As a child, I was so bendy! Oh, how I miss being able to do the splits, fold in half, bend backwards — all of it! My brother tried to warn me that as I grew older, I may lose that bendiness and I, of course, didn’t believe him. Needless to say, I have since lost all of that flexibility. Oh well, we can’t change the past, but we can start where we are now…
I used to work at a desk job, not doing much and sitting for long periods. My knees started hurting, my neck started cramping and my hips started to become very stiff. Does this story sound familiar? So many of us spend our days sitting without thinking about the overarching benefits of movement.
Needless to say, I needed a stretching routine to help with my joint mobility and range of motion. I started my yoga journey in 2017 by being introduced to the practice from a friend who is a yoga instructor. I fell in love with the way yoga marries strength building and flexibility through a variety of yoga positions, and how it can prevent many common injuries. Being 34, I’m forced to be more aware of my form and technique, so proper stretching is a must for my body. I can’t do what I once could but I figure, if I work on it daily, I will slowly gain the flexibility that I have lost. Is there muscle memory with flexibility?
I’ve noticed that practicing yoga has not only improved my horrible posture, but my balance. It not only prevents cramping, but it also prevents active insufficiency meaning, the more flexible a muscle is, the more power it can produce (credit to my husband, he’s a doctor of physical therapy!). There’s also the mind and body connection. So often when you sit down to focus on stretching and flexibility, you’re also improving your mindset by engaging in concentration and mindfulness of the body. Creating this positive energy connection between mind and body with your flow is one of the most powerful benefits of yoga!
When it comes to engaging in your highest potential of flexibility, my personal favorite is hot yoga! I love the heat to really get deep into the muscles for an extra stretch. My go to yoga positions to increase flexibility are downward facing dog, tree, big toe pose, and extended side angle. While hot yoga can provide a deeper practice, it can also lead to a heightened confidence that causes overstretching. Remember, when we push our limits and don’t listen to our body, we can cause some of the most common yoga injuries!
As with anything, consistency is key, building on every single day creates strong, lean and flexible muscles! Listen to your body and give it the commitment it deserves to reach its highest potential.
About The AuthorLaura Bisignano is passionate about sharing how to create a dream life one healthy habit at a time!