Identifying, Focusing and Developing Your Weaknesses

Earlier this week, when I was taking a TRX class, I aggravated my back.

Especially after having a conversation with a friend about the potential of physical injuries, it scared the heck out of me. It’s not nice when a single movement suddenly causes a sharp pain, however big or small (it was minor). And like any part of our life, at some point we have to come to terms with our weaknesses and figure out a way to overcome it or build it up. Right now, that’s my core*, specifically my back. If I don’t work on it, it will become more susceptible to pain or something far worse as I continue my bodyweight exercises.

Since I enjoyed MacKenzie Miller’s fitness tests, and how thorough she describes all the relevant physiology, I decided to purchase her introductory Backbends Foundations plan for $20** (there is an intermediate backbends plan, as well as an advanced one that includes transitioning to standing scorpion). I am hoping that, by following this plan, it will help bring more awareness into my back and how I use it or develop it.

I worked on the first class on Saturday afternoon, which focused on locust pose, and since I am trying to streamline what I post, I filmed myself to review my posture and deleted the video afterwards. In the evening, after a walk around town, I completed the bridge pose class. This afternoon, I did the third class, cobra pose, without filming myself.

And it great, because the plan, over the past 24 hours, has brought more awareness. For the first time, I am actually beginning to understand where my psoas are and become conscious of it feels like a breakthrough! Considering that it’s deep within our body, it’s a lot easier to be aware of your triceps, your quads or your pecs. The term psoas were, for a long time, quite a conundrum for me.

What helps is that MacKenzie accurately describes muscle groups that are being targeted within each pose. The plan is carefully laid out and scaffolded to warm up the spine very, very well before doing any deep bending (the initial two classes do not involve any deep bending of any sort). I wish more yoga instructors would help students become more aware of their own physiology; that is simply part of being a good teacher, to give students the skills to become independent and help themselves.

As I type this, I’m also realizing that I shouldn’t have been forcing myself into wheel pose, or urdhva dhanurasana. This is a deep backbend that is not to be taken lightly. I’m sure all the physiotherapists out there must cringe at all the homemade yogis and yoginis that have sprung up like an epidemic on Instagram!

For now, I’ll try to repeat the first three classes a few times before I continue onto the fourth.

*Your core includes both your abdominals and your back.
**Considering that a drop-in class would probably be $10-15, paying $20 for lifetime access doesn’t seem that bad after all.

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