I’ve been doing some informal rehab on my lower body & core. A few months back I felt a distinct opening (aka “pop”) in my left hamstring. More specifically right at the gluteal fold, where my hamstring attaches to my pelvis. I knew it wasn’t an injury, because when I felt it happen, I had a conversation with myself in my mind that went like this: “Hmm, that sensation was interesting…it doesn’t hurt, but something definitely ‘let go’.” Well, not long after that I started noticing a dull aching pain occasionally at that location, and I just didn’t have the range of motion that I had been accustomed to when my hip was in flexion. So for quite some time I took it easy during my practice and began nursing my hip back to health by co-contracting all the muscles around the joint capsule that was experiencing the discomfort, especially my quadriceps, when moving my hip into flexion. Training and experience tells me that in order to safely make progress in mobility exercises to increase range of motion, you have to strengthen one muscle group in order to lengthen the opposing muscle group. By taking this approach I would be working toward creating more stability. It was through this intentional effort that I realized just how much strength I had lost in not only my lower body, but the entire front side of my body during pregnancy.
It occurred to me that the modifications I was doing to heal my hamstring may not be enough. So last month I began adding some very basic and foundational lower body strength exercises back into my routine a couple times a week. This made it even more obvious how weak I had become…not just in my legs, but my core as well. Lunges and squats while holding only 12 additional pounds of Scout were fatiguing my muscles, making me break a sweat and awakening an awareness of my core once again. So as much as I was doing to get back to where I was prior to having Scout with my daily practice and regular walking (not just leisurely walking…think more like 13:30/14:00-minute miles) were not building enough strength in my legs and core to create the balance my body was needing. Of course the front side of my body was going to be weak…I just carried a baby around in that area for close to 10 months and didn’t have the control over my abdominal and core muscles that I had before I became pregnant. Since adding in the additional strength training, my hamstring feels better and my range of motion in deep hip flexion (forward folds and front splits) has vastly improved. And with just a couple weeks of dedicated additional movement. I don’t anticipate having to maintain these exercises, but they are serving a purpose right now.
I know that Adamantine® Yoga can be enough, when paired with the right nutrition, to sustain the best version of yourself physically, but I also believe that it may take more movement to get to that point. For instance if weight loss is a goal, primarily practicing yoga may not get you where you want to be. So adding some supplementary movement like brisk walking or biking 2-3 days a week could produce the results you are looking for. Perhaps it’s another area of your physical being that challenges you. I think there are times in our lives when we need a little more or something different to awaken an area of the body and gain control of it once again. But your yoga practice still plays a vital role in creating balance, and it could be just a change in a modification of the postures you are practicing that will produce results.
I’ve recently been teaching and reviewing a lot of push-up form with many of my students because this is a movement that really challenges people, and it’s a movement that you pass through multiple times in Adamantine® Yoga. It’s also a movement that if done incorrectly, can cause a lot of struggle, pain and even injuries elsewhere in your body. You may be under the false impression that push-ups are only an upper body movement. They’re not. They are a core movement. And your core involves much more than just your abdominal muscles…it also involves the muscle groups that attach to your midsection. So if you’re trying to use your arms to do all the work in a push-up, you’re working too hard and might never master the movement. Or if you’re using your arms and being successful at the movement, you may be missing some of the other benefits from push-ups. When you bring your legs and core along for the ride, the entire dynamic of this basic exercise changes. Whether you struggle with push-ups or they come fairly easy to you, there may be something more you can do.
I’m hosting a workshop at the studio on Saturday, November 19, 9:15 AM to address this very topic. We’ll start with a discussion and practical application of maximizing your efforts in a push-up, then address other exercises you can do to supplement strengthening your core. Please join me and invite a friend to attend with you!
Have questions on something that challenges you physically? Perhaps there is more you can be doing to bring about change. You may not be aware that I also offer Wellness Coaching and Personal Training services (with experience teaching multiple formats of group fitness as well, including kettlebells, strength, cardio, & Pilates) to help in such instances. Reach out to me so we can chat and address your needs specifically. I’d love to hear from you!