Hello sports fans round the globe, I’m glad to be back with my column this week, which is on Stretching to your boundary in Sports.
Every tradition, religion and science recognizes that the human being balances between the world of Matter and an intangible, yet mysteriously palpable and somewhat measurable world of Energy.
The building blocks of human form, whether you scientifically refer to them as atoms, or poetically referred to them as dust, are impelled towards movement by a primal impulse we call breath.
We are the movement of breath through the body. And, just as beautiful music is produced when the skilled musician blows through a well-crafted flute, so too does man’s life become a beautiful song when the breath of the Universe moves smoothly and softly through his body.
But unlike the flute, which holds its creator’s form the duration of its existence, the human body is constantly in flux. It is always growing, reacting and responding, it is a sensitive “thinking body” that is highly malleable. From the very first slap laid upon the baby’s backside by the doctor, the soft, supple, spiritual conduit we call “body” begins taking the form of the demands pressed upon it by its Earthly existence.
From this point onward, the once unobstructed respiratory wave begins to exhibit defensive, utilitarian and even neurotic restrictions created by and held on to by the muscular system.
There are several bands of muscular tension that regularly manifest throughout the core of the body, all of which restrict the capacity to breathe deeply. Muscles in the face and skull, the jaw and neck, the chest, the belly, and finally the pelvic floor all contribute to the subtle flexion and extension of the physical human core that he called the respiratory wave.
As a psychoanalyst, Reich determined that each of these muscular restrictions is created by the organism as a physical defense against a psychological pain. He asserted that by helping his patients release their muscular tension and restore their capacity to breathe deeply that they not only felt better mentally, but obviously they will look better!
Of course, stretching can be overdone. Too much of a good thing almost always becomes a bad thing eventually – the same is true of strength training, but the idea that stretching in general is useless or even detrimental misses the big picture.
If you’ve got a cold, a couple tablespoons of cough syrup might help you sleep through the night and feel better the next day, but drinking three bottles of the stuff could land you in the emergency room.
I could even argue against drinking water because you could overdose on it if you force yourself to drink several gallons in a short period of time. Of course that would be ridiculous though. Drinking lots of water is good for you! Drinking lots of water is good for you!
There is an inherent degree of risk to everything, but that doesn’t mean we should lock ourselves in a cage and avoid all potentially dangerous Common Mistakes: Moving too fast, too soon; We just need to be sensible and put some thought into things.
Anyone who’s practiced strength training for a significant amount of time has no doubt had to deal with setbacks and (hopefully minor) injuries. In fact, strength training is often blamed for these injuries.
This is also ridiculous; blaming strength training for an injury is like blaming your car because you crashed into a tree. Individuals, not their vehicles (automotive or otherwise), are responsible for their actions, as well as the consequences that follow.
Stretching and strength training are no different in that regard. Yes, some people do get hurt by participating in these activities, but both are often scapegoated as the sole cause of injury. If you are diligent and consistent in your stretch routine, you will reap the benefits of your work. If you are foolish and or short-sighted, you may wind up frustrated and or injured.
Hope you enjoyed this edition? Hope it’s not too technical, however, join me again for the next edition. Till then, have a blissful week.
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