I have to admit, I used to be a gym rat. In my first year of university, I spent many hours/week working out with weights, as I believed the more muscle mass I accumulated, the faster my metabolism would be -- at least this is what I learned in my university courses for Athletic Therapy.
For me, with working out, I always had the primary intention to lose weight. I longed to be that strong yet sculpted body that looked so clean and healthy. What resulted was a thick mass of anything but that!!!
This was devastating. I put in the time and the effort, yet I continued to get bigger; definitely not my goal. I remember one day after spending hours in my bedroom doing upwards of 100 push-ups/day, my Mom said to me -- Your head is too small for your shoulders.
I wanted to have the ballerina body, and yet, I was left looking like a football player. I felt defeated and frustrated. I had put so much time, pain and effort into making the changes that I longed for. I was strong, but I felt thick, heavy and slow. Having been a natural athlete in my younger years, this was truly getting in the way of how I wanted to look and feel in my body.
I struggled through my twenties, changing up activities to include more cardio based exercise, hoping that would do the trick of making me slender. For a while I made running my focus, then aerobics, Tae Bo, recreational sports . . . It seemed no matter the course I took, my body was determined to stay cemented in its size and shape.
Now, 30 plus years later, I have a different understanding, and a different approach to share.
For me, one of the blessings of my work was my ability to integrate my bodywork practice (Fluid Isometrics) and turn it into my exercise. I didn’t know it at the time, but the process I intuitively developed connected me strongly to my diaphragm. Fluid Isometrics requires slow and continual deep breathing to maintain the pressure and direction for my hands to follow. This, in turn, became the fundamental driver of connecting me deeply into a patient’s fascia system in order to melt through their adhesions.
Anywhere from 8-10 hours/day, I would be working on patients to awaken their bodies to a new alignment and flow. As time went on, I realized how incredibly strong I became with my endurance, and my ability to stay focused for hours at a time.
This has served me extremely well. Not only do I have the capacity to disconnect from external stimuli by connecting into other’s fascia, providing me the benefits of meditation while at work, I have the ability to actively release those deep adhesions that cause chaos and frustration to anybody holding pain, stress, tension and dysfunction.
Through this journey, I have discovered how to become extremely strong in many areas of life without the typical way of strengthening the body. And I want to mention here, if the way I was working resulted in a body I was happy with, I would have continued with what worked. It was because I put so much time and energy into making changes that didn’t come to fruition, that I became so dissatisfied with the status quo, and was thrilled to discover a different path.
I want to share this with you. For all of you who may understand my struggles with strengthening and the results that happen, here is a different approach. This doesn’t have to take away from the process you currently use to strengthen your body, however you may want to give this a try, as the results will leave you feeling strong, empowered and free.
With Block Therapy, the first muscle of focus is the diaphragm. This in turn changes everything with regard to strengthening because of the energy centers in the cells, called ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). ATP uses oxygen as its primary fuel, so to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood will give the body more energy overall. When you tap into the full diaphragmatic breath, you are allowing the body to absorb up to 6 times the amount of oxygen compared to breathing with the muscles of the upper chest -- just imagine how this will affect your exercise regime.
Also, when I was going through Athletic Therapy in University, I learned that isometric exercise was the most efficient way to heal an injury. With Block Therapy, we add in isometric resistance exercise in many of our advanced classes. This is such a wonderful way to approach a body, especially if there is pain and limitation. The act of lying on the block in a specific position and adding in an isometric element that you hold for up to 10 slow breaths, pulls the fascia into the most correct alignment possible at that time, without force.
We use persuasion to pull the cells back to their rightful position – and this is the most healthy and safest way you can make a body strong – if cells are where they should be, they are receiving the most energy and nutrients to provide the healthiest tissue possible.
From here, if you want to strengthen with weights or other sports that you love, you will be coming from a place of understanding proper alignment. There is no benefit to strengthening your body from a place of dysfunction, as it will only strengthen that dysfunction. As much as exercise is necessary for ultimate health, we need to understand the dynamics of what we are doing to ourselves to protect our fascia and age in the healthiest and most productive way possible.
With Block Therapy, you get it all -- the ability to release the old habits of your fascia and the negative patterns that have taken you to a place of pain and suffering, while at the same time you are taught to align and integrate a new understanding of what strong and healthy fascia feels like.
This is a paradigm shift for you and your body -- take the chance to feel the life and strength of your intention to feed your fascia, and realize the opportunity you have to embrace an entirely new body where you can feel the freedom to explore health, strength and vitality ever-increasing day by day.
Let’s make 2021 a year of strength, purpose and amazing realizations about the functionality and majestic qualities of your soul’s container.
Breathe & Believe!
Next Week: Block Therapy and Endurance