Back in pre-COVID days, I once dropped into a power yoga class at an out of town studio. On
the mat in front of mine was a body builder type. I looked like a 97 pound weakling compared to that
guy. Interestingly though, Mr. Charles Atlas had significant range of motion limitations compared to
me. His muscular structure limited his ability to move.
Fast forward to my recovery from the accidental orthopedic trauma I incurred in July
2020. I have lost quite a bit of my muscle tone in the six months since; I can see that in this picture.
The first few months I could barely move due to pain and swelling. Subsequent to that my physical
therapist (PT) instructed me to build flexibility first and wait on building strength. It’s only recently that the PT said it was OK to work on building back my strength. Her concern, that building strength back too quickly would lock in range of motion limations.
So what’s the net result of all this?
Well I am still very weak compared to before my accident. I can’t on a moment’s notice pop into
challenging power poses like wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana). It’s only in the last few days that I have
attempted them at all. I have quite a bit to go. I have in fact become the 97 pound weakling.
Surprisingly though, I think there has been benefit to losing muscularity. Witness these time stamped
pictures of the shape of my back. Taken by my own yoga instructor Briel Beaty, they show how my back
shape has moved over the last few months. This is something we have been working on for a few years,
attempting to soften the kyphosis "forward head" poor posture shape of my spine. Yes, it moved some, but never as much as recently.
How did this happen? I posit it’s a strength versus flexibility phenomena. As my muscle tone atrophied
it also slowly released the shape that it was holding my back into. With consistent daily yoga practice,
changes in my back at long last started to take hold. Now on to building strength to lock those changes in!