THE POWER OF FLEXIBILITY
Staying flexible is the key to longevity, not just in terms of the body, but also in mind and spirit. As we create more space in the body, we become more open mentally as well. Through flexibility we create a juiciness which allows us to become more adaptable, open, accepting, and spontaneous. This is something we can enjoy at any age, and it is the key to leading a healthy, happy, and balanced life.
When we are flexible we are open. When our body is open, the mind follows and we become more open-minded. The Elizabethans believed “as above, so below,” and this is true, as well as the reverse: as below (the body), so above (the mind)!
Becoming more physically flexible means that we can move in many directions. I believe the body is healthiest when it is mimicking the movement of nature, which is always in a spiral. Think of how plants and flowers grow up through the earth, like little screws winding their way to fullness. They don't just pop up in a linear way, all muscle and heft. No! The spiral implies a juicy, natural flow. As we use these spiral movements we have an easier time opening up the spaces between our bones and joints, allowing the ligaments and tendons to become more elastic, and freeing up areas where the muscles can relax so that the bones can then move more freely. Understanding this concept and employing it in our daily routines creates a mind that also moves in many directions, open to new thoughts and ideas... a mind that is a flexible as the body.
We need to be flexible in order to survive. Today more than ever we need to be able to shift our course quickly. We need to be adaptable. Just when we think we're going in a certain direction about to obtain a particular objective, things change. We need to be elastic enough to handle the unexpected and to find ways to thrive no matter what the conditions. This requires a body and mind that is free and able to be spontaneous.
When we are stiff and inflexible, this rigidity usually reflects judgement, unhappiness, meanness, tightness, jealousy, miserliness, and fear. When we are open and flexible we have more room to embrace life, embrace others. There is less fear. We can open ourselves to the unknown and see it and feel it as an adventure.
A very good example of this happens with a muscle called the “psoas.” As the deepest muscle in the body and located under the soft tissue between the hip bone and the pubic bone, the psoas governs what we know as “fight or flight.” When an animal, for example, is being attacked she goes into fight or flight mode, where the tail and lower body tuck under and chemicals that govern fear and survival begin to pump through the body as adrenaline, causing a higher heart rate. When we sit all day we are actually in this same position, with our tailbones tucked under and our psoas constricted. The moment we stretch this area, opening up through stretching and good posture, we turn off the fight or flight alarm, turn on the “feel good” chemicals like seratonin, and begin to feel happier as we relax the lower back and hips to release tension and stress in these crucial areas. Think of a dog wagging its tail. This is the opposite of fight or flight!
Moving the body with the flexibility that the spiral provides is like a sponge wringing out the toxins from our body. As we become more adept at moving more dimensionally, we create more space inside our bodies and minds, allowing every part of us to receive more circulation... of blood, oxygen, and nutrients. We then become healthier, with all of our cells open to receive this essential life-giving process. Our immune system becomes stronger and we are better able to cope with physical and mental toxins. Our spine becomes free. Our minds become clearer. We begin to feel a flow of life-giving breath throughout our bodies as we decompress and expand. As we open up in this way, we also release trapped emotions that have lodged themselves in various places within our bodies and minds.
There are no guarantees in this world, which is why becoming flexibile is so powerful, as it allows us to stabilize regardless of what comes our way. And as we become more flexible we feel better about ourselves and others, becoming more appreciative and loving as we take things in stride.
For more on the subject, please tune in to my podcast, “kadisova talks”