Time to get bendy!

On Saturday I attended a Back Bend Workshop with Yoga Ray. Although my flexibility is not bad as a result of doing Pilates and mobility work, I want to get more extension from my spine if possible and by this I mean more mobility in my shoulders and upper back which tends to restrict me when it comes to doing overhead bar work.
I don’t really get time to do yoga regularly but would do if I could but as I have set myself the challenge of taking part in the Crossfit Games, I want to continue to improve my mobility to enable me to master some of the more tricky Crossift techniques – snatches, snatch balances, OH squats, etc.
When I began Crossfit nearly a year ago now. I found that although I have flexibility, I had restricted my movement because I wasn’t paying enough attention to what my body was actually doing. This was extremely frustrating as you would think that with all the courses I had attended and teaching fitness, I should move wonderfully. Well it doesn’t tend to go that way because when you teach people, you tend to forget about yourself and how you are moving.
This frustration with my own body has sent me on a fantastic, liberating, inspiring and forever onwards journey towards freedom of movement for my body. I signed up to the Franklin Method to start my mobility journey as I kept seeing Franklin whenever I was working at my computer and listening to what he had to say and how he used dynamic imagery to help you improve your movement with a far greater understanding of how your joints should be working.
This knowledge has made me question some of the things I have learned over the years and fitness teaching itself where we have been encouraged to brace or tighten our core to move. If you’ve ever tried to move well when you have tightened your centre, I think you will find you have restricted your movement rather than enhanced it. Now I accept that if you are lifting a heavy weight, it is wise to be prepared for the weight loading so your body will tense but too much tension can limit you from moving as you should be so keep that in mind when you are training.
We explored, in one of my Pilates sessions, moving from a place of no tension. So there is no muscular tension before the exercise is done, you just do it and let your body react. One of my clients found that applying this to her riding lessons completely changed the dynamics of the lesson in an extremely positive way for both pupils and the horses themselves.
Sometimes the anticipation of an event can over tense our bodies. If for example I see a Crossfit workout that I am not too keen on, if I go into that WOD thinking this will be awful, this is going to be hard, I increase the tension in my body. If I reverse that psychology and think doesn’t matter how I do, just do it and enjoy it whatever weight you use, get your technique. I then find that the WOD goes really well and I also don’t wind up getting excessive DOMS the next day!

So back to the back bending! I really enjoyed prepping my body to go into the crab using downward dogs, and deep lunge positions to waken up those hip flexors to allow me more length through the front of my body. I had no major expectations other than this would do me good even if I couldn’t lift myself off the floor which is the case.
Happily I managed to lift into the crab. Can’t say it was the most comfortable of experiences but it happened.
I am finding that as I explore my bodies ability to move, it is giving me more and more. I just have to be wise to rest and repair time too whilst still rehabbing my knee.
What would I say to you all though is go an do something completely different. Your body loves challenge, even if your mind is trying to block it. When we move away from our normal movement patterns this can release tension through our body and have a really positive effect.
Now I am going to try to get one yoga session a month if possible, one to one, as I want to work on specific mobility issues rather than attend a group session, which although would do me good, might not give me the results that I am seeking.
So what’s your goals at the moment for your body? Give it some thought and we’ll have a chat about that in the next few blogs.
Have a happy day! x