Something I have always taken pride in is that I was a dancer growing up. I LOVE to dance. You cannot keep me from dancing when the music comes on…I gravitate to the floor. Even if I look silly sometimes, I just simply don’t care because I am in my element, happy and free. I even still choreograph…even though I’ll never perform it…I’m just ridiculous like that.
Something I haven’t opened up a lot about is my loss of flexibility since becoming pregnant with Farrah. I guess in some ways, I feel ashamed…like, why is my body not doing what it has been taught for years to do? Why isn’t it coming easily to me anymore? Why am I not good anymore? Each pregnancy I’ve had has given me some issues with my flexibility. Mostly because my hips tend to get sore and almost have this fragile feeling to them, that I end up not doing a lot of stretching and movement with them during pregnancy…I feared I would dislocate or pull something. Bouncing back after my first pregnancy…at the ripe old age of 22…and also not long after I officially stopped dancing regularly…the flexibility came back very easy. This is me in 2007, Tanner would have been around 1-1/2 years old at the time.
But unfortunately, my hips got worse during each pregnancy…and regaining the mobility and flexibility I had become accustomed to got harder and harder. I got my splits back after Breckin, but I wouldn’t say I could ever pop into them with ease. I’d have to really, really stretch a good bit, for fear of causing an injury.
As time went on, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t diligent about stretching. After pregnancies especially, I think I was more focused on getting thin and toned again…so I’d do running and weight-lifting, Insanity DVDs, etc…all things that can really tighten up your muscles! After workouts, I wouldn’t take the time to properly stretch my muscles and as far as making time specifically just to stretch, that went out the window. I tried to get into a few hot yoga classes, but that never really stuck as planned due to the distance from my home. Job, husband, babies and household took over my time, and also made me tired. I made excuses…I would always say I would do it, but never was consistent.
Then my pregnancy with Farrah…hardest one…gained a lot and fast…hips hurt like Hell and exercise and stretching pretty much went out the window in the latter half of the pregnancy. I was not proud of how I handled that pregnancy…having to work a desk job in a crummy part of town with nowhere to even go walking was also a big part of the issue.
So now, here I sit…nearly three years after having her and it has been on my mind a lot lately how I want to work really hard to regain my flexibility. I want to do the splits again. I want to do a back bend with ease. And while sure, it can be fun to show that sort of thing off, I mostly care about it because it will keep my body young and healthy, and help sustain it from injury, or bounce back from injuries more quickly. And I also want to just dance my little heart out again…whether it’s on the floor with my girlfriends or just messing around in the garage gym doing a dance workout rather than the usual weights.
The greatest motivator for me right now is honestly going to be my daughter. She was playing near me last night while I did some deep, concentrated stretching and when she noticed me, she stopped what she was doing and immediately came over to me and started mimicking what I was doing. CUTEST THING EVER. It reminded me that I want so deeply for her to share my love of dance, but how can I do that when she never sees me do it? That is changing right now. She is always dancing around, so I know she has a natural love for it as well…she automatically puts her hands out in a beach ball form like a ballerina and dances to her music…something she started all on her own…so I want to encourage it by showing her things like stretching and dancing around.
I’ve come up with a series of stretches that I am going to commit to doing every night…no excuses because they can be done while watching TV before bed with my husband! I will share those with you soon. Here is where I’m at now with the splits after a couple focused weeks of stretching…getting there, but still a long ways to go.
Wish me luck!