I meet so many people, yoga folks as well as others, who are very active, and are able to pump out some “big poses”, lift or push heavy weights, do lots of reps, distance run, swim or bike . . . and . . they have pain, tension, or aches. Many assume this is normal – either as a part of aging and/or a normal part of being active. They see it as “the cost of doing business.”
While there is a small amount of truth to this, I would say that it is a small amount. It is “normal” in the sense that pain, tension, tightness and ache are normal physiological occurrences, but I suggest they are not “normal”, or at least don’t have to be “normal”. You can have ease in strength, you can have steadiness and lightness in stability, and tension and tightness don’t have to be a way of living. Sustainable strength is a very real possibility.
Before we go on, I want to be clear about one thing. If you have tension, pain, strain or aches, it doesn’t make you bad, wrong or a moron. It simply means that your body is telling you something, and, at this moment, you haven’t yet determined what the heck it is saying. You may also be frustrated at the process of figuring it out, and at how da*m time consuming it is. Pain + Tension + Frustration = UGH!
If you can relate to this equation, I want you to know that there is another way. I call it the “short cut”.
The short cut is this – Allow yourself to not figure it out. Allow yourself feel your way, being curious and exploratory. As you do you will become quiet enough to recognize the various compensatory patterns, both physical and mental, which are hampering your progress. With that newly discovered awareness, you will quite literally be clearer about yourself and your body, and in turn, you will be able to make better choices, ones that truly serve you. Your progress will quicken, leap frog actually.
I realize that some readers, after reading the above paragraph, will wrinkle their brow or say “huh, wtf”. Here’s my response – understand that you can’t think your way to feeling, you have to feel your way to feeling. Also understand that if you have already spent weeks, months or years trying to “figure it out”, maybe “figuring it out” isn’t your process for getting out of pain. Maybe you have a driven personality. Maybe pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and carrying on has been your traditional “go to”, and has worked well for you in the past. Now it isn’t. If you can acknowledge this reality, I can promise that you will get out of pain really quite quickly. Why? Because if you can truly, truly feel, and “be with” that which is there (frustration and all) . . . something new will very quickly emerge. You will hear the whispers and you will see your symptoms as signals.
As you recognize and explore these whispers and signals, you will see your body and mind as a very accurate, very gentle guidance system giving you the insights and direction of when there is too much, when there is not enough, and when it is time to turn the corner.
Yes, I will admit that this process is rather subtle and nuanced. And, it is through this process that healing truly happens. When you are far enough along (and won’t take very long), you will look back and see it as having been really quite straightforward. You will feel good in your body and very wise in your mind.
I have helped thousands of students and yoga teachers with this process and the results speak for themselves time and time again. When you recognize the sensations in your body as a language and method of communication; and, as you listen, engage and respond to that which it is saying, your world will change. As you hone your ability to read your body as a barometer, you will see that more often than not, “mind over matter” doesn’t make sense. You’ll see that the “matter” actually matters. You will feel calm, steady, and strong. You will be less flappable, not because you have control over yourself or your whims, but rather you will have a sense of inner quiet that acts as a filter for what occurs around you. You will be less reactive and more responsive.
How do you know if you are ready to learn about your body as a barometer? How do you know if you are ready to feel the sensations of your body as signals guiding you forward, rather than something to “shut off and push aside”? Here are some key indicators:
- The pain or tension you are experiencing is getting in the way of your life. Your life has started to feel more compressed.
- You are “done” with it, you want to feel better, and you have some sense that your strong intellect, or your naturally driven personality may be getting in the way.
- You really want “something”. Something like . . . being able to get on the floor to play with your kids, or race around with them playing tag. It may be that you want to get back to running, swimming, cycling, back to the gym, to your Crossfit workout, or to your yoga practice. There is something you want and right now pain is in the way.
- You know there is another way, you are just not sure what it is.
If you are ready to take the next step, I’d really like to hear from you. Send me a note, give us a call. Even better, plan to attend one of our upcoming live or online trainings.
There is another way – a way of sustainable strength, that will have you feeling so much better. Let me show you how.