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My ___ feels tight, do you have any exercise recommendations?

My ___ feels tight, do you have any exercise recommendations?

My guess is you felt your ___ tight in the middle of an exercise... an exercise probably already targeted at opening your ___ ... which means...

You really need that exercise!

Maybe that isn't the answer you wanted. You probably didn't like that exercise very much, hints why you would request a different exercise to target the same tight area. It probably didn't feel fun or joyful to you to be in that exercise. But guess what? Your ___ is tight and they are speaking to you in that position. If your form is good and your body is safe, then the only thing to do from there is slow down and breathe through it.

Seriously, breath is the best answer here. And time. And patience. Not a different exercise.

Bodies are complicated and each of our bodies is riddled with unique history, trauma, dis-use, over-use, all kinds of baggage. To gain flexibility, we have to honor that unique history and learn to slow down, calm our minds and therefor calm our nervous system. If you can do that, then your body will be MUCH more willing to trust and open up. The journey of flexibility is all about building internal trust between your mind and body.

Key ways of building trust with your body:

  1. Breath. Breathing deeply and slowly calms our nervous system. When your nervous system relaxes, so do your muscles.

  2. Presence. You need to just BE. Just be present in your *today* body. Don't get caught up thinking about yesterdays body or the body you want tomorrow. Today's body is the only thing that matters.

  3. Healthful Living. I'm talking about the basics of healthful fuel-food, good sleep and hydration. These 3 things all affect our nervous system and the literal function of our muscles. Do your best to take care and remember it isn't about being perfect every day, it's about increasing the bottom line.

Warning signs you really should not be doing that exercise:

  1. You are not able to slow your mind and breath. If you can not do this, this simply means you are not in a good head space to be working through your tightness today. Try again tomorrow! It's not a bad thing to skip a day if you can't get your mind right in practice. Or do a gentle yoga flow or have a dance party instead.

  2. You feel like you do not have any control and can not safely engage the muscle on tension. This is a biggie. Not feeling safe to engage the muscle on tension means you are likely too deep in a stretch and are stretching in a passive way. These are big no-no's. If you want to make real progress in your flexibility, always stick to active exercises (not passive) and never go too deep where your nervous system no longer feels safe to contract the muscle on tension. This creates a cycle of brain/body distrust with an additional underlying issue of you trying to force opening to happen.

  3. You've had a bad day and you are taking out your frustration in your practice. Woah, girlfriend. Grab a glass of wine and call a pal instead of training because you should never beat your body up in training. Make sure you approach each flexibility session with love and respect for your body so that you are able to truly LISTEN to what your muscles need. Flexibility training should not be approached with the classic "mind over matter" mentality. "Matter" matters as much as "mind".

The simple fact is if we don't get our minds right, our bodies won't change. Each day is a new opportunity to approach our training with positivity and patience. Besides, the journey never ends, better start enjoying it.

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This wass a lovely blog post

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