Have you ever looked at a skeleton and seen the amount of space that exists within the human body without the muscles, tendons, cartilage, etc.? The amount of space between the bones is beyond expansive than what I typically feel within the movement of my body.
Bones are denser than muscles, yet often times it feels as if the muscles are denser then bones internally. A tight back, an achy neck, a stiff shoulder, and on and on. Yet the muscles are actually malleable.
How do muscles become so constricted? Of course, there is the in-depth ability to study the anatomical structure of how everything connects, constructs to hold the bones in place but I’m talking on an expansive thought level. Our nervous system plays such a large roll in the chemicals produced that stimulate and constrict the muscles. The body has this way of finding the easiest path and begins to wear a rut in the road of communication between mind and body. This leaves it difficult to get the wheels out of this deep well-worn path. Think about it. Ever been on a country road? If it is one that has been well traveled there is a clear inset groove that shows where the wheels of the car have gone repeatedly. It is easier to travel the same route than to balance yourself outside of the grooves. The same applies to our thinking, our physical manifestations that are reflected in our bodies.
When you stretch into a tight muscle, there is a tension that resists moving further. If you try to stay in the stretch and relax everything else around that muscle a shaking will incur, as a release of energy is moving throughout your other muscles that have adapted to hold your body in a particular position to compensate for that tight muscle. If you can relax even more and be in the uncomfortable shaking, you begin to cultivate an awareness that the other muscles outside of the tight muscle are in place all to protect the one tight muscle.
As I become aware of this and am able to sit in the stretch, it is amazing to begin to feel the spaciousness.
I also find it curious when I resource not only anatomy books, but books about subtle energy, meridians, chakras, reflexology, and the nadis how relational everything is with the human body. My ankle hurts. If I look at reflexology, it is related to my coccyx. I started my journey with what has been diagnosed as thoracic outlet syndrome when I fell from mid-air and landed on my coccyx and sacral area. That was 10 years ago, and through the years my nervous system has configured itself to protect, at all costs, a damaged coccyx and sacral area. Yet, the sight of the original injury healed, but the well-worn paths, the ruts that were created within my thinking patterns and were then transferred to my muscular response have not. As the years have progressed the Deep Front Line (explained here) from the Anatomy Trains theory, has become a well-worn path of contraction to protect my sacrum and coccyx by any means. All of my symptoms appear only on my right side. The right side of the body is said to be the external action side whereas the left side of the body is the receiving side. I have been a doer all of my life, what psychology would deem to be a type A personality. It has been difficult throughout my life to sit still. None the less I have found it enlightening that my right side suffers from overexertion where my left side suffers from extreme weakness.
Things aren’t so simple as what is reflected in the symptoms that appear in our body. At the same time, they aren’t so complicated either. If we take the time to be curious about our own deep grooves, we can forge new paths made from within awareness. This perception change becomes a responsive choice instead of a habitual reaction. But, I have found this is an unraveling of great magnitude that requires compassionate patience and a deeper understanding beyond the rational mind. It is allowing the space of knowingness and looking towards what may be outside of traditional westernized medical approaches to heal from the inside out.
For more reading on the Anatomy Trains theory check out
Further reading of thought patterns, nervous system triggers and their relationships to muscle response:
- RELIEVING STRESS: MIND OVER MUSCLE in The New York Times
- The fight or flight response: Our body’s response to stress
- Trauma and the Freeze Response: Good, Bad, or Both? on Psychology Today
- 10 Surprising Things That Trigger “Fight-Or-Flight” by Lissa Rankin, MD
- Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin, MD