As babies we effortlessly lie on our backs, grab our feet and suck on our toes and smile. Fast forward a decade or two later and it's a very different story.
what happened? I just have to look at my son and I know exactly what happened. Starting soccer at the age of 4 was the beginning of his transformation from a flexible toddler into a rigid teenager who complains about sore muscles from head to toe. Of course those kids stretch at the end of practice but not nearly enough to maintain souple healthy muscles. My son is not alone.
Many people join yoga with the intention of gaining flexibility, to compensate for a lifestyle that stiffens the body .... but not beyond repair! The belief that you are either flexible or not, is completely untrue but it takes work and patience to increase and maintain flexibility.
The same is true for girls and boys who do not practice any sports. I was a chubby little girl who preferred playing with Barbies than doing any form of physical activity. I remember my mother signing me up at our local ballet and all I could see were skinny girls doing the splits. I felt like an elephant in a porcelain shop and I rapidly returned to my skinny Barbies!
when I started getting into sports, I ran and a lot and did very little stretching afterwards. I wasn't getting any closer to those splits I can tell you.
I began stretching at the age of 40. Fast forward ten years and I am extremely happy with my freedom of movement. Freedom is what I feel as my body rids itself from the stiffness accumulated over the years.
Our society focuses on building muscle and increasing heart rate but having healthy muscles means they are strong AND flexible....elastric not bulky and hard.
As I teach young and older to stretch successfully, I have put a set of guidelines to help.
Not everyone will want to suck their toes again but everyone can touch their toes!
The Art of Stretching: