All machines ultimately break down for one reason alone, friction. Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, or material elements sliding against one another. When surfaces in contact move relative to each other, the friction between the two surfaces converts kinetic energy into heat. Friction systematically wears down the mechanisms of any machine. Decrease friction and you automatically increase the life of the machine. The body has a natural lubricant to fight friction in a substance called synovial fluid. This fluid is only activated through regular movement of the joints and like everything in the body, if you don’t use it you lose it.
Tension is the muscular equivalent to friction. Tension is when the muscles are fully or partially contracted. Most modern adults live in a state of chronic tension where they don’t even realize they have lost the ability to relax. Tension in the muscles pulls complementary bones more tightly together which in turn creates more friction. This constant tension burns energy continuously and friction in the joints requires more energy to overcome the resistance so that every movement requires more work than it should. Have you ever struggled just to get up off the couch? If so, now you know why.
Stand up from your chair. Stand on your left leg making the right completely straight as you raise it about an inch off the ground. Now tighten every muscle in that right leg. Make sure the whole thing is tense. Next, try to bend your right knee… What happened? One of two things. Either you couldn’t bend the leg at all, which is what will happen if one really keeps all the muscles tense, or you could bend it but it was an awkward grinding feeling. This is the state that chronic tension creates in the body on a daily basis. Any wonder why the chiropractic profession has grown exponentially for the past 20 years?
Now, raise the same foot off of the ground again but this time let the leg be as soft and relaxed as possible and allow the right foot to effortlessly float up behind you gently bending the knee. Do this several times and notice the difference in sensation. This is the type of body use that tai chi cultivates through it’s soft gentle exercises. Remembering that friction decreases the life of any machine, which of these two styles of movement do you think would allow your knees to last the longest?
In the comment field below, tell me what these two movements felt like to you. What was the difference in these sensations? When do you notice tension in your daily life?
Log into WordPress and write a post to the main page on this site entitled, “Where I Am Going”. Now tell me what you desire to accomplish with this program and why. What is your deepest motivation? Be specific and be honest, because honesty is what leads to true self discovery.
Finally, jump into your second workout session by clicking the play button below.
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Stay in your center, and free yourself!