STUCK IN OUR WAYS // Increasing flexibility
Have you ever noticed that as we get older we lose virtually all aspects of flexibility? Not only do our physical bodies become stiff and inflexible – for many of us, so do our minds.
Stuck in our ways.
We believe that accessing flexibility could be a path to the fountain of youth. To move more, expand our thoughts more, and allow ourselves to feel differently.
This fall, we are committed to increasing flexibility on all levels.
On a physical level, flexibility is paramount in maintaining a youthful appearance long term. As we get older, our shoulders tend to move forward, our lower backs stiffen, and we move with much less grace and ease. Have you ever noticed the flexibility of a child? They move with a natural lightness that we tend to lose early on. Moving more organically and with flexibility is a way to increase blood flow to virtual alls aspects of our being, and when we increase blood flow – we increase health and vitality. On a purely aesthetic level, being more flexible may make your face look younger, improve skin tone, and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and unwanted veins. It really does brighten your overall being.
For many of us the loss of flexibility starts in the back. Having a flexible lower back, and spine is a way to ward off postural and structural problems that feel almost inevitable in older age. When our backs are flexible, we increase stability and range of motion in all of our limbs, and improve our flow of oxygen. Literally the breath of life.
In the words of Joesph Pilates – "A man is as young as his spinal column." This couldn't be more true.
The world around us is setup to create bad habits. Sitting at desks, sitting in cars, and even footwear can all contribute to unnatural motion. As we age, most of us move away from incorporating those gentle natural motions and movements that help our flexibility.
Mentally, increasing flexibility should be more obvious. As we evolve in the social media landscape of echo chambers and confirmation biases, thinking outside of the box seems to get harder and harder. Even if you are open to new discoveries, many of us are still only getting fed the information we seek out. Most of us can agree that things have never felt more polarized.
We like to challenge ourselves to truly think objectively, but that can be very hard. When the term "do your research" has become synonymous with rabbit holes of varying accuracy, how do you find expansive information? We believe that the most mental growth comes from exposing yourself to things that feel a little unexpected. Read a book on a subject you've never thought about or on a subject you think you don't agree with. Try reading some history, or books written in another time period. Discovering books that are well researched, and written is probably the best way to expand. Even thoughtful fiction can offer interesting parallels into the human experience, and provide new insights. One thing is for certain, the internet is starting to be a murky place for true expansion. Art, music, play, and time spent away from a screen are all essential.
Of course there are other ways to increase mental flexibility, and for us that goes back to the physical. Getting outside and into nature is one of the best ways to connect with a more enlightened sensibility.
Here are our top 10 ways to increase flexibility:
1 - We've said it before, and will say it again. Touch your toes. Anytime your feeling sluggish, touching your toes is a great refresher.
2 - Simple stretching. We live in a culture that is hell bent on the hard workout, but even taking five minutes in the morning can provide a lot of relief.
3 - Buy some thera bands. Simple, portable, and easy to have around, thera bands are an underrated form of physical therapy.
4 - Play! If you have kids or don't, playing can be a great form of natural movement. (As I write this my shoulders are sore from digging holes in the sand at the beach!) Do some cartwheels if you can. Touch your toes again. Practice handstands, or hang from a tree. All of it feels really good.
5 - Foam roller. I personally keep this under my side of the bed, and foam roll as often as possible. This is great for back and hip flexibility.
6 - Go for a hike. Being out in nature, and getting exercise is a win-win for flexibility on all levels. It is our favorite way to move.
7 - Practice thinking creatively. Whether writing down new ideas, doing an art project, or even crafting with your kids, thinking creatively is expansive. Many of us get stuck in the monotony of daily life and do very little to exercise creativity.
8 - Read a book. Reading books is our favorite way to expand our thinking process. We recommend picking up something that feels a little out of the box for you.
9 - Talk to people who don't think like you! In these strange new times connecting in person might feel like a challenge, but exercising the tools of connection can be used to expand your thought process. If you are going to connect with people you might not agree with, we recommend doing so with an open mind and without judgement. Cancel culture sucks for everyone.
10 - Learn a new skill. Perhaps obvious, but always a good idea, learning something knew is a great way to expand.
We hope you find this both inspiring and enlightening!