What I learnt from my physio…

As you might know I’ve been seeing a physiotherapist recently on account of my dodgy knee. But my physiotherapist, Mark, is way more than a physiotherapist – he is some kind of yoda guru.

He rarely does any work on my actual knee, but focusses more on where I hold tension in my body – my stomach, my shoulders and my jaw. The tension in these parts of my body, says Mark, actually stops them functioning, meaning other areas of my body over compensate – and so I get injuries.

Basically my injured knee is a result of stress and tension. Stress and tension are a result of the way I perceive the world. So effectively, my brain caused my knee injury.

So Mark and I have been looking at ways I can alleviate stress. On top of my usual strategies of meditation, yoga, journalling, coaching and gratitude practice I have some new and quite uncomfortable processes to implement.

The first is to stop holding my stomach in! Since I was about age 14 I have been holding my stomach in for vanity reasons. What I didn’t realise is that in doing that I’m also holding my breath, and I’m physically bracing myself against the world and all it throws at me. I’m in a constant brace position. So now I let my nice big round belly out (my vanity gremlin hates it!) but in doing so I’m sending a message to the rest of my body and brain that it’s ok to relax, it’s ok not to hold the tension. It’s ok to let go.

The second uncomfortable process I’m implementing is literally putting pressure on the muscles that are knotted up. I don’t advise doing this if you haven’t been shown how by a physio but it’s a process of releasing the tension. And it hurts. I have knots in my stomach that have been there for years, and when we first started with this process it was too painful, but with a bit of encouragement and time I learnt I could actually be with the pain, be with the discomfort. And again I have begun to see how that relates to all areas of life. Being with discomfort is actually do-able, we don’t need to run away from challenging emotions or sensations.

These are lessons for life; letting go, and being with challenging emotions. Who’d have thought a dodgy right knee could lead me to understand them more fully.

Sending love,  Hannah

Image by Mohamed Nohassi www.unsplash.com

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