The older I get, the more I feel the need to stretch. Similarly, tight muscles, stiff joints, dry skin, general tension and achiness all serve as cues that it’s time to treat my body and mind to a good, long stretch.
I often think about why I could get away with not stretching when I was younger. As a kid, and perhaps you can relate, I would jump, run, squirm, dance and move all around. I felt like my body could do anything!
In retrospect, I stopped doing those kinds of movements when my adult responsibilities set in. Having less energy from work, raising kids and dealing with life’s stressors, I found that my body had become more stiff from non-use. Does this sound familiar?
Our Goal: Freedom of Movement
When inactivity prevails, a certain feedback loop begins, where it becomes uncomfortable to move in all the ways our bodies were designed to. When people tell me, “I don’t like to stretch, it hurts!” I believe them! I also know from personal experience and working with aging bodies that this trend only gets worse as we remain sedentary.
So, if the thought of stretching makes you cringe, think of it as a slow, deliberate process of creating a pain-free space. We might start the process feeling like a hardened piece of saltwater taffy. It takes gentle pressure to soften up the taffy at first. Then, it becomes more malleable, enabling it to move in ways that hadn’t been possible at first. Eventually, that piece of taffy becomes much more easy to enjoy.
Perhaps memories of eating taffy will sweeten the prospect of gently stretching and enjoying your own body. In Yoga, we often find ourselves in positions that mimic things we may once have done as kids. Stretching and delighting in our bodies may come more naturally to us than we think!
Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
The Simplicity of a Good Stretch! with Sherry Zak Morris
When we get older, we don’t do big kinds of movements as much as we used to. Therefore, the body tends to get stiffer from non-use. That’s why we need to move and stretch as often as we can think of it.
Give your upper body a good stretch, especially when you are working at the computer. I even added in a few stretches for your most important tools… your hands! Always keep yourself nimble, flexible, fluid and graceful!
Neck and Shoulders are connected, loosen them up together! with Sherry Zak Morris
Check out our Essential Program for Posture & Flexibility for more ideas on stretching and moving!
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Online Workshops related to this Topic:
Online Workshop: The Posture Project for the 50+ Population
Poor posture and pain go together. Rounded shoulders and a limping gait are examples of posture gone awry. As a result, these misalignments can lead to pain and joint damage as we age. However, posture can be improved no matter what age you are! This Workshop provides specific movement recommendations that can be done in Yoga classes and/or at home to improve your posture. In addition, Sherry Zak Morris shares the stunning results of her Senior Posture Project.
CREDITS: Author, Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist
Co-Author, Susana Jones, Certified Yoga Therapist
Editor, Maria Perez, Certified Yoga & Group Fitness Instructor