective Stretching
Stretching 101: Benefits and Proper Techniques
5 Ways To Improve Your Range of Motion
7 Incredible Results You Can Get From Stretching Every Day
8 Relaxing Total Body Stretches
10 Tips to Overcome Morning Stiffness
Shift Sport and Wellness (New Orleans)
Stretching science shows that a stretching habit isn’t doing much of what people hope
Psychological Flexibility as a Fundamental Aspect of Health
Flexibility: The Key To A Healthy Personality
Ben Greenfield Fitness – Daily Morning Stretch Routine
Most Used Mind & Body Practices
Health & Fitness Advisory – Creating Mind-Body Awareness