Over the past two days, I have gone from wondering if maybe relaxation was a key to flexibility (and to life) to knowing that without a doubt it is. This is especially true for someone like myself who has suffered from a general sense of high-tension throughout the body, specifically in the joints.
I have just been exposed to what is perhaps the best book I have ever read, Hands of Light by Barbara Brennan. This book explains health and wellness through the energy system and is a course in healing through this energy system.
I have spent so much time in yoga classes, dance classes, pilates classes, and everything else trying to achieve relaxation and looseness through extreme bracing and tension. Feeling that hamstring stretch so intensely that my breath ceases, my chest tightens and my shoulders round. I always had a hunch that perhaps all that this was doing was moving the tension from my hamstrings into these constrctions, but was always assured in some form or another to just persevere.
Maybe this was the best advice, I’ll never know. But I do think that an analogy applies here from Keith Johnstone in his book Impro (another incredible book). Johnstone explains that while a good teacher imparts a great deal of wisdom, knowledge and understanding to a student, a bad teacher not only does not do this, but may even put the student on a dead-end or harmful track.
I have begun to think the same thing about people with extreme physical inflexibility. Pushing too far (i.e. trying to do the splits when you cant touch your toes) may actually increase the sense of tension which is causing the inflexibility in the first place. So the way to become more flexible is to relax into, i.e. ACCEPT, the inflexibility, the present state, in the first place. Because spiritually and psychologically, this pushing is a direct signal that you will not accept where you are at–that rather than accepting, you will use your will-power and change where you are at by any means necessary.
In the case of flexibility, which in my case has become analogous to healing, to me this is a bad teaching, a dead-end path. So from now on, I am going to focus first on my state of relaxation rather than where my body happens to be. Because the other way has NOT been working and I have realized is putting the cart before the horse.
Now, a word of caution. This path has a steeper “learning curve” so to speak. You may feel like you are not making an ounce of progress for what seems an eternity. PERSEVERE! You are making progress on other levels–on spiritual, etheric levels. You are allowing tension on those levels to dissolve, and this tension must dissolve on these other levels before it can appear as “increased flexibility” on the physical level.
FOCUS ON RELAXATION and everything else will be delivered unto thee. You think it’s a coincidence that the quickest way to die from lack is not food, not water, but BREATH. Furthermore, breath is the same thing as relaxation. You show me your breathing pattern and I’ll show you how relaxed you are. Science is a little slow, but they’re getting there! Give them some time! Until then, have faith, take a deep breath, and relax.