Have you stepped out of your comfort zone today?
Or should we actually be thinking about stepping out of our 'Discomfort Zone' sometimes?!...
Today in Slow Flow class we asked our lovely participants to move out of their comfort zone in a particular way.
'Stepping out of our comfort zone' is probably most frequently thought of in terms of emotional or mental comfort. It's also generally accepted that it is a necessary requirement if we want any changes or growth to occur. So on that level, our question in the image definitely still stands, whatever that means for you right now.
In class today, however, (as one of our class members was very quick and happy to point out!) the term 'comfort zone' also applied on a very literal, physical level.
To start with, we asked people to sit on the floor - or a block - with crossed legs ('Tailor Pose'....or how many of us used to sit on the floor as children in school).
It just so happens that everyone present in today's class CAN now do this comfortably - the majority of our class members are over 60 and not all them could when they first joined class.
(Note to anyone thinking of joining us: you don't HAVE to be able to sit crossed legged - or even be able to get down to the floor - to come to this class, just so you know!)
So, everyone was comfortably sitting crossed legs.
But this changed a bit when we asked them to switch their legs around!
Try it. (Or not.)
Most of us have a preference for which foot and leg with stand most of our weight on (check it out when you're next waiting in a supermarket queue); or how we cross our legs or arms (notice this any times you find yourself with your legs or arms crossed!); or which foot we step first with going up or down stairs; or, if we can get up and down from the floor, which leg we use first or which hand (if we are using one) we push up with. These preferences have become habits. Often, as with many habits, we're not even aware of it.
(Those of you who like to think creatively, or reflect a little deeper, or rise to a challenge, will probably find many other instances where this is also the case.)
Using our bodies asymmetrically in this way will, over time as we repeat these movements again and again, result in our bodies adapting specifically to it: think muscle strength or length, or joint mobility.
Does this matter?
Maybe, maybe not.
If there are no symptoms - e.g. no aches and pains in one side of back or neck; no weakness or stiffness in one hip or knee; no twist to one side with a sore shoulder etc. - then maybe it doesn't matter at all.
But if any of these things are present, perhaps, just perhaps, to some degree we are actually creating ourselves a DISCOMFORT zone with our automatic (unconscious) movement habits, and it's time to step out of THIS....whilst we step out of our Comfort Zone?!
So, we invite you this week to notice how you use your left and right sides/limbs in your automatic movements. Play with it.
Which side leads, and when?
And if you're up for more challenge: how does it feel to experiment and explore doing things the other, or 'wrong' (!) way round?
Which way feels 'right'? Does the other way feel strange or weird? Can you even do some of the above examples 'the other way round' to how you usually do them...or are you receiving 'does not compute' alerts from your brain as you make these out of the ordinary requests from your body?!
Please play safe and take care: only challenge yourself within the realms of safety and within your own mobility limits.
(Something next to you to hold on to, or lean on, if you're trying something new is always a great safety measure. And if you are unsure about trying it, either don't do it or make sure you have someone with you and go extra carefully!)
Static poses - like sitting crossed legged, or folding your arms whilst sitting on a chair - are good to start with before trying movements.
And try going step-by-step with small challenges building up to bigger ones once you've succeeded with the first....
....e.g. it's probably best NOT to start with trying to get on or off your bike the 'other' way round. Seriously!
And do let us know how you get on by commenting below.