Mind & Motion


Posted in Inspiration, Pilates by Meghan Pickrell on August 22, 2009

lens1910835_good_plumb_line.jpg1206110680There seems to be a growing trend with people loosing their intuitive body awareness. As children we understand the needs of our body. We eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full. We sleep until rested. As we age, we tend to loose that attunement with our body. We are society of obese individuals. There is no sense of when to eat and when to stop. We are sleep deprived. We have lost the ability to tune in and listen…

Listening takes patience and practice. It involves breath, and readiness. It involves checking in…

I often see clients who have lost this sense of attunement with their physical self. They are in pain. The confusion involves when and how to move appropriately. I am often asked, “how do I know if the pain I’m feeling is a ‘good’ pain or a ‘bad’ pain?” Well, my answer usually goes as follows, “there is no good pain but their are a variety of sensations which could be deemed pain or something else.” Many times the feeling of  muscles contracting or releasing is “painful,” according to the individual. When I ask clients how a particular stretch feels they respond, “it hurts!” Now, I don’t doubt anyone’s experience, but sometimes it’s important to clearly define these different sensations which may or may not fall under the broad umbrella of pain. Stretching, for instance, is a specific sensation. When we tell ourselves stretching is painful we are perpetuating this conditioned response. This, however, doesn’t quite answer the original question.

With regards to back pain, when a movement or position is performed in an appropriate alignment (balanced or “neutral”) and  “pain” is experienced, it’s usually a ‘good’ pain (Please, this is a very general rule of thumb. There may be soft tissue issues to be addressed, etc.). The questions to address when experiencing back or limb pain are: 1) am I in a balanced alignment?, 2) am I feeling my support?, 3) am I breathing?, 4) can I move the closest joint or joints to where I’m experiencing the discomfort? 5) am I moving in an appropriate timing for my task? Obviously, the more knowledgeable you are with the condition (and the body) the more you will be able to answer these questions. If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions than you should be on the right track and any sensations should be good. Remember, this is a very broad set of guidelines. Start to trust your instinct. Test out and follow through with your intuition. You will find out which movements are painful and which are helpful. Attunement is the ability to synchronize. Get curious… and start listening….

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