COLUMNIST: JEN WILSON
Yes, there is!
I am passionate about listening to the wisdom of the body, to help manage illness, and recover from, and prevent injuries. My advice is always to listen to your body, it knows best.
There is so much wisdom in our gardens and allotments that we can, and should, learn from nature. We plant seeds and nurture them to give them the best conditions to grow and thrive. Are you doing that with your body?
When you wake up in the morning, do you jump out of bed and get going? Do you stretch out your body and get some movement into the joints?
Have you ever watched a cat or dog when they wake up? They have a good stretch and shake before they do anything. Could you give yourself that same attention?
Think about your plants as they are coming to life (watch timelapse videos of the growth of plants), they uncurl out into the world.
Listen to your body when you are getting up and down in the garden. Are you grumbling, moaning, groaning? Do you need to hold on to something as you lower yourself down or get back up from the ground? Do you feel like you need to be cautious with your movements because of a bad back or sore knees?
Is your body telling you it needs some TLC? Are you dreading the thought of getting down to the ground to get your seedlings planted? Are your raised beds getting higher and higher each year to save you from getting down on the ground?
It really doesn’t matter what age you are, I have clients as young as 9 and as young as late 70s. All of them want to move better, and feel stronger, and healthier.
It doesn’t matter if you are following my free videos on YouTube, joining in with one of my live classes online, or working with me one-to-one, I always invite you to start where you are and work with what you have got going on in your body.
The first thing I get any of my clients to do is become aware of their posture when they are standing. Three of the more common things I see with people:
1. Humpback (being very rounded in the upper back, with the head hanging forward). People with this shape often complain of sore necks and shoulders, headaches and migraines can also be a bit of a problem here too. This short video has a couple of moves to help free up the tension and start building some strength in your back:
2. Rib thrust (pushing the chest forward and the chin lifted, a deep curve in the lower back). People with this shape often complain of lower back pain and tight hips, sciatica can also be a problem here. This short video has a couple of moves to release your lower back and backside to help free up some of the tension:
3. Flatback (the spine moves as one rigid column). People with this shape often complain of general pain and stiffness. This short video has a couple of moves to release your spine and start getting some movement in it:
And, sometimes people have all 3 together.
What we want is to work towards is a neutral alignment, where if you saw yourself side on, your ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle would be stacked, your chin and ribs tucked in and your pelvis in neutral (where your hip bones and pubic bone are level with each other).
It ‘should’ feel comfortable and be relatively effortless to be in this position, but for many of us, it is not. Our habitual patterns, muscle tensions, and old injuries might show up as areas to be worked on.
Training our bodies to start from neutral allows the muscles of the body to fire in the correct sequence so our movement is supported from start to finish. It will help us get up and down to the ground better, lift and lay wheelbarrows and bags of compost, dig the soil, weed, plant, and generally move around with more ease. This short video explains how to find your neutral alignment:
If you find that neutral alignment is hard work to maintain, it would be beneficial to work on mobilising and strengthening your body for the gardening season ahead. Hopefully, the videos in this article will help you, but if you need more assistance, please reach out to me. I work with clients online and at my private home studio in Springburn, North Glasgow, and offer a free 15 minute 1:1 posture analysis call via zoom. Book your session here.
Jen Wilson is a movement and health rebel, obsessed with helping people look after their bodies in ways that work for them. With a BSc in sport and exercise science, and qualifications in pilates, yoga, meditation, massage, personal training, functional movement, and nutrition, Jen is top heavy on qualifications.
Jen has an allotment where she nurtures plants, and drinks gallons of herbal tea from blends she grows and makes herself.
You can follow more of Jen’s pilates, movement and meditation classes on her Instagram or You Tube page and find out more about the services she offers both in person, and remotely, on her website.