There was a time, probably around 2006, that I had cultivated a daily yoga practice. Looking back now, I wish I could tell you how I did it. I’m sure it had something to do with a mixture of boredom, not wanting to go out of my apartment to move, and also giving in to what is a real magnetic quality about yoga. It’s true that the more you do, the more you’ll do.
The other unfortunate truth about yoga is the less you do, the more you become less mobile. In the beginning, I was looking for mobility of body—I’m not a physically flexible person but, lo, how I wish I was. There’s nothing more beautiful than a lithe dancer or well-trained athlete that just can extend. In true “the grass is greener” form, I am incredibly, curiously strong but you win some and you lose some—where I excel in strength, I struggle in flexibility.
As it turns out, when you add together muscle tightness with non-activity, you get immobile which is both a place and condition in which I never want to find myself. But with the recent drastic decrease in reasons to just be moving throughout the day, I’m flirting with it now and…I’m looking to undo that as quickly as possible.
Here’s my question though: why is mobility so hard? I will go after the hardest workouts one might imagine but five minutes of stretching might as well be climbing a mountain. Sure, it hurts. And I don’t mean “it challenges me and I feel a twinge…” No, I mean, it’s painful. Being that I’m not a masochist, I’m not going to run toward it for that reason. It might also be totally boring…you need to time to stretch that out, you know?
The real issue, though, I think stems from its initial root: it’s not a quick fix. Mobility takes time. Opening things up requires patience + commitment to do it. You need to want it…and I just haven’t necessarily wanted it much until I’ve been on this side of it: which is actually more painful than not having it.
The other unique connection is I find that physical mobility cultivates mental and emotional mobility. We know for sure that there’s a brain-body connection. It’s well documented and observed that we store emotional baggage literally in the “stuff” of our tissues…so moving that out, releasing all of that, actually is not just a by-product of stretching is really a partner to that physical movement and ease. As someone formed on the foundations of “keep a straight face” and “stuff all emotions down as far as possible,” this might be the real crux of mobility for me.
I know that opening my body will require me to deal with all of the stuff being released. And I dread that.
At this point, I think there’s no way out of that. I’m just going to have to do it. I know I can. In 2006, I was working my way toward having some really cool experiences through yoga—because I tried and just kept trying. I can get back there again. I just know the challenge this time.
Go move yourself. It’s as much a reminder to me as anyone else.