Monday, May 26, 2008

"Flexible mind leads to a flexible body" by Steve Cotter

For the past four years, I have been meditating and using visualization techniques to help me reach my strength and conditioning goals. Now, I don't look at these practices in a mystical or religious way at all. On the contrary, I view them mainly as exercises for my brain--it's a muscle after all, right?

Well, this week's S&C coach's post comes from Steve Cotter, who is one of the leading kettlebell and bodyweight authorities around. The original posting of this piece can be found here. As always, don't hesitate to go over and leave a comment.

* * *

August 22, 2007

Flexible mind leads to a flexible body

Since I’ve been taking some yoga classes of late they have been really reiterating concepts I’ve known for years through my martial art training, have been reintroduced to through my kettlebell training and now once again, emphasized in the yoga. So, it has been great revisiting and further internalizing such valuable body-knowledge.

During last night’s class, the instructor made a comment that the posture does not begin with the head or with the body, that it begins with the imagination.

That reminded me of something I have taught for a long time about flexibility. Students often want to know how to develop flexibility and sometimes I will see even very young people with extreme stiffness. I tell them that flexibility begins in your thoughts, and I find this to be true.

Often, restricted range of motion has to do on some level with a rigid mind set. For example, the person may not be able to conceive of moving her/his body into an extended range. Thoughts, like postures become habits. A stiff/inflexible mind leads to a stiff/inflexible body. In overcoming learned stiffness, visualization can be a powerful tool.

For example, if you want to elongate your hamstrings, you have to be able to see in your imagination the hamstrings lengthening. As you learn to relax your thoughts, to be willing to release certain preconceived ideas about yourself you will find that your body will follow suit. All productive training is truly mind-body in nature. You cannot have effective progress without a clarity of focus and a harmonious relationship between what you want to develop and what you can ’see’ developing.

As the saying goes, “conceive, believe, achieve”.


Tara said...

Good advice - I will use this!

Mr. LowBodyFat said...

Let me know how it works for you Tara.