Good morning! Happy Wednesday!! Hope your week is going well. This is a deload week for me as I prepare for my first powerlifting meet this Saturday. This means no heavy lifting! Which makes me sad, but I have to trust the process.
This means a focus on foam rolling and mobility work over the course of the week. It also means more hip openers in my yoga practice. Tight hips prevent me from being able to squat below parallel. In powerlifting, the judge looks to make sure that your hip crease falls below your knees when squatting. If you don’t squat low enough, then the lift doesn’t count. Since the squat is the first lift of the meet it is imperative to get this first lift down to set the mood for the rest of the meet. Since my hips are naturally tight, yoga is my go to to keep my body balanced.
My favorite asanas to loosen up my tight hips are the following sequence.
- Downward dog split variations – In downward facing dog, Lift leg up, bend at the knee to open up the hip. Hold for a few breaths. Lower leg, and repeat with other leg
- Runner’s lunge – from downward facing dog, look toward the front of your mat and bring your leg between your hands into a lunge position. Remain in pose for a few breaths, then transition to lizard.
- Lizard pose – From a lunge position, inch the front foot out to the side, coming into a wide lunge with the hands placed on the inside of the knee. Take the back knee off the floor, if available, and either stay up on the hands or bring the forearms down to the ground for a deeper stretch. Remain in the pose for a few breaths, continuously aiming the back inner thigh up toward the ceiling, and the chest forward through the arms. (Return to lunge, then step back into downward facing dog and repeat on other side)
I like to follow these simple asanas with Happy Baby and some restorative yoga poses. Sitting all day at my job also makes for tight hips, so these are wonderful poses to keep my body happy.
I am also doing a lot of visualization exercises to prepare. I have focused on visualizing every aspect of my squat, bench press, and deadlift. This is actually helpful because as I visualize each lift, the muscles in body respond as if I was actually doing the lift. For example when visualizing the squat I think about approaching the bar, brace my lats and my breath, bring my shoulders back and tight, pelvis forward, feet grounded into the floor. I imagine every aspect of the lift including the required commands. This exercise is doing wonders for my nerves!! I am working on remaining calm, cool, and collected as the days get closer. I refuse to let anxiety hinder my performance.
Meditation and yoga help with my anxiety and mindset. Since I began my 200RYT teacher training at Homegrown Yoga last month I have had a subtle paradigm shift. I am moving out of the “victim” mentality and moving towards an “I own this” mindset. As I work on practicing The Four Agreements (Be impeccable with your word; Don’t make assumptions; Don’t take anything personally; Do your best) I find that all areas of my life are improving. It means that not only are great things happening in my life and in the lives of my loved ones… it also means that my views of my life are changing. It’s exciting!! Yoga teacher training is tough (mentally, spiritually, and physically) but I am growing into a better me. I am learning so much from the teachers and the other students.
Yoga and powerlifting have helped me uncover a confidence that has been long-buried. When my son, Trevor, moved out on his own I had to start discovering who I really am.
I know the answer now. I am me. Wonderful, messy, God-fearing, funny, clumsy, beautiful, flawed me. I am a mom, daughter, aunt, sister, friend, yogi, powerlifter, runner, encourager, confidante. A sparkly unicorn loving, long sock and Skirt Sports wearing strong woman. I am Heather. And I am happy being me.
Until next time,