I like to start by answering a simple questions and at the end of this post I have a list of 5 questions you can self reflect on.
Okay, here we go…
Do you want to be Flexible or Functional?
They are not the same.
Flexible can translate to being pliable; or bending without breaking.
Functional however refers to working conditions; being able to move with ease.
A functional body is naturally both flexible and strong.
Let’s take two common scenarios of flexibility to understand this better:
- A gymnast 🤸♀️ needs the highest amounts of flexibility which comes from joints distraction. Compromising joint integrity by the excessive joint range of motions.
- We are naturally born both flexible and functional and mostly stay that way till the age of 6-8 which comes from less resistance in the muscles, which keeps the joint’s range of motion optimal.
And as most of us are born naturally flexible when we involve in various functional activities/sports (except gymnastics and similar activities that promote hyper-flexibility) our body develops accordingly.
If you are involved in tennis from a young age your body will develop one-sidedly.
If you are involved in running or similar sports you will develop certain muscles more than others and so on. You get the idea.
So unless you are competing in Olympics as the best gymnast, aiming for a highly flexible body is not necessary. (And of course, that is your decision to make)
But, in my opinion, the best option is to be both.
Flexible + Strong = Functional
It’s not that simple; because there is a limitation to measuring the level of flexibility and strength someone needs to go by the day and it differs from person to person.
And if you are stiff like wood then that just shows how much you screwed up your posture over the years.
And randomly stretching a tight muscle is not the right solution, perhaps the worse. Most people don’t know the difference between tight and overworked muscle.
Let’s try to understand this with an example;
It’s most obvious you feel tense and overworked when you have to do the job of 2 people just because your boss hasn’t found a replacement for the employees he fired last month. (Yes you can handle it for a few weeks or months but what happens afterward)
We can also debate on stretching helps relax the overworked muscle. Same as you need to get a massage on a weekend or grab a drink after work or have a smoke during work breaks to relax your mind.
You see all that is just temporary and you need to look for a long term solution; hire the people so you don’t have to do their job and you can be more efficient.
Same as improving your posture by training the right muscles to do their job to maintain a good posture.
That’s going to ultimately reduce the stress and tension and you won’t feel an urge to become flexible.
See the problem with becoming flexible or feeling the need for stretching is an addiction.
And not different than a person lifting weights playing sports running hiking all day, every day. (Perhaps they are only good at doing that!) and
That’s just an addictive behavior that comes from limiting beliefs. Many of our behaviors are shaped by our limiting beliefs.
How many times have you got a suggestion from your friend, girlfriend, wife, or colleague to try yoga?
…You either tried yoga, loved it, and still doing it…
…Or you did once and said it’s not for you…
…Or perhaps you did so much that now you are the yoga teacher yourself…
No matter where you are at now in your yoga journey it’s important to look back and remember the primary reason and reflect on it for a few minutes.
Now self reflect or answer these questions.
- What level of flexibility have you achieved?
- How long did it take to get there?
- What has changed in your body since then that has directly improved your physical ability to do something with ease?
- Do you feel functional or just flexible?
- Are you satisfied with your current posture?
And if you are looking for accountability send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org