In college I could put my legs in front of me, keep my knees straight, bend forward and touch my toes with my fingers. It was easy and I thought nothing of it.
I don’t remember the last time I could do it after college until last night.
Why did I do it? It took me two or three months of twice-daily stretching to get there. I’d been embarrassed for decades at how un-limber I was. A few months ago I started trying to do an L-sit, which means doing this:
I read L-sits exercised your abs well and I’ve developed enough definition in my abs that I wanted to work them more. I couldn’t do the exercise if my hamstrings were too tight. I’m not the fittest man in the world, but I’ve found working on fitness contributes everywhere in life—business, relationships, emotional awareness, diet, etc.
To get more limber I added stretching my hamstrings to my twice-daily Sidchas of burpees, etc. I leaned forward with my legs straight as far as I could and held it for sixty breaths, probably about three minutes.
I could only touch my knees at first! How embarrassing. I was too ashamed to let anyone know, which is why I didn’t stretch for decades.
But every day I stretched an inch or so farther than the day before. The farther I stretched the more comfortable I felt. The pain decreased. I found calmness in stretching.
After a month or two I got close to my ankles. Very exciting!
Last night, at about forty-five breaths, I reached my toes for the first time. For months I patiently saw myself approaching. Such a snail’s pace. A week ago to see my fingers a few inches away, at my ankle bones, not being able to reach the last few inches. I didn’t actually see since I mostly closed my eyes when I stretched. I also don’t know if the stretch was healthy or not. I doubt just doing one stretch was the optimal way to improve my health in general or just stretch my hamstrings in particular. I just set a goal and worked on it. I like goals you can’t cheat to do. Nor can you pay someone else to do them for you. You have to do them.
Then last night I made it and felt a great inner joy. I didn’t celebrate or jump up and down. I just felt great that at 44 years old I did something I hadn’t for more than twenty years. I turned something shameful into accomplishment.
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