“Yoga is a great place to meet your true self. With enough practice, focus and dedication, you will learn about yourself. In the most challenging of poses, if you stay and don’t run away, you will learn.”
This last week I have contemplated quite a bit about our bodies and how we are often captives of our minds and bodies. We are not products of our thoughts or our habits, but often we berate, chide and condemn ourselves for things over which we have little control. As a teacher and trainer, I see that the human body is strong willed. It doesn’t want to be uncomfortable in any way and it is adept at survival by finding the easiest route. NASM has a term for the body’s way of finding the path of least resistance. It’s called “relative flexibility.”
Isn’t it strange that we would call our body’s strong will “relative flexibility?” It’s the body’s (not ours necessarily) choice to choose the least burdensome way to accomplish any task. Until we have trained our minds and the Central Nervous System (CNS) to complete the task in a more aligned and efficient way, our bodies will continue to lead our movement less than optimally.
When we begin to see our bodies in a new light, we realize that we (our inner selves) need to learn and then teach ourselves. The more that we practice with focused attention, such as in yoga or in kettlebell (or a number of other alignment based practices), we realize that we can change patterns that our bodies have chosen. We can choose to change! We can change the way our minds and bodies work together, essentially creating a team between our minds and bodies with our CNS being the leader instead of our bodies.
I always tell my clients, “Today we are training your mind. Your mind will train your body later this week.” I believe the learning process takes time and happens even when we aren’t actively working on our skills. The CNS is busy learning and working in the background while we go about our other daily tasks.
As a trainer, I am blessed to witness dramatic transformations in my client’s bodies when they begin to align their minds to the tasks at hand. They are able to overcome lifelong patterns of walking with turned out toes, nervous ticks, slumped shoulders, forward head postures, and many other common postural and movement patterns that contribute to pain and ultimately future injuries and/or surgeries. By teaching them to connect with their bodies and gain control over their movements, they learn a completely new way to interact with themselves and are able to “bridge the gap” between their bodies and minds, integrating themselves into a complete, whole and happy person.
Is it your turn and time to meet yourself?