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Three Simple Stretches

It started with three simple stretches. Actually, let me back up a little. It started at A Chorus Line. As I watched the dancers on stage I was struck by the thought, “I’d like to have what they have. I’d like to be that lithe, that flexible.” Flexibility has never been my strong point, either physically or emotionally. A sports doctor once told me that my flexibility was the little hands and little feetworst he’d ever encountered in a woman. He said it was bad even for a bloke! I’ve tried to do something about it in the past and ended up in tears, feeling like a two year old in a world she doesn’t understand.

Some days after A Chorus Line, when walking the dog, I saw a sign outside a house. A sign I had never seen before. It was for something called physio yoga. I wrote down the number and made an appointment. This is where the three simple stretches come in. At the appointment I told Sarah, the physiotherapist, that I would like my body to be more flexible, that I would love to become more aware of my body and I really wasn’t sure how. I also warned her that when I’d seen physios in the past, after I’d injured my knee and when I had a frozen shoulder, they just loaded me up with exercises that I’d resent having to do and would stop doing at the earliest opportunity. She suggested three simple stretches I could do everyday and that I come along to one of her physio yoga classes and see if it suited me. Easy. I could do that. And I did.

Three simple stretches everyday. And everyday my awareness of my body increased. I went to one of her classes and instead of feeling like a clumsy fat dolt as I had in past yoga classes, I felt looked after. She was a physio, I was her client, I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. I could relax. She has a Pilates reformer bed and I asked if I could have some sessions. She guided me through and I started being able to use it on my own. My body loves it; stretching, sliding, pressing and all with an incredible sense of support.

I have struggled with my weight from the age of eight. Sometimes fat, sometimes slim but always battling my own body. Through these three simple stretches and the things they have led to, I’ve realised that I’m like a child when it comes to my body. I need to be helped, guided, given gentle encouragement. Instead I have been a tyrant, abusive and cruel. Never aware. Just bossy and thoughtless. It was a revelation to me that I could have a greater connection with my body, not through food and diets, this fad or another, but through movement. Through gentle, supported, nourishing movement. Through three simple stretches.