In 1735, while trying to convince the city of Philadelphia to form a fire department, Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Like many enduring truths, this one is easier to talk about than to implement. Remember your teen years, when you were immortal? If you were like most teens, you pushed every limit possible in your journey toward independence. Injuries healed quickly at that age, as they probably did well into your 20s.
As the decades roll on, however, an injury can set you back much longer in your personal and professional life. Preventing them in the first place, therefore, becomes much more important. Acknowledging that you’re no longer 18 is difficult. That’s the self-awareness part. Understanding that you have limits of strength, balance and flexibility can be a tough pill to swallow, but the consequences of ignoring those limits can be devastating.
Here’s where yoga shines. During every class, you’ll be asked to check in: with your breathing, your energy level, where you feel good and where you don’t. A sustained yoga practice simply continues this process of deepening your self-awareness until it becomes very finely tuned.
Let’s imagine, for example, that you’re in the middle of moving. It’s 9 p.m. and you’re tempted to pick up and move just a few more boxes. Instead, you might pause, breathe, and notice a signal from your tired body that says, “I’m finished for today.” Noticing that signal and acting on it could make the difference between a back that works tomorrow and a back that won’t let you get out of bed in the morning.
Take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and ask, “What serves my greatest good right now?”