I love yoga but I hate practicing flexibility. There, I said it. People assume if you’re a yogi, you must be some sort of contortionist. While I’m at this confessional, I’ll admit I can’t do a split to save my life. I accepted this fact of life, until now.
Even when I practiced yoga more frequently, I was naturally drawn to the more strength-based poses, opting to perfect my chatturanga push-ups and arm-balances. This is why practicing progressive calisthenics appealed to me, because I could train predominantly bodyweight exercises and focus on strength.
Lately, however, I’ve been feeling an old lower back injury creeping up on me and it’s made me reflect on what is lacking in my training regimen: Flexibility. Plain and simple.
This morning, I decided I will begin an experiment in mobility in hopes of alleviating my back pain and getting me into da splits (hopefully both). So for the next 2-3 weeks, every day I will work on my mobility. I wannabe like Gumby!
The plan is to focus on deepening my backbends to where I can get my hands closer to my ankles, getting into the splits, and a lying wide-legged forward fold. This is a preview of today’s session:
There’s something brutal about practicing flexibility which is probably why I avoided it in the first place. It’s mad uncomfortable! You sit there, and feel resistance and tension– in your body and mind. The same thoughts of “When will it end?” and “Why am I succumbing myself to this torture?” kept circling in my brain. Finally after about 30+ seconds, my mind became noticeably quieter, and my limbs stopped screaming at me, and there was peace. I remember my thought process shifting to a clip I saw on the web of Bruce Lee saying:
And that ninja put me at ease. Thank you Bruce! 😉 I felt like I was beginning to melt into each movement.
After my session, I sat there and contemplated about what else I was resistant to in my life. I reflected on areas where I could improve beyond the physical and become more easy-going, less anxious, less angry, and more self-accepting, patient, and loving.
There’s definitely something to this flexibility training! I can already feel a deeper sense of tranquility that lies hidden beneath the layers of tension in me. This is what I love about practicing yoga, there is always something more beyond the pose. You are like an onion, and the more you practice the more layers you penetrate and peel away. How I feel in my body physically is a reflection of what is happening deeper than my muscles…in my soul. I guess I must be kind of a tight-ass that needs to loosen up and chill out! And dats exactly what I’m gonna do! My body says I need to do some soul-searching/stretching and see where this journey takes me.
Will definitely keep all you ninjas updated on my progress! Til next time, have a HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!