This isn’t the fun part. This is the the part that we hate to do. It’s so bad that it’s often why we continue to have a better side, a stronger muscle, a favored anything. And it’s what yoga taught me. (Yes, this will be a rambling post).
I’ve done a lot of physical activity but no activity has ever taught me this lesson as loudly and as insistently as yoga. We have to work on the weak parts. Otherwise things don’t work.
But it’s not just that.
Why should we work no the weak parts? Why should we go through the trouble of working the parts of our body that are, for whatever reason or another, weak?
For one, because it’s hard. I’m a big fan of the idea that hard work builds character. Now, I’m not saying that setting up unreasonable expectations and doing the same thing over and over again is good. I’m saying that picking a route that isn’t easiest builds character. A little adversity is good for us.
Not only that, having a challenge ahead of us is fun. It motivates us to keep going. And maybe I’m just crazy, but I like hard work, especially when it’s about me.
Reason two: imbalance is bad. Really bad. And not just physically. Having one side stronger than the other, more flexible than the other, or stiffer than the other will lead to injury eventually. Inevitably, we work to the strong side because we don’t want to deal with the weaker side. We aren’t going to run a minute slower because one leg is weaker. We’ll just force it through.
That’s true with a lot of things. We aren’t going to step back from a situation because our heart isn’t open enough, not when our mind says it’s fine. But that’s a problem. Because eventually the strong side is going to need help and that other body part won’t be there.
Weak parts exist because we just haven’t built them up yet.
I don’t like to think that any of us has one biggest weakness. I think every week or month, whatever, that weakness changes…provided we are working on ourselves.
Years ago, my biggest weakness was my anger and my biceps. Then it was, notably, my back and my fear to cry. Then it was my shins and calves and my impatience. Now, it’s my right foot and left elbow (hi imbalance). It’s also my reluctance to abandon habits from when I struggled with poverty as a teenager. And there were about million changes of the guard in between.
Point is, weaknesses should change.
They should change because the moment we realize we have an imbalance, a weakness, we have a duty to ourselves to better ourselves. People who are proud of their same weakness from 20 years back are proud of their lack of progress. That’s not okay.
Yoga taught me that.
For as long as I can remember, my right leg has been significantly less flexible than my left. It got really bad because I stopped trying to even it out at one point. My left looked cooler. It was easier. And after a certain point, I realized I would almost brag about my right leg being inflexible even though I hated that it was.
The more yoga I did, the more I realized I was just ignoring a big problem. I didn’t want to work on the weak parts because it was hard. I didn’t see progress. It didn’t feel good. And I knew, that if I was doing this with my body that I was definitely doing it with my mental and emotional health.
Peeling back all those layers sucks. Especially because we won’t ever be perfectly balanced. We will always have to continue working on ourselves. But it feels so much better to be balanced-ish.
Like I said earlier on, this is just a little rant. A little ramble.
Look inward a bit today. Where is there an imbalance? How can you focus on the weaker part? How can you get stronger, more balanced?