I like the third definition of strength listed in Wikipedia…
the capacity to resist strain or stress; durability.
Strength meant one thing in my 20s and 30s, but quite another in my 60s. Now my definition of strength has more to do with durability; can I come back for another day of skiing, hiking, biking or whatever I want to do – without pain??
A recent weeklong yoga retreat with a treasured teacher, Desiree Rumbaugh, taught me a lot about strength. Frankly, I was a little surprised at how many of the yoga poses I was able to get into – but I was even more pleased with myself for the poses I said no to.
In years past, I often pushed through the discomfort or concern about injury even when my body said stop. Was that my ego? Sense of competition? Inability to choose body awareness over ‘keeping up’ with others?
Now that I’m well into my seventh decade, I’m grateful for the respect I have for my body’s wisdom–and I have never appreciated Essentrics® more!
After three days of minimal Essentrics and two 3-hour classes of yoga per day, I had serious knee pain in a brand-new spot and my low back was killing me. No surprise actually since the purpose of yoga is very different; it’s all about the union of body, mind and spirit. But after observing 50 serious yogis and yoginis get into complicated poses like wheel, handstand and crow for a week, I also think most of them are after the ‘high’ they get after getting into these complicated poses. I asked a new friend about it and she described it as being better than a runner’s high which she found to be more physical.
But regarding strength, the type of yoga class makes a huge difference. There are many flow classes that seem to be more focused on gentle stretching and spiritual connection. That’s not what I did in Encinitas for a week; Desiree Rumbaugh’s classes are designed to create serious strength by prepping for, and then performing, challenging poses. But each session started with a discussion about something like fear or perfection or setting boundaries that I found fascinating.
Physically, the exciting news for me is how quickly even brief Essentrics workouts helped me rebalance and get out of pain–usually within minutes. And thanks to my extensive training and studying anatomy, it was actually fun to figure out the imbalances and feel them self-correct with the right gentle movements. But even without that training, EssentricsTV makes recovery from your favorite activities simple. There are various categories for your search and one of those categories focuses on which body part you want to focus on; knees, hips, back, etc.
So…in addition to re-balancing your body, you are also healing some imbalances that are likely causing you pain. Fabulous.
All movement takes strength. Choose wisely and move often!
P.S. I’m unsure about future yoga, but I am doing push-ups daily to make sure I can continue to put a carryon bag overhead. By myself.