Although conventional wisdom is starting to shift, we still have a societal notion that pain and gain are somehow synonymous. They aren’t but often the philosophy is so ingrained it’s hard to believe that doing less can actually achieve more in terms of comfort, flexibility, range of motion, ease, etc. It does but how do we break with our habitual patterns and shift to a “less is more” mentality? Simply, pay attention. Notice what it is you do. Chances are if you’re rushing or pushing your way through a movement (or life) you’re working much harder than is necessary and in the process are tightening muscles and creating an underlying level of tension that leads to pain, discomfort and lack of function. If you’re willing to step out of your zone of familiarity and try a new, simpler way, you may be pleasantly surprised. What have you got to lose? Maybe your pain and limitations!
Following these simple guidelines as you do the lessons posted on this site will optimize your experience.
1. Take a few moments before you begin and between movements to NOTICE how you are sitting or standing. Notice if anything changes.
2. Notice your BREATHING. Are you breathing? Attending to your breath as you do the lessons gives you a good indication of how much you are struggling. If you find yourself catching or holding your breath try doing less and moving more slowly.
3. Do the movements VERY VERY SLOWLY. Slow movements allow you to override habitual and limiting patterns and teach your brain that new patterns are possible.
4. DO LESS than you know you can do. Staying within a range of comfort and ease allows the body to let go of overprotective reflexes that cause limitations.
5. REPEAT. Do each of the suggested movements several times pausing between repetitions.
6. REST often. Do a few movements then stop to rest. This gives your nervous system a chance to assimilate the new connections and possibilities the lessons are designed to offer.
7. BE CURIOUS. If something in the way you are moving captures your attention or you discover a connection between different parts of your body as you do the lessons, allow yourself to notice. Repeat the movements as long as you can attend with curiosity. If they become rote, STOP. The act of attending creates the foundation for learning something new and more comfortable.
8. SUSPEND JUDGMENT. Can you let go of the notion that there is one “right” way of doing things and instead be open to the possibility that there are many equally valid possibilities? If you can, you may surprise yourself with new flexibility and freedom.