At the last minute, my evening opened up and I decided to take Fred’s Core Fusion class on Wednesday night.
I knew it was different from the beginning.
I knew it was different when I decided to stretch before class while sitting on the floor with my legs extended in front of me. I reached forward and for the very first time in my life — including the 12 years I spent taking dance class — I was able to touch my toes. Yes, I had to severely flex my feet to do this, but that’s neither here nor there. For the first time in my life, I could touch my toes.
I knew it was different when I was able to put my yoga blocks on the level closest to the floor instead of the middle or highest (there are 3 levels) during the stretches of our right leg, when we go into splits (or in my case, tiny attempts at splits). I knew it was different when I was able to abandon the yoga blocks completely during the stretch and split of my left leg, which has always been my more flexible side. But not that flexible.
I knew it was different when the class sat in rounded backs against the wall to put their legs straight up in front of them. I took my strap like always around my right foot, my tighter leg, my foot with tendinitis. I was able to stretch the leg higher than it had been recently.
I knew it was different when I moved the strap to my left leg and my leg stretched up so far towards my face that I couldn’t believe how naturally it happened.
He came up to me and told me to put the strap aside. For a second I thought he was going to show me a new stretch but when he told me to lift my right leg too and put my hands on my calves I understood what was happening.
“This is your graduation day,” Fred told me.
I was with the rest of the class. My legs were straight up in front of me. Shaking uncontrollably, yes. But they there. Straight. Up. I was in shock. I was smiling. No, it wasn’t easy. But I did it. Two months of hard work and I accomplished one of my initial goals. A goal, I might add, that I never really thought was remotely possible.
When I started this challenge in the beginning of January, I outlined my objectives to Fred, and one objective was to be able to join the class during this portion. I’ve often been frustrated when I feel like the only person in the room who can’t follow along. I sometimes feel jipped, like I am missing an essential ab workout. Of course, I was not jipped. I am getting there in my own time. Getting my body ready to go there — because everyone’s capabilities are different. Certain things will always be easier for someone else than they are for you. Certain things will always be easier for you than it will be for someone else.
But really, I never expected this to happen. I even told Catherine, the exhale health counselor & core fusion teacher, in our last meeting that I know my body and I know I will never be able to join the class in this exercise.
Ha! What do I know?
But Fred knew.
And it was in his class that I was pushed past any thoughts of “I can’t.” And, instead, I did. I accomplished a major goal. After almost 27 years of living with terrible flexibility and 12 years of dance where I just couldn’t do the stretches; after accepting that I am just not a flexible person, using the excuse that “I have a tight lower back” and being sure I could never significantly improve in this area, I was proved wrong.
There is no question about it. I knew Core Fusion helped me so far with building muscle, gaining strength, improving my core/glutes/abs/arms, transforming my body, helping me fit back into my clothes. But I wasn’t sure if it was helping my flexibility. Until Wednesday night, when all the small improvements I didn’t notice finally added up and became one big – and very noticeable – improvement.
After just two months of taking Core Fusion classes regularly, I can say with 100% certainty that I greatly improved my flexibility.
I will never again say “I can’t.”