I’m Not Flexible
I hear this from people all of the time “I’m not flexible” & so I giggle lovingly and quietly to myself I say “no you are not…but you can be!”…. because just saying “I’m not flexible” makes you not flexible by labeling yourself as such!
I like to think of flexibility as having 2 main components: flexibility in body (which is what people are usually referring to when they say “I’m not flexible”) AND flexibility in mind (what most people don’t think about at all).
Now I used to be inflexible bigtime in both of these components….inflexible in body…every day I felt like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz…my body hurt all over….I felt like I could actually break…bending to put on my shoes or picking up my kids was so very ouchy…AND I used to be inflexible in mind…when things didn’t happen exactly as planned or exactly as I thought they should, or if someone wanted me to do something that wasn’t on the schedule, if a patient was late throwing off the schedule, if there was a late patient add on….or if they didn’t have the exact brand or size of what I wanted at the grocery store, if my flight was canceled and I had to take another at a different time…….etc…oh… you name it, that was all so painful. Inflexibility at its max. Sound familiar??
So let’s start with the body component. Most people think that flexibility only means being able to easily touch your toes, right? Since I am certified in yoga therapy, it is assumed that in order to work with me, you have to touch your toes (and that I can turn myself into crazy pretzel shapes)—so no and no to both of those things. I can assure you that almost all of my clients (if not all of my clients!) cannot touch their toes, won’t ever be able to touch their toes, (and by the way, I can’t turn myself into crazy pretzel shapes nor do I want to!)…. and get this….it just doesn’t matter. Because what matters with respect to your body is how your body actually feels to you, from an interoceptive space. How it feels on the inside from your 1st person experience. It doesn’t matter at all how much you move, it matters how you move….(let me say that again…it doesn’t matter how much you move, it matters how you move).
And know this: your chronic stress which originates from the thoughts that your brain is telling you plays a huge part in the chronic tension and inflexibility that you feel in your body. So MOST of the discomfort that you feel in your body is actually caused by chronic stress!
And it is a 2 way street: when your mind is calm, your body is calm….and when your body is calm…your mind is calm. What makes me truly unique in how I educate is that I teach others how to relieve their stress from BOTH a top down (working with your mind) and bottom up (working with your physiology) approach. It is this latter piece, working with your physiology, that makes what I teach you so very effective and why so many physicians who have been doing only the thought work without getting the stress relief results they seek actually get them when working with me. Dr. Besser Van Der Kolk is well known for his studies and expertise on this topic and his book “Your Body Keeps the Score”.
Now 60,000 thoughts/day, most of them not so nice, can make you feel really stressed and reactive which translates into a whole cascade of bodily responses including muscular tension that over time gets stuck, uncomfortable, painful, inflexible and turns you into “the Tin Man” just like I used to be. When super stressed with an inflexible mind, trying to work with your thoughts can be futile and frustrating which creates more stress and make things worse. So starting at the level of your body first can work wonders. Once you have released the tension in your body, your heart rate and blood pressure have come back down to normal, you are breathing fully at a normal respiratory rate and your body is relaxed and more flexible, your mind will follow. Then you are able to see more clearly and have the mental clarity to work with those thoughts that caused your body’s inflexibility in the first place. It is really amazing!
So you may be asking how do you do that? My answer: I know 100’s of tools for that! They come from my many years of personal use and educating other physicians just like you and consist of a somatic based approach which incorporates the understanding of your anatomy based on your homunculus, how your body is mapped in your brain, combined with the physiology of your multiple body systems. Examples of categories of helpful methods include certain breathing tools, movement series and guided meditations which are all very effective.
So you may be asking now “where can you get these?” I need them now! Good news! You can start by heading over to my website and getting my free self-care videos! These videos are short (because I know how busy you are, each about 5 minutes in length), that will get you on your way to becoming flexible in your body. There is also a short video to improve your mindset. Go to my website, and they are yours! I am excited for you to turn your inflexibility into flexibility!