Friday, April 4, 2008

Day 14, Flexibility

What I most admire about this project's guardian angel, Bruce Lee, is that he was incredibly strong (he could curl his body weight) and at the same time, capable of this:

Strength alone is not all that interesting for me. Peak Condition, in my mind, is not having big muscles, but having high levels of strength and flexibility. Not just very strong and pretty flexible, or very flexible and pretty strong, but very strong and very flexible. So, with two weeks of heavy focus on strength building and diet, getting those things part of my daily routine, I'm turning now to flexibility.

I'm a yoga teacher but I'm not satisfied with my levels of flexibility. I'm at a good level, but not a peak level. The kind of flexibility I have is good for someone just looking to feel good and move well in their daily life, but I'm going to go deeper than ever in this project.

The stuff I'm going to attempt is only possible from a good base of general flexibility I've built up with yoga. By the end of this project I hope to have a deep front split on the floor... a good side split, and the beginnings of the true side split (with toes pointing up)

If you don't know what any of that is, I'll be writing more about it of course!


Kitty said...

Wow! I am impressed! As a yoga teacher you probably can answer this. What is the benefit of that level of flexibility, I mean, if your not a kung fu master? I'm curious as I am now getting into yoga myself. I wonder is there such a thing as being too flexible? And beyond the level you currently are (which I think is pretty damn flexible!) what benefits can deeper levels of flexibility bring? Or is it, "doing it to achieve it", like me doing my Century ride, vs. my regular riding.
Keep kicking butt Patrick! :-)

yoga garden said...

The benefits of having a good level of flexibility are enormous. With less internal resistance, all of your daily actions become smoother and more efficient, leaving you more energy at the end of the day.

In addition, we keep toxins and tension in the muscles and joints. Deep stretches can unlock some of these areas and refresh the body.

Now, that's just having good flexibility. The kind of deep stuff I'm going for is just for fun, and not necessary for any particular health benefit. Although I will use it in martial arts.

I once had a Tae Kwon Do teacher who was short like me. After watching a particularly frustrating session where I was sparring with a much taller person who kept kicking me in the head, he took me aside and told me, "People like you and me, who aren't so tall, can't just say, "Oh well, I can't kick so high," we have to say "I have to kick higher than anyone else!"

It's a good lesson for life in general that has never left me, although the Tae Kwon Do has!

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