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stress & stretching

November 11, 2010

Because I have been really busy lately, I have been thinking a lot about pacing and wondering how much energy to focus on which project at which time.  I have always been a procrastinator, and while pondering pacing I finally realized why I procrastinate!  Whenever I let stress take over while I place attention on the subject (by thinking about or acting on its behalf), the stress trains me to avoid the subject altogether in the future.  The trick is to stop excessively stressing about the subject in the first place; once you do so, you naturally face things in a more balanced cyclical rhythm rather than all at once or not at all.

Until now I was under the impression that I had to somehow force myself to stop procrastinating, but actually working with the stress piece approaches the roots of the issue.  How is this done?  By slowing down and taking the time to face the stress.  In a sense, this is what mindfulness is really about.  It’s tough and it takes courage to face those stressful spots purposefully, but it is crucial for growth towards health.

What does all of this mean about weight and the body?  First, it relates to behaviors around food, and, maybe most of all, it relates to stretching and other slow body work.  The process of finding tense places in the body and slowly leaning into them is the perfect parallel to the process of facing emotionally tense pieces of self, and both are crucial pieces of taking care of your body.  Stretching certainly has several known benefits, including increased flexibility and resilience against injury.   Likewise, facing your fears leads to emotional flexibility and resilience, which frees us to take action to heal the body.

Think, too, about how stress is stored in the body.  How many inches do your shoulders raise when you have a relentlessly hard day or week!  Bodily tension is the physical manifestation of emotional stress.  It’s amazing to discover how it is all connected 🙂  So,  I am making a new commitment to really take time to stretch, and I have started to do yoga at home again.  Taking a yoga class will likely be the next step.

The pacing of our moments matters.  Taking extra time to place attention on stress and the body’s tense spots are fundamental ways to heal the body, weather directly or indirectly.  These simple lifestyle shifts have a kind of healthy domino effect.  This may be a fundamental philosophy behind yoga.  I’m finding it useful to go through the process of discovering it myself.  Speaking of which, time to do some yoga!

❤ Diana Banana

image courtesy of http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/sports/rap_sheet/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/stretching.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/sports/rap_sheet/index.php/2009/09/03/and-the-patriots-take-the-field-for-stretching/&h=491&w=567&sz=10&tbnid=cVmP82Ah1JRLHM:&tbnh=116&tbnw=134&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dstretching&zoom=1&q=stretching&usg=__UP1_wJhGNGkgrdExTKrq1zKWGVU=&sa=X&ei=HOLcTOmzDIT0tgO67cj7Cg&ved=0CDQQ9QEwBg

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 20, 2010 1:09 am

    What a great article. Throughout our martial arts classes we try to instill in to all of our students the importance os stretching. It is an integral part of martial arts. Keep up the good work.

    • November 24, 2010 1:56 pm

      Thank you very much for your comment — I’m so glad you found the article to ring true!

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