Undoing Negative Physical Patterns & Imbalances

As I approach the homestretch of my 30 day challenge, I am beginning to feel a fuller, deeper stretch without increasing the range of the stretches.  This may seem very basic, and it is. But I'm also feeling so much more connected to my core that my movements are feeling more efficient and stable.

There are countless stretches (seated forward folds, side bends, & twists) where I'm able to make the shape, but I'm totally bypassing important muscle groups or the stretch simply isn't coming from the right place.  The biggest thing I noticed is the imbalance in my back. My right side is so much more developed.  How can I possibly stretch properly if I'm totally imbalanced and not stable?

I was totally unaware of these changes in my body as they were happening, but the Advanced Reform system is such an "absolute value" system that it can give you the feedback you need so you can feel the stability come back to the body.  You will even feel the imbalances of life affecting your body sooner, and the sooner you feel that happening the sooner you will be able to address it. 

Being aware of how a particular activity may pull your body out of alignment is so important to staying balanced.  Once the body begin to move towards a more stable place it can begin to gain more mobility.  And the only thing I find more amazing than feeling strong, is enjoying the sensation of flexibility. 


Bring on the Length

Early in my commitment to doing 30 days of Advanced Reformer my body was going through the aches and pains of muscle growth.  Like anything though, once you get used to a workout you grow less and less stiff as the body gains strength and endurance.

Now that I'm starting to get over the amount of shoulder and ab work that it takes to complete the system, I'm able to focus more on stretching; mostly in my back and hips.  Just like the mat work, once your body gets used to keeping it's shoulders up it becomes less about "work" and more about spinal stretching and lengthening.  And a healthy spine and back is EVERYTHING...

A lifetime of lifting weights and trying to improve my endurance, mostly through running and springing, has left my body feeling very knotted up and tight in ways that I felt helpless to undo.  But making gains towards having a more open back and hips has made an awesome difference in my day to day.  By conditioning my body with the Advanced Reformer system I feel like it's pulling my body in a direction where my baseline of tightness is much less and I feel better connected to my body in a way that makes me feel like it's opening up.  

I'm really looking forward to feeling even more length and space in my body.

Relieve Knee Pain

Knee pain has been apart of my life for as long as I could remember.  Whether it was from sitting too long, lifting (probably improperly), or running with already tight hips, pain was there.  I recently took at awesome backbending class with the ledgend, David Vendetti, at South Boston Yoga.  We went through various hip and quad openers and noticed I could roll on and off my knee again.  This hasn't been the case since I was like, 7 years old.

Anyway, it's just another reason why I love the Pilates system.  If you experience knee pain and have tight hip-flexors or quad muscles, or both, ask yourself how balanced the front of your leg is versus the back.  If you feel the front has more tension than the back, perhaps try single leg deadlifts, or hamstring curls in addition to stretching the front of the leg.  Anything that can help balance it out.

Changes 10 Days In

The changes that I've noticed the most in my body so far is that my left shoulder is feeling more balanced, my inner thighs feel strong, and my right hip is rotating back in.  I'm most excited about my hip. I've been exacerbating negative habits that I developed from playing a lifetime of tennis.  When you hit 10 million forehands with your hip open on just one side, your leg is going to be turned out.  Not addressing this rotation has 100% been the source of any knee pain I've had and general tightness all around my right pelvis and low back.  Ouch.

I won't get deep into it, but the turnout also affects how my feet strike the floor and that's relevant to the health and balance of my hips.  It's something to consider if your feet cramp a lot, for example.  I definitely went through a foot cramping phase around day 6 and 7 where it was hard to move through the Advanced System while maintaining mirror imaged feet. (Something I talk about at great lengths in class).

Completing the Advanced Reformer system requires slightly less and less emotional energy. I often don't want to do it because I'm tired or have errands or whatever, but I never regret it once I start.  I'm excited to complete the 30 days. 

No Pain, No Gain

The last 3 days have been rough.  Im sore all over the place.  It feels like growing pains from puberty.  The first 3 days I was really gung-ho about doing the maximum repetitions and it's catching up with my body and also affecting my mood.  It's a little frustrating to be to achy.

I'm also recording some parts of my practice to see where I can catch myself cheating.  And I noticed I can really improve upon Balance Control - Push Up Front.  Doing it on the balls of the feet with heals high makes the move so much tougher. If you ever took my class and I had you roll down from standing on your tippy toes down into a forward fold keeping your heals high, you know how hard that is.  Anyway, I don't keep my chest up and my spine long when I push the carriage out. My torso is responding to the shoulder work with rounding a little bit.  Definitely something to focus on and remedy.

Even though I'm sore I'm feeling better put together when I finally do move around.  I can feel my body responding to the Advanced System and I'm able to practice yoga, take boxing classes, or even just bike around with more intensity and know it's coming from the right place. I'm not in my hips or my quads as much as I used to be.  Moral of the story, no pain no gain.

Getting Motivated - 30 day Advanced Reformer Challenge

I never really considered myself a writer or the blogging type.  Truthfully, I just didn't feel like I had something I needed to share that I didn't already do in my classes.  But, recently, I got motivated. 

After traveling to 7 countries and a few US cities all in the first 6 months of 2017, my body was out of whack.  Since my 20's I've been dealing with tight hips, sporadic low back pain, tight quads and glutes, and some weaknesses throughout my body that were not helping the situation.

My answer is 30 days of Advanced Reformer.  And if I happen to be away from my equipment, I'm committing to doing Advanced Mat work in it's place.  But advanced anything is hard. It's not only a ton of ab work but the endurance, the shoulder stability, hip stability, the precision of it all... I could go on.  But I'm 3 days into my streak and already my benchmarks for my back's flexibility in forward fold is deeper, but my hamstrings are ON FIRE all day. 

It's still very early in the process, but I'm excited to take on the challenge and I'm excited for what it is going to do.  But the work is hard. I'm taking a break when I need to, but I'm very present in the work.

Nothing else to report except I'm excited for this journey!