One Small Change
The Verdict on Stretching Daily
The day dawns gray and rainy as the ship that has brought me across the Pacific enters Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor. Unfortunately, the only thing I can see from my cabin’s salt-stained porthole is a giant, illuminated AIG logo on one of the skyscrapers, welcoming me back to reality.
There won’t be any yoga class this morning—the first time in three weeks that I won’t wake up in down-dog. And I already miss it. This is the first time in my life that I’ve followed a daily flexibility program, and I’m feeling healthy, fit and even a bit taller, which I suspect is not the usual listing of benefits one cites upon emerging from a luxury cruise-liner.
In the next few hours, we’ll all have our passports stamped and be politely but summarily dismissed, which is sad because this ship has become our home—plus, we’re going to miss the racks of lamb and Beef Wellingtons. For the next 24 hours I’ll be herded (and treated) like the various assortment of animals I’ve eaten, which I guess is an ironic but fitting end to this surreal excursion.
When I touch down in Philadelphia some 10,000 miles later, having seen the sun rise and set twice in one day after crossing the International Date Line, I’m stiffer than a double gin martini, straight up, no vermouth. I have this theory that your soul travels at a different speed than your body, which is why you feel so disoriented after long flights. You’re simply not all there yet. Well, now I have a new ripple to add to this observation. I think our fascial system—this net of tendons and connective tissue that webs our bodies and that I’ve learned so much about these last few weeks—must travel at even half soul-speed. Maybe it’s the unavoidable consequences of plane travel or perhaps flexibility is one of the most stubborn pillars of fitness to build and hold on to, but I don’t begin feeling loose and supple again until days after being home.
But making this one small change in my life has proven that the creakiness I was feeling, the little twinges that occasionally popcorned my body during exercise, are not the inevitable march of age. Rather, they are the signs and sounds of my own neglect. It’s time to cut back on some cardiovascular and even strength work. It’s time to devote more time to something like yoga every day. It makes such simple sense. To extend the quantity and quality of your life, just stretch.
About The Author
Joe Kita – Joe Kita is a noted writer, editor, motivational speaker and teacher. He authors the blog "One Small Change" for CorePerformance.com.