We would like to introduce you to Elisabetta D’Avenia. She is an aerialist and a certified personal trainer and acrobatics coach (for kids and adults) in Brooklyn, NY. She’s taking over our blog for three posts (have you read her first one?) and we would like to warmly introduce her to our community. Take it away Elisabetta! And be sure to check back on her final post coming soon.
Always moving for times when you can’t move
You have probably witnessed days when, even if you had a good night’s sleep, you had a good breakfast and have been working out regularly, your balance is so off you cannot hold a single yoga pose or reproduce the exercise that your trainer showed you three times already! Every move requires a lot more concentration and will. Your body should be perfectly working but it refuses to follow your mind, as if it forgot how to move. What got lost in translation?
The ancient cultures knew better than us when they considered the human body and soul as a whole. How could it possibly be otherwise? Still, as we became more and more westernized, we managed to split them into separate entities and made ourselves blind to their interdependent relationship.
In Traditional Chinese medicine each meridian corresponds to a specific organ and each organ is connected with a specific emotion (fear, anger, sadness, worry, joy), in a way that if one of these systems becomes imbalanced symptoms will appear. For instance, prolonged sadness or a grief you haven’t dealt with might translate at some point into respiratory or digestive symptoms. Frustration and anger could lead to liver problems and headaches; recurring headaches most likely are going to reinforce your frustration, as this mechanism works in both directions creating a vicious cycle.
When your body is suddenly dumb and unresponsive, good chances are that you are trying to avoid some uneasy feeling: maybe you received a bad news in the past 24 hours or you got into a fight with your wife or you are overworked, just to name a few. Though, you haven’t considered that these life events could have any influence on your workout. Have you? Shall you pack up your sneakers and defeated head back home?
Well, those days are a precious chance to slow-down and reconnect with yourself, by opening a dialogue between your body, your emotions and your mind. Your body is in fact being smart and is sending out a warning signal.
When an emotional overload occurs, I encourage my clients to still get through their session, even if it means asking for less than what I would usually do. I invite them to be kind with themselves and do the best they can for that given day. We are not looking for perfection, as perfection doesn’t exist and it’s the first enemy of a good session of workout. Let’s face it, most likely you are not training to go to the Olympics; and even if you are, some days it is crucial to cut yourself some slack.
My client last night showed up to her training session on a very low energy; she is a young talented chef and is diabetec: the night before, stressed out for a big upcoming catering event, she developed a hypoglycemic episode. During her session we worked humbly on re-establishing her lost inner balance and restoring her energy supplies, by decreasing the intensity of her routine (she usually shows a fair level of strength endurance and cardiorespiratory fitness), increasing the rest intervals and directing our focus on deep breathing and proper form. It turned out to be a successful strategy.
A good training, like any other good thing, requires time and patience. Be suspicious of whoever tries to tell you the opposite and offers you miraculous instant solutions: those are illusory and tend to have a very short life (not to talk about the safety and health issues related with them).
Exercise, if used correctly, can be a great tool to work on intense and unpleasant feelings. It requires you to be present and bring a focus on yourself that might disclose the origin of the problem, which is the first step to the solution. If you are patient enough to acknowledge that uncomfortable place and stay in it, instead of rushing out, you might find yourself walking out your training session able to move better and readier to cope with your life.