Determined to make a breakthrough with my fitness, i signed up to an unlimited yoga and pilates deal with a studio down the road. This is my story.
Tues 8 Dec: Yoga Flow. Hey i'm not too bad at this. But how can one person produce so much sweat? Slid home. Remember to bring towel next time.
Weds 9 Dec: Woke up at 5:30am raring for yoga. What is wrong with me? Bounced down the road to Pilates class. Crawled back. Cannot move. So sore. Cannot. Push. Button. On. Microwave.
10am: Daughter gave me a hug and I fell over. Took 20 minutes to get up using only micro-movements.
8pm. Yoga flow class to help move lactic acid. Apparently i have never used my triceps before. Yoga flow helped (along with magnesium tablet). Remember to bring a towel next time.
Thurs 10 Dec: OH MY GOD WHAT DID I DO TO MY BODY YESTERDAY. I am a shell of a human being. Did Gentle Yoga class. On way home I discovered my house is on a hill. Considered contacting council to put in a conveyor belt like at the airport. I'm sure it's a high traffic area. Remember to bring a towel next time.
Fri 11 Dec: Hey i'm getting stronger. My posture is better. My abs are switched on. Time to ramp it up. Did yoga class with new teacher. He picked my technique to pieces. I bet he's one of those people who takes an hour to build a sandwich. Placing his bits of cucumber with expert precision. It's OK. i like those people. For goodness sake, bring a towel!
Sat 12 Dec: Today I got to see what someone with lower abs can do. Lower abs, you and I have to talk. Finally brought a towel. Didn't use it.
Fast forward a few days... Tues 15 Dec: I felt some big shifts today. A new range of stretch in my pelvis. And emotional shifts too. Loving the play of yoga. I'm still working out the detail but there are moments of surprise and grandeur. Most of all i'm loving the journey with myself.
Have you got a yoga story?
Most of us dancers incorporate stretches into our daily routine, but do you stretch strategically? There are muscle groups that get tight from long periods of sitting that inhibit our fluidity and range of movement. Tight muscles can also lead us to use the wrong muscles to execute movements. Having worked as a remedial massage therapist in a team of physio and exercise physiotherapists, I came to see very common patterns. Here is my quick guide to important muscles to free up the spine (please consult your doctor before attempting new stretches if you have any issues or physical concerns):
1. Spine twist. This is a stretch that works best with generous time and breathing, to let all the smaller muscles along the spine (multifidis) and erector spinae, as well as the fascia cross-sling to let go. Spine twist video.
2. Illiopsoas (or psoas) is our deep hip flexor that connects our top half to our lower half and can get very short and tight from long period of sittings. It is a powerful muscle and if yours is very tight, on one or both sides, it can lead to feelings of tightness in the hamstrings and compression of the lower back. Psoas lunge.
3. Adductors (short and long) are the muscles of the inner thigh. They often work in concert with other muscles to create lower back tightness and knee problems. The "frog pose" and other stretches to lengthen the inner line of the leg can make a powerful difference to the fluidity of the spine. Adductor magnus stretch (Frog pose).
4. Gluteus group, piriformis, obturators (hip rotators) are the muscles of your derriere that can limit your hip movement and lead to tightness in the upper back, as well as sciatic pain (in the case of a tight piriformis). Pidgeon and half pidgeon are great yoga poses for these. Experiment with different angles to get different glut muscles, including the deeper ones. Piriformis release and stretches.
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