Image Source: Franz Steiner Photography
Model Credit: @meagankong
I'm usually not a fan of New Year's resolutions. Very few times in the past have they served me well, and that's mostly because the resolutions I used to make were broad and hard to actually execute, like "eat healthier" or "work out more often." But this year, I'm putting all that behind me, and I'm making one promise to myself in 2018 that I can stick to: I'm going to incorporate more mobility sessions into my fitness routine. At least two a week, to be exact.
This past year I accomplished a lot. I picked up running for the first time and recently ran my longest distance yet — eight miles! I also committed to weightlifting and saw some great PR moments, from unassisted dips to 200-pound hip thrusts. The cherry on top was losing weight and feeling fitter than ever.
Although these milestones are all worth celebrating, I can see that my flexibility and mobility have decreased a little over the last several months, and it can't go unnoticed that I had a lower-back injury a few months ago due to poor core stability in my back squats. This was hard to stomach, because as a yoga teacher who used to teach full-time and exclusively do hot yoga every single day, I came into 2017 feeling flexible and supple. And I made the mistake of thinking I didn't need a good deal of mobility to complement my strength-training program.
As 2017 is ending, I'm the strongest version of myself, but the goal for 2018 is to strike a healthier balance in order to ward off future injuries and adopt a more holistic kind of fitness. Because strength and endurance mean nothing if you're stiff, immobile, or injury-prone.
So this year I'm not going to try to push my limits as far as mileage or weights go. I'm instead going to commit to at least two Animal Flow sessions a week. My trainer and I started working on Animal Flow about a month ago; it's a bodyweight-based movement system that combines elements of yoga and breakdancing. It sounds weird, I know, but it's an amazing workout to improve mobility, core strength, and overall stability.
From just doing a couple short Animal Flow workouts with my trainer in the past few weeks, I've noticed a little difference in how my lower back and my thoracic spine feel. Gaining more movement in my spine and strengthening my core have made me feel a bit more confident when lifting weights as well, and I'm sure that feeling will only grow as I continue to work with it.
While tough, challenging workouts are all well and good, I think we sometimes fail to remember that we can't always live in one extreme. In yoga, we talk a lot about the yin and the yang. My running and weightlifting workouts fall into the latter, so by incorporating more of the yin in my life — Animal Flow, more yoga and meditation, additional stretching, etc. — the yang will only become stronger. I have a hunch that 2018 will be my best year yet if I stick to this resolution.