I’m was just sub-teaching a flexibility class for friend of mine’s class this afternoon. I love teaching conditioning classes in general, I don’t know why. I feel like I have all these different exercises.. really my head holds a mishmash of P90x, Insanity, gymnastics and dance conditioning exercises… and I love putting them together according to different fitness goals. Usually when I have a class the goal is to work each of the different muscle groups that make up your core with an emphasis on defining abs. see I’m getting off on just writing about it 🙂
But the stretching part of it is not quite as exciting for me. Flexibility is something that requires my patience both in class, in my own fitness routines and in my daily life. One you have to start wherever your particular body is at, without judgement and patiently work your way into being more flexible. You have to give your body time in each position to relax and then start to incrementally work your way down (or out or up or whichever direction you’re heading). and you have to be consistent if you are enjoying your results.
This is the part of life I struggle with too. One I don’t enjoy starting wherever I’m at. I am constantly looking for waht is normal so I can start there. I don’t know where this lifestyle desire came from but I have been obsessed with finding what’s normal for as far back as I can remember. What does a normal person my height weigh? How much does a normal woman eat (I actually asked this question of someone this week, in earnest)? What classic books has a normal person read? How far can a normal person run? Like it matters. Like I have to figure out what normal is to be able to handle wherever I am. When I start the stretching part of any class I teach I say the following “the most important thing I want you to think about right now is that your body is unique to everyone else’s. No matter what you see me demonstrate or talk about up here I expect you to take your body and your strengths and weaknesses into consideration. My hips are tight but my back is flexi. Therefore for I am more patient and kind to my hips and my back flexibility needs to be challenged. I NEVER do anything that is painful on my body even if you can do it easily. I will never ask you to push yourself in an unhealthy manner. Don’t ask me to read your mind or know your body. It’s your job to take care of yourself.” and everyword of that is true. However, as I started teaching more regularly, I started realizing that that speech wasn’t just about stretch class. I needed to apply that to everything. There is no normal. Fuck normal. I am ahead of the game in some areas and behind in others. So it is my job to take care of myself. duh.
So here I am, busy as all hell and trying to make myself feel alright about the fact that for the first time in a loooong time I don’t have to ability to follow a set workout regime (I fell in love with the simplicity of following P90X). But here I am in admittedly the best shape of my life, working out without a plan set by a professional, and eating not according to a set diet plan. I don’t count calories, cut out specific food groups, or eat on a schedule. I drink wine when I want to and beer when I go out with my current squeeze. and I have, without trying hit and maintained a lower weight then I did in college. A lower weight than I was able to hit when I was eating my six mini meals a day and following Tony Horton like he was the savior. and I’m happy. Now I’m not saying that I won’t ever use a diet plan or a specific workout regime.. or even P90X since I kind of try to maintain a similar workout schedule all the time. I have found those tools to be very useful. But as tools I guess instead of the ONE TRUE WAY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.
Flexibility. I have to continue to work on it, all the time. I have to allow for my schedule to change, for my life to flow, I have to be patient especially in the places that I happen to be stuck or immobile.
I wrote this while I was making lunch so I took a few pics. Is this a normal lunch?? who knows! who cares! it was exactly what I wanted today. It’s tofu, saute’d in extra virgin olive oil with a few sugar snap peas and baby carrots and a handful of almonds. I sprayed the finished product with braggs liquid aminos and a sprinkling of sea salt. It was good but in all honesty throwing the whole almonds and baby carrots in the pan didn’t really produce stellar results. food for thought 🙂