So Joseph’s second tip might be a bit more specific to competitors or people who are interested in doing strength-based postures. Here it is:
Practice push-ups and pull ups daily to improve your arm balancing postures.
I could definitely benfit from this advice. I love push-ups and pull-ups about as much as I love backbending (the love is low), but I know it’s on the list of things that are good for me to do. I know that my attempts to do crow (which have stalled a bit) would benfit from having more upper body strength.
The second tip raised an issue for me that I have been grappling with for awhile. There’s so much to do. So many ways I could improve, and yet, there is always so much time in the day. I have a job and other responsibilties (ok – not much besides walk the pugs, give the pugs tummy rubs, feed the pugs, do laundry, eat). Lots of people have given me great advice about things I can do outside of class that would help with one or more postures. I have found myself overwhelmed with advice. I can do a lot of things and spread myself thin (and really, how much is that going to help?) or I can focus in a bit and then expand out to other areas later.
This is why I took my massage therapist’s advice to see a sports physical therapist. Side note: Getting my second myfacial massage Saturday (yeah!!!). I knew I needed to be doing additional exercises outside of class to strengthen my postures for competition or otherwise. But I needed help with focusing and getting my priorities straight. My PT said there were indeed many things I could work on but agreed that tackling my tight hips would be a good way to get the party going.
So, where does this leave me with Joseph’s second tip? Here’s my take:
(a) It’s a great and important tip, and it’s one I will eventually start to work into my practice outside of class
(b) While I do want to do arm balancing postures eventually, I don’t need to worry about it today. I have a focus, on my hips, right now. It’s good to work on that.
(c) Point C applies to us all and not me specifically. Have an idea of what you are trying to accomplish in your practice. Take in advice that will nurture that goal. Don’t shut out advice that doesn’t help you get where you want to be at that moment, but don’t feel like you have to do everything all at once. That’s not possible. I’ve only been practicing for three years, and I would say I have had a regular, focused practice for a year now. I’ve got a journey.
Ultimately, I see this tip as being mindful about what you are working on and mindful in your thinking about how you can move forward in your practice. For me, it’s all about my hips right now. But eventually, it will be about those arm balances. And you can bet I will be doing push-ups and pull-ups at some point in the future!