Welcome back to The Self Mastery Series. Today we are going to be focusing on improving your flexibility, why it is important and how you can benefit from becoming more flexible.
Firstly, I would like you to understand that a lot of inflexibility, stiffness and pain may come simply from too much sitting, poor posture and being unaware of how you move and use your body. As we age, there is nothing which makes you feel older, less active and able than being inflexible, not being able to bend down and tie your shoe laces, or feeling tight when stretching and reaching. We begin to feel that inflexibility is simply something that occurs as we grow, yet this is not the case! My grandmother took up yoga in her 70s and she loved it! I began properly working on my flexibility last year, at the age of 30, and now I am more flexible than I ever was as a child. We must be brave and challenge lazy thinking, which tells us that we must settle for gradual reduced flexibility. Let this limited viewpoint go: forever!
Why flexibility is important
Being flexible keeps you feeling alive, vital and energised. There is absolutely no need at all for us to be inflexible, our bodies are designed to be fast, strong, and flexible, we just need to treat them as such! I have found that pushing and improving my flexibility has led to be feeling better in my body, as I am capable of a greater range of movement and I can use my body in a large variety of different ways. Opening up your hip flexors and loosening your hamstrings can also help to banish back pain and a sense of tightness and sluggishness, which we incur from too much sitting down. Also, as your body becomes more flexible, so does your mind. Once you are sat in the splits as an adult, suddenly you begin thinking what else am I capable of? It is a fantastic feeling.
How you can improve yours
Watch this video and join in with the exercises: splits stretching routine.
It is an excellent beginner’s guide to stretching two of the problem areas for flexibility, especially in adults; the hips flexors and the hamstrings. Begin stretching daily, holding each stretch for 30 seconds and breathing deeply in and out. You may also want to try out a yoga or pilates class. I would particularly recommend Hatha, Kundolini and Hot yoga.
My flexibility Eureka! Moment
My flexibility Eureka, I can do this! moment occurred last summer, whilst I was watching the 2016 Rio Olympics. I was inspired and excited by the incredible achievements of Max Whitlock, Louis Smith and Nile Wilson of Team GB’s Gymnastics Team. They were awe-inspiring! So I immediately set to work on improving my own flexibility, by going out into my garden and attempting handstands, cartwheels and the splits. They had shown me that it was possible! And after less than 2 weeks…I was sat in the splits.
Week 2 Day 2 Actions
Watch this video and begin a daily stretching routine.
Do not be put off by the intensity of these exercises! Just join in and do as much as you can, believing that you will improve. Pay attention to any changes that you notice in your body and mind this week as you begin to improve your flexibility.
Stretch and enjoy,