Try this exercise, fold your arms and see if you are balanced
Try this; fold your arms naturally and feel how it feels. Probably quite comfortable. Then, reverse it and fold your arms the other way, the chances are that this way feels tight awkward and uncomfortable. Why? Because your muscles on one side have relaxed/contracted and adjusted so you now do this “on automatic”, and what’s more this feels “normal” because your arms and shoulders have learned to do it one way. Already without realising you have created a bias on one side of your body.
Playing any sport or a musical instrument, running, using a computer, even unscrewing a jar lid and using a knife, are skills that have all been learned at some time, and all these will have set up automatic patterns to help you negotiate life. Often however they will have twisted, contracted or distorted your body in some way without you realising.
Old neutral pathways.
Washing your face or walking down the stairs would take all morning if you needed to figure it out anew each time. So, your body learns any repetitive movements that you do, and it puts them into an automatic memory sequence. It co-ordinates all those complex movements into “one line of code” this frees you up from having to work things out from scratch each time.
The plus side is that our brain sets up these short circuit neural pathways and embeds and hard wires the multitude of intricate movements into a single seamless sequence of action. The downside is that it doesn’t discriminate between good or bad repetitive movements. Tight contracted ways of moving are adopted as easily as smooth comfortable movements, if you repeat them often enough.
Almost without fail, every learned skill unbalances your body, either left to right, front to back or by one-sided twists! And, it’s because you keep doing the same shapes and patterns, that you will keep continue to have the same tight muscles. Most likely, you can’t switch off the associated muscular tension and contraction. To release habitual tension patterns in your body, you need to do things in a different way from the usual way you are doing them. You need to re-educate your body and you need to choose to move in different shapes and patterns.
New neural pathways
Moving in different shapes and patterns and forming positive new neural pathways is as simple as learning bad shapes and patterns, and as you learn new ones the old neural pathways dissolve. Does this sound like a lot of hard work? Well it’s true that only you can make changes in your body, no one else can do it, and no amount of external manipulation will work long term…..but of course you that already from your own experience.
The place to start is by practicing simple movements and being mind-aware as you move. Find a routine that softens, releases, relaxes and balances all the parts of your body from your feet to your head to your fingers, and start practicing. When this new habit has begun to unwind the tension out of your body and change the way your move, then you can focus specifically on understanding what it is that lies at the heart of those tightest areas of your individual body.
Using this approach, you will begin to feel and understand which particular movements will target the particular tightness in your individual body, and you then specifically practice those movements so as to set down new neural pathways to replace the old chronic tight ones.
Using this method, on a daily basis you will be able to free yourself from chronic contraction, rebalance your body, and stop new tightness and contraction from becoming set into your body. Yes, it takes some effort and some discipline but it’s not beyond anyone to do, and the long term benefit to move with a comfortable body is priceless.
Learn more about how to rebalance your body with our online courses.