The Splits Progress

My splits are coming along. My training feels a lot better now that I’ve changed a few things. When I first started, as probably most do, I started stretching mostly the hamstrings. I even read that for my kind of pelvic situation, working the hamstrings was going to be what I needed to work on most. However, this turned out to be very uncomfortable when trying to get more flexible. There was always this feeling of something wanting to tear. I would often get up the next day with sore, tight hamstrings that never wanted to stretch again.

I found myself trying to stretch the front leg forward and the back leg back as much as possible. This would cause my hips to open to the side. We all know the goal of front splits is to be square. What to do?

One day the Lord opened my eyes to see that I would do better if I focused on trying to “sit” the split instead of stretch it. Cue light bulb sound.

Now, I start off in a lunge (after a series of hip, hamstring, and quad stretches) and then extend only at the knee instead of at the upper thigh. Then I focus on “sitting” the front hip down, rotating and pulling it back as needed. I concentrate on not moving my back knee at all, even though I’m tempted to in order to try to cheat a little.

Doing this has helped in so many ways. I am able to stay more square, and I don’t get that feeling of my hamstrings wanting to rip. I feel the stretch in my hips, inner thighs, and hamstrings all at once and much more comfortably than before. I am also able to keep my back more straight up as opposed to bent forward.

In these pics, I had just done a back routine, and I had done a barre exercise about 30 minutes before, so I was semi-warm. I hadn’t done really any splits prep. So, not bad, eh?

And the battement goes on…


The Getting Up

Another day where I’m just getting through exercises rather than enjoying them. Still recovering from flu symptoms and I just don’t feel like it.

Finally, I finish everything and I’m lying on my front body on my mat to release my back, head to one side. I plan on lying there for a hot minute when I hear the oh-so-quiet Voice in the back of my head.

Get up.

I plan on taking my time to obey this order when suddenly something from within gently lifts my head from the mat. At first, I just turn it to the other side, planning once again to just grab a few more seconds. Again, that gentle power from within lifts my head, and then my body, of the mat.

I’m telling y’all, it was not I who got up. It was an experience like I’ve never had before. Articulating it is impossible, but it was the awesomest thing ever.

The command to get up was not the Lord giving me an instruction to follow. If that were the case, I would have had the choice to say yes or no. It was more like the command to let there be light or for Lazarus to come forth. The kind where the Lord send His word to do a thing, and that thing doesn’t have a choice but to fulfill that word.

This is where the words fail. I can only crudely describe the sense of love and support from the Father that I felt. He is so on my side and is a very present help. When I’m weak, He is strong, because He has compassion on my weaknesses. He wants me to dance more than I do, and He’s not leaving me to do it alone.

I just can’t even.

The Getting Better: Part 2

Still being healed of flu symptoms today, so I don’t really have the brain energy to come up with a decent intro, so if you missed part 1 – here you go.

My hips are getting stronger and opening up more. My passé is now to the middle of the knee instead of below. I also believe that it’s my hips, not my hamstrings, that I need to focus on to get my split. Because of the way they’re set, I have to do things at a slight angle. When I aim my legs for more of an 11/5 o’clock, my hips square up better and my back isn’t so arched when I try to straighten up. My left side is agreeing with me more than my right at the moment, so my right side and I will need a few more conversations. I did read that sometimes getting a perfectly square split may not be possible for some people and their bodies, and I was in that category of bodies. But I’m not conceding without a fight (a gentle, safe-for-my-body fight).

I did a slow, easy barre and realized that I should probably camp out there for a while. It became glaringly clear that I was neglecting so many things – my arms and elbows dropping, keeping turnout, not sitting back on my standing leg, keeping my hips squared when my leg is to the back. After working all that stuff, I got as far as fondu and was exhausted (I was battling mild flu symptoms, but it was still a lot of work).

Mostly what I’m getting better at is accepting where I am. I don’t have to finish the entire barre if I’m not yet up to it. I can spend time on one exercise if I feel I need to focus on something. I can slow something down if I’m not able to do something properly at speed. If the instructor says do something once flat and once on relevé, I don’t have to do the relevé round. I can do it twice flat if I know I won’t be able to do it properly. I’m glad I’m starting to get more comfortable with eating the elephant one bite at a time.

getting strong now