5Rhythms Friday: So, basically, I need to go back to crawling…

Two things happened this week:

1. I finally went to an osteopath

2. I had an epiphany (stop laughing…this one is BIG).

Let’s start with #1. Yes, I went to an osteopath. I’ve been to one before, but it’s been YEARS. Like, I wasn’t even pregnant last time I went. I don’t know if I was even thinking about pregnancy. And my son is 2 and a half now. Just to give you an idea of the timeline here. But after weeks of left-leg pain and general body ouchiness, not to mention being told off by my leg and my body as a whole, when the chance came to go sooner rather than later…I went.

(For the record, this is how I WANT to feel when I’m dancing now)

Osteopathy is fascinating to me. I like it because it is WAY more gentle than a chiropractor and because it treats the body as a whole system (although, trust me, I have been to my fair share of chiropractors, and I don’t mean to malign the profession. They do great work too). In my mind, osteopathy has a lot more in common with Reiki…only it’s not like Reiki in that there is a much more directed intention and required knowledge of the body’s inner workings.  Whatever, it’s awesome…that’s my real point.

So, I went to this osteopath (the first time I’d been to him…if you live in Halifax, let me tell you, Mike Eddy is a magician). He asked some questions, did a couple of physical tests, and then had me lie down on the massage table. About half an hour later (I think) the treatment was done and I felt sort of like I had a helium balloon attached to the crown of my head. He told me that it could take 4-10 days for the treatment to sink in fully, I paid the secretary, and went on my way, feeling…different.

If I said it was an immediate pain-free transformation, I would be lying. My leg still bothered me, and that night my whole lower body was remarkably painful as usual. But…over the next couple of days…something shifted. And this is where we come to part #2.

#2: My epiphany.

This epiphany is life-alteringly huge. Seriously. It is transforming everything I know and feel about my body. Want to know what it is?

Ready? Here goes…

I clench my butt muscles.

Actually, I clench my leg muscles too.

Actually, I clench pretty much my entire lower body all the time. Even when I’m trying to relax.

Yup.

Now, before you scoff at this epiphany, think about this…

…this is a pattern that I learned in ballet class 14 years ago. 14 years. Almost half my life.

Let’s try an experiment: Clench your leg muscles. All of them. Your butt too. Now hold that for 14 years.

Yup…you would be in major pain too.

(You see dancing, I see clenching. And pain. Pretty scenery though!)

The past couple of days have been all about exploring this. Realizing that I hold tension in my legs and butt when I stand up, when I walk, when I’m sitting and lying down. All. The. Time. Honestly, I’m beginning to think that I hold tension EVERYWHERE all the time, but it’s most noticeable in the legs because that’s where I was trained to focus my energy.

This makes so much sense to me: the decreased flexibility no matter what I do stretch-wise, the fact that I get hurt all the time, my general pain and creakiness, the difficulty I have in grounding myself…it’s all related.

And it all needs to stop. Time to learn to move all over again.

(This is Xander, not me, but you get the idea. Square One. I’m back at it. In a good way. I’m not this cute, though)

Honestly, when I started this year of homecoming, I didn’t realize that the healing would go this deep. I thought I would address a personal issue or two, do an e-course, and arrive at 2012 a more confident person. This is so much more than that. With every layer that peels off, I am more astounded by the depth of healing that is taking place.

This is the deconstruction of all of my movement habits. This is my rebirth.

And that, no matter how you slice it, is a very big deal.

Do yourself a favour: take a minute and feel your body. Really FEEL it. And see if there’s anywhere that you can consciously relax, anywhere that’s really tense. And try…just try…to LET IT GO.

I’m finding that part to be a challenge…how do you unclench a muscle that’s been tense for 14 years? The answer, you just do it. And if you can’t, you take a super-hot bath and try again. Or get a massage (that’s on my list). I’m also thinking about trying the Alexander Technique so that I can get help reprogramming my body. I am not exaggerating when I say that this is transforming my life. It’s like going back to the beginning and learning to walk and sit and stand all over again.

Sometimes you just need to do it.

Are you holding tension or pain anywhere? Unclench your muscle. Relax it totally. Let yourself breathe.

Breathing is the first step to dancing.

xox

Meg

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8 thoughts on “5Rhythms Friday: So, basically, I need to go back to crawling…

  1. Fantastic post Meg! (Sharing!) I am so amazed myself at how much pain I used to ignore in my body because I didn’t know there was an option not to feel pain. Good for you for exploring that in your body!

  2. Thanks, Jenn! 😀

    I have to say, consciously relaxing my muscles (when I can do it, sometimes I still can’t) feels SO AMAZING. There’s this feeling of “Ahhh” like my muscles are sighing with relief.

    Now the key is going to be not being hard on myself when I can’t achieve this relaxation automatically, immediately, and constantly… I still can’t seem to get there when I’m actually dancing…but then, stressing about relaxing is kind of hilariously silly when you think about it… 😛

  3. Hi there!

    I just wanted to step out of the lurker shadows and introduce myself. I found your blog after Googling for some dance-related blogs, specifically 5Rhythms. Although never a professional dancer, I grew up on a steady diet of ballet, jazz, pointe, yadda yadda, and now, at age 30, am dealing with some physical issues that may have stemmed from spending my entire youth obsessed with flexibility over strength training. I “discovered” 5Rhythms this past April, and I feel like a whole new stage of life has begun for me. I too am slowly learning how to “unclench,” both physically and emotionally! Starting a regular 5Rhythms practice and returning to my yoga roots have inspired me to start a movement-related blog, but it’s still in the womb stages–but whenever it is officially up and running, you will most certainly be on my blog roll!

    Thanks for all of your sharing!

    Jennifer

    • Hi Jennifer!
      Thank you for commenting! I love hearing about other journeys through this healing process. I *think* there are a lot of us out there!
      I can’t wait to see your blog as it develops! I took a little peek, and I LOVE the header photo! Gorgeous!

      So nice to “meet” you! 😀

      Meg

  4. I love this post. I hold all my tension between my shoulder blades – always have, since I was a little kid. I don’t remember not feeling that tight sensation, working all the way up to throbbing if things in my life are particularly stressful.

    I did a yoga class once where the instructor told us all to breathe deeply and then imagine our shoulder blades slipping down our backs. The feeling of release was profound – I had no idea I was so tense there, and holding myself so unnaturally. I don’t remember to do that enough… this has prompted me. Thank you!

    (And yes, it’s Hannah of the cheesecake. We don’t want another “is this is the Corinne I know, or a weird stalker?” episode.)

    • LOL! I *probably* would have figured it out based on your email address, but thanks for clarifying 😉

      It’s so incredible the physical habits we have that we DON’T EVEN KNOW about! I’m glad it reminded you! I’m amazed at how constantly I need to remind myself to relax my legs/butt, and I’m also finding that when I do manage it for a while, the tension SHIFTS and suddenly I’m holding all kinds of stress right where you’re talking about! Now when I go to bed I have to consciously relax my upper body…of course, that may have always been like that and maybe I just didn’t notice…that’s kind of a scary thought.

      Huzzah for conscious relaxation! 🙂

  5. Pingback: 5Rhythms Friday: Progress | Spirit Moves Dance

  6. Pingback: 5Rhythms Friday: Changing the way we view the world | Spirit Moves Dance

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