The other day a runner mentioned how she struggles with tight iliotibial bands and even though she stretches them, they still seem to get tight.
When we move in one direction most of the time and repeatedly for long periods of time, we can expect that tightness will develop in certain areas of the body. And will continue to do so as long as we continue with the same movements and habits over and over.
I started thinking about my favorite IT band stretch and how much it reminds me of trees. They are so complex yet we see them so often I think we don’t give them much thought most of the time.
Trees are full of lessons for our health and faith.
They withstand much stress like winds and storms that blow through. Sometimes fierce. Sometimes gentle. But always the trees must either yield to the wind and cling tight to the earth. Hopefully with a strong enough foundation to stand.
We too were made to be strong and flexible like trees, with movement in many directions. Through many seasons and trials. To prosper and bring forth good fruit.
The beauty of it is, that trees actually get stronger with winds, trials, resistance, strain, stress.
And so can we.
This is a movement we don’t often use so can help us gain flexible strength in a different direction. It’s a nice opener for the shoulders, rib cage, and IT band.
All you need is a tree.
The closer you walk your feet to the trunk of the tree, the bigger the stretch. Likewise with the hands.
Where do you feel this stretch the most? In your ribs? Shoulders? IT band? Or somewhere else? Can you take a deep breath?
Where you most feel this stretch is the area that is your tightest. Be gentle and relax into this one. It’s jam-packed with the loveliness of a breeze blowing through your branches for flexible strength.
So make like a tree and bend! And if you’re feeling adventurous, climb the tree too!