Staying flexible and strong as we age is key - according to Tom Brady.
Sitting in lotus is basically sitting Indian style (cross-legged for the politically correct). I haven’t thought about or been able to sit in that position for years, but I’ve always envied the women who were flexible enough to strike that pose or to effortlessly touch their toes. I’d see them in my workout classes and think to myself, that could never be me. Having been a recreational runner for the past three decades, my hips are insanely tight making it hard to sit for long periods in any position requiring bent knees and a straight back.
A friend turned me on to yoga, and it was a game-changer. Since adding yoga to my weekly routine my flexibility has increased and I’m inching my way to the lotus position. It’s like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Now I’m not saying that yoga is easy, because it’s not. It’s really f-ing hard. I know yoga is a centuries-old practice that people swear by, but I struggled with my lack of flexibility and balance. I needed an aha moment to keep me motivated to continue going to classes. That moment came when I overheard a woman who was in fantastic shape, talking about former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s book and the benefits of his TB12 method and how she was trying to follow it to improve her yoga postures.
I was curious and had to check it out, so I picked up the book. I’ll be honest, it’s not a deep, scientific read, but rather a quick guide to staying healthy and filled with common sense tips, like drinking water when you first get up or an exercise routine for staying healthy and injury free. The recommendations just make sense. Of course, as a sports star and celebrity he has a team helping him, so I had to take the advice with a grain of salt. But, if you can get past that, you might find some benefit in his discussion about muscle pliability, through stretching, yoga, massage, and using your own resistance and bands to build strength, all of which help to keep injuries at bay.
I don’t know about you, but as I age, I want to stay as healthy and as injury-free as possible. So, after reading the book, I committed to try to do more bodyweight strength instead of weights. While I lift weights it’s usually once or twice a week, rather than every day. Also, I do yoga two days a week and I am happy to say, after just four months, I’m starting to see a difference in my flexibility.
But, the key is, yoga is so much more than flexibility. It’s about connection, breath, balance, focus and strength. I always leave my yoga classes, whether in person or online (sadly, lately most are online), a little lighter, more centered and confident.
My hope is that I will eventually be able to sit in lotus for an extended period of time, but at this point, as long as I feel stronger and stay injury-free, I’m sold on keeping yoga as a central part of my exercise routine.
A few of my favorite yoga essentials: