Yoga and Gymnastics
I’ve always been a fairly flexible person. I genuinely thought you only got less flexible with age and that everyone my age or younger would be able to touch their toes at least. Until it randomly came up in conversation with a friend who said he couldn’t. What the actual F? This person runs marathons, goes to kettlebell classes and is in a running club. We are not talking about an unfit person here but he can’t touch his toes. Flexibility obviously doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
This got me thinking that maybe as part of my own exercise routine I can exploit and explore the fact that I am flexible. Biting my toe nails is an absolutely disgusting habit that I’ve had since being a child but as I get older, I’m more proud than disgusted that I can actually still do it!
I always loved gymnastics as a child and I think it’s because I could do it. I was never the fastest runner and definitely not a ‘natural athlete.’ In fact, I think it’s probably safe to say I dreaded PE unless it was gymnastics. I could do cartwheels, hand stands, head stands, forwards rolls and even front flips off the spring board. I was very proud of my BAGA award badges sewn onto my bright red metallic leotard, in fact I might even still have it somewhere! My party piece was to cartwheel around shops, much to my parents dismay I’m sure.
Fast forward 30 years and I can still rock a cartwheel. Of course the kids love it when Mammy cartwheels across the garden. Adam can now do a mini version and Emma is desperately trying to learn. I’ve lost my confidence to do all of the other things though and I really want to build it back up again so I can maintain my flexibility. With this challenge in my mind I’ve been researching yoga moves and the benefits of it. I found a great summary on the This Girl Can website. Highlights of which are:
- Improved efficiency of lungs and cardio-vascular system
- Improved posture, flexibility and strength
- Improved concentration
- Enhanced feeling of well-being
- Better quality sleep
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Less stress and tension
- Improved mental focus
- Enhanced personal relationships
I’m quite familiar with most of the basic poses as I used to attend Body Balance classes which were centred around the popular moves and finished with some amazing relaxation exercises. I intend to introduce some yoga into my weekly routine and will be going back to basics (as it’s been about ten years since I last did it) so poses such as downward dog, warrior, tree pose, bridge pose and cobra.
A huge advantage of yoga is you can do it at home, wherever and whenever you can. If it’s a nice day, get out in the garden and do some yoga in the sunshine. If you’ve got a special yoga mat, great, if not just use a towel. This does not need to be an expensive hobby. I’m hoping to enjoy the benefits of yoga as well as challenge myself onto the more advanced and flexible positions. You never know I might be back to doing handstands and forward rolls by the end of the summer! Who’s with me?