When I was younger, my mother enrolled me in ballet classes, but I never really took to them. I’m 5’9, which is relatively tall for a woman, so I always felt kind of awkward and uncoordinated. But I always admired dancers and also figure skaters who had the grace I didn’t have. They were seemingly able to effortlessly perform pirouettes, jumps, and twists in a stunning way. Because of my clunkiness, I kind of came to the conclusion that I would never be one of them. In grade school, I was a soccer goalie, which seemed about the furthest thing from a ballet dancer to me. Although I loved the sport and the team, I didn’t end up playing at the collegiate level.
Basically as a result of all this, I’ve never been the most flexible person. There was definitely a point in my life where I couldn’t touch my toes, because my hamstrings were so tight. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve always been a bit anxious, and I hold a lot of tension in my muscles. I run, but because of my impatience, I never really took the time to stretch out before and afterwards.
During quarantine, this was a big problem for me. Living in an apartment in the middle of Singapore, I didn’t have the space to go cross country running like I usually do. Honestly, I was going a bit stir crazy, and I was about to buy a treadmill just to be able to get some exercise. But my daughter had been listening to this self-care and mindfulness podcast (another side effect of quarantine), and she had started to pick up yoga. She isn’t the most flexible person either, so she asked me to join her yoga sessions. Initially, I was quite apprehensive, but didn’t really have many other options.
Despite my inflexibility, I really enjoy it! Yoga is a different sort of outlet than anything else I’ve previously done before, and being able to effectively stretch out has even made a big impact on how well I sleep at night. Of course, COVID-19 has created many new experiences for all of us, and will probably shape the future in ways we can’t even see yet. But it’s the same vice versa: in smaller ways, we can also shape how we respond to this crisis.
Written by: Michelle Zimmermann