Why is it that when I stretch and lengthen my body it feels good?... every time? This is one of the questions I ask myself when I’m looking at techniques to heal through movement.
There is something delicious about the feeling of expanding the body from the inside out. Kind of like a yawn! It’s to do with energy and the integral organic reaction to movement we have in our body.
When we are in a neutral and still position the muscles, bones, nerves and fascia are not being pushed, pulled or shortened. This is lovely however the reality is, as human beings we are constantly moving and there is a corresponding reaction throughout our entire body to each and every movement. (Well there should be).
To give an example, as you are sitting here reading this article send away your right knee and notice the subtle reaction in your pelvis, up to your waistline and maybe even your shoulders (depending on how much space you have in your internal landscape ). This is an organic and healthy reaction of your body as you send your knee away and demonstrates that we are designed to move in many directions at once.
However when the body is compressed and lacking space we lose the ability to have this natural reaction and as a result, bones, muscles and anything inside our trunk such as internal organs get slightly squished, pushed or pulled. The thought of that alone doesn't feel so good!
Nobody likes being squished, pushed or pulled and neither does anything that lies inside your internal landscape. Since humans discovered the ability to walk on two legs we have had the constant pressure of gravity beaming down on us. Couple that with our modern sedentary lifestyles and we have a lot of downward pressure through the crown of the head, shoulders, spine and pelvis. This pressure you may not feel at all, but over time it builds and creates problems like poor posture, a lack of space for organs, less flow of blood and therefore oxygen around your body. Similarly to landing in a polluted city, initially you may not notice the bad air but over time you could develop breathing problems such as asthma as a result of the subtle but constant pollution. Yes you could think of poor posture as pollution for your body!
There is no wander it feels good to have a big yawn stretch in the morning and there is no wander why exercise that invokes internal space in the body feels so liberating!
There is a principle to movement called Axial Elongation which means to elongate your trunk. I like to add width to this principal too calling it Axial Elongation and Width! Putting this principal into your exercise will help to maintain your internal landscape as you move. Specific exercise that I’ve found to be particularly effective with improving internal landscape is Gyrotonic/Gyrokinesis. Finding exercises that encourage this have been a game changer for me and my clients.
Here is an exercise called mermaid which is great for improving your internal landscape and improving your posture.