I have never considered myself particularly strong, physically. I’ve never considered myself particularly athletic. But lately, that’s changing.
I was the kid always picked last in gym class. When we played volleyball, I would always step away from the ball coming at me, instead of hitting it. Or if I did hit it, it usually either went straight up or into the net, because my goal was just to keep it away from my face. When we had to play softball in gym, my solution was to go as far outfield as possible and feverishly hope a ball never came my way. If a ball did come my way, my attempts to throw the ball were beyond pathetic. Athletic, me? No way. Strong? Definitely not.
I’ve been running off and on for years and years, and still never considered myself athletic. I used to run to the beach and then go swim for a mile and run home, but I still didn’t feel athletic. Athletes were the popular kids in gym class, they were on teams, I just went running and swimming. I wasn’t a runner or a swimmer. But you know what? I got to the 20-mile run in a marathon training program before I had to walk away from the marathon. I am a runner. I am athletic.
I started rock climbing with Husband, and while I felt stronger, I still didn’t feel strong. But you better believe it takes major strength to rock climb.
I always wanted to be really toned – toned arms and shoulders, toned legs, flat belly. But at the time, I wanted it more for physical appearance than for strength.
But once I started yoga, I realized how much strength you need to do and hold poses. It doesn’t matter what you look like – if you aren’t strong, you will know it. When I started, I did not feel strong.
I kept going to class, and gradually, I started to be able to hold poses longer. I started to actually be able to focus on my breathing in the poses, and not feeling like my whole body was pleading with me to stop. Some poses that were a big struggle to me at first, now I can get through holding the pose for as long as they hold it.
My yoga instructor gave me the greatest compliment the other day, that I am getting so much stronger and she can see it in the poses I do. It felt like such a major victory. Yes, I am getting stronger. Yes, I am strong now.
The toned arms and shoulders that came from developing that strength were now a nice by-product, not the goal. Finding and developing my own strength was the real goal.