Summer is time of year those of us of the New Haven and Connecticut shoreline area have the most opportunity to relax and enjoy our favorite games and activities. Family picnics, weekend golf or company softball games, rousing games of basketball or tennis, hiking, and all other sorts of activities are for so many of us a way recreation and relaxation. We are re-created by bringing all manner of new physical and mental stimulus that can challenge us in new and interesting ways. It keep us looking and feeling younger and more revitalized. We are relaxed as we bring our attention to fresh and absorbing new activity and goals. So it’s all good….right?

All this is good unless physical pain and movement difficulties become part of the equation. And if this happens all our enjoyment can comes to a screeching halt as our activities are modified or even sacrificed with the notion that doing so will get rid of our problem.

Whenshutterstock_207381340 movement starts to hurt it is a curious thing for movement practitioners to tell someone that “motion is the potion” that will bring the healing they seek. This is especially the case when they may have already tried to strengthen that tight and painful back or stretched that tight hip or hamstring to no avail. Even rest and return to activity may have brought a frustrating and upsetting recurrence of the problem. So even though a good deal of my work involves teaching Yoga from a classic perspective I have come to understand that at times a deeper understanding of movement and response to the signals our self gives us is warranted when things are not working in ways we wish.

The invitation here is to look a bit differently at the problems that are occurring. Rather than blame the activity or reject or chase symptoms we can explore what they are telling about how the body we are bringing to our activity is functioning. If there is undue tightness, strain or and it can be fruitful to look at why this annoying tightness persists, or that strain, pain, injury or inflammation just keep coming back. It is common that the symptoms the body produces are often the accumulated effect of the strain that comes from habitual compensations for something else that is happening, or more perhaps more accurately, not happening in the body. Some part of the body overworks, or works in ways it is not designed in order to take of over for another part of the body that is not functioning.  In cases when the compensations for our bodily imbalances have come home to roost so stubbornly the way back to health and to the activities we love is to ferret out and resolve the musculoskeletal dysfunctions on that have caused them in the first place.

All this can seem daunting and confusing at times but in an important sense it is very simple. We all share a very basic musculoskeletal design and functioning that reflects itself in our standing postural alignment and how this translates into how we move. Muscle actions, functional joint position and connective tissues length and strength all have optimal roles to play in keeping us stable, strong and mobile to achieve the activities of our life. Injuries, lifestyle patterns, faulty development or other issues can throw us off balance in posture and or movement, generating dysfunction and associated compensation patterns that can become habitual and impact our wellbeing over time. From this view the symptoms the body present are the way we can become aware that this is happening and need to be addressed.

The good news is that these movement patterns can be seen, understood and addressed through simple alignment and movement analysis and targeted corrective exercise and motion re-patterning that restores proper musculoskeletal function and balance throughout the body. The symptoms that had been so stubborn may be resolved and we can once more move with the greater balance, ease and power that comes with a more fit and functional body.

Even more good news is that so many of these imbalances that have caused our more distressing pain symptoms are at the root of a12078-icon1ny other performance challenges we face. Getting those hips back functioning in a balanced and functional way can not only relief your shoulder pain but can give control over the errant golf swing or faulty tennis backhand.

So let us consider a revised motto for those of us with an eye toward functional fitness as the foundation of a fit and functional body. This is that “proper motion  is the potion”, not only to healing pain and other bodily symptoms but also to helping us move and perform more easily and effectively in our sport and in our life.

Those in the Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Guilford and Madison areas of Connecticut can come experience just how this approach can be true game changer at the Pain Free Tennis workshop to be held in July and August at the Lyme Art Association, 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT. You can register here.

You can contact Alan at (203)488-1700  or via email at