We learned in massage school that emotions are held and stored in our bodies. Experiences, stress, fear, anger, anxiety, can get bundled up into a tight little ball and lock themselves in various places in our muscles. Joints are sneaky places for them to hide, especially in our hips and pelvic region. This can lead to all sorts of misalignments, aches, pains, stiffness (hello neck and shoulder issues!), and if not properly addressed, become bigger issues.
I have some long-lasting tweaks from life and training. Though I have spent years and lots of $$$ trying to “fix” them with chiropractors, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, Airrosti, essential oils, to name a few; I learned that in order to be relieved of something, you have to go through it. Face it. Release it. What I’m talking about is slow, conscious, deliberate stretching. These are perfectly demonstrated in Hatha Yin and Restorative Yoga. Both modalities use props such as bolsters, blankets, and blocks to help our bodies release hypertonic muscles while holding positions. As your body lets go, the props can be removed. It’s amazing. In the Hatha Yin class I take, we work on our postures for 2-4 minutes and move in a very fluid manner. In Restorative Yoga, we tend to use more props and will be in a position generally from 4-10 minutes. If you are interested, I go to Hatha Yin at Yoga Yoga and Restorative at Say Om here in Austin.
Both are fantastic to get the parasympathetic nervous system to engage. This is the Rest and Digest part of your body’s physiological stress response (the sympathetic nervous system runs the Fight, Flight, or Freeze; or for women, Tend and Befriend stress response). When the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, we relax, renew, heal, and regenerate. We all need this reset in order for our bodies to function properly; especially at optimum levels. (Momma’s, let me here you say, “OH, YEAH!”)
I was in a packed Hatha Yin class the other day, and the instructor opened class with one of her recent experiences as a life lesson to share. She reminded us of the option in confrontations to either Be Right or Connect. When we choose to Be Right as in debating or arguing, the reactions build and build and the energy gets tense and stressed until someone either blows up or gives up. When we choose to Connect, we instead open ourselves to new perspectives and possibilities and create a stronger foundation of energetic harmony. Think close-minded vs. open-minded.
Well, that morning, our instructor was taking her small child to school, and her kiddo started having a tantrum at drop off. Instead of choosing to Connect, the mom chose to Be Right and the whole mess escalated. Later that day at her yoga practice, she thought of that moment and connected with her feelings of guilt from the experience. She allowed herself to reflect and realize that in order to get over her guilt from her behavior in the spat, she had to go through it. She had to face it and allow her spirit to grow from it.
I like to think that in taking time off CrossFit for the next month and really focusing on my yoga and restoration, that I go through the tweaks, stiffness, and subluxations. That I allow myself to “go there” and face the root cause of these aches. In both Hatha Yin and Restorative Yoga, you sink into deeper and deeper postures as you allow your muscles to release and surrender to gravity and the anatomical design of our bodies. Allowing muscles to find their appropriate position along the skeleton. Release the old shit. Let go of the emotional and spiritual baggage as the body realigns.
For me, there is something huge going on with my right hip. It started with crappy deadlift form at a moderate weight at high speed in 2010. I’ve been “working on it” for over 4 years, and it’s my main inhibitor from reaching my potential in strength and Olympic lifts. My right psoas is a mess, my glutes and pirformis are constantly on, and I can feel aches going up the muscles along my spine. If weight gets too heavy, I literally feel a pinch in my back. Ouch. Since our muscles are all connected through fascia, it’s also stemming into my right neck and shoulder. There have been moments that I feel something release in my glutes and my neck adjusts. So, this has been my target area for the past few weeks.
During a Hatha Yin class the other day, the teacher put us in a nice deep pigeon pose, and I started weeping softly on my mat. Not because of the physical pain, but because there was something there that I finally reached with the deep stretch and could face and release. I wept for sorrow, fear, gratitude, and joy simultaneously. I wept and felt ALIVE in my body.
I’m still working on it daily, and make sure to balance out the other side and areas of my body as well.
Here are some pictures of the on-going process. Look at how much deeper of a stretch I can reach after a few short weeks of work. In order to get deeper in the posture, I needed to release several co-conspirators: psoas, glutes (all 3), pirformis, iliacus, tensor fasciae latae, adductors… (basically my whole hip)
October 30, 2014– Notice how my right hip and torso are not quite centered yet.
Not all workouts are about throwing heavy weights or hauling butt through a wod. Recovery, mobility, and grounding are huge elements in a well-rounded training program. @trainadaptevolve #bestinhealth #keepaustinfit #evolve #crossfitmom #crossfitmobility #fitfluential @crossfitaustin #yogamomma #yogaforrealpeople
November 11th, 2014– I was pumped that I could hold my foot!
A photo posted by Liz Collura-Rosenberg (@lcrwellness) on
December 6th, 2014– Still some work to do, but getting deeper! Now, time to get into the rotator cuff of my shoulder to get my elbow to the sky.
Consistency brings results. And your head to your foot! #yogamomma #fitfluential #yogaeverydamnday #yogaforrealpeople #bestinhealth #keepaustinfit #crossfitmom A video posted by Liz Collura-Rosenberg (@lcrwellness) on
Are you ready to face those aches and stiff joints? Let Go and Let Flow in 2015!
Best in Health,