A few days ago, I discovered somewhat to my surprise that I had set a new goal for myself: improve my flexibility so that I could touch my forehead to my knee in what is known in Yoga circles as Jansirsasan:
Why was this a surprise, you might ask.Well, a few months ago, a friend who is an avid Yoga disciple and teacher was going through a divorce. She commented that she believed that there is a link between physical and mental flexiblity. That if a guy couldn't touch his toes, he was probably also (mentally and spirtually) a rigid, inflexible person.
You will probably not be surprised to hear that her ex-husband was very inflexible in every aspect (according to my friend, of course). I promptly showed her (and my wife) that I could, in fact, touch my toes.
So I was very glad of that. The reason, though, that I could touch my toes is that I had already been focusing my stretches on improving my flexibility, mostly because it made my back and legs feel better.
When you get right down to it, though, touching one's toes doesn't really make you all that flexible. So I continued to work on my hamstring and leg stretches. And then when I was talking to my wife about my stretching and how I was getting closer and closer to lowering my head all the way to my knees, I realized that in fact I had set a goal for myself of doing just that - and I hadn't even known it! Ah, strange brain....
So now at least twice a day, I tear myself away from my desk, lie down on my mat, do a bunch of abdominals and then focus on my stretches. I am currently about 3 inches away from my knees.
And I have two weeks to close the gap, because that's when I will see my friend again. And I want very much to show her that I can do Jansirsasan (even if I can't necessarily do much of anything else very well in Yoga).
If you are, like me, a programmer who spends hours and hours in front of a computer, I strongly urge you to get into a daily regimen of abdominal exercises and stretching (yoga or otherwise). You will have far fewer problems with your back and hips; your legs will not ache from lack of mobility and tightness.
And you will, as a consequence, write better and happier code.