I feel like I've tried it all! Fitness group exercise classes based in gyms, youtube workout videos, running, challenges, hot yoga, you name it. I have put a lot of effort and energy into these over the years, I have even run a half marathon. Which, at the time felt good - I was proud of my achievements. But every time I stopped and reflected, I always came back with the same answer - I don't like running. I don't like fast paced exercise classes. I ache, I have a sore back and knee. My body protests.
However, I discovered that there are certainly types of exercise which makes my heart sing. Contemporary dance - the unprescribed type; yoga and anything based on or in water.
Over the years I've also learnt that measuring exercise and making it achievement based, only contributes to me feeling anxious and unsatisfied. Because nothing ever was enough (at this point I made a conscious decision to ditch all the devices and apps that I used to measure). If you are reading this and all this sounds familiar, I invite you to think about this a little bit more. Quite often we are led to believe that only exercise that's measured (and posted about) counts. It means something about us as a person, and this meaning can take us down the rabbit hole of only chasing this feeling, instead of really tuning into what our bodies and minds! enjoy.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying, you have done this whole exercise business wrong. I am just taking this opportunity to share my journey with you.
Yoga has been something that regularly featured in my exercise routine, but I often found it 'triggering' as such. What I mean by this, is, yoga quite often meant the rising of anxiety - slowing down felt alien, and the fact yoga is hard to measure meant that I cannot compare myself and I cannot add meanings.
Of course, I tried. Tried to measure it, tried to not do it at all, but somehow I always circled back.
Around the time I trained as a therapist I felt I am ready to face my fears around slowing down (and else - there is a deeper layer to this, which I will talk about soon).
Slowly, running and all the fast paced exercise fell away. And yoga, dance and water based activities stayed.
Just like that, I started to learn more about MY body (mind you I trained as a fitness instructor in 2008, so you would imagine I knew the basics already). Through yoga, I have learnt that slow is safe, and that my body knows more than I imagined.
I started listening to my responses and followed what happens around emotional triggers. In yoga I also came across classes which were fast paced - these felt good for a reason, they played into the 'old' cycle. The real challenge was to stay with classes where I had time to embody a pose. To come to my body and stay there.
My mindfulness training added a lot more to my yoga practice and training as a yoga teacher elevated this whole connection to a new level (oh yes and becoming a mum had something to do with this too).
Where am I at right now?
If you look at the yoga classes I offer, you might have spotted they are mainly slow, hatha based classes. I decided to teach what brings me joy, as I feel I can channel that into my class plans and over to my students.
In my own yoga practice, I enjoy a lot of free movement - no plans, just following intuition and wisdom in my body. This sometimes results in some interesting and strong shapes, and other times it's about finding stillness, nothing else.
On the note of stillness - I will tell you more about this in another post, why we find stillness triggering. Stay tuned. Thanks for listening.