Leg Behind Head and Emotional Walls
Medium.com:~David Lee Stories$
If you were to look at your body as a long elastic sheath of fibers and tissue, what comes to mind? Maybe a memory of an episode of Dexter, possibly that scene from Predator in the jungle or any other weird picture right?
As morbid as it may be to think about it, underneath your skin is true flesh and blood. It’s what we are, the deep layer of fascia and fibers that construct a beautiful machine that can move, jump, run and sometimes defy the laws of gravity.
Yet it’s only through proper range of motion and adequate movement of our body where we can begin to reap the benefits of exercise. Now understand what i’m saying, you don’t need to be able to put your leg behind your head to achieve adequate range of motion, but working to promote optimal flexibility has two crucial effects for you:
1.) Tight (tonic) muscles become shortened, after time when a muscle becomes shortened it will pull on other muscle groups which causes chronic pain, headaches, joint immobility.
2.) Muscular tension may be creating emotional and energetic walls that are holding you back from viewing the world from a “Birds Eye View”.
What does any of this mean? Let’s dive in shall we?
The first benefit of stretching is more empirical in nature, you can quantify and measure pain associated with tight muscles. If you’ve ever had a massage, myofascial release, ART session these are specialists who have been trained to lengthen your muscles more or less. The immediate response to stretching is often pain for a few seconds but afterwards you feel almost a sense of elation.
There must be something about stretching then right? A more unknown and less advertised method to reducing headaches is simply to stretch. Muscles such as sternocleidomastoid, your scalenes and levator scapula are common muscles that when relieved, reduce frequency of headaches. The reason being is those muscles pull on the fascia along the skull creating pressure between the muscular and skeletal layers.
In other words, if the muscles around your head and neck are tight then expect headaches.
Now comes the quasi, metaphysical, harry potter talk
What do my tight muscles have to do with perception and emotions?
It works like this, when your body is fixed into a position where your natural breathing mechanics are reduced, that causes a stressful environment to be in. An example would be holding your breath, how long can you hold it until you pass out or need to exhale so you can inhale?
What type of position will your body go into while holding your breath before you can no longer hold it? You may be jumping around, looking for help, wailing your arms around etc — not a fun time yeah? So you can take this into the context of tight muscles. If you have any imbalance or tightness in your head/neck, you may notice that your shoulders start to round forward especially for anyone who works in front of a computer all day.
With a “Forward Head Posture” you reduce the spines’ natural ability to stay erect which promotes optimal oxygen intake and blood flow. Over time this fixed position effects your breathing mechanics and when you can’t breathe properly guess how you feel?
Ahh, now 2+2 is starting to = 4 you say. Let’s go a step further, imagine after 10 years of tight shoulders, headaches and shallow breathing you have noticed that you’ve become quick to judge. Hasty with your decisions and have as little patience as a puppy wanting to go to the bathroom.
You may start to create emotional walls that prevent you from looking at things holistically, you create dogma and religious cult around what you believe to be the “Alpha and Omega” to how people ought to act and think.
Don’t believe me? I invite you to start stretching everyday — spend 10 to 15 minutes a day stretching as your own experiment. Your hypothesis may look like, “I believe that after 30 days of stretching each day for 10–15 minutes that I won’t see any residual effect on my emotional state”.
Let me know how that goes =)
I’ve heard about “Mobility” what’s the deal with that?
Glad you asked! What I wish to share with you is not a prescribed program or how most fitness professionals describe mobility using resistance bands or kicking your legs forward and back. Those are great ways to loosen up your joints, but when I speak about mobility it’s in the context of moving your body.
Respiration and circulation come through pumping mechanisms that promote optimal flow of energy and blood through your entire body. Much of that happens only when you’re moving your body around, such as going for a brisk walk. However, much of what we do in today’s living environment is a lot of sitting.
There’s nothing wrong with that, you have to perform tasks and work on computers, writing, reading etc — the invitation here is to balance that out with enough movement so that you stay healthy and avoid the risk of developing any variation of dis-ease, symptom or syndrome.
Equally as important are the shortening of certain muscles (hip flexors being one) from constant sitting. Chronic pain and muscle tightness if not managed will leave you frustrated and angry — what if you could bring even 1% peace of mind into your life through moving your body. Isn’t that worth it?
Stretching and moving your body around doesn’t have to be reserved for professional athletes. Every single person DOES benefit from exercise whether that be going for a walk, practicing yoga, weight training etc. Combine movement with working on optimal flexibility to reduce chronic pain from tight muscles and you have a win-win formula for success.
What’s difficult for anyone to stretch and work on their mobility is it can be time consuming and isn’t the flashy stuff people like to do. Neither is writing 1,000 lines of code, creating excel formulas, setting up your powerpoint presentation or going to the gym every single day.
BUT YOU HAVE TO DO IT
There’s only so many shortcuts you can take. In my experience the only thing shortcuts give you are a temporary victory that doesn’t win the battle let alone the war.
You have to be willing and able to put in the work, only then will exercise and nutrition start to make sense for you. When it makes sense, you demystify all of the BS out there and find what truly works for you.
With Strength and Love,
David Lee — The P.O.W.E.R Coach
I hope you enjoyed reading this rant, philosophical expression, psycho-something or other post!
If you have 1 second (just one!) please comment or ❤ the post if you liked it! I believe in communication and community which is why i’m here.
Thanks a bunch and follow me around on my journey as a Powerlifter, Yoga Teacher, Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Techie.