When we are stretching, we are addressing much more than the length/tension relationships of our bodies – we are stretching our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies.
That can make stretching a powerful healing tool. But to fully use it as such, we must bring awareness and intention to our stretches.
To help you center your awareness and intention, here are seven techniques you can use to bring Dr. Quiet into your stretches.
I invite you to try one from the list below and watch as your body releases and opens up.
1. Soothing Your Crying Babies
Stretching should not be a painful experience. If your baby was crying, would you pick him up and shake him around? Most of us would probably pick our baby up and soothe him, relax him and show him love.
Go into your stretching with the mindfulness that your tight areas are “crying babies”. You want to soothe them and love them. By doing this you will get a much better release and it will be a good practice in mindfulness and loving yourself.
2. Be Mindful of Your Posture and Breathing
Mindful stretching is a good time to bring awareness to posture and your breathing. Never miss an opportunity to be mindful of deep, diaphragmatic breathing and postural alignment. The more often we are aware, the easier it is to change and let go of what no longer serves us.
Be aware of the images and thoughts that arise during each stretch. Your body will guide you as to what may be energetically stored in these tight areas. Write down these images and thoughts, and then do exercise #3 from my first blog on healing with zone exercises.
3. Connect Your Stretches to the Chakras or Zones
Your stretching can be used as Chakra work, (or Zone Work from How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!) by correlating each stretch to a given Chakra or zone.
You can breathe in the correlating Chakra/zone color as you do each stretch. You can repeat correlating mantras during each stretch or you can pay attention to the correlating lessons from the Chakra/zone. In this way, stretching is a great opportunity to become intimate with your self.
4. Breathe in Nourishment
As you stretch, imagine every cell in your body taking a deep breath with you. Focus especially on the areas of tightness or pain.
Imagine with each inhale you are bringing in nourishment, oxygen, healing etc., and with each exhale you are simply letting go of anything that no longer serves you. Intend those areas to open up and release, imagine them in your mind’s eye gaining more range and letting go of tension.
5. Stretch before Bed
It is also a great idea to stretch in the evening before bed. This will not only set you up for a good night sleep but it will also have profound effects on your length/tension relationships. You will be healing and regenerating throughout the night in alignment without gravity pushing you back into your old patterns.
6. Static Stretching in the Evening
If you have the time in the evening it may serve you well to do longer, static holds during your stretching (1:00+). This will be a more relaxing, mindful stretching session as compared to the contract/relax method used prior to corrective exercise.
7. Breathe in Yin
Lastly remember that tight muscles are usually full of yang (hot) energy, it will serve you well to breathe in yin (cooling) energy while you are stretching.
It may serve you well to choose one exercise per stretch session. Part of becoming intimate with Dr. Quiet is concentrating the mind on a singular thought and eventually no thought at all. This can be quite challenging to our ego-mind. You may notice (as I do during my own stretching) that your mind will jump at times from focus to thoughts of the future or of the past.
Herein lies the challenge.
Open your heart and have compassion for yourself. It’s OK – this is part of the process. Relax, breathe, and bring your awareness back to your exercise. Your mind may run off again, and again bring it back with compassion.
As you become more intimate with Dr. Quiet, the time between your mind’s “running off” will increase slowly.
How do you bring Dr. Quiet into your stretches? Please feel free to share your techniques or your experiences with the tips I described above in the comments section below.