Increase Flexibility in all Areas of Your Life

February 6, 2010 2:48 am

flexibleLately, the theme of flexibility has come up with many clients, ranging from children to elderly adults.

How can we increase flexibility to enjoy a full unobstructed range of motion?

Often, I recommend using gentle qi gong stretching, which resembles yoga only that the poses are specifically designed to open up energy meridians related to the spleen (an organ that energetically influences our muscle tone) and liver (an organ that energetically influences our ligaments and tendons).

These stretches are then combined with dynamic (moving) postures to deepen flexibility–as it is easy to flex when one is statically stretching, but the true test of flexibility comes when we are moving.

This is true of life as well. When we sit in a static meditation and allow our minds to stretch behind the usual chatter in our heads, there in that space of calmness and serenity; we can drop ego and feel the full flexibility of  our spirits.

Yet, when we leave our sitting meditation and become more dynamic as we engage routine activities, it can be more challenging to maintain flexible attitudes and thoughts.

Just as it is important to integrate our physical stretching postures into motion, we also need to integrate our mental stretching, attained in meditation, into our routine activities.

Awareness of rigidity empowers you to redirect and recreate an experience that is more flexible.  Perform this quick checklist as you move through your day.

  • Is my body tense or rigid? If so, breathe deeply and consciously relax whatever is rigid.
  • Do I believe there is a steadfast rule–that something must be a certain way to work well? If so, challenge yourself to break that rule just to see that there are other possibilities.
  • Am I open to making adjustments in the behaviors I am choosing so that I may grow? If not, introspect  about the cost of remaining resistant.
  • Am I invested in a certain mood or state of being such that I am defined by those moods or states? If so, consciously choose to respond in a diferent way–instead of being angry, try another emotional state such as compassion.
  • Am I agenda driven? An example of this would be trying to persuade someone of our view points or beliefs with such rigidity that we create stress for those who are on the receiving end of our persuasive attempts.
  • Do I allow myself to expand beyond traditions to embrace new experiences and ideas outside of my psychological and cultural comfort zones?  If not, challenge yourself to expand.
  •  Do I get easily fixated and become a creature of habit to the extent that I find it hard to shift out of  certain behaviors or expectations?  If so, choose a different activity. Order a different dish than your usual selection at a restaurant. Instead of spinning on thoughts if that is your pattern, redirect your attention to a physical activity.

Often times, we develop an internal rigidity and do not realize that we have lost our flexibility until challenges in life occur.

Examples of internal rigidity include:

  • Co-dependent behaviors where we become stuck in relationships that involve over-merging our needs and desires with others in a rigid way.
  • Addictive and obsessive compulsive behaviors. These behaviors are rigid because they are based on fixation–being stuck in a certain pattern.

Interestingly, when  internal psychological rigidity exists, people often respond well to movement-based therapies because when the physical self becomes more flexible, we are then able to transfer success in that area to our mental selves.

Also, the process of increasing physical flexibility becomes a metaphor for moving through life.

For example, I had a young client  who held a rigid belief that being perfect was the only way to be. When he tried to learn new things, he became easily frustrated because he was not yet perfect.  Therefore, he rarely enjoyed the challenges of new experiences.

His body matched the rigidity of his beliefs. He was not able to bend over and touch the floor, a task most young children can do easily.

As we worked on increasing physical flexibility, he began to expand a willingness to try new activities outside of qi gong class. In learning that flexibility is achieved in stages, he allowed himself to be less than perfect in the early learning stages. Thus, he was not as easily frustrated or discouraged by new experiences.

Interested in professional medical qi gong certification? Call, text or email Kay to ask about a free demo class.  512-468-6588

Kay Hutchinson, CAMQ, CAMT

Kay is the founder of Aiki Healing, a practice of medical qi gong dedicated to increasing the energy and well being of clients across the body, mind and spiritual levels. Email or call her today for a personalized consultation or bliss bodywork session. 512-468-6588