Did I really say that? As a 50+ competitive athlete, who used to stretch for up to 2 hours per day; crazy when I think about it. See, I was told to stretch since I lived with fibromyalgia which is chronic body wide pain where our muscles tend to feel tight, restricted and oi the pain.
While there is some controversy to the diagnosis, the fact is, when we feel pain, we usually know it; especially if it lingers. In my case, I only had to endure it for 17 years in my 20's & 30's.
What I didn't know then; is by trying to go for it and gain length, I most likely the tripped the stretch reflex mechanism so my brain would naturally reset the tension levels back to where they were set. Darn that cerebellum. Once it learns something, it's got it for better or for worse.
In those bodily compenated years as I tried to stretch and never got looser; except maybe at the expense of the tendons. I kept going for it. Try as I might to pry open the adductors, even yoga was a knee-jacking up to the celing event. I swear those yogis had super-human special powers.
With some sage fitness gurus, I eventually learned my way out of the chronic pain only to naturally stumble and tear a knee which led me down the path of somatics. This incident for which I am grateful, turned my entire view upside down about exercise.
On the way to becoming a Hanna Somatic Educator where we teach people somatics exericses, I learned how the brain's cortex can reset the resting tension levels of our muscles. This happens when we consciously pandiculate. A pandicualtion is a conscious contraction over a chain or series of muscles.
It's the very thing animals do to reset and reboot their movement software. Initially I thought these somatics people had it all wrong since how could simple micro-movement readjust that pesky cerebellum. Since a pandiculation is a mindful act, the brain's cortex initiates a set of events via the sensory-motor feedback loop. Through another loop, the alpha-gamma loop. We actually fine tune and reset our tension levels.
So I decided to do an experiment. I gave up stretching. For over the past decade, I've continued to notice more comfort, greater ease, less restriction and the absence of pain or discomfort.
Even though I've had a few ribs cracked, the here and there contusions, and micro-traumas we suffer in the beautiful game of soccer. Unlike my fellow competitors who live on ibuprofen, tiger balm, hot tubs, the hops method and other things which are legal in the state of Washington; I've come to appreciate not being sore or tightening up in between matches at a soccer tournament on account of just running like a dog after a ball.
While the p.t. and massage tents are full of athletes treating this or that - some serious, some less. I've found it's far easier to move like an animal and keep wagging the tail.
While the medals are nice, care of the Washinton State Senior Games and U.S. National Veterans Championships. It's so nice to feel comfortable
Stretch if you will, catch me if you can. Woof! Purr...