Stretching and I
By Natalie Lincoln
Image © Balazs Kovacs Images / Fotolia
Every day I vow to incorporate more stretching in to my life. Actually, seeing as the three minutes I do bother with probably don’t actually count, I should just vow to include stretching full stop. Who am I kidding?
I get stretching. I appreciate the concept of stretching. I just don’t like stretching. Therefore I don’t. It suits me to sit with the people who say it’s unnecessary. I like that.
I do try a little. My poor old hips need something and those calves…phew! I once had a massage therapist touch them and declare she wasn’t going to again as she was scared they’d explode on contact. But really, my attempts are pathetic. My current massage therapist kindly emailed me a stretching routine, complete with pictures. Yep. Thanks for that. I’ll get to it.
I surprise myself that I don’t actually carry injuries – a little niggle now and then, but so far, nothing I can’t run through. In fact, running more seems to make me less injured. Apart from a little bit of a sore plantar upon getting started in the morning. And that hip that gets a little sore. Undeniably anything that does go on relates eventually to my lower back that sits more like a cement block than a moving, living, dynamic part of my body. I know how to fix it. So why don’t I?
For a few years I quite diligently attended yoga classes, twice a week even. I actually enjoyed that and the benefits for running were clear – I felt longer and my shoulders no longer crept up around my ears; I was relaxed. By no means was I what I would deem ‘flexible’, but I was a whole lot more bendy than I’d ever been.
“I’ll never get better at this. I’m so inflexible!” I’d, at times, declare to my yogi.
“It’s not your body that’s inflexible.” He would sagely tell me.
Chastened, I would then concentrate very hard on allowing my mind to become flexible in the vain hope that all of a sudden I’d flop over and be able to get my head anywhere near my knees. Being an A type of personality, you can imagine how well I went with this.
“Being flexible is not the point.” Yogi would further impart.
Perhaps not, but it would certainly help!
Anyway, circumstances change and going to yoga became an impossibility. Or rather, it got bumped down the list of priorities far enough that I decided it’s too difficult, too time consuming.
I do now try to maintain at least a Salute the Sun on a daily basis…or at least once a week…usually with my child hanging off my back or using me as a tunnel during Downward Dog. I’ve done a run streak, I’m aiming for a yoga streak because it does balance me.
I need a stretching race. Then I’d be motivated. Fear of injury and impaired range of movement just isn’t enough. I can see my yogi cringing at the thought. I feel like I’ve just blasphemed.
No, I’ll carry on with niggling guilt on a daily basis that I should be doing a little more. But I probably won’t. It interests me greatly that I can be motivated to get up at 4 am every morning to run but when it comes to stretching, you’d think you were asking me to chop off a limb. And the worst part is, I know how much better I feel when I do it!
Hmm. Think I’ll go work on that supple mind.