It may seem logical that to become more flexible we must stretch more, but in actual fact it will have very little effect if the following is not part of your practice. We each have different body types which includes the shape and mobility of our joints, elasticity of our tendons and ligaments, which will to a degree limit our flexibility (that is you may never be in Cirque de Soleil, fit folded inside a suitcase or even press your heels to the floor in Downward Facing Dog ~ however each being unnecessary and not an indication of your flexibility). It's not ideal to be too flexible as this can cause instability, leading to possible injuries. We want to be supple - a balance of strength and flexibility instead of one or the other, in fact key to being flexible is to have strength also. Lacking strength in stabiliser muscles means external muscles hold tension to compensate for joint weakness or misalignment, and these bigger muscles will NEVER shift into flexibility by stretching because they are unwilling to let go as there'll be no support in the joint. Here's how you can become more flexible; Learn how to breathe correctly! That's it! Yes that is it. With an efficient day-to-day breath you will create a naturally strong supple core, improve your posture and realign your joints which releases unnecessary tension in compensating external muscles. Effective breathing allows your pelvis, spine, ribcage, shoulders (all your joints) to have more flexibility as they fluidly expand and contract on each breath. With correct breathing we are more alkalised, less acidic (another cause of joint stiffness and muscle tension) and feel more energised and strong. One powerful benefit of breathing well is we use it to let go ~ not just the muscles but the Mind ... which is most often the reason for the muscle tension in the first place. This opens us up to a more 'go with the flow' attitude, reducing the need to control or hold onto fears as tension in the body. The breath provides us with empowerment, positivity, strength, courage, a sense of connection and peace ~ our ability to 'trust', to release stress and anxieties. And in times like these this is imperative! There is a lot of change and unknown, the breath provides us with the support as we navigate challenges and stability of our mental health. Our physical body is merely a by-product of the mind.
Are you aware of how you breath? Notice what happens to your breath when you feel stress or resistance, be it in your body or a situation in your life. We tend to hold it or shallow breathe which prevents us from moving past the feeling and in fact, makes us more tense and inflexible. Change the way you breathe and you will move through it, whatever it is. You can let it go, and your body will follow.
Check out Inspya Yogi + my dear friend and personal PT Tam Kerr's testimonial below on how her recent 3 months of breath work has so profoundly impacted her - she did leave out that her nose is now on her knees in forward folds, but clearly by what she's written that seems the least impressive result! Join me for a private Meditation & Breathwork Coaching session or your Online Membership to improve your breathing efficiency, some suggestions below in your library;
Core Setup 1 - Core Breathing (Tam's #1 fave and daily practice)
Viloma - Lung Expansion Breath (Tam's #2 fave and also a daily practice)
Purna Breathwork - complete breath or Yogi 3-part breath
Join me for Lowerbody & Upperbody Mobility sessions livestream this Thursday 9.30am and next Thursday. See 'Events' or your 'Included Content' library thereafter.
May we breathe our way into being more flexible in mind and body and be open to change, releasing resistance and tensions.
Namaste, Nic Whiteman
Tam’s Testimonial "I’m going to keep this short because I could write an essay about Nic and what she has taught me, especially what I have really listened to recently. I’ve known Nic for 6yrs and I’ve dabbled in breathing and Yoga with her during this time, but to be honest 100 burpees has been a hell of a lot more inviting to me than lying over a bolster being just in my own thoughts. I never felt like I quite grasped the concept of why breath was so damn important and if I’m being truthful I didn’t even realise how poorly I was breathing for most of my life until recently. Over the past 11 weeks I’ve had to undergo some rehabilitation on an old injury and for the first time in my life I’ve not been able to exercise, and for those that know me taking away my exercise is pretty much taking away my life. But I’ll tell you something really cool that I never expected to happen, I don’t miss it that much!! Why? Because I’ve replaced it with daily breathwork and yoga with Nic and I’m absolutely addicted, I have felt my nervous system calm down more and more each day, my mind is clear and focused and I am more motivated than ever, and for the first time in I don’t even know how long my body feels relaxed and bloody hell I'm even a bit flexible haha never thought I’d say that.
I’ve stretched a lot over the years but now that I know how to actually use my breath whilst stretching I can see the incredible benefits it’s having on my body. I’ll always go back to my training I love it, but I will NEVER give up my breath work and I’m hungry to learn and do more and even pass this onto my own clients. Nic you’re one in a million, I can’t even thank you enough for changing my world , ....she’s probably like I told you all this for 6 years haha I’m a slow learner. Please if you think you know how to breathe “YOU PROBABLY DON’T” if you are feeling inflexible or stressed in any way, and you need this more than you know. Nic has an incredible talent in teaching breathwork and I believe it will honestly change your life as it has mine."