I recently documented my 28-day journey on social media doing three specific stretches for twenty eight days.
I know what you’re thinking.
Three stretches. So what?
Here’s the thing- these three stretches were specific to me and only me.
They were assigned to me by my good friend and body worker/healer; Gabrielle Levy.
Knowing me, my past trauma, and where Gabby believed I had “blockages” she instructed me to do these three stretches for 28 days straight.
The entire stretch regimen takes about 20 minutes. With that, the breathing and focus need to coincide with each other in order to reap the true benefits of each stretch.
Gabby works with unblocking certain meridians in the body which energy, also known as “Qi” move though.
If you’re at all familiar with the ancient Asian culture, you’ve probably heard of Qi. In a perfect world, Qi moves through these meridians completely uninterrupted.
Kind of like blood flowing through our veins; effortlessly and constant.
With all the beauty and wonder of life, there’s also plenty of stress to counterbalance.
Traumatic experiences especially are stored energetically in our body. These experiences can block meridians and as a result, inhibit the natural flow and balance of Qi.
When you think about it, practices such as acupuncture, acupressure; reiki, and self massage have been practiced for hundreds of years. It’s because this stuff is effective and powerful AF.
These traditional practices along with the stretches I did are intended to remove distortion and tension in the body.
And trust me when I say: they work. I know because I felt the difference.
After twenty eight days, I noticed I was:
Able to focus better
Slept more soundly
Experienced less back aches
Had more mental clarity
Was less irritated
And was definitely more mobile
Now, there are twelve main meridians in the body and each correspond with a specific organ. For all extensive purposes, I’m only going to discuss the three meridians correlated with the stretches that I did. If you’re interested in reading more about the twelve meridians found in the body, check out this article here.
1. Eagle Arms
The organ: the large intestine.
Energy medicine believes the large intestine meridian corresponds to our relationships, moods, and emotions.
When we suppress negative emotions, it can result in blockages of qi within the large intestine meridian sometimes resulting in digestive issues.
The organ: the stomach.
The stomach is known to have a direct correlation with our mental state.
When our stomach meridian is blocked, we may experience symptoms that can manifest as mania, confusion, depression, anxiety or hyperactivity. Stomach dysfunction can also stunt our creativity as well as our ability to learn new things.
We tend to hold a lot of emotion In the stomach meridian because it’s responsible for providing the entire body with energy through the process of digestion.
When there’s a dysfunction coming from the stomach, there’s usually a dysfunction in the entire body.
The organ: The spleen.
The spleen is responsible for our thoughts and intentions.
All of our analytical thinking, memory, cognition, intelligence, and ideas are formed from the Qi of the spleen.
When our spleen meridian is blocked, we tend to worry more, over-think things and exhibit a lot of self doubt.
The Physical: Even if you don’t buy into meridian channels or aren’t a huge believer of holistic healing and/or Chinese medicine, doing something like these stretches will still be beneficial for you because of the simultaneous lengthening AND strengthening of the muscles. This is how we improve mobility throughout the body thereby allowing us to move more freely and easily.
Since the body is a kinetic chain, when we lengthen and strengthen our muscles, it may help to eliminate other aches and pains that can be unknowingly associated with each other.
This was definitely the case for me. Being someone who experiences chronic back pain, especially before my menstruation week, my back pain was kept to a bare minimal for the entire month!
I also felt more mobile during my weight lifting workouts and felt like I could go deeper during certain movements such as my squats.
Also, experiencing frequent hip popping is something very common for me. By doing these stretches, my hip popping went away completely.
During the last week of my challenge, I also took the time to clean my apartment, specifically removing all unnecessary clutter that was around and organizing my closets which I hate doing. This was something I was in need of doing but kept putting off. But it became an almost non negotiable to me, especially during the last week of my stretches. I had to clean and clear out anything in my apartment that I had no use for. This could have possibly been symbolic to what I was also feeling internally: removing clutter and making space for something new.
The Mental: From a mental aspect, I can confidently say forcing yourself to do anything that requires you to slow down, breathe deeply and focus is a HUGE plus & has major health benefits, the main one being stress reduction.
The fact of the matter is when I would take that twenty minutes out of my day to do my stretches, the calm feeling I can recall afterwards was something similar to only how I felt after meditating. It makes sense because meditation forces you to slow down and cease all thinking in order to focus on one thing: your mantra.
In this case, my mantra was my breath and moving my body through these stretches was my physical meditation.
There were times, especially in the two lower body stretches, when I would start literally weeping, laughing, making weird grunting noises, sighing deeply, yawning, etc. and I never knew why.
Looking back now, I believe I was literally moving through whatever emotions were coming up for me in those stretches. You can call it “BS” but this really happened. It was only after I moved through these feelings and emotions did I feel better; more sharp, focused, clear and generally more peaceful.
Since my 28- day challenge, the most significant things I’ve noticed is that I’ve had less stress, anxiety and generally more confidence in myself. Dating has always been somewhat of a challenge for me in the past but recently, I’ve been willing to put myself out there without the negative feelings of self doubt and unworthiness.
Had I not done these stretches and challenged myself to stay consistent with them, I don’t think I would have come into the new year with such mental clarity, focus and motivation. It just goes to show you how powerful goal setting can be. It doesn’t matter how insignificant or small the goal; when we set out to do something and actually complete it, there’s no telling where that positive momentum can lead us to.
If you’re interested in learning more or starting a challenge of your own, whether that be in the gym, with your diet, or just becoming generally more healthy, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here for you always.