I spent most of my life being inflexible – in both senses of the word. I’d like to think that I have loosened up mentally, hard for a rule-loving girl and equally hard to measure. I know for a fact that my body is more flexible.
I was born lacking typical baby flexibility. It really worried Ma when my little legs couldn’t go up over my head. The doctor assured her it was okay. I don’t know that she was completely convinced.
From being an inflexible child, I grew into an inflexible adult. Just before I turned 30, I took a yoga class, thinking it would help. It was horrible! The women were competitive and looked down on those of us aspiring to get closer to our toes. Okay, some of that last part might have been projection, but they did have a superior attitude.
[Thank you Kitzzy for letting me use this photo and for showing that I wasn’t alone in being unable to touch my toes!]
During grad school in England, I got brave and signed up for a six-week-long yoga class. I am so glad I did. Before class, a group of us were sitting out in the hall, and it came out that none of us could touch our toes. There was much rejoicing!
As class time approached, someone thought to try the door, and it was open. Inside, doing a headstand, was our instructor, an Italian yogi-in-training. He made it very clear that this class was not competitive. He also told us if we were sore, it was because we didn’t listen when our bodies told us not to go further. There was to be no complaining/bragging about that.
During those six weeks, I was able to get to where I could touch my toes. It was short lived, however. I never really gained the upper hand on my flexibility until after my knee surgery. Stretching was a big part of rehab. I got to where I could get my palms on the floor with really warm muscles; I could easily touch the floor with them cold.
After my dance career ended, I had a little pity-party and quit stretching. I realize, though, that as I get older I will need flexibility and balance even more. I’m back on the bandwagon. I know that I really need twice a day sessions to get back where I was, but much like with my foam roller, knowing is not doing. I’m trying to give myself the kick in the butt I need to get going, but you need flexibility for that!
Can you touch your toes? or Does anyone actually like competitive exercise sessions?