I remember when I had the great idea …
I was watching old Kung fu movies and was so inspired by the way they moved.
The high kicks, the low stances, the freedom in every movement, that sense of being a grown adult who still knows how to play and move dynamically …
The way humans should (in my humble perspective).
I had dreams of moving like that.
So, I decided to take this getting flexible thing seriously.
I tried every flexibility trick in the book.
- I did static stretching,
- Relaxed stretching,
- Contract / relax stretching,
- I did lots of stretching …
And I followed all the ‘gurus.’ They gave me technical answers like you need to stabilise this micro muscle or un-glue this part of your fascia.
It was all a bit too much jargon and ultimately led me to more confusion.
A few months later not much in my body had changed.
I felt discouraged and thought, maybe I’m just one of those people who aren’t meant to be flexible.
But then I took a step back and realised the problem wasn’t my body …
It was the out of balance, main-stream approaches I was trying to succeed with, in my martial arts flexibility quest.
In fact upon reflection, they were flat out wrong. They neglected they way the body and mind work together, and focused on just the external factors of flexibility, like only stretching.
Things became clearer when I dived deeper into how the body and the mind are designed to work.
Fast forward >> a few challenging years of trial and error later
And I found a process that works in an integrated way, with the body and the mind, to create a strong, supple physical foundation.
I tested it on my friends, family and my students – with a range of backgrounds from martial arts, to Yoga, to business people.
They all began to move with more freedom, and became happier in the process.
The results were too good not to share with you, which is what today’s post is all about.
Stretching … Only part of getting a flexible body
In my journey to become more flexible and live with more physical freedom, and help others do it too; I’ve noticed a few common types of restriction that hold people back:
- The overly-tight type: that’s often strong, but only in smaller ranges. They can be great at contraction, but not so good at relaxation – this was me.
- The overly-bendy type: that’s often flexible, but lacks the ability to use it to move dynamically. They can be great at relaxing into positions, but not so good at contraction.
- The mixed type: that’s tight in some places and bendy in others. They fit somewhere in the middle of the above two types.
Where do you fit in the mix?
When I tested just stretching on myself (the overly-tight type) and also those who represented the other types, it wasn’t as effective as I initially anticipated.
While we improved our range of motion in the short term, the following day, our bodies just went back to the way they were. This happened day after day.
There was something missing …
One common thread
I realised the physical restrictions and tightness (both for myself and the folks I was helping), we’re based around the same thing …
A lack of the experience of safety, in both the mind and the body!
Any movement, or place our bodies felt at risk of injury (real, or perceptive), there we found restriction and tightness.
Creating a safe flexibility foundation
I found five important elements, that when blended and balanced formed the multi-faceted approach we were looking for.
It gave our bodies and minds the safe experience needed.
Almost like magic new ranges began to naturally open up, and we began to embody more physical freedom and dynamic movement, week after week.
5 elements of a balanced flexibility training program
Here’s the lessons I’ve learned and what I recommend to build a balanced physical foundation that encourages dynamic movement.
- You need a foundation of physical awareness, to connect your mind+body to work together, so you can move better with more confidence.
How do you amplify this connection?
You dive deep to discover what drives your mind, and dive deeper by listening to your body each moment, and then allow the two to merge with a practice that moves you towards Physical Freedom.
- In addition to a deep mind-body connection … You need to create a body that can safely bend and adapt to your environment in each moment, for the way you want to move.
- You need to stretch your current limits consistently, in a way that creates the right stimulus to dynamic movement, not just flopping into a static position.
- The approach I’ve developed is called Rhythmic Strength Stretching.
- This is the foundation that supports a body that’s free to move dynamically.
- Without stability, your flexibility becomes floppy and you have a lack of movement control, which can lead to injury and restriction.
- You need to build a strong body that’s balanced with flexibility, we show you how in the Embodied Flexibility Program.
- This is all about creating open energy channels.
- If you’re like most people, you’ve probably experienced an injury, stress, or gone through a period of not moving so much.
- All of these experiences and more can be stored as tension that builds up inside your body and block it’s natural energy flow, limiting flexibility progress.
How do you create openness and re-establish your natural internal energy flow?
You become mindful of what’s going on inside your body, and put your body in positions that allow it to open for long enough to clear the energy blockages – all by itself.
- This is the simplest element of creating a body that’s free to play, yet the most challenging to achieve.
- Hence why the vast majority of people fail to create distinct changes in their flexibility.
- You need to practice consistently, and humbly, long-term because your body needs time to learn and grow … and quick fixes rarely work.
Key Take Aways
Your body is a complex structure and to create more freedom and flexibility, to move better it needs a balanced physical and mental foundation.
Creating a more flexible body is not …
– just about stretching
– just about strengthening
It’s built on a balanced foundation of:
A new era for flexibility training
I’ve seen too many people try the mainstream approach to flexibility and get frustrated with no results and even severely injure themselves.
It’s my intention to put a stop to that.
- To bring balance to flexibility training, in a way that nurtures your health, at the same time as improving your foundation for physical freedom.
- To create ‘martial art flexibility’ – that’s not floppy like a rag doll (like many approaches), but allows you to move dynamically from a wide range of positions.
Create your own ‘martial art flexibility’ foundation, for dynamic movement.
If my journey has inspired you and you’re committed to making big improvements in your flexibility this year, I’m really looking forward to sharing my approach with you.
Embodied Flexibility is my foundation program to teach you how to say good-bye to tightness, and hello to a dynamic, flexible body used by hundreds of my students, to improve their sports, hobbies, and life.
Will you be next?