Mobility and flexibility are two factors of sensual movement and living that are frequently overlooked.
I began digging deeply into the many benefits of stretching a few years ago. After suffering multiple injuries I decided, it's time to do something different. Granted, being a movement instructor I knew that I needed to stretch before and after dancing or a good workout but, taking the time to sit in a deep stretch felt daunting. Sound familiar? My resistance to actively taking the time to stretch prompted a much deeper thought for me.....why would doing something that I know is necessary to the overall health of my body feel daunting?
I'm sure some of my sisters can relate to these statements:
Ugh, why do I need to stretch?
Stretching is boring.
I'm just going to halfway do this stretch so that I can quickly get to what I really came for.
These were the thoughts that would cross my mind whenever I sat down for a stretch so I understand, however; it's time to step into our divine power by taking intentional care of our overall mind, body and soul. There are many benefits of stretching and believe me, they are definitely not all physical.
"...it's time to step into our divine power by taking intentional care of our overall mind, body and soul. "
Here's just a few benefits of adding a good stretch routine to your self-care ritual:
Range, Posture & Mobility
Mobility refers to the ability of a joint to move freely through its range of motion.
Typically as we age, our range in motion decreases and our joint and muscles deteriorate. Consistent stretching allows for us to maintain mobility and sustain our joint and muscles. Inflexibility and decreased range can lead to back pain, hip pain and overall tight muscles. Whether you are attending a movement class, fixing dinner or folding laundry, mobility and range are necessary.
As mentioned above, our daily routines not only have an effect on mobility but also posture. Especially for those of us who may sit for hours a day. Stretching aids in muscle elasticity and relaxation, ultimately assisting in better posture and alignment.
Promotes Mindfullness & Stress Management
We've all heard the statements, "She/he's so tense." Commonly, when we are stressed, it’s natural for our muscles to tense up.
The act of slow intentional breathing and stretching relieves tension and is calming to the mind. This makes stretching a very simple and accessible way to reduce stress. Stretching also gently guides you into mindfulness.
Similar to meditation, mindfulness is simply the act of tuning fully into the present moment by becoming acutely aware of everything around us – our breath, our surroundings, our feelings and sensations. Taking the time to hold stretches, maintain focus on your body and breath promotes mindfulness and effectively relieves stress.
Muscle Nourishment & Blood Flow
Stretching at any point helps your blood send nutrients to your muscles, which means better recovery time, less soreness and also reduced cramps. Yes, you heard right Goddess! Not only is stretching healthy for the organs but, it may also relieve cramps, back pain and pelvic soreness around our moon time. I know, when we are beginning or in the middle of our period ( moon time ) the last thing we may be thinking about is exercising, however; it's the best time to self-care by getting in a nice full body stretch.
Now, before you deep dive into a new stretching ritual, make sure to do it safely and effectively. You can stretch anywhere and anytime you feel called to but be sure to use proper technique. We definitely don't want to do more harm than good.