Hanging my head in downward dog, my arms are shaking, and I wonder how much longer I can hold this pose.  I am not as strong as I used to be. This pose wasn’t as difficult for me the last time I took a class, but that had been several years ago.  Today is showing me how weak and out of shape I have become.

downward dog

Pushing through, the class doesn’t get easier, but I am sure feeling well and alive.  The deep even breaths move in peacefulness and well-being and drive out pain and stress.  The burning muscles and shaking limbs prove my hard work.  There is motivation in the pain of a good work out. The pain that recedes from each lesson is proof that I am becoming stronger.  It is a feeling of accomplishment.

Sweat mats my hair in warrior two.  I can hold this pose for a while.  Some poses are easier than others showing me where my strength lies.  For me, the strength is in my legs and always has been.  This is good for my hike, but upper body strength will be important too.warrior2

Flexibility, or really the lack of it, is what brought me to yoga in the first place. The hike to Fish Caves was a great reminder of how stiff I have become.  My back pain was the second reason.  But holding the poses, I didn’t think I could hold or that I had to modify remind me of the benefits of yoga. It will help me become stronger and healthier in so many aspects.

Climbing one particular rock at Fish Caves, I had to visualize how I was going to do it. Because my bad knee only bends so far and isn’t strong enough to lift all my weight on its own, I had to know if it was going to be too much before I started, and I had to know if the position would allow me to push up with my arms.  And, on the return, I had to repeat the process.

In yoga, my knee is sometimes a problem too.  Some poses are more difficult to begin or maintain because of these limitations, but with practice and modification, my flexibility will expand. I try to achieve a position, but there is no grace in doing so. My stiffness makes sure of that.  But, I power through doing my best, and the next time it will be that much easier to accomplish.

With time, I hope to gain enough flexibility and strength through yoga and other strength training to be able to climb over the obstacles in the trail.


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