I’m reading a pre-publication review copy of a book on fascial anatomy and updated, science-based stretching techniques for athletes. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to review it here, but I am glad this publisher still wants a former professor as a reviewer.) Part of the pleasure in reading it today is that I could keep going for two and half hours, fascinated and intellectually refreshed. While I was working, that much unbroken time to read a book in my field was rare. Days were chopped up by e-mails and appointments and of course classes. Time was always tailgating me with papers to grade and endless pop-up tasks to organize.
After reading for as long as I felt like reading today, I applied concepts from the book to my yoga practice, intrigued by the way the authors’ research lines up with things I’ve heard some of my teachers say and that I have discovered through exploration. The undulating wave of the breath moves through each stretch. You should experience no pain in stretching. Don’t exit a stretch by tightening the region of the body you just lengthened. Effective stretching releases connective tissue, fascia, not just muscles.
I have all the time I need to study the charts and try out the techniques before integrating new skills into my yoga teaching—when I get around to setting up a teaching schedule. I’ll finish the review before it’s due. This spaciousness plus engagement is something I hadn’t experienced at work for years, probably not since the advent of email. In my windowless office, I used to read books like this in ten- and fifteen-minute spurts when I could grab the time, or read a page while the computer woke up. Today I read in sunlight with a view of flowering trees. Uninterrupted.