Stretching For Better Health

Family Doing Yoga Together At Home

Photo: Antonio Diaz/123rf.com

I felt stuck in a rut, but I was inspired to make a change. My body needed more love, attention, and activity. There were too many aches and pains and many times getting out of a chair resulted in grunting noises coming out of my mouth. It was not a pretty sight.

As a writer and entrepreneur, I am at my computer a lot. Once I get going, I am laser-focused and intent on what I’m doing. Hours go by and I haven’t moved. Then the unthinkable happens, I move. My poor little body rebels at the indignity and struggles to get back to normal.

Something needed to be done!

So, I verbally said out loud that I needed a mentor to get me back on track. Someone who would be kind, supportive, and consistent and not yell at me. I do not respond well to being yelled at!

I looked at websites, read articles but nothing felt right. I again said out loud that I wanted a coach and could they come to me quickly. Okay, so it was a bit pushy, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

As I was sitting on the couch pondering, my sister’s dog, Deacon, came over and licked my face. His happy demeanor and wagging tail brought a smile to my face and then he did the one thing that I needed most. He s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d. A full-on downward-facing dog stretch complete with blissful sounds coming from his throat.

I had found my mentor.

Just looking at him stretch brought relief to my body. Imagine what would happen if I actually did it myself!

In the early 1930s, Swami Kuvalayananda incorporated a downward-facing dog into his exercise system. The lineage of training for this pose included pioneers B. K. S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois, the founders of Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

The benefits of this common pose were highlighted in a 2019 Yoga Journal article, “Downward-Facing Dog: Deservedly one of yoga’s most widely recognized yoga poses”, Adho Mukha Svanasana, offer the ultimate all-over, rejuvenating stretch.”

Deacon knew all about this. He is one smart pooch.

So, every time Deacon did a stretch, so did I. Forward stretch, backward stretch, arms stretch, leg stretch, basically anything I could stretch I did. Bliss.

In the ‘hunched over’ age of technology, stretching is even more important. Older and younger people are glued to their devices with their bodies in an unnatural position (otherwise known as a chiropractor’s dream). I cringe to think of how my body would have looked years from now if I hadn’t started stretching. How I wished I had started sooner.

The Mom Junction article, “Top 15 Stretching Exercises For Kids” shows fun and basic poses. Kids (and adults) can enjoy playing the stretching game and seeing how much and how long they can stretch.

If you don’t have a furry reminder like me, set a timer to remind you that your body needs to move, stretch, and relax. If Deacon isn’t around to remind me, I set up a timer on my phone to ensure that I keep my stretching routine.

Many times, I didn’t realize how much my body was longing to stretch.

Perhaps yours is too.

Lisa Fontanella loves writing and rocks. What better way to blend two of her passions — write a children’s book about rocks! Lisa is the proud author of the children’s book Crystal’s Quest: An Adventure into the World of Gemstones and the companion, My Thoughts for Today: Guided Journal and Coloring Book. Lisa is a Reiki Master, holistic practitioner, and certified life coach. Lisa lives in New England and enjoys being near the water whether it be the ocean, river, lake, pond, or puddle.