Rocks, Ponds and Ripples

Your body moves, breathes, digests, pumps blood, grows babies and so much more without you even having to think about it. And because we don’t have to think about it too much, we mostly stop thinking about it. Except for what we see in the mirror. And unfortunately, what we see in the mirror, we pick apart until we can hardly look at it anymore.

This creates a distancing in our bodies. It’s easier just to go about our day ignoring what’s really going on than take the time to address the issues both in body and mind; aches and pains, better postural alignment, weight, stress, fatigue…

For instance-

Most of us, as a general rule, don’t take the time to check-in with our feet. These hard-working appendages that carry us place to place chasing toddlers and running laundry up and down the stairs. But this is a problem. When we lose the pliability in our feet it can affect not just our feet, but also our ankles, knees, hips and more.

Most don’t take the time to honor their spine with stretching and mobility drills or feel gratitude for how it holds your body upright. You just move. Moving the way you’ve always moved, without any thought given to whether that pattern was a good one for your body or not.

A poor movement choice is a poor movement whether you are in the gym at work or at home. That same movement pattern will follow as you lean over to brush your teeth or take a child out of their car seat. And the more we use this poor pattern, the more prone we are to injury. The body will take it and take it and take it… Until one day.

It won’t take it anymore.

Now you are in for a world of hurt.

We are much like an old fashioned nylon. Pull one tiny thread and it affects the entire infrastructure with a “run” both up and down the length of it.

We spend more time and money on our cars than we do on ourselves. When they need gas, oil changes and major adjustments; no problem.
But when we need quality exercise (gas), rolling and stretching (oil changes) and knowledge of proper movement (major adjustments); it’s too much time and money. It’s far easier to give up and make jokes and references about getting older. We to blindly accept the downward spiral. You can’t really change nature anyway… Right?

Wrong!!

Don’t believe it. In fact, do you remember being a child and everyone commenting on how big you’ve grown? Or how much you’ve changed over the year? People probably stopped saying that to you at some point. But guess what? We never stop growing.

Never.

Our amazing bodies are always generating new tissue, bone, and cells. We can grow towards the positive way by adding more mobility and greater range of motion to our body-movement vocabulary OR we can grow the other way as our poor mobility habits keep us locked into certain states. Allowing that new bone and tissue growth to generate into humps on our backs or deformations of our feet.

Societal expectations tell us that we have no choice in the matter. “This is just the way it is”.
You might as well relax into it they seem to say, and be assimilated by the Borg (a little Star Trek humor). Because it’s all over for you. You are supposed to feel weak and tired. That’s life! Get used to it. Aches and pains are the norm, until you die. There is no turning back time. Give up and accept. It’s easier that way. 🙁

Yikes!

How terrible to feel that you have no control over this thing looming above you. This thing called aging. That it’s all downhill from here. I can’t imagine living in such a mindset.

Luckily for me, I don’t live in that camp. And I’m telling you now that you don’t need to live that mindset either! Trust me, no matter your age you can be strong, balanced, and mobile. You have the ability to ease stress and body aches, and truly enjoy life every day.

You can be strong, take a cardio class, play tag with the children, row the lake, and hike the mountain at any age. You are so much more than a number on a paper.

You simply need to learn new tools.

I turn 45 years old this month and I’m thrilled with it! The number doesn’t bother me in the slightest. My body is strong. I’m pliable, mobile and ready for adventures. I can teach a super sweaty dance fitness class and walk away feeling great. Later, I counter it by making sure to roll my body out and by giving it a full stretch. A little extra work perhaps, but it keeps me feeling limber and youthful. I spend short periods of time during my day working on little mobility drills or strengthening exercises. I try to walk as much as I can. I hydrate a ton, fuel appropriately, protect my sleep, and relax my mind.

Is it work? Maybe. I don’t think of it as such though. To me it’s a lifestyle. The benefits far outweigh the efforts.

My heroes are the elder aged women I see in videos doing gymnastics, skiing, and running marathons in their 90s. My favorite is the video that came across my fb page the other day of a 105-year-old yoga instructor teaching class to 70 and 80 year olds. You read that right. It was her birthday and she turned 105 that day. I want to be her when I grow up!

I know that much of life’s doings can make us feel fragile and worn down. We are so much busier than ever before. Add in children, work, illness, household chores, cooking, kid’s activities, EVERYTHING else. It takes real effort in this day and age to be conscious in our minds and in our bodily movement. But it can be done.

Your lifestyle and environment shape your body patterns. You interact and your body responds to the things around you. Gravity, a heavy purse, your cell phone, picking up your toddler, shoes and socks, sitting at your desk. All of these are mundane things you don’t think a whole lot about. But they affect you in ways you can’t imagine. Does this mean you can’t do/use these things? Of course not.

I’m not suggesting you give up your normal lifestyle or make crazy changes to be outside and barefoot all day. I’m both a realist and a girl of moderation. I live in your fast paced, techie world too and I like fashion, lol. I’m not about to give up my cute shoes. However, I know and understand that for every action there is a reaction. In other words, for every rock I throw in the pond, I’ll see the ripples afterwards.

This simply means that in order to live my life to the fullest I need to live consciously. If I choose to wear a lovely pair of heels to a holiday party, then I’m going to come home that night and roll my feet, calves, and anterior tibialis (muscle at the front of my shin). Because if I don’t my shin splints will literally take me down the next morning.

-Cause (feeling sexy in awesome looking shoes)

-Effect (“hello, shin splints”)

-Moderation (wearing my sexy shoes for as little time as possible, coming home and showing my feet, calves, and shins some love)

If I have been sitting at my computer for a while working, I will get up, stretch, roll my chest and shoulders out with a therapy ball. Maybe do some hip work at the counter while I sip some water. When I go back to my laptop, I’ll change the way I was sitting. Take it to the floor or perhaps stand while I write. This short interruption keeps me feeling good and will cause less tension later.

While that works great in the quiet of my home. The same can’t be said for being in a fast-paced work, school, or public space environment. In those times, I am being distracted by all that’s around me and I need to rely on the fact that I’ve pre-trained my body in high-quality movement patterns. Those patterns take over for me when I don’t have time to think about them. They keep my body moving with ease; automatically releasing the tension that builds up with daily muck.

I’m so grateful for this! When I can focus, I do. When I can’t, those patterns stick with me anyway and allow me the freedom to do what I need in a safe manner. I don’t feel fragile. I’m strong, mobile and pliable in any environment.

I want you to feel the same way! Are you wondering what the steps are to changing your body and finding the right moderation balance for you?

Basically, it comes down to:
-Creating soft tissue mobility with body rolling and flexibility work

-Learning to make conscious, controlled, high-quality movement patterns.

-Practicing new postural alignment positions for standing, walking, sitting, etc… (And no, this doesn’t just mean, “stand up straighter”)

-Using your mind, breath and self- talk for relaxation, focus and clarity.

This way of life; listening to your body and re-learning movement patterns takes time. Especially if it doesn’t come naturally. But it’s worth it. If it’s something you truly desire and work at, it will eventually become your norm. You will feel so much better and life’s going to look a whole lot brighter for you. I promise.

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