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Flexibility: It’s more than your hamstrings

Photo by Tamba Budiarsana from Pexels

Let’s talk about flexibility again in a deeper way. Particularly for people who find themselves getting frustrated easily — especially those of us who are trying to be high-achievers and are stereotypically hag-ridden by Impostor Syndrome.Flexibility is also ease, poise, and the ability to change shape. That’s not just “can I yank on my muscle fibers to lengthen them.”

It’s also “oh, I had three clients cancel this week and my kids want to go to the park on Sunday,” can I leave my valid aggravation where it sits, rather than staying in “frustration-land” and taking my grown-up frustrations out on a bunch of kids who just want to play and have fun?

photo-of-man-leaning-on-wooden-table-3132388

This is not the face you want to take to the swimming pool and swing-sets.

Being “off balance” is no fun for anybody, but it applies emotionally as well. The neat trick about our nervous system, though, is that it doesn’t distinguish between the two.Really.Try this. The next time you get frustrated by “that time adulting wasn’t much fun,” right before you go to do the next thing, just close your eyes and very gently teeter-totter left and right until you can clearly sense “what’s left,” “what’s right,” and how they’re different from “what feels like neither left nor right.”If you do that, it becomes, like magic, much easier to remember the things for which we’re grateful, rather than the things that make us want to go chew on a lamp-post.

Try it!

What’s happening is that you’re talking to the nerves that control the multifidis, a set of muscles alongside your spine. And in doing so, you step OUT of the nervous system pattern/organization of “frustration” and back into the one called “balanced.” If you remove the frustration pattern, where does the frustration go? Nowhere. It’s just a pattern that you experience emotionally. Long-time Awareness Through Movement students develop the ability to do this almost-instinctually, and have a MUCH easier time shrugging off stress than their peers. Give it a shot!

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