Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’ve started a new relationship. With a very special person who I like a lot. It’s quite exciting.
My relationship became official (although I still haven’t posted it on facebook) when my friend Harper gave me a ride home from pole training a few weeks ago. She asked me if I wanted to do partner stretching to work on our flexibility.
I was flattered and excited, because Harper is a serious athlete who is incredibly strong and flexible. I know from some bad experiences in middle school that when someone asks you to dance that it’s bad form to scream out in excitement. I decided that Harper asking me to stretch with her was sort of a similar situation, so I smiled and calmly agreed that we should stretch together instead of screaming out happily.
We decided to start our relationship with some professional help, so we booked a semi-private lesson with Estee Zakar to learn how to train for flexibility without injuring ourselves. There were no injuries, but it wasn’t exactly a pain-free experience. “I can’t believe I teach you guys to torture each other,” Estee said.
We talked about what our flexibility goals were, and Estee led us through several stretches for our splits, middle splits, and upper and middle back. It took an hour and a half.
One week later, Harper and I had our first real date, one where we were alone. Harper had written down all the stretches, and after warming up we went through them. It was fun, and I already feel like I’m gaining flexibility.
I’m still really new to this kind of relationship, but here are the things so far that I think are most important:
- Get help. There are lots of subtleties to stretching in general and with partners in particular. Learning how to do it from an expert will make you more likely to get results and less likely to get injuries.
- Warm up. Stretching cold muscles is a terrible idea and it will hurt you.
- Communicate. When you are at your limit, you need to say so. Otherwise your facilitator may push too hard.
- Pay attention. You need to be able to feel where the muscles on your partner are tightening up so you can slow down where you are pushing.
I walked Harper to the door after our session, and we decided that we definitely want to do it again. This relationship is going places.