Back in the day, I did gymnastics and was pretty flexible.  Flexibility, though, one is of those things that goes away if you don’t keep practicing it.  It is also one of those things I wish I still had, so I have decided I want to be more flexible.  I know if I just say this, though, it won’t actually happen.  I  need some sort of concrete goal to have.  Luckily, I found this article on “8 stretches to get you to do the splits.” My goal, using these stretches, is to be able to do the splits by the end of summer.

After doing each of these stretches, I realized how far I may in fact be towards be goal.  The poses sound easy, the girls in the pictures make the poses look so easy, yet I was in pain after being in the pose for 2 seconds!  One thing I love about flexibility stretches is that you can see and feel the changes in your body.  In a few weeks, I should be able to do these poses more easily.  Last summer I did hot yoga a few times and I loved seeing how much more I could do after just a few classes–hopefully the same will be true with these stretches.

I’ve decided to describe the suffering I felt through each of the poses so that I can look back later and see how far I’ve come.

Pose 1: Tipover Tuck

<a href="http:/... Tuck</a> Luckily, the set of stretches starts out easy.  I was able to do this one and not feel like I was in too much pain after 30 seconds, but I thought I would be able to bend forward further.

Pose 2: Head to Knee

<a href="http:/... to Knee</a> I was also able to do this one, but I certainly felt the burn and know that I should eventually be able to stretch further.  Maybe eventually I’ll be able to get me head all the way to my knee and not be in pain?

Pose 3: Seated Straddle

<a href="http:/... Straddle</a> This is where the struggles started.  I can get my legs nowhere near as far apart as the girl in the picture and can barely even bend forward!  I need a lot of work on this one.

Pose 4: Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Against a Wall

<a href="http:/... Hip Flexor Stretch Against a Wall</a> I think this stretch was added at this point in the sequence to make us feel a little better after that last one.  This stretch wasn’t difficult, but I could feel it was really stretching my hip flexors, which is really important if I hope to be able to do the splits in a couple months.

Pose 5: Lizard

<a href="http:/... This is another stretch this is somewhat do-able, but I know there’s a lot of progress to be made.  I can get one forearm completely on the ground and my body is extremely crooked, which I know can’t be right.  This stretch definitely has potential for me to master.

Pose 6: Standing Split

<a href="http:/... Split</a> Doesn’t that look cool? Yeah, well it’s not easy.  I can barely get my leg further than 90 degrees up.  If I can’t do the splits horizontally, using the ground as resistance, than how am I supposed to do the splits vertically with nothing pushing my legs apart?  Maybe sometime in the far future I’ll be able to do this, but I’m not holding my breath.

Pose 7: Standing Head to Big Toe C

<a href="http:/... Hand to Big Toe C</a> This is a pose I had seen before when doing hot yoga, but we always stopped at 90 degrees.  I was proud of myself when I was able to hold my upright leg completely straight at 90 degrees and not topple over! But now I have to increase the upright leg height?  Sounds difficult, but I’ll give it a try and hopefully make some progress.

Pose 8: Supported Split

Supported SplitHere’s the moment of truth: the actual splits.  At the end of summer, I hope to do this stretch unsupported.  I’m maybe 7 or 8 inches off the ground now?  I struggled to hold this in place of 30 seconds, but I looked down and did my best.  While looking down, I noticed the word “flexibility” on my shirt, which I found extremely inspiring.  Now, the shirt I’m wearing is one I got from attending a national civil engineering honor society conclave in March, so I’m not really sure how flexibility fits in, but the fact that it’s there means that flexibility can help me in other dimensions of life.  Yes, the flexibility mentioned in the shirt probably related more to adaptability and the ability to be flexible in your job rather than physical flexibility, but I think physical flexibility will teach me that I can push myself. Wish me luck on my journey!

Do you have any goals for this summer?

What are some of your favorite flexibility stretches?