OK, so this month my thoughts have been turning towards symmetry – a very difficult thing to achieve especially when our everyday activities and work reduce us to the most asymmetrical we have ever been! Check which ear you hold your phone to, which side you sleep on, the way you sit, which leg is always crossed over, which side you lean to when standing for long periods of time and so on.
During class I hope to make you all a little more aware of these ‘habits’ that we all have, and increase your body awareness to help you with your everyday actions. Let’s start by thinking of a few simple ways we can encourage a return to symmetry:
1- For those of you who are desk-bound during the day, stand up from time to time and perform some simple side stretches on both sides of your body.
2- If you run or walk frequently, check the heels of your shoes for wear and tear. Are they worn more on one side than the other? Do you roll on your ankles? One way to combat this is to be fitted with orthotics or be fitted for training shoes that will offer more support and redress imbalance. However, simply by focusing on how you’re walking may allow you to feel the imbalance and try and correct it as you walk or run.
3- If you are aware of tighter or weaker areas of the body or areas that need strengthening, then take time everyday to do a few simple stretches and strengthening exercises to help. During class try and be more aware of these areas, and what exercises challenge or stretch them. Then try and make time to incorporate them into a short daily routine. Try not to make it too complicated though! Keep it simple.
Have a think about past of present injuries or niggles which make you challenge other areas of your body without you even knowing – we can so easily compensate for discomfort. Have you ever strained your back? Have you ever damaged a calf muscle or ankle? A knee problem? A neck issue? All of these can affect the well-being of other areas of the body. The feet play a huge part in maintaining symmetry and so the importance of footwork, foot rolling and working with the lovely dynaband can have an enormous effect on stabilising and balancing your body! I’ll be looking at fascia (the stuff that encases all our muscles) and how it can be worked to release tension in my next blog. For now, a quick trick for you to try is to roll each foot in turn on a tennis ball or similar. This is your little ‘cheat’ to better hamstring function (ie. touching your toes!) And it feels wonderful!
As we head in to 2017, let us all work towards a more symmetrical, balanced self!