For a little over two weeks now I have been working on flexibility. It is my belief that the body reflects the Soul, and as such the aura and related blockages tend to manifest in physical body issues that, if not addressed, can become exacerbated over time.
For example, someone who has had a life-long issue with a blockage in their throat chakra will at first find their neck sore, have tension headaches, develop seasonal allergies, experience a sore and/or scratchy throat, or have other irritating but manageable problems that come and go. However, if the blockage continues unresolved, major issues such as thyroid problems or worse can develop.
In my case, my issues tend to be in my hips. My hips are tight and inflexible in certain positions. I also often get female menstrual symptoms in that area that can be quite uncomfortable. Often, when the Kundalini rises, I have residual soreness in my hips and lower abdomen. All of this points to my lower chakras – first and second specifically – being out of balance.
Recently I have also noticed I have horribly tight shoulders. This is a high heart chakra related issue but also directly related to the hours I spend at a computer or huddled over my Iphone. As a CPT and trained in muscle imbalances I know that my tight hips and shoulders are connected and to fix one I have to also address the other.
My goal, then, has been to work on my tight shoulders and hips at least twice a day. Typically I begin with foam rolling and follow up with deep stretches. This regime takes about 15 minutes, twice a day, sometimes more depending on how stiff I am. If I am working out that day, then I do two more stretching sessions, before and after my workout. Yeah, that is a lot of stretching.
As a way to measure my progress I am focusing on my deep squat, or yogi squat. I am unable to go deep into the squat because of my tight hips and calves. The only way to remedy this is to continue to practice a modified version of the yogi squat consistently and over time the muscles will get use to their new positions and adjust. To give you an idea of how bad my squat is, I have to hold onto something in order to get all the way down, otherwise I fall backward if I go below parallel. Currently, I can do 1 minute at a time before my hips begin to bother me and I have to stand up. I should be able to 4 minutes without holding onto anything for support. So I have a very long way to go.
Here is an article about the yogi squat you might find interesting. If you also struggle to get low into the squat the article can help you figure out why and give you steps to address it.
When it comes to shoulders, my goal is to be able to sit in cow faced pose without discomfort. I am able to manage the seated portion fairly easily (yay!) but the arms/shoulders are another issue. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, grab my hands or fingers in the back. I have to use a towel and even then my right shoulder is very stiff when I come out of the pose. So, like with my hips. I have to work out the knots first and then do some deep stretches to loosen up my chest and shoulders.
While also stretching twice a day I am now sitting differently and changing the way I move. When I need to bend over and get something, I squat to do it, even if it means that my heels are off the ground. When I sit at my computer I sit in a low seat that forces my calves into a flexed position. When I am in bed on my computer I sit cross legged for as long as I can or take butterfly pose. So far, these daily lifestyle changes seem to be making the most difference. Not that the stretching isn’t helping, it is, but lifestyle changes put those stretches to use.
In the end, just working on the physical issues is not enough, I know that. An old saying that was often said when I was in massage school applies here – The issues are in the tissues. When I was in massage school I was giving and receiving at least one deep tissue massage a day. I soon discovered that I had bouts of crying and other intense emotion that would come and go. This, I was told, were the issues releasing as my body healed. Pretty awesome, huh? So, I am certain that as I address my current flexibility issues that issues will arise for resolution in much the same way.
Anyone want to join me? You don’t have to do my intense regime. You can simply devote 15 minutes a day to stretching. I also recommended getting a good quality foam roller and some lacrosse and tennis balls which are great for working out knots in places like the chest, shoulders, lats (underarms), back and other harder to reach areas.
Below are some of the tools I use:
Foam roller – Triggerpoint
GoFit Roll-on Massager – I love this tool! I got mine at Academy but have seen it at Target, too.
BodyGlove massage bar (they have one on the GoFit website, too) – great for quadriceps.
Double ball (for thoracic spine/back)
Not shown – tennis ball
If you have no idea how to use these tools, check out the how-to videos here. There are also tons on YouTube. Basically, you roll a muscle area (thighs, back, calves, etc) and when you feel soreness or sensitivity you stop and hold firm for 30 seconds. Then follow with 30 seconds of stretching for the muscle you just foam rolled.
Here are some videos I recommend for stretching:
If you decide to try this, give it at least 30 days. You will be tempted to give up because if you are tight some of the poses will be uncomfortable (they should never hurt, though). I break a sweat from the intensity sometimes, especially those stretches involving my hips and shoulders. Ugh! But, you should begin to notice you are less stiff as you progress.
Good luck and let me know how it goes! I will be updating with my own progress over time.