Test YOUR Strength

I am not one, usually, for acknowledging my own accomplishments, but that is one beautiful back bend. From this shot you would think it was easy, effortless even.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

This pose is just a snapshot of a journey in mobility, flexibility, stability, and strength. More importantly, it is about learning to believe in myself again.

backflip

When I was young I was in gymnastics. I progressed quickly because I was strong and young and excited to learn. Back walkovers, a back bend that you kick over into standing position, became one of my favorite movements. It made me feel strong, and who doesn’t enjoy flipping over? I loved the butterflies I would get as I arched backwards from a standing position, as your brain tries to prevent you from falling by telling you it’s a bad idea to do this. You shush your silly head and do it anyway, and voila, there you stand. Next to cartwheels and monkey bars, it was a favorite childhood past time.

As I aged it became a little more about seeing if I still had it.

Then I became pregnant. After my first munchkin, I was terrified to try again. Would my body even allow it? It took months and months to get past my fear and discomfort, but I made it. Then kiddo number 2 came along. I gained much more weight with my second child. I also endured some rough pubic symphysis and hip discomfort that had me in PT weekly towards the end of that pregnancy, and even some postpartum. I didn’t even think about a back bend, or anything really. I was frustrated with my body and these new aches and pains. These weaknesses.

Yet while they were indications of weakness, they were not issues that could not be addressed. I needed to build strength in my inner thighs, glutes, and hamstrings again… basically my entire leg complex. I needed to regain flexibility in my spine and hips. I needed to believe in my body. I had just grown a human being and brought her into the world in all her perfection, and all I saw was my body’s weakness. What it lacked. How it was failing me. I see this quite often in mothers. How quickly we forget all that our body can and DID do when growing a human! Of course, healing and regaining strength takes time. It should. It should take a lot of time. I do not know where it is that we lose the ability to appreciate the strengths we already have, or why we quickly forget the amazing feats we have already accomplished. All I know is that it is time to change that. It is time to stop believing that we are not as capable as that little girl and her back walkovers. You are only as strong as you allow yourself to believe.

Strength is not solely based upon force production by muscles. To be truly strong you must be mobile, flexible, and stable both physically and mentally.

Are you ready to test YOUR strength?

Jessica Groves-Chapman

~ Superwoman-in-training

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