There was a meme that did the rounds back in late January/early February, which provided you with five images of an apple, from realistic to a white blob with another blob on top. On a scale of 1 to 5, I was asked, what do I see when thinking of an apple when my eyes are closed? Sometimes 1 is possible, mostly it is 2: visualisation is one of the skills I’ve been taught to deal with anxiety, and through yoga.
It makes meditation easier because if things can be placed inside your head, other stuff can be removed. Meditation really kicked off the ability to visualise better, if truth be told. My brain and I have a love/hate relationship on most days but once it was apparent it too can be trained like legs and arms? Everything has become considerably easier all round. ‘Listening’ to my body has become a really significant tool.
That article above confirms what I’ve been doing for some time.
When I do a press up, I am thinking about arms and stomach. The arms, obviously, go without saying, but core muscles are incredibly important in not only retaining form but helping me when arms get tired, and they do. The erroneous assumption that it is just legs for running and arms for lifting held me back for close to a year. Everything in your body is inextricably linked to everything else.
Damage your thumb, and see how much you can do without it. Hurt a toe, and everything gets an awful lot harder. The body, as a well-oiled machine, is incredibly robust, and the fixation we all have on certain bits not working is all well and good, to a point. Yoga began the understanding of being able to isolate muscles, and make then work for you. Exercise has managed to reinforce that message.
It’s why, as I type this, I’m holding in my core muscles and squeezing them tight.
Understanding why things are painful, and appreciating that the pain in my arse this morning is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and not anything sinister is really important. I worked REALLY hard on Monday and yesterday, as a result, my body needed a rest. Today, however, there will be exercise and lots of it, because I’ve not hurt anything. Your muscles are sore because you literally tore them apart to make them stronger.
I won’t be competing any time soon in anything. However, to keep mentally strong, the physical component of my life has become massively significant, and it is something that matters enormously. Being able to find your own space in a world where people talk like this guy in the video below is an interesting journey in itself. Not everybody is aiming for ‘shredded’ but it’s a useful aspiration to keep in mind.
It is also a entertaining counterpoint as a writer: I’m sure there must be other weightlifting poets out there, and maybe the task moving forward should be to try and seek these people out. Maybe the reason this path is so attractive is that it challenges people to look past my physical makeup and focus on what made that happen. There’s a lot of intellectual consequence still to explore.
That’s gonna be fun.