How many times have you heard the phrase “no pain, no gain” as a recipe for excellence? It’s high time to break up with this idea.
Here are three reasons why it doesn’t work, especially when we are applying it to progressing with our physical bodies. (I thank Candia Raquel for this list.)
- It’s aggressive.
- It’s violent.
- It inevitably ends in injury or pain.
That paradigm is over, and it’s time for something new and better.
Instead of using our minds to push and prod our flesh into “perfection”, we can link our awareness and our physical bodies in a spirit of collaboration, kindness and mutual respect. So much more is possible this way.
We can explore what it means to move slowly with awareness, focussing on fluidity and ease. We can prioritize the quality and integrity of our movements, over their external appearance. We can discover our own first-person experience of wholeness. We can learn new and better ways to move, rather than falling into habituated patterns or looking for validation from outside ourselves.
This approach is especially valuable when we are working with chronic pain and tension. There is no benefit whatsoever in stretching or strengthening a tight muscle! We need first to release long-held unconscious gripping patterns at their root within the nervous system. This release is fundamental to healing and wholeness.
Let’s also remember that pain is the body’s way of telling us that something needs to change. Loving kindness, along with deep listening and moving with awareness, is the new way forward.
I embrace this somatic approach in all my classes and sessions. If you would like to experience the application of these principles in Yoga, QiGong and Living Somatics lessons, please check my online teaching schedule. These strategies have changed my life for the better, and I love sharing them with others.