Why? Why do we need to stretch out the back body? What does is come up so often in practice?
The back body includes the hip flexors and lower back as well as the legs and shoulders. When we get stressed our muscles that are involved in our fight and flight response tighten and get ready for action, these are all the muscles that are involved in running as well as fighting. (Back, shoulders, arms, hip flexors and legs). When we don’t act out this tension in actually taking flight or fighting off the danger we lock this tension into the muscles. This causes tightness but also causes a cyclic response that when these muscles are tense they continually tell the brain that we are in danger and need to stay alert, keeping the adrenaline running and the mind alert. This causes lack of sleep, in ability to relax properly, and ultimately the body becoming tighter. When we stretch out these muscles we release that tension, this not only makes us feel more flexible it also tells the brain danger has been averted and we can relax, the adrenaline drops out and the bodies relaxation hormones start to kick in and we finally are able to fully unwind. So if you struggle with a good nights sleep, or find you’re always wired, long deep stretches can help activate the rest and digest hormones and you can find yourself able to unwind properly. So stretch before bed, is the message here.