A while back, I took some time off from tennis. Three years, actually. Hard to believe I didn’t play for so long when nowadays even a week without tennis makes me cranky.
For exercise during the hiatus, I ran and did some weights, as I had already been doing. And I added something new–yoga.
When I returned to tennis, I was surprised that not only did my game come back pretty quickly, but in some ways I was playing better than I had before. My strokes felt longer and more fluid, and I more easily handled balls outside my ideal strike zone.
I was sure it was the yoga that had improved my game. I’m not naturally flexible, so any small increase in my range of motion makes a noticeable difference. I vowed to keep up with the practice.
I’m sure you can guess what happened. Tennis gradually took up more of my week, and the time I devoted to other forms of exercise decreased. Yoga was the first thing to go.
Despite my best efforts, I keep getting older, and with each passing year, I grow less flexible. Not only does this diminish my game, it increases my chance for injury. Sounds like two excellent reasons to make yoga my monthly challenge.
Any yoga pose would help me, but I have in mind specifically those that improve my rotational range of motion. Instead of a complete yoga routine, I’m going to focus on twists.
Now if this were a quality blog, you’d be treated to a series of photos of a perfect woman modeling perfect poses. But I don’t have the budget for that. Besides, perfect people are annoying.
Fortunately, I have something so much better.
My mother-in-law visited us recently and
unloaded some of her junk thoughtfully gave us one of my husband’s childhood toys that she’s been hoarding cherishing lo these many years: A Batman doll.
But this isn’t just any old Batman. This is the most flexible action figure I’ve ever seen. Here, for instance, is Batman in his yoga studio doing my favorite pose, Tree:
You’ll immediately notice two things. One, Batman is a master yogi with enviably open hips.
And two, he’s wearing a white cape way after Labor Day. He’s Batman. He doesn’t live by society’s rules.
Batman will now demonstrate the four yoga twists I’ll be incorporating into my daily routine:
1. Simple Cross-legged Pose with a Twist
Batman likes to ease into his yoga routine with this simple seated twist.
2. Reclined Spinal Twist
Ahhh… “Reclined” poses are so relaxing! (If only there were a “recliner with remote” pose.)
3. Half Lord of the Fishes
Because of his torn meniscus, Batman can’t achieve the full expression of Half Lord of the Fishes. He’s performing the modified version of this pose. (No judgment, Batman.)
4. Revolved Triangle
Even in a more strenuous pose like Revolved Triangle, Batman maintains his serenity and focus.
So that’s it–four twists a day for the month of April.
(Admit it. You want to play with Batman now, don’t you?)
Can anyone recommend other yoga moves good for tennis players?
Bonus trivia question (worth one point to the first person who answers correctly): Which actor from the Rocky movie franchise played a villain in the Batman television show?