Friday, April 13, 2012

dolphins and intervals

we are frequently reminded in yoga to listen to our bodies and place them in positions that will stretch them only to the point they are ready to be taken: no further, no less.
it's not always easy to decide where this point is, where the line between good pain and bad pain lies.
a similar theme arises when one tries to decide on a workout routine:
how hard to push?
should I do intervals? if so, long ones or brief bursts?
how much recovery is needed?
am I working enough?
am I working too much?
we've all learned that muscles become stronger after they've been stressed and then allowed to rest/rebuild.
so obviously we need down time/recovery/rest.
but how to work them on the other days is always a difficult question to answer.

and it brings me to my annual quandary: do I keep riding up canyons because I enjoy the work, the effort, and the eventual sense of accomplishment and view? or do I incorporate more intervals, because they might make me a better rider?
it's not that I don't work hard riding up those canyons: it's possible I work too hard.

then there are the days you don't feel great: do you push through it? or back off and rest?

in dolphin pose do you welcome the pain? or say this is too much?
that's dolphin in the picture above; it doesn't look so bad, does it? let me tell you, it's one of the most difficult things I do in a yoga class. it hurts. it stresses my arm and shoulder muscles and I feel like I am no where close to holding it the way I should . . . and I am always terribly grateful and relieved when the instructor tells us to move our feet back, lift our forearms off the floor, and return to downward facing dog.

and in that paragraph above is a key to my puzzle: it is great to have an instructor.
someone trained, educated, experienced enough to suggest your pattern of movement;   the challenge is then just to adjust that pattern to your own unique self.

this own, unique self likes riding for the joy of riding, apparently more than she wants to become a better-faster-stronger rider. at least so far. we'll see what the summer brings, and I'll let you know if I add more dolphins and intervals to my life.

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