When it comes to yoga posture practice, strength is not the first word that comes to mind. And certainly there are other aspects of yoga that are attractive when when we re in our younger years. Flexibility and breath work are something to get passionate about not to mention the spiritual or meditative side of things. it s also a kind of fun challenge to accomplish advanced postures!
Right through my own twenties and thirties and well into my forties, I only did yoga ( and gradually a bit of Pilates). I noticed with Pilates, I was getting benefits that I was no longer getting with my yoga.
These were to do with stabilisation and muscle contraction and they seemed to be helping with pain and instability in my pelvis and lower back (not in a good place at that point). As I moved through my forties, I seemed to develop more pain and there were yoga postures I wasn't able to do anymore. My body started feeling worn and I felt it was letting me down. I also seemed to be experiencing forms of anxiety that I d never experienced before and didn’t feel like they were part of my personality. I didn’t really put two and two together at the time (it wasn’t really spoken about then), but I was going through my pre or peri menopausal years….
On a hunch, I took the Pilates some steps further and shifted my focus to lifting weights and working with resistance and building muscle. It was an experiment and it took some time, I could lift almost nothing at the beginning, but I started to feel better. More solid, stronger, less flimsy, more in control and significantly the aches and pains started to diminish, the anxiety to lessen To be honest I was kind of amazed….. and relieved.
Now, having done clinical training in Menopausal health, I am miles better informed and know that strength training (along with nutritional/ lifestyle adjustments plus optional and different hormonal supports) is important for investing in our future health. The loss of hormones, gradual at one stage, and sudden at another, make it much harder to build muscle. It s also imperative to take care of our bone health (as I found out). Strength work is also scientifically proven to also be significant when it comes to brain health. So it really is a no brainer.
Respect, grace and gradual acceptance for what is happening in our bodies is imperative, but so is totally maximising what we have and what can assist us going forward into our future lives. And the funny thing is that we may find that feel better and are in healthier stronger nick than we ve been in years!