Exercise is usually one of the first things suggested to people with depression. This advice may or may not be welcomed by a depressed person. I think as a non-depressed person I would have assumed I would have told any well-meaning person with that advice where to go but surprisingly when I got depression myself I thought it was worth a try. Exercise did not cure my depression but it helped me to boost my mood on good days. The key word there is “good”. On bad days feeling I had to exercise to cure my depression just gave me another stick to beat myself with.
Since starting exercising I’ve always used weights. I like weights, they make me feel strong and capable. In the early days of my yoga practice I would use my strength training to increase my strength in order to do more yoga… which in hindsight seems weird.
Early this year I hurt my elbow and had to stop my weight sessions. At first I thought it’d be fine, I’d get back into it no problem… after all I’ve regularly trained with weights for 4 years now.
I realised that my muscles wouldn’t just waste away and so any incentive to weight train again was quite low. My yoga practice kept me strong enough. Plus I was loathe to get my muscles all sore and tight… how would that impact my asanas?! I could kiss sliding in the splits goodbye for at least a week. It was a price I vainly wasn’t willing to pay.
But I missed that feeling I get in my weights workouts… the one of getting stronger… and finally managed to do a workout today. Points of note: my arms and abdominals are definitely stronger than last time I used weights. This is welcome. Less welcome is the realisation that my legs are much much weaker and not used to squats and lunges with 8kg weights like they used to be.
This is interesting. My asana practice used to involve much more standing poses but then all the “advanced” poses are non upright… eg headstand, handstand, arm balances, backbends… so I stopped doing so many standing poses. So now I have weak(er) legs!
More weights I think…