We have all adapted over time to the stresses of life and the bodies we now inhabit are very different from the ones we had just 10 years ago. This adaptation makes for a very interesting journey. ...and this is why recovery is such an important aspect of life in a human body
How a cyclist and desk jockey respond to and initiate recovery efforts will vary greatly. Blood flow for an active individual is normally extremely high and their muscles are vascularized which means recovery efforts will pay off tremendously. More sedentary lifestyles require more support with corrective exercises, increasing mobility, as well as increased direct pressure recovery efforts.
My point is that our bodies are extremely good at meeting the demands we place on them. So how do you get yourself to do things that may seem boring, unnecessary, or flat out painful in order to bring about adaptive change for the better? Can you remember how you moved 10 years ago? If you can say you are moving better now than then, keep it up; you must be walking the path of ritual recovery.
I'm sure you've had the experience of taking a deep breath and letting out the stress of the day. That letting go is the process of realizing you are carrying some stress, and the practice is to repeatedly lay your burden down. This needs to be intentional and duplicated. All the many ways we have of letting off steam are so important to battle against a great silent killer, stress.
Yoga, exercise, hikes in the mountains, sitting comfortably with a good book, make them rituals. But sometimes we need to take it a step further, recognizing that our physical bodies will adapt and hold on to various stressors.
Sometimes our muscles need direct attention. Finding muscle relief as a practice can have a powerful impact on the way you move and live your life.
Here's a list of ways to make your recovery a ritual.
1) Provide your body with a consistent and precise positive stimulus. Muscles will respond with blood flow, referred to as a cascade of healing. This is a natural aspect of your bodies innate ability to adapt and heal. This is beyond stretching, or corrective exercise. Deep muscle fibers found in your body are bound up due to accumulation of stress and need consistent force applied to them to challenge them to release.
2) Learn to love therapeutic pain. I truly enjoy challenging my tightness and feeling the tissue open up. Just remember, don't be too agressive. Just because a little is good, doesn't mean a lot is better. More time gets the result, not necessarily more force. Increase force as you notice the tension release. Pain should diminish as your muscles release. If the pain persists, find a different area to treat.
3) Become Empowered. You are responsible for your health. You can get yourself out of pain, and continue the lifestyle you love. Do not give up! Muscles adapt to everything you place on them. Use this truth for your own benefit. Provide yourself a consistent, precise, positive stimulus and you will experience optimal tissue health.
4) Make it a Habit. If you apply the first two ideas, you will start experiencing less tension in your body. This is the ritual of recovery, step by step, day by day. Remember you are what you do, and how good you can feel is brought about by challenging your body to adapt in ways that make you feel good. Carolyn Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, believesour psychology becomes our physiology. We can let go of the past which is storing mental and physical stress, and embrace a new body, and a renewed mind.
Be reasonable on your expecations. You have placed much stress on yourself, and you have adapted. Years and years of living creates tension patterns that accumulate. Be patient and enjoy the process of unwinding twisted bundled tissue, and restoring it to its' natural, relaxed, soft and supple state.