Has anyone ever asked you to be flexible in a relationship? Or maybe at your workplace in your job? You are asked if you can bend outside of the normal rules or boundaries. You might be obliged to do so, or you may have to be adaptable and have a willingness to compromise.
If you look in a dictionary it describes flexibility as being limber and pliant, bends easily without breaking.
Flexibility is also a principle of fitness. It’s the range of motion joints can move through. Flexibility in your body can be limited by tight muscles and tendons surrounding the joint and by stiffer ligaments connecting the bones in a joint. So, we practise stretching to maintain or increase our joints stability and range of motion. The result is better posture, coordination and balance.
Being ‘inactive’ limits the movement in the joint preventing the limbs from mobility and increases the risk of pain and injury. Stretching properly reduces this risk and improves biomechanical efficiency. Especially important in all martial arts. From warriors to soldiers and from sport martial arts to health promoting arts, flexibility has always been a foundational conditioning component of training. It doesn’t matter whether it is MMA, Olympic Tae Kwon Do, or a local Sanda match – kicking your opponent to the head is a score! Reaping your challenger in a Judo throw requires flexibility, manoeuvring your joints so not to tap out in a ground BJJ roll requires it, executing the basic techniques and in kata/forms requires it, pushing your body past extremes in combat situations for all the worlds armed forces requires flexibility. And that is just the physical side!
What does flexibility mean to you? What does in mean in various contexts you might encounter in your everyday life? Closely linked is adaptability, or ‘to be adaptable’ in your current circumstance.
A few examples: to be flexible in finance you may have to stay, withdraw or cash in shares or currencies, re-invest or change loan structures suddenly; adapt to changing trends to be able to prosper. I’m sure the wealthiest people put their attention to this principle.
In a spiritual sense are you flexible in your beliefs? Open minded? Could you change your attitude to some concept you believed all along because that concept has now changed or evolved? Does being obstinate and stubborn ruin your opportunities, social awareness and communication in relationships or families? I’m sure you would like your spirituality to be a sanctuary, a place for serenity, peace and where your higher self can feel free to explore and express those beliefs and values.
Are you wrestling with your true and authentic self because of your beliefs, or others’ beliefs that are incongruent to your values and limiting your inspiration to motivate yourself to your real purpose? Maybe it’s time to break the mould and be flexible.
Where your attention goes energy flows, that’s why we must practice and nurture positive emotions the moment they arise. The moment we are in them. Emotional intelligence requires us to be aware of ourselves and others. How best can I manage my negative emotions as they arise, or clear the past so as only to take the learnings? Accept new ideas, have the openness in your mind, consider new or different things – perhaps in a way you haven’t before! Give yourself the permission to stretch and expand the mind, your thinking and the meta frames surrounding it and adjust your attitude accordingly.
You just might be flexible enough to accommodate life in a new way!