Having a small figure for most of my life, I didn’t think I needed to exercise but one day I realised that I was not fit and had no strength. I may have looked okay on the outside, but my body needed more support from the inside, and I knew that through exercise, I would be able to develop a deeper connection with my body. I decided to make a commitment to exercise, to go to weekly classes and to practice on my own as well.
What I noticed was that it really didn’t take much time to exercise each day, and it wasn’t even about how much time I spent, but the quality of the time spent.
So instead of pushing and rushing, I started out with a real sense of presence and a connection with my muscles as I did each movement, which I found was so much more beneficial. Beneficial in the sense that I could feel my muscles strengthen and develop really quickly, and it inspired me to continue.
Now when I wake up in the morning, instead of lying in bed I feel an impulse to get up and exercise, to move my body and feel how good it feels to be with my body, to be with me.
I didn’t start exercising this way to get fit or to lose weight, and although these are certainly side benefits to my exercising, it hasn’t been my focus or my intention, rather my commitment to exercise has become like a meditation in movement, a way for me to spend time with me.
The days in which I take the time to exercise or not, really have an effect on my moods and my energy levels. What I choose to do, as my exercise changes every day, depends on how I feel. Sometimes, I will lie on my mat and do some stretches, another day I will go for a walk and at times I do some light weights or cardio movements. It actually doesn’t matter what exercise I do, it’s not just about doing the actions or the moves, but feeling into what feels right for me on each day.
I have also noticed that even on days when I may be feeling a bit tired, instead of giving in to the old idea in my head that it will just make me more tired, I find that exercise actually energises me because the improved circulation and movement helps my overall energy levels.
Since starting and committing to my own exercise program at home, I had to spend some time in hospital and was not able to walk due to nerve damage down my left leg. I came home from the hospital with a wheelie walker. At first, all I was able to do were very simple, small movements, and I was committed to supporting my body and building the muscles up again. My body has been a great ‘guinea pig’, because in less than six months I have learnt to walk again. I have completely regained my balance and am able to do lunges and move around without any evidence that there was any nerve damage in the first place.
I know that this fast recovery is due not just to the fact that my body was in good shape before the nerve damage, but also because of the commitment that I have maintained in taking quality time to exercise my body daily throughout the recovery period.
The most important thing I have experienced is the more I commit to taking care of myself, and ensuring that my exercise routine is about quality and not quantity, the less it has become about meeting an external expectation.
Committing to exercise and spending time with me has ensured that I now enjoy a fitter and stronger body.
Rosie B., Australia