I completed a personal triathlon today: ran a few miles with a friend, took Zach’s 6:30 Power Hour class, and then I paddled an outrigger canoe around Treasure Island with Jade, all before noon, and now I’m sore and exhausted to the point of uselessness. In my 20s and 30s I probably could have exercised all day and felt a-ok, but did I do that? No. You might say I did the opposite of that. And that is why they say that youth is wasted on the young.
On the other hand, I worked my ass off and thoroughly partied, day in and day out, and I couldn’t do that now, either. So maybe my youth was not so misspent. How about yours?
Anyway, even though I can’t parent right now, or clean, or feed myself, or pack for our trip, or deal with my inbox because I’m so whupped, I still recommend doing all of the workouts. Yoga is magical, but like Cheerios, it’s only a part of a complete breakfast. You’ve gotta do the fruit and protein, too. When I first started practicing yoga it was enough, because I was just off the couch in a serious way. I’d spent nearly 15 years masquerading as an IT professional. I’d been an athlete through high school, but now 40 was on the horizon and I was afraid to exercise. I couldn’t do anything without losing my breath. My carpal tunnel was pretty bad, and somewhere along the way I’d developed a big curve in my spine. At that time, any kind of movement or self-care was novel. So I dove into yoga and my life got better quickly and my fitness got better slowly.
In our yoga practice, we need variety. Most yoga injuries are of the repetitive stress type (just like carpal tunnel syndrome). But it’s not really about safety. Our minds and bodies crave diversity and challenge. The more you do, the more you are comfortable doing. As a movement practice yoga is special, because (ideally) it is entirely about doing good things for your body. There’s no end, just means. In our other movement pursuits, there are goals: going faster, lifting more, putting the ball in the net. And there are concessions. For example, running is good for my cardio health and stamina, but I doubt it’s good for my knees, and my calves are permanently tight, and so forth. In yoga, we try to counterbalance all of our other activities, so that we may better enjoy all of our other activities. Right? Yoga improves my ability to sit in this chair. It offsets my paddling with front-opening postures and shoulder work. It makes me more present and a little less grumpy.
One reason we brought Kathryn Bruni-Young down to The BE was because we’re big believers in mindful strength, combining variety, load-bearing, and mobility together in a way to create that complete breakfast. There’s probably a limit to how much yoga will improve your cardiovascular health. And we know we need to add weight-bearing exercises for bone health, among other things. In yoga, we do some low-impact body-weight exercises, but just like the cardio, that’s not the point of hatha yoga. So, to get that other stuff, I recommend branching out, whether you’re a spring chicken or a chicken of another season.
Got thoughts? Maybe I can get you to chime in in the comments, or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading, y’all.