If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I love a challenging practice problem. One of our Inner Form members wrote to me and said, “I need more flexibility, but I don’t have time to add a whole other stretching routine to my current practice. What can I do?” I have good news if you’ve been mulling over a similar practice problem. It all comes down to how you understand flexibility.
One of my students says that in medical school they were taught how to explain their clinical observations in a way that made them sound more official. For example, if you see something once, you can say that “in my experience…” The second time you’ve observed the same phenomenon, you can say that “in case after case….” Finally, if you’re seeing something more than two times, you’ve seen it “in a series of cases.
At this time of year, you hear a lot about New Year’s resolutions. This year, I was happy to see a lot of people saying “New Year’s resolutions don’t work.” We all know that’s true from personal experience, but these folks were referencing a growing understanding about how learning and skill-building take place. Most of what we now know about how the nervous system works flies in the face of changing through the strength of your willpower alone.
Frozen shoulder is one of those terms that people accept with resignation and it seems like a plausible explanation…until you start to poke around in your own nervous system. If you’ve ever been told you have a frozen shoulder, I urge you to look a little bit beyond the (overly) simple mechanical explanation. Obviously, I’m not diagnosing your shoulder from a YouTube video, but I just want you to ask a few more questions and try these two experiments:
In just ten minutes of head-to-toe movement, you can get rid of stiff joints in the morning. What’s the secret? There isn’t one really…you just have to move every single joint. Z Health exercises for joint mobility give you an easy template to use to get this done, though. Check out this example of head-to-toe joint mobility:
The metronome-like quality of the music got me. Sorry! You know why I like metronomes.
This year, why not persuade your friends and family to be a little healthier and move better? I know that’s always a tricky area to wade into, soÂ I’ve picked out a few things below that will help anyone become better educated about movement and inspire them to act (or trick them into it, depending on how you look at it!). Check them out: The Perfect Shoe If you ask me how many pairs of Vivo Barefoot shoes I own, I would ask you if you mean for just wearing around or for tai chi or for formal occasions.
Even if you have cultivated a daily practice that takes you into deep relaxation, it’s helpful to have a set of stress reduction techniques “that work in 5 minutes or less.” You can pull these out during the day when you have a few minutes of downtime. If you are busy and really stressed out, these relaxation techniques can prevent your stress level from going through the roof. Try them and let me know what you think.
Soon after I took over as the director of Brookline Tai Chi, we were hosting Bruce Frantzis for a Circling Hands seminar. In the most basic version of Circling Hands qigong, you make a vertical circle out in front of your body, with your palms facing each other, focusing on smooth breathing, continuous pumping, and evening out the circle more and more with each pass (no corners or edges!). In this seminar, Bruce was weaving meditation into the exercise and the goal was very simple: as you extend your arms out away from the body, you bring your mind into your body as much as you can.