I recently wrote an Instagram post about how being super physically flexible isn’t necessarily always a good thing. In it, I wanted to express how there is an absolute connection and continuity between your physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental worlds.
Bringing awareness to our posture or physicality can tell us a lot about our approach to life – the way we respond to stress or threats, what kind of company we keep, how our upbringing was, why we experience certain illnesses, what habits we have, and so on. Thus, decoding and making positive changes to our posture will help optimize our quality of life and ability to thrive.
CUES YOU CAN GLEAN FROM YOUR BODY:
Do you know what your posture looks like? Do you hunch your shoulders forward, or burst your chest forward? Stick your butt out, or tuck it under? Hold your arms in front, beside, or behind you? Where is your line of vision most commonly? Do you stand and walk with your feet turned out, parallel, or in? Do you know where you find it difficult to move or breathe in to? Do you have common areas of tension or weakness that play up whenever you’re feeling stressed or run down? Do you avoid certain movements such as sitting on the floor because it’s hard to get up? Do you prefer fast and intensive, or slow, deep forms of exercise? Are you mindful of how you hold your body when you are moving around, stood still, in conversation with a friend, an enemy? …
Use the answers from these questions to understand yourself more deeply. They may give clues to help your healing.
For example: a painful, weak lower back may want to feel stabilized by stronger legs, or a knowing that you can depend on and support yourself. Or it may be craving better connected abdominal muscles and some attention to what you truly love doing. Reoccurring headaches and tense shoulders may want more support from gaining stronger back and arm muscles, and perhaps some attention to what you’re resisting in life, or where you feel pressure to perform. An upset digestive system might be craving some loving and nurturing attention to help build courage and self-confidence. An imbalanced exercise routine such as a fast paced gym class + running + weights might indicate an addiction to stress and always needing to ‘feel’ something superficial in order to resist feeling a deeper, older pain. An inability to touch your toes may suggest a few stored emotions could be holding you back.
I was always attracted to stretch exercise classes, I hated strength work! I stood with hyperextended legs (snapped into the back of my knees), tucked my butt under and pushed my chest forward. With very weak leg muscles my left knee would often slip in and out of place and my hips often clonked when doing certain movements. Despite being slim, my belly was never toned, and I had little power and stamina behind explosive movements such as jumping or sprinting.
WHAT IT WAS REFLECTING
In some aspects of my life, I was unstable and ‘too flexible’. I was a ‘yes’ person for fear of upsetting anyone, thus I frequently put others before myself to my detriment. I found it difficult to make decisions; I over or under ate to ‘feel full’ or check out; I often attracted energy vampires and was pushed and pulled by people’s moods. I overworked and faked confidence to distract from not knowing what direction to take in life.
MY ROUGH HEALING PLAN
1. Physically – I practise more strength exercises and focus on the stability aspect of stretch poses; I practise eating mindfully and choose grounding, nutrient-dense foods.
2. Emotionally – I practise mindfulness, I look at the motivations behind my behaviour and decisions without judgement; I am more selective with the relationships I have in my life.
3. Mentally – I use NLP to help re-route my thought patterns.
4. Spiritually – I practise transcendental meditation.
5. Environmentally – I organise my work schedule according to what else is going on in my life; I schedule regular breaks away from the city.
If you want more help decoding your body’s posture, I highly recommend the work of Caroline Myss. She has a great chakra chart here that you can follow and learn from.
‘What is always speaking silently is the body. Listen to it’ – Norman. O. Brown