Create more flexibility by restricting

I am so happy to introduce Heather McCurdy from the delightful Rock Stew (link to the blog and her most charming story!) She is here to chime in on our topic this week with a look at the other side of flexibility. You know, the one so easy to ignore yet gives us exactly what we need; a balanced approach to flexibility!

“Half Moon Pose”
Jenny Anderson of Bikram Yoga of Redmond

Sometimes, being too flexible causes problems

In my younger days, I was the most flexible person in the world! I loved making people smile so I bent to the will of others. Sometimes, it was to assure a peaceful balance and other times I felt joy knowing I was the reason for someone else’s happiness. I took extra projects at work and I was the one willing to change plans in a social situation. As I matured, I started to see how my flexibility was taken advantage of. Others were happy, but I was doing all the work. I was causing ill will among friends by saying yes to everything; running from event to event. My flexibility became a problem.

Overcorrecting your flaws is problematic too

For a long time, I couldn’t understand why, “being true to myself” caused so many problems. I went from being confused to being angry at how people treated me. I overcorrected. I said no to projects and I turned down friends. I said no even if I wanted to say yes. At first, it felt awkward, like it went against everything that was me. Then, it felt good. I liked being selfish. Within a short time, bosses and coworkers were confused by my new attitude. Saying no didn’t change the fact that I was working 70 hours a week. Friends were hurt that I didn’t want to spend time with them and they stopped inviting me to cool events.

Finding balance leads to other positive traits

Around this time, a friend introduced me to Bikram Hot Yoga. In a 102 degree room, you learn to move into new depths while keeping your breath and mind calm. I loved the heat, living in Seattle I never felt warm enough during the rainy winter. As a beginner, I thought flexibility was simply stretching a muscle, but what I learned is that in order for one muscle to be flexible, the opposite muscle must contract. In the Half Moon pose, one leans to the side and half the upper body is being stretched. At the same time you consciously contract the muscle on the other side.

I began to see a balance in my yoga practice flow into my everyday life. I played around with being flexible at work and managing my social events while still preserving my self-interests. It’s not that I had never heard of teamwork before, it’s that I was be able to give my time and energy without a knee jerk reaction that ended with an aftertaste of regret in giving too much or not enough. I learned that saying no isn’t a bad thing; it’s simply another way to say yes to myself. The funny thing is, by building a strong base of flexibility, I began to trust myself more. I found some much needed self-worth.

Maintenance is key to success

Lately, my journey is balancing my life with set boundaries while at the same time honoring facets of my personality that loves to help people. These days, I’m a SAHM and I have no problem setting boundaries for my husband and Annabelle, who is 14 months old now. It’s not always easy, there are days when I’m tired and let things go (I’d like to call that being ‘flexible’ wink wink). There are days when I don’t fight for my work out night off because the hubby is tired from a long day at the office and he needs a break. There are days when I know I am giving too much in a friendship, but I understand she’s going through a hard time in life and will be back to normal soon. There are days when I “hibernate” and disappear into my home life. The difference is, these days, I get to make that choice. These days, I have more flexibility because I’m aware of what I can and cannot do. I’ve learned that both flexibility and contracting are key to the balance that I have.


Heather McCurdy is a former business analyst turned Stay At Home Mom. She has a fondness for her family, chasing the baby around the living room, her Chihuahua rescue dog, being green, Bikram Hot Yoga, and cooking & crafting side when she’s not writing for her blog

22 thoughts on “Create more flexibility by restricting

  1. This is so awesome! I especially like the contracting/stretching, saying no is another way of saying yes to yourself analogy. That is very powerful!

  2. I love it, Heather
    I’m working on being more flexible – more open to doing what others want. My only child sometimes rears her ugly head and shouts me me me and then I promise her candy later and I adjust to see things from my boyfriend’s point of view.

    You’re wonderful and a great example!

    • Aww Thank you!! Funny, I have the opposite problem you do. I need to feed more candy to my inner child LOL. I hope you find ways of giving your candy away to those who are worthy (like your boyfriend ;))

  3. After I turned 40 I started playing soccer again. But I was old. My body didn’t respond like it did in college. So I started stretching. But you know what? I over stretched! I had more pulled muscles than ever because my body was out of balance. I would stretch my hams fully but not calves and consequently pull a calf muscle. I wish I had had this article back then. Thanks!

  4. J.R. Wirshing says:

    Balance. All things in moderation. Those are familiar phrases. If only it were easier to DO them than to repeat them! So, the pendulum swings. The challenge is, to avoid the extremes.

  5. Heidi says:

    Wow..What an awesome article. I can really relate to this, minus the finding balance part (far away from that) but working on it. Thanks for sharing with us:)

  6. Lisa @bitesforbabies says:

    Great post! This is a hard one for me (being a type personality!!). I have learned, after having my son, that flexibility is the key to sanity-for me at least! I also practice yoga often to help me relax and re-focus. It has worked wonders for me physically and spiritually!!

  7. Great post Heather! I was always a people-pleaser, but balance and flexibility are the keys. I still want others to be happy but I now know that I am not the only one available to make that happen for others. Saying no is a good thing!

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