The Tulip Pose

If you are a fanatical runner, especially if you are a guy, and prone to saying with a self-deprecating grin “I know I should stretch but…” Just cut it out. Stop making excuses and stretch or cross train or do something before you end up like the 60-year-old runners who land on my table with thigh muscles that are about as pliable and elastic as steel cables.

One of them was sure he was facing a hip replacement until his wife made him go to her Yoga class. Every month he comes to me marveling that anyone can do some of the things the teacher does. But he also exults that his back and hip have stopped hurting. I can pound on you forever but there is no substitute for people recruiting their own muscles.

Tonight he told me he was working bravely on the Lotus pose, which he has to do seated on a block, and that even so his knees, instead of lying obediently down on the floor or close to it, point more or less straight up.

“I will be doing the Tulip pose for quite a while yet,” he said.

I love people who hang in there.


5 thoughts on “The Tulip Pose

  1. All that repetitive contraction and release of muscles through a very small range of motion, then leaving them to stew in their own inflammatory products of combustion — any activity can accomplish this but running really does a job on people because the range is so small and the workouts tend to be lengthy and regular. Muscles learn to behave as is asked of them; if you never require movement beyond a certain range, you lose that range. (If you want to get technical, it’s partly the tendency of fascia to “gel” if not consistently moved through range, and partly the way the proprioceptive function of the nerve spindles in the muscles “learns” that certain levels of resting tone are “normal,” even if they’re absurdly contracted; and finally the formation of trigger points in the central muscle belly, which if you looked through an electron microscope you’d see a sequence of sarcomeres all bunched up like an accordion.)

    Guys, lacking the pro-elasticity effect of female hormones on fascia, just turn to friggin stone. I see them walking around unable to even fully extend at the knee, so that they have to adopt a lateral bobbing gait, but thinkin they’re bitchin because they have a seven minute mile. They’d probably be Roger Bannister if they weren’t so bound up.

  2. Running sounds scary. I think i’ll stick to walking and sitting. And occasionally reaching.

    Should i stretch before i reach?

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