it was the late richard hittleman that got me started. his tv programme yoga for health was on the telly box pretty much every morning during school holidays in my mid teens. i hadn't been able to get a summer job, so when my mother nipped down the street for the shopping, i would be sat on the living room floor, trying to contort my creaking limbs into positions they were initially reluctant to adopt. however, as with pretty much each and every activity, the more you do it, the better you get, and with mr hittleman's guidance i gradually became a tad more flexible of limb and ultimately, that bit healthier.
i managed to keep up this yoga practise on and off all through my college years and into my thirties, brought to an abrupt halt by the arrival of a child who simply would not sleep at nights. i risked the ire of mrs washingmachinepost, after a largely sleepless night, if the child awoke as i arose to partake of 30 minutes of daily peace and calm.
yoga is a remarkably low impact means of keeping body and soul together. the phrase 'age doesn't come alone' is beginning to make itself known on the daily travail; there are creaks and groans where once there were none. i am well aware that i ought to be taking steps to stem this relentless tide of stiffness, but it is one of life's ironies that when you really ought to be adopting yoga practice, there seems little time in the day to do so. which is precisely why it ought to be done.
i have made several attempts to make it so, but i fear i suffer from the same desertion of willpower that seems to affect those intent on dieting. though the latter is not something i have any concerns with, i can't help thinking that a decent yoga practise might keep it that way for a lot longer. i still have a richard hittleman title on the bookshelf upstairs, filled to the brim with adaptable exercises that would doubtless improve the flexibility of ageing bones and muscles, but procrastination has as its ally the indecision as to which would be the most beneficial amongst the chapters. which is why a new dawn may just have broken with the arrival of lexie williamson's yoga for cyclists.
ms wiliamson is also the author of a similar volume for runners based on her specific experience of those participating in both activities. thus, the exercises and flows contained within this well illustrated book are geared (pardon the pun) for velocipedinists alone. as the opening paragraph states "This book is for cyclists looking for a strong, resilient but lean physique, supple enough to hunker down into a streamlined stance and ride in comfort for longer"
i cannot deny that lengthy periods of time struggling into an islay headwind places undue pressure on several parts of the body. granted, these are often ameliorated when catching the return tailwind, but that presupposes i made it intact to the turn point in the first place. adapting well-worn (again, apologies for the pun) yoga exercises to the more specific needs of the cyclist seems like a rather ginger peachy idea as far as i'm concerned, and i have to say, the short period in which i have tried to embrace certain of the chapters and attendant philosophies have so far proved tangibly effective.
there are still creaks and groans to be found that were surely not there last weekend, but i believe we'll all have to accept that sort of thing eventually. so far, however, attempts to strengthen my core via ms williamson's instruction would appear to be making headway. if i continue the practice conscientiously, when those fierce winter headwinds come round again, i'll be more than ready for them. it's certainly a more peaceable method of achieving an attainable goal, even if you only dip in and out to begin with. but as was the case with the inestimable mr hittleman, once it takes hold, it becomes several cheerful moments in daily life.
finally, a book for all of us.
monday 26 may 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................