Welcome to Movement Health in 2015. Throughout the years I've worked in movement health one thing has come up again and again. When we decide to take care of how our body is responding and feeling - we can tend to go at it with that kind of all or nothing attitude.
While it is admirable to have that kind of enthusiasm, it can drive us to look for unrealistic results - and many times I've seen people push themselves really hard initially - and then become disheartened after a few weeks. It reminds me of when I was about 12 years old and I was at the hairdresser - a lady came in with a photo of a model - and was disappointed when her haircut did not somehow completely reinvent her in the way she had hoped. Her hair looked just like the photo she was holding, but of course the hairdresser could only effect the hair itself. We have to have a realistic viewpoint of what we are trying to do and how we are going to get there.
I get it, I really do. Why do you think I've kept searching for new and more effective ways!? What it comes down to in the end is knowing that there is solid science that proves that our everyday habits effect our wellbeing to a huge extent. We are how we move and we move as we have witnessed and been directed to move. From copying the adults around us as we were learning to walk - to being told to sit still and concentrate from years behind school desks - to sitting for much of the day and then maybe trying to pummel ourselves for intermittent half hours here and there.
What I'm talking about is breaking down the nuts and bolts of our habits and building new ones. it takes time to layer a new kind of understanding of movement habits - and it takes time to accept and witness that what we do each day is contributing to our discomfort. Once you get that though, you are really on your way to feeling so good most of the time.
Why do I say most of the time, why not all of the time? Well the reality is there will be days where we are more stressed than others - full body reflex patterns come into play. We don't get in as much alignment and tension release work as usual. It goes down the priority list - and after a few days or a week or so on - we are sore. But the good thing is, we have a tool kit - we know what to do and we know how to do it - the next step (and this is a big one, it took me years to really really get it) - is to then actually do it.
The blog before this one expands on this idea in a slightly different way - with more emphasis on the connective tissue, just in case you didn't catch it yet.
So our mission for this term, if you choose to accept it (and it really is a choice that is good to make from week 1) is to check in regularly with your amazing movement machine - and consider just what aspects of your daily routine - both scheduled and unscheduled - could be contributing to how you are feeling.
Then take on the homework too. Why not - we are talking 10 to 15 minutes a day. Really set yourself up to win.
Not like a bull at a gate, but with that innate understanding that change takes time, and it takes awareness. But also, and this is so important, those changes can feel good, they can feel empowering and the exercises are enjoyable when done optimally.
Daily Movement Health Week 1:
Calf Stretch - minimum twice a day for 30 seconds to a minute each side
Standing Arch and Release (becomes hamstring release) - minimum twice a day for 30 seconds to a minute. Just like we did in class. Tilt your pelvis forward at the hip, keeping your torso upright relative to the pelvis - even though you are leaning forward. Stop all motion once your pelvis is no longer coming with you.
(I may have mentioned in class that we have a family rule that any time the dog stops to sniff on a walk we do this exercise. Sometimes it is only 10 seconds, sometimes it is closer to a minute - but by the time you've walked for an hour you've really looked after your pelvis, your hamstrings, your spine and more. Yay to more range of motion - open back body means less hunching and, bigger strides. Ok I will stop now....for this week).