My arch-nemisis: the forward fold

When it comes to exercise, I have already mentioned one of my vulnerabilities – the basic push-up (which is what killed me in the The Fundies)., but my real arch-nemesis is the forward fold.   I can see my toes, I just have trouble touching them.

I first noticed my inability to bend in high-school gym class.  Every year we would have the Presidential Fitness Test.  It would consist of a curl ups, a mile run, shuttle run, and finally the sit and reach with everyone trying to be in the 80% percentile (which is mathematically impossible as someone has to fail).  I would do fine in the first exercises, until I got to the sit-and-reach The standard in the fit-and reach was how many positive inches could you reach beyond your tows.  I was always fall short into the negative so no prize for me.

In high-school I just told myself that I just had a long legs so I had further to reach.  Later, I found out my family has genetically bad hips (there are lots of hip replacements),  However there also lots of muscles, particularly in the back of the thighs, that atrophy after years of neglect.  Sitting in an office chair is about the worst thing you can do.  Now I know the solution to this is stretch a LOT.     Yet, I really need to warm up into the stretch in order to relax all the years of tension.   This is what yoga does for me.  Today me and my wife had our first private lesson.  Yoga lets me feel for the first time, which muscles are holding me back.  Over several breaths I can feel them tremble and start to move as opposed to just being a inflexible rock.

Invariably the instructor ends the stretch saying “use you hands to walk yourself up”, which just rubs in the fact that I can’t reach my hands that far between my legs ….  YET.  Once, when I was five I think I can remember being able to put my leg over my shoulder.  Perhaps that wasn’t a dream, perhaps I can bend once again.


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