Today’s dose of The Gratitude Files is zoned in on movement. While I’ve always loved exercising, I’ve really been on a journey fuelled by curiosity and experimentation over the last couple of years, to figure out how to move my body in a way that is strengthening, nourishing, loving and sustainable.
A few years ago, I was running a lot and doing loads of BodyPump classes and weight training in the gym. My body was fit; but it was tight and inflexible and constantly sore. My shoulders began to niggle. Then, my knees. The recommendation from my Physio was YOGA.
**NOTE: For more on this, I speak a lot in my eBook She Is Radiant about how to fall in love with exercise and your body and I go into MUCH more detail about the challenges I faced at this time and how I overcame them 🙂
Thus began the love affair with yoga! Sparked by a desire to support my current training regime, it wasn’t long before yoga WAS the training regime. Last year, I’d find myself on the mat 4-5 times a week, completely immersed in my practice.
And, it was exactly what I needed. My body needed to lengthen, open and create space. Suddenly, I could touch my toes! I was constantly marvelling at what yoga was doing to not only my body, but to my heart and mind; many tears were shed on the mat last year as I navigated the most difficult terrain of my life thus far.
In yoga, we learn to accept the present moment as it is. This was so transformative for me.
And then, early this year, I was surprised when I just didn’t feel called to the mat. My body was craving MORE. I desired more strength AND playfulness and so, I’ve tried a few different things on for size…
Xtend Barre Pilates
For me, moving my body everyday is a must and it always has been; my first love of movement began with ballet, rhythmic gymnastics and dancing! I even studied dance in my Year 12 HSC.
So I couldn’t wait to try Barre when I read it was a combination of Pilates, dancing and ballet. And I was not disappointed – I walk out of every Barre class feeling like a ballerina! It’s graceful, playful and feminine – and is THE ultimate butt workout. Big fan.
Personal Training: Intentional Movement
My desire for more strength and capability in my skin has been seriously satisfied over the past few months, via my ‘intentional movement’ sessions with the gorgeous Janine Farrow; I cannot believe just how much these intentional movement sessions of ‘personal training meets mindfulness’ have positively affected my relationship with my body! (Janine has a a website in the works – you can follow her on Insty until then.)
I knew I had some more work to do when it came to building muscle mass, but I was cautious due to my past experiences with the gym; namely over-training and injury.
However, Janine has truly taken my hand and guided me to a place where strengthening my body feels expansive and fun, where mindfulness, intuition and intention are just as important (if not more) as the amount of weight I’m squatting.
Plus, we train on the grass in the early morning, which is beyond divine!
I have LOVED pushing my body in a way I haven’t done for a long time; playing around with my limits, as opposed to recklessly surging past them.
Yep, I’ve trimmed down and toned up but it just feels soooooo good to feel so capable and connected to my body. And of course, confident enough to look at my arse in my bikini and go, ‘yeah – you’re looking fine!’
The funny thing is: my yoga practice has dramatically improved. I have struggled with both handstands and Chaturanga for a few years now and I’m absolutely nailing both in my home practice (which is still a daily thing – even if it’s just 10min) at the moment. Amazing what a bit of extra strength can do.
Woop woop! You might have heard me mention that my intention for the remainder of 2014 was to become more curious about my sacral chakra energy, sexuality and sensuality; well there’s been erotic novels, a few cheeky presents to myself, a fantastic eCourse, podcasts, playlists…And now this. Pole dancing.
^^ Hehe. I can say with all honesty that I have NEVER smiled as much during an hour of exercise as I did in my first ‘smoulder and burn’ class!
Think hip-swivelling, sexy walking, spinning and laughing and just simply playing with movement that hey, does feel a little foreign, but at the same time, feels very familiar. And very feminine, sexy and FUN. I am so down with it.
Aaaaaand you know what’s really cool? After my first week of pole, I had my very first 28 day menstrual cycle since getting my period back! It’s shaking up some energy downstairs and I’m thrilled about it. 😀
I’ve been attending classes with the babes at SheMoves in Perth and highly recommend them!
A few other things:
+ Aim to move every day. It might be 10min, it might be more. Just do something everyday – ask your body what it wants.
+ On that note, my body wants to sweat/move TWICE a day at the moment. This feels great.
+ Being flexible AND strong is… Magic.
+ Try new things. Let go of ways of movement that no longer serve you. Mix it up.
+ And please, always stretch. Yes?
Love Claire x