Bright and early on Wednesday mornings I take a class called Stretch and Flexibility. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Perhaps, but it is not at all unusual for newcomers to express surprise (shock, dismay, fear!) as the class progresses. Quite often they ask the instructor if they’re “doing it right” because the stretch in question is uncomfortable, as was the previous and will be the next. After the instructor determines whether they’re in pain or, as in most cases, simply uncomfortable, the art of active stretching is explained. What is active stretching, you ask? Active stretching in the physical sense improves balance, range of motion and flexibility. It’s good for you in the long run, but to make strides in these areas, you must first learn to stretch out of your usual range of motion and flexibility. No easy feat. It’s no different than in therapy. To make changes that will eventually be beneficial, you must first stretch out of your comfort zone and into an area of discomfort, or sometimes even pain, for brief periods of time. The outcomes aren’t immediate and, at times you may not want to attend sessions or, in my case classes, at all. But with time, and patience and dedication, you will benefit. If you sit with the discomfort, or even the pain, you will begin to work through it, develop mastery over it and then one day you’ll notice that what was once painful is now only mildly uncomfortable, and what was once uncomfortable is no longer. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
So, are you ready to stretch?