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Movement Specialist Shares Information on the Principles of Flexibility

Jul 18, 2008
The Fountain of Youth World Summit with Giles Wiley, an exercise and movement specialist and author of "Five-Minute Flexibility".

Kevin: Now, you have a couple of principles that can help someone get their head around the whole flexibility thing.

Giles : Correct.

Kevin: Yeap. Let's go through some of those. Because, man, when I first talked to you about this, I was just blown away. And so, I want other people to have that same feeling that I had when I walked away, because I just think it's so important. We're taught so much about flexibility, and that you know, you only have a certain amount of muscle length, and all this stuff, you have to extend your muscle length.

But you're saying that you have to have, that you already have that muscle length, which is just pretty intense. Why don't you tell us some of those principles, and help us out here?

Giles : Sure. Something that may help everybody get their head around the muscle length thing just before I go into the principles quickly is, when it comes to muscle strength (so we're not talking length right now, we're talking strength, but we can draw parallels between the two), we only use thirty percent of our muscle's true force on a daily basis. And

Kevin: Okay.

Giles : It's been proved scientifically. Even Olympic athletes are only using about thirty percent.
These stories of mothers lifting cars off little babies, and things like that in extreme stress, and people doing incredible things in times of war. All of these are possible because we only use thirty percent on a day-to-day basis.

Kevin: Okay.

Giles : So, if that's true for strength, then it's certainly going to be true for length as well. We hold so much in reserve to protect ourselves, to prevent maybe possible injury. But we end up becoming programmed as well, to believe that that's only as far as we can go.

I'm always quite surprised when I meet young kids who tell me, you know they'll be six or seven, and they'll tell me that they're very tight, they're very stiff.

Giles : And, how can they be tight and stiff already? They're only six or seven. How can they build up so much tension? And then you'll meet their parents. And their parents would be very tight and stiff. Now, they've learned it from their parents. It's just programming. So, I just wanted to start with that. And, what I did, as well as I, redefined flexibility. And let me give you a traditional definition of flexibility. Traditional definition of flexibility is, "Flexibility is a range of movement around a joint or a series of joints.".

Okay. Pretty straightforward.

How far you can take your leg in a certain direction, or your arm in a certain direction.

I feel it's much more than that. So I sort of, I was a little cheeky, and I redefined it. And I said, "Flexibility is a capacity to bend without breaking," ...

Kevin: Okay.

Giles : "To move in a flowing manner, without excess tension. It's the ability to let go of tension, and finally allow the body to express it's full potential for movement. Since the mind and body are one, physical and mental flexibility are linked. Therefore the ability to relax under pressure and adapt, is the same as your physical flexibility. "

So, the two overlaps. So I just wanted to put that out there for people to think about.

And that'll automatically, once you start thinking about like, that and like that, you'll automatically start questioning some of the current things that are being said regarding flexibility.

And I feel five key areas that any flexibility program needs to address. The first one, is letting go of fear and limiting belief.

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Giles : And that goes back to what I was just saying about how we're programmed from when we're at a young age to believe that we're inflexible. You know, we believe that our leg can only go a certain distance. And, as soon as we believe that it's true, and maybe once in a while we try and take it a bit further and it hurt. If we go up to that limit, and our body says, "Hang on, hang on. You've told me that this is only as far as it can go.". So it sends out these warning signals, which our body recognize, which we recognize as pain, and we pull back. We don't want to go there again.

And over time, those boundaries are closing in on us. And our range of movement get smaller and smaller. And I personally feel that nothing really defines the aging process than lack of flexibility. I mean, aging is all about stiffening up for so many people.

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Giles : Cause you'll see people trying to bend over, it affects their breathing, it affects everything.

So, first thing is letting go of fear and limiting beliefs. And I just want to get everybody to do this demonstration with me.

So if you're sitting down on a chair, that's fine. Or stand up, you can do it either way.

If you're standing up, just lift your right arm at in front of you, and point straight ahead.

Now, twist your right as far as you can, keeping the feet on the ground, twist your right far as you can, and point to the wall behind you. And mark a spot on that wall in your mind's eye.

And then return to where you started. And you can just let your arm go down.

Now, close your eyes and do a visualization drill for me.

In your mind's eye, so keeping your arms down by your side, in your mind's eye you're going to see your arm lifting up, and you're going to see yourself turning, turning, turning, getting to that point, [which] you just got to, and then you're going to see yourself going a little bit further. And then you return to start.

And once again, in your mind's eye, so this is a visualization in your mind's eye, you're going to see your arm lifting, you're going to turn, turn, turn. You're going to get to the first point, the second point, and then a third point. And then you're going to return to the start.

And we're going to do the visualization one more time. So the arm comes up, you turn, you turn and in your mind's eye, you see the first point, you see the second, you see the third, and then you go much much further to the fourth.

Okay now, without thinking, without thinking, open your eyes, lift your arm, and twist, and go as far as you possibly can.

Okay, I guarantee you've all gone much much further than when you started. And, it's not that our muscles suddenly got longer in those thirty seconds that we were practicing that drill. It's that you started to reset your boundaries.

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Giles : You started to show your body that actually, that we can go further. Cause the body can't differentiate between what is imagined and what is real. So if we visualize with enough realism, [with] the visualization, then we can do that. I mean, think applies to any stretches. And if you're a golfer or tennis player, et cetera, you may want to apply that to your golf swing et cetera.

Kevin: So, if you're a golfer,

Giles : Yeah.

Kevin: Or you're playing tennis,

Giles : Yeap.

Kevin: A good process might be to identify where you're not getting the best range of motion.

Giles : Exactly.

Kevin: And then think about it, visualize it.

Giles : That's it, exactly. And for most people it's going to be the trunk. And that test where you just did. One of my clients, is a golf pro, he actually has his golfers do that, but he has them do it sitting down, turn as far as they can.

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Giles : And if they're not getting to ninety degrees or beyond, then that's going to be a serious problem in their game. So you can use that straight away to start to improve your golf game.

The next thing we do is, we re-program the body software system. And when I say the body software system, I basically mean our neurological system. As you just discovered, your mind really has such a power over your muscles, as you just discovered in that visualization drill.

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Giles : What we want to do now is, we want to anchor that feeling. And anybody out there who's familiar with NLP, with Neuro-Linguistic Programming, would've heard of the term "anchor" before. Basically, to anchor something, is to take an experience and give it a permanence.

So, you've just gone further than you believed you could possibly go. What you want to do is, straight away you want to anchor that feeling. So, you can use a physical anchor, or a verbal anchor. And you want to make it [something] you won't normally do in daily life.

What I tend to do is, for my flexibility work, with myself, with my clients, once they've gone to a point which they didn't believe they could go to, they make a tight fist and then they release it.

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Giles : And that's their anchor, that feeling of just releasing. Once you practice anchoring enough, you'll find that without any sort of warm-up, you can do some pretty extreme flexible moves.

You know, I feel confident, you know I'm sitting down right now talking to you, but I feel confident if I should stand up, I could go just drop straight down into splits without any warm-up. Because I have anchored that feeling of being down in splits and being that flexible. And what I would personally do is, before I did it, I give myself a tap on the shoulder in a certain spot.

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Giles : And that spot that I've hit every time I've gone into splits, every time I felt fluid, and relaxed, I've hit that same spot on my shoulder.

And so now it's become an anchor, all I got to do is hit that spot and I'm flexible again.

Kevin: Wow. So you can make that, you know your clients will make that fist, and say we're doing the static stretch, and that was just touching your toes and say, you got some other point where they can have their palms flat on the ground.

And if they're cold, you know, just got out of bed kind of thing, and if they made that fist, and it's been effective, and they can do it. You're saying they can get pretty darn close, or actually get that palm on the ground again.

Giles : Absolutely.

Kevin: Yeah.

Giles : Anybody can do it. Any age. But you just don't want to rush the process.
About the Author
To read the rest of this transcript as well as access The Fountain of Youth World Summit experts just like Giles Wiley please click here! Kevin Gianni is an internationally recognized health advocate, author & film consultant. He has helped thousands of people take control of their own health naturally. For more information visit raw food diets and holistic nutrition.
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