May 29

Organic Stretching

 

Why not include some compassion and curiosity in your gym bag along with your hot pink tennies?

Approach your body with compassion and curiosity to create changes you never thought you could realize. Set off a cascade of energy that enlivens and releases blocks. Explore inside and connect with the tissues surrounding every muscle, bone, and organ. Get more out of every exercise or workout by changing your intention.

Sound farfetched? Today, most of us would likely agree that we create our own reality. The concept first surfaced in 1963 in a Seth channeling by author Jane Roberts and became part of the New Age movement, gradually edging into mainstream. What our minds focus on we draw to us or at least become more aware of its presence.

In a similar way, we can also control the effectiveness of our workouts…

or exercise sessions by the intention we set as we work. Where and how we put our focus at each moment shapes what our bodies experience. Working very slowly helps hold the focus and allows the body to adapt and accept incremental changes as they develop.

Today, high percentages of men and women are unhappy or even loathsome toward their bodies.(1)  With image, size, function, or pain underlying their feelings, approaching exercise with compassion could work wonders.

 

 Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
–Dalai Lama

 

In Organic Stretching®: bodymind movements the body is always in contact with itself, i.e. a hand or foot moving slowly along the opposite arm, leg, or the trunk. This hand or foot can transmit the energy of compassion through heat, pressure, and intention. The result is very powerful, even emotional. With practice that energy becomes quite strong and grounded.

Other forms of energy exercise using slow movements (but with less of the contact) include Qigong, Tai Chi, and some yoga programs. Slow weight training proves effective, in part due to the increased focus on form and breathing that slow work encourages.(2)

 

 Imagine the atmosphere in a gym where everyone was sending compassion and love to their bodies!

 

The Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci lived by seven principles, according to Michael Gelb, author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. Bringing the first of these principles, curiosity, to bear on our bodies as we move, noticing in detail what is happening inside, encourages the awareness we need to make changes. Sensing a reaction far away as we reach a limit in movement in one area lets us see the connections across the length of the body. Explore that limit in tiny, slow motions to find all the edges of the limit and gradually soften the limit, noticing the changes to the rest of the body as well.

Being completely aware, curious, and compassionate can gradually unlock blocked tissues surrounding joints, muscles, and organs, relieving pain and permitting freer movement.

Explore some of the ways Organic Stretching®: bodymind movements can provide this experience through sample videos and information on the Organic Stretching YouTube Channel. Subscribe while you are there! Or check out the programs offered on our website. This link takes you to our new online program, and you will find more options under “Programs” in the navigation menu. Organic Stretching was derived from pain management therapy movements to provide a personal movement program designed and created by your own body.

Next time you go to the gym, be sure to pack your bag with “compassion and curiosity” right next to those hot pink tennies to get the most out of your workout.

 

References: (1) https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-body-image

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/02/why-do-women-hate-their-bodies/

http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/2011/02/shocking-body-image-news-97-percent-of-women-will-be-cruel-to-their-bodies-today

(2) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/body-sense/201007/slow-movement-awareness-better-exercise

Dec 24

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Holidays can bring emotional turmoil from loneliness to painful memories to the sense that time is running out as another year winds down. It is a moment for gathering with your very best friends and family to share some mutual support and tender, caring words, and deeds. But if you have no best friends or family nearby, why not try to be your own very best friend? Someone who is always there and maybe knows you better than anyone else.

What would it take to become your very best friend?

  •  Step 1:

Imagine that you are really needing a good hug when your BFF shows up. It is a dash for a huge hug…a very real hug…long and with feeling…one that can even bring a tear to your eye. Now Do It!! Reach all the way around as far as your arms will go. Close your eyes. Be the recipient of that hug. Pat your back and stroke your shoulders. Hold on until you are smiling and slowly release yourself.

  •   Step 2:

Imagine that you are upset about the way things are going and on a typical harangue about how you could/should have done things differently, when your best friend arrives. What does your very best friend say to you about your situation? I bet it doesn’t sound anything like what you were saying to yourself! Imagine that you are your best friend and choose your words as a good friend would. Many years ago my older daughter stopped me in my tracks, “Mom, listen to how you talk to yourself.” She didn’t mean the fact that I was actually talking out loud; she was upset with the words I chose. I have never forgotten that valuable lesson, even though I have to repeat it from time-to-time. Talk to yourself like a very loving, caring friend. Tell yourself all the things you did right and what talents you have to help resolve the problem. Don’t waste energy looking for someone to blame…yourself or anyone else. Just switch the energy to taking care of you and reminding you how wonderful you are even when the results don’t seem to work out.

  •   Step 3:

Imagine your best friend calling you to go somewhere…a new restaurant in town, an art opening, a concert…maybe something you would never think to do on your own. Many years ago, I was working for myself and realized that I worked late every evening, came home from the office, had a bite to eat, and went to bed with a book. It was a treadmill and taking a toll. I made a list of all kinds of things that I had enjoyed doing in the past or had wanted to do…10 minute things, an hour, 3 hours, and some might take a whole day. I cut the list into strips and put them in an envelope; every Sunday evening as I made my plans for the week ahead (mostly business tasks and goals) I pulled 3 strips out of the envelope. I accepted these as things I absolutely had to do and assigned them to their time slot in the week. Sometimes I had to research local facilities or offerings to find the item on the strip, so I got to know my community better. Sometimes it challenged me to do something I was not familiar with and a little nervous to try. I gained so much from that experience and had so much fun. Take yourself out on a date or do something totally new on a regular basis.

  • Step 4:

Take yourself out for a treat. For me, breakfast out always seems a bit decadent. I don’t mean a quick 2 scrambled with coffee on the run! Some place special with music or a view. Hide a $20 in your planner and don’t look to see where you hid it. When it shows up, that’s the time to do it. Like a long-lost friend suddenly popping in and wanting to take you out for a special breakfast spur-of-the-moment. Give yourself a big hug on the way out of the door.

  •   Step 5:

One of the things we do in Organic Stretching has so much power for me to connect with myself in a physical way. It is sensual, but it is not intimate. I teach it in the first class of the two-month series…a basic move that connects everything else. We always stay in contact with our bodies so no part is flying around by itself out away from the body. This means, for example, using one hand to move slowly along the body surface someplace. Try it on the opposite arm. Close your eyes and let one hand slide up the other arm very slowly and with tenderness, in a caring way. Let the hand and the arm roll over and slide the arm along hand. Exhale and pause, feeling the connection you are making with yourself. Absorb the sense of wellbeing this can produce. Taking time for yourself makes such a difference.

Enjoy this time of the year with your New Best Friend whether you are alone or not. Look for ways in the New Year to reconnect and cherish you.

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