Monday, 19 November 2018

Body Mindfulness and how to avoid injury

I listened to a fab podcast by Kit Laughlin as he discussed steps to injury recovery.

It is always affirming to hear a respected professional telling the same stories that you preach to your own clients.

He discussed the steps to recovery, with an eminent break-dancer (whose name I have forgotten but his luxurious beard lives in my memory) which I will highlight in the next blog.

However what struck me was how they discussed the path to complete recovery and the acceptance of pain. I think of this as body mindfulness - it needs to be taught to athletes who want any longevity to their career, and to coaches who need their bodies to remain on form in order to teach and practice.



LISTEN TO YOUR BODY WHISPER AND YOU WILL NEVER HEAR IT SCREAM - 
has become a bit of a mantra of mine. 

Being present in your body, feeling where there is tension, breathing into that spot, consciously relaxing the structures you are not using and moving mindfully into stretches, lifts and movement should be the norm. If you spend time in a gym you will hear grunting and swearing you will even hear some coaches encouraging their clients to work through the pain and give more. More what? and for what?  This causes stress and tension, and tension is the precurser to strain which comes before damage and injury.

Practices like yoga and tai chi have been preaching this for years, but often for the practitioner the emphasis is on the form of the movement rather than the feel of the movement. This is necessary for performance but for the rest of us, awereness of how movement feels is where all the pleasure lies.

Exercise without experiencing the feel, leaves us tired and often strung out on endorphins, it gathers rather than dissipates stress. It leaves us exhausted, and in need of rest to recover and relax. Exercise done mindfully is relaxing itself, it is meditation for the body and it feels good.

Once you learn how to listen you will know when to challenge yourself, you will know when to hold back, you will know when to test your limits and when to nurture and rest.

I would encourage practitioners and coaches to find you new cues. Cues that help your clients to experience the joy of movement, help them celebrate the abilities of their body and relax into themselves.

Cues, that include words like:

  • experience
  • feel
  • open
  • release
  • let go
  • be aware
  • let the weight move through you
  • adjust into balance
  • breathe out the tension
....make up your own!

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