#WeightlifterYogi by Paluna Santamaria
What I’m trying to say here is that when I lift I don’t feel any different than when I’m on my yoga mat. I’m the same person, I just choose certain aspects of my personality to take over. I don’t feel less feminine when I put over 100kg on my shoulders to squat than when I do the splits. However, the intention with which I approach this movements is different depending on what I’m trying to achieve. For example, when I’m about to squat really heavy weight I can’t allow myself to be timid or apologetic. I have to keep my head high and look up, my chest needs to be proud, my stance has to be confident. Why? Because putting a barbell that weighs over 100kg on a 58kg body means if you let it, the barbell will physically crush you.This is even truer when I snatch or clean and jerk. These movements happen in less than a minute and if I doubt myself for one second I’ll either get crushed or miss the lift. When you lift, you only need to fight enough to survive. But you need to fight with a clear mind like a Samurai, you need to be so in the moment that when it’s over it feels like you weren’t even there. In the yoga room on the other side, I need to believe I’m beautiful and graceful. I need to be gentle with my body and attentive in my thoughts. I need to stand tall and proud with a content yet calm demeanour. I tell myself that it’s ok to fall out of a balancing pose, it’s ok to not be able to wrap my arms or legs in weird contortions but, when Im able to do all those things, I tell myself that nobody cares because I practice yoga to train my mind and body to accept that Im perfect and that whatever happens in life sometimes you need to fight for your life like in weightlifting but sometimes you just need to let it go. Both practices are the perfect analogy to what I believe life is. They are both a journey, sometimes gruelling and painful but always rewarding and full of lessons. The cool thing about movement is that it means something different to all of us and in consequence it gives us something different in return. I have met women who have found strength in yoga the same way I show mine with weightlifting. Yoga can be an extremely challenging practice where you encounter a lot of the obstacles you find in weightlifting but there is no external weight to fight or work with which is what I like about weightlifting. It’s you against the barbell, sometimes you control the barbell but sometimes the barbell controls you and you have to find a way to overcome that. Every time the barbell gets heavier, there is a new fight. Women in this society are forced to pick one. We are forced to either be a strong badass fighter or a delicate flower. I think we should allow ourselves to access both the strong and the delicate qualities. Being strong is no less impressive or challenging as moving and behaving with grace and softness. Who says a strong lady with bulging muscles isn’t as beautiful as beautiful as a small fragile looking one? It takes guts to choose, it also takes gut to embrace both says. In other words, it takes guts to be a woman in this crazy world. Beauty comes from believing in yourself, from standing up for what you want. From knowing you can kick ass when you need to and still do the things that society stupidly calls feminine. We all need some feminine and some masculine qualities. It’s all about balance and that is what I find when I lift and when I do yoga.
WEIGHTLIFTER, YOGI, WOMAN.
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