Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sculptors Awaken

Whilst at the recent homecoming training for Restorative Exercise faithful I noticed that for most, sitting, [getting upright atop of their ischial tuberosities] folks need a block or a bolster for it to be easy and I do not.  And in stark contrast to so many in the room, I rate myself an under-achiever.  While many declare daily multiple hour devotion to our exercises, I do very little.  Well, I do walk a couple of miles almost daily and that walk is more and more aligned and posteriorly-driven.  I do teach a few classes too, so I get to demonstrate stuff, and hang a bunch, but I invest precious little time to our corrective exercises.  So it seemed to me I didn't deserve this, I'd done nothing much to earn my great range of motion.

Then it struck me. (I flash back six decades) I grew up in a house headed by a Native American.  It made sense to him that people naturally sit on the floor; (the minivan and lazyboy had not yet been invented) we had almost no furniture.  Made sense to him...  Hey, I didn't have furniture when I was growing up...

So I spent my earliest years sculpting MY body to raise and lower my butt to & from the ground, not from the couch or the barcalounger [how do you spell bark-a-lounger]?.  The operations department in MY head has a huge datafile relating to what people in the yoga classes I attend refer to as crazy flexible hips.  Mine just grew up with the experience of natural movement, and theirs, in the main, did not:  different cultural program working here.

Now, I expect my body to be able to do just about anything I'd like it to.  I have a "why not" attitude founded on my body responding with willingness to try new things because I am constantly aware of its potential, not constantly being reminded of its limitations.  It has ever been so.

I grew up thinking that everyone was just like me (!) and the rest of life has been a series of little ah-ha moments about just how different I am.  We're all unique, right? You can do stuff I can't because of who and how you are. Robustness of pelvic experience from floor-sitting right through formative years gave me a giant 'leg up' on this existence.  Hey, I got my PhD in floor-sitting when I was 7 :o)

I just plunked down so my spouse could take a picture

If you have read earlier posts, you know that I've sustained injuries that limit my knee flexion and those are improving daily, as I re-sculpt myself.  I don't know the number of degrees I've gained.  Becoming pain-free was my happiest milestone passed and the rest is just gravy.  If I live long enough I'll get my ten-year-old knee back. 

If you're a glass half-empty type, you think well, goody for you, missy, I grew up with furniture and am out of luck.  But that wouldn't be exactly true, as you're not dead yet, and expanding your range of motion and re-sculpting is something you can work on continuously throughout every day if you'll pay some attention to your alignment, walk some, hang from your hands some, and squat some. 

Start lowering your butt to the floor a few times a day.  Use a hand to begin with if you need to.  Celebrate your loudness of groan. That's your body saying, where have you been all my life!  And it will be grateful for every single millimeter of more opening, caused by more muscle tissue getting involved as you lower more and fall less.  If you're able to keep this going on even a fairly regular basis, you can become more functional (youthful) not less, over time.  And you're going to be around for a while, right?  You could make a start now.  Well, alright, maybe NOW.  Want help?

We're sculptors.  How and how much you move continuously (slump much?) molds and shapes our tissues.  We're sculptors working in the medium of our own human tissue.  How you move your body [or don't] is your tool for fashioning the masterwork.  And you can call a "do-over" any time at all. 

So get up and boogie as it is truly never too late to start and I think I'm almost old enough to be living proof.  Thanks, Pop for the floor sitting ability.  And Mom too, who was into the healthy, whole, healthy food long before it was defined as such by anyone.  (Even if she always did yearn for a comfortable couch)  And you were right Mom, one day I would be glad about having vegetables for snacks.  And it's been pretty much everyday for decades.  Didn't see that coming...