This post seems like a fitting conclusion to previous weeks’ foray into wellness routines – a little bit of motivation, all backed up by solid science.
What does comfort mean to you?
When I first arrived to Edmonton in July of 1994, Canada seemed like a magical Land of Oz. The first and strongest impression of my new homeland was that everything was made for people and their comfort. “They even have shopping carts at the stores, and everything gets packed for you in plastic bags,” I shared excitedly with my mom. Imagine that!
Now, almost 20 years later, I am weary of comfortable beds and comfort zones…
This weariness has been creeping in, innocently enough, since I started taking myself into the wilderness. I can’t quite put my finger on when it has begun to solidify as part of my life philosophy. I know for a fact, though, that spending the last week in Vancouver learning about appropriate amount of tissue stress really crystallized the concept of “ use it or lose it.”
I won’t write a super-long story here. Here is the gist of what I’ve learned:
You are most likely familiar with the concept of “use it or lose it “ already – we all know that if we don’t use our muscles, eventually they deteriorate.
The evidence of appropriate loading principle is all around us.
For example, bones need to be APPROPRIATELY loaded – compressed – to remain strong. Remembering and memorizing (loading!) is a key to a better memory, and being a life-long learner protects us from the old-age mental decline. Even immune system is, well, not immuned – children that grow up in sterile environments are more prone to asthma and gut disorders.
Did you know that concept of “use it or lose it” applies to all of our tissues?
Without properly applied stresses, our muscles, tendons, bones, joints, nerves, teeth, as well as our immune system begin to lose their resilience. Turns out, human body possesses certain cleaner-upper enzymes that will re-absorb tissues that are not being used. A little spooky, isn’t it?
Now think about what happens when you live with pain…
You brace. You stop moving. You become afraid of movement.
That’s why pain, and especially chronic pain, is a self-fulfilling prophesy:
The more you hurt, the less you move; and the less you move, the more you hurt.
The biggest trick is, of course, learning how to load APPROPRIATELY (how much is enough?) so that you can keep on moving, yet prevent those common next day flare ups. This is something that really hone on in Pain Care Yoga.
This post, as is the case with most of my writing, goes well beyond the boundaries of a yoga mat. It is an invitation to become more mindful about your every day living. The choices you make on a daily basis – do I sit or do I stand? Hard mattress or a soft one? Challenge or comfort? – all have a profound, lasting influence on the state of your health.
My learnings in a nutshell?
Use it or lose it. Comfort is FRAGILIZING.
Pain Care Yoga is waiting for you. What are you waiting for?