Stretching Part I: A Practice Of Listening To Our Body

Stretching is a practice, which requires our undivided attention to the experience of the body. It is a practice of turning our focus inward to the sensations of the body.  We can begin this inward journey to the body through focused breathing.  By breathing with intension we deeply oxygenate our tissue and begin to tune the nervous system into a state suitable for stretching. With each breath we become more present and further centered in the experience of our body.  This presence in body heightens our awareness to sensations such as tension, pain, of our breath moving in and out; the pulsing waves of blood as it flows through arteries and into tissues, and the streaming of energy moving through our nerves as the neuro-muscular system communicates.  It is truly astonishing what is there, inside the you-niverse of the body, when we tune in and listen.  This myriad of sensations act much like a language, allowing our body to communicate to us its state of being.  By listening we can intuitively understand our body's language of sensations, and begin to trust what we hear to guide our stretching practice. Questions of how long to hold a stretch, what is the right level of stretch intensity, the timing and frequency, etc., will all be answered by your body, the more you can listen. This is not to say we should never follow the science of proven stretch techniques, but rather that we not let a scientifically prescribed protocol override what our body tells us.  Stretching is not forcing the body to submit into flexibility.  The most crucial aspect of stretching, first ahead of the science of application, is the skill of listening intuitively so that our body can guide us into greater flexibility.   In the next edition we'll continue with Stretching Part II: Myofascial Wave-Stretching Learn about your Myofascial system and how you can use breath and waved timing to create substantial gains in myofascial flexibility as well as recovery. 

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