We can’t deny that when we see a picture of someone looking peaceful and comfortable in the splits..we all want to be able to do that!
Flexibility is something very complex and lots of people believe that it is something genetic that you either have, or don’t have.
Everyone has different levels of flexibility, some people are born with joint hyper-mobility which means they are naturally a lot more flexible than your average person. Hyper-mobility is a syndrome where someones joints are very ‘loose’, this is fantastic if you want to nail that standing split…but can also cause life changing injuries if the joint is not strong enough.
If you don’t have hyper-mobility and are more in the opposite direction like me – very stiff!!, you can still master that yoga pose you’ve seen or still get your first ever splits at age 24 (I am living proof of that). You just have to work a bit harder, you have to be persistent and you have to want it.
When I first started working on my flexibility, it was when I realised that my boyfriend could touch his toes and I was nowhere near. I also had horrible knee pains that until after increasing my flexibility no one knew what was wrong with them. I would be fine sitting down but, when it came to standing up I would have a pain in my knee which would make it give way – the longer I sat down the worse it was when I got up. I had X-rays, physio exercises and gel (which was for joint pain). Nothing worked until I started yoga, I was miraculously cured with no aches or pains and it made me feel great.
It wasn’t until then, I noticed how much we need our flexibility. My yoga teacher always used to tell us to stretch our hips because we store all our stress and emotions in them. I now love stretching and am always trying to slowly increase it to deepen my yoga practice.
If you want to work towards a certain pose or just increase you flexibility in general, do your research to find out what stretches will work best and make sure you modify any where the full expression is too much. One thing I would avoid is any kind of tutorial advertising that you can do the splits in 1 day or anything ludicrous like that. The brutal truth is that you won’t be able to do them tomorrow, or the next day for that matter if you are starting from scratch. It will take time, everyone is different and everyone’s bodies will have some muscles tighter than others
This week I had a breakthrough and managed to do a full split without my arms on the floor to take some of the weight. The smile on my face was huge, as I made a promise to myself in the new year to work on my splits I was beyond happy that my persistence paid off.
This took me quite a few months as I kept loosing focus and did not practice them enough, the last 2 weeks I have made sure to stretch almost every night and that is when the magic happens, when you don’t give up!
I am definitely not the most flexible person in the world but what I do know is less than 2 years ago I couldn’t even touch my toes in a standing forward fold – now I can get my hands flat on the floor..and then some.
So, now you know the sweat, blood and tears behind the beautifully bendy photos and know how to get there yourself.
Happy Hump Day!
Love, Dans x