The past few weeks is the first time ever in my life that I have ever spent time specifically strength training. I’ve always done lots of cardio and LOTS of yoga.
I know, weird, right?
When I was very young and training at the Olympic level, I never lifted weights for fear it’d stunt my growth… The irony is, I never grew anyway.
Once it was clear I that I was destined to be a shorty forever, I never started because I never felt the need. I’m so active any way and inarguably fit that lifting weights in some smelly gym just seemed painfully boring. Especially when you could also build muscles doing fun things like swimming or Trikking.
Besides, I’m plenty strong. I can easily lift my own body weight (and more). Sailing requires a fairly substantial understanding of physics. I know all about using my body for the most effective leverage and force to move just about anything by myself.
Plus, doesn’t Bikram always say his yoga is all you need for a full-body workout. I was 12, I drank that Kool-aid.
Since I started making the time to actively strength train, I’ve seen a HUGE change in my practice.
This yoga may indeed be a full-body workout. Except when you start out so disproportionately flexible compared to strength, you continue to become both stronger AND more flexible through dedicated practice. I’m starting to think I was getting injured so much during class is because I simply didn’t have the strength to keep up with my flexibility. I could easily stretch out indefinitely, without any real counterforce, which lead to all the “popping out” of joints that I have always struggled with.
Nothing has popped out in the past two weeks, I’m not sacrificing flexibility for strength and feel so much more stable and controlled in nearly every posture. It’s so awesome!
I’ve still got a ways to go though. As of right now, I continue slamming my head into my shins on every sit-up. There’s always work to do, new ways to improve, but I feel like for the first time in a long time, I have the power to really propel my practice forward. It seems less stagnant or maxed out. I love getting in there every day just to see what’s changed again.