Did you know your muscles talk to you? Our bodies were designed to be balanced and aligned with the perpendicular pull of gravity. Our bodies are intended to have a perfect balance point between the right and the left, the front and the back. When you are off balance for an extended period of time, your body starts to act like a muscular tug of war. And only one muscle can win. Pain, strain, and tension all come from one muscle screaming because they are losing the battle.
If you think back to your tug of war days, you may recall there are two ways to win: You can pull harder (recruit more muscles to help), or give in and let go. If we ignore the pain and simply power through, then our body is often left out of balance with one side significantly dominating. Ignoring pain leads to chronic pain. So where do we start? At The Tummy Team, we help people understand what parts of their body are in this tug of war and how to help release and balance it all out.
First, you need to be aware of what is going on. ‘Powering through’ leads to disconnection and often desensitization of your body. Awareness happens when you reconnect with your body. It is very difficult to activate something you cannot feel. It is nearly impossible to change something of which you are unaware.
Start listening to your body!!!
Your brain is a communication system that ‘talks’ to every part of your body. Every muscle in your body has a voice. The muscles you are used to using are easily heard. Muscles that have been neglected or underutilized have only a quiet whisper. For example, if asked to bend your elbow to activate your bicep, it’s no problem. What about your pinky toe? Can you easily isolate it and lift it separately from your other toes? It’s not as easy, is it? Some muscles are simply quiet because we don’t need to use them much. Yet others are screaming because they are being overused. They are losing the tug of war from an imbalance. When we don’t know what to do, we ignore it, and this leads to a major disconnection.
Pain is actually a blessing.
I am aware that this is an odd statement. But pain is actually your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and begging you to fix it. What is making your body scream and whine? Does your back hurt when you carry your kids? Does it hurt when you do the dishes? Do you get headaches when you work at the computer? Does your body start failing you by the end of the day? Do you wake up in pain? What is triggering your pain? It’s time to answer these questions.
We must start with awareness, even if that awareness reveals our weakness and limitations. It’s time to face the truth. If you are so busy just trying to survive, your body never has time or energy to be able to help you heal.
Next, we need to start connecting again. This can be difficult because we have trained ourselves to multitask, disconnect, power through and ignore pain.
Connecting to your body again is a process but it is essential to be able to fully heal.
Our body can still function in a lot of postures and positions, but when you have weak muscles and significant muscle imbalance, it’s hardly functioning at all. Every muscle has an ideal alignment for it to function optimally. At The Tummy Team, we focus on finding neutral. This is the balance point, the place to start building from and the quiet calm in a storm of tug of warring muscles. Neutral never feels natural at first. But when your body truly can reclaim neutral, it will be happy. Posture and alignment work never seems like exciting stuff but it can be genuinely life-changing.
Let’s consider one example of living outside of neutral that creates pain without even realizing it: The weight of your head. We teach the principles ‘eyes on the horizon,’ ‘cable from the crown of your head’ and ‘elbows in.’ These simple posture cues will gradually start moving your upper body into its neutral position.
What do you have going on in your life that keeps your eyes down? Looking at your cell phone while walking? Looking at your laptop while on the couch? How about your elbows out? Do you carry kids everywhere? Is it how you are sitting to nurse your baby? How can you adjust your environment to help you fix this?
The Tummy Team will help you systematically rebuild your core and realign your body to help you become pain-free, connected and strong. But it begins with changing how you are interacting with your body. It is about practical, little steps that add up to life changes.