Whole Living Daily

For the Sake of Nurturing Yourself Only: Yoga On and Off the Mat

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I have an invitation for you this week:

I invite you to embrace whatever your regular fitness routine is (be it yoga, walking, tennis, swimming, you name it) as a beautiful opportunity to come home and be present with your body, breath, and mind. Can you really allow it to be meditation in motion? Can you allow it to be an opportunity to be present in the moment and appreciative of the body you have to move? Can you let the motivation behind why you exercise be wholeheartedly about how it makes you feel, as opposed to how it might make you look?

Of course, healthy amounts of physical activity can help us become more fit, flexible, and trim. However, can you view these as positive side effects this week as opposed to the intention behind why you exercise? Can you think about how sustainable fitness (meaning when you don’t push yourself too hard…even on the yoga mat!) boosts your mental and energetic well-being first and foremost? If you already do this, can you further honor the outlet you have?

The reason I’m asking this is because, sadly, fitness (even the postural yoga practice) is sometimes something else in this culture: a fight with our physical body in order to make it better, skinnier, or different for the sake of forces often outside of ourselves. Exercise all too easily becomes less about making us feel good and far more about aesthetic attainment. It can become more about controlling than nurturing.

If you relate with this, even in the slightest, I invite you to shift your mind-set today. By the way, I actually believe that when we really embrace who we are in the present moment, we also look our best. Our whole being is affected when we are kinder and a better friend to our selves. Let’s celebrate who we are and take better care of our bodies because they’re the incredible vessels that carry us through life. Nothing has helped me more than gratitude and loving discipline. Accepting my physical body and its limits.

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