Have you ever had a liquid soap, shampoo or lotion bottle where the pump lid stopped working?
Hold tight. Stick with me on this one…
Well, I have not one but two Costco sized bottles sitting in my shower - shampoo and conditioner - both with pumps that no longer work. The conditioner pump stopped working a couple weeks after purchase and the shampoo one, well, um, stopped working when I dropped it on the bathroom floor!
Now, I'm no MacGyver and I am not particularly handy but my best solution was to keep the pump lid on the top, unscrewed and use the little straw as a dip-stick.
I feel like no one talks about this. I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one this has happened to.
Although this is no secret, it is something we do - we compensate - to get what we want.
This same is true with movement.
I see it all the time whether it be on a yoga mat, in a gym or group exercise setting, the bodies moving in front of me, compensate to move in a way they THINK they need to.
Said another way we think we know how to move our bodies, with potentially some compensations to make it look a certain way but we forget our innate ability to feel how we move.
Once we stop listening to our bodies and try to only think our way into a movement, it is possible that more and more compensation patterns begin to take hold.
Some compensation is a good thing. We may need to limit a specific movement because of injury, or because there is a weakness or lack of range of motion or because we don't have the physical fitness.
Remember my broken shampoo bottle. It works for me right now but at some point the shampoo will lessen and will be stuck at the bottom of the bottle. To get it out, I'd probably want to tip the bottle over for a period of time to get the remaining shampoo close to the top.
Yet, overtime, the compensation itself can become the problem, because it is by definition not the natural way of moving. Sticking with my shampoo analogy, by leaving it upside down for too long with the lid unscrewed, I will loose all my shampoo down the drain!
So in terms of movement, maybe feel a bit more rather than just think.
Take a small test. Try a few sit to stands (don't know about this movement, watch this video for a brief tutorial).
Simply move. Maybe think where are my feet in relation to my hips? How forward am I sitting? Do I use my hands for support?
Now try another three or more repetitions. But this time feel. Where do you feel the movement?
The movement is in the legs but do you feel something going on in your shoulders, neck, jaw? How about in your in your back? Is there somewhere in your body that is trying to do the work too hard, too much or too fast for what you are trying to achieve - moving the hips and knees?
Compensations can show up at any time in the movement so becoming aware and present can help you identify what is and isn't working…regardless of what it looks like.
So not to worry. My shampoo bottle continues to produce shampoo and so too will your body continue to produce movement. Simply recognize that for things to work well long term we must always be open to change and change that will make us better (or help us keep using that shampoo over the long term!)
Stay well and happy moving,
P.S. This recent article reminded me of the MacGyvering we've had to do with home exercise. Although it is written with the focus on people with Ankylosing Spondylitis, I still think the ideas are great for anyone to use at home.
Missed my most recent newsletter? Don't worry, I've got your back. Find all my exclusive letters here on this blog. ~Lisa