Since as long as I can remember I have been an active person, always being involved in some form of sporting activity and being on the move quite a lot of the time, for the sheer joy of it. It has been a difficult relationship at times to obtain a healthy mindset towards exercise at different times over the years, but I have grown beyond the negativity and built a stronger loving bond between myself and my body.
Once I began my recovery from an eating disorder, I vowed that I would not workout whilst my body was repairing. I only started back when I no longer held the belief that I needed to exercise to lose weight. I sought to believe that in order to thrive in the skin I am in, I would move my body to grow stronger and use my body for all the wonderful things it can do.
Like the majority of us, I was drawn to the gym, as it seemed to be the best way I could really get the most out of my body, and put myself through new challenges. For well over three years of weight training and qualifying as a personal trainer, I have learned so much about how incredible the human body can be. It has provided foundations towards a good relationship between my body, exercise, and food; for this, I am very thankful for this time.
However, my mental health has been a continual battle to maintain that frame of mind that I was seeking from the start. With the rise of social media comparing everything and everyone to the finest detail, and the pressures I put on myself to ‘always be the best’, I found myself struggling to find the love for what I was doing in the gym. The environment felt strange, almost like I had not ever been before. Progression was replaced with regression. The passion was slowly fading as it didn’t seem to be getting the results that are always talked about and promoted. You know, that strong, athletic, and ‘curves in all the right places’ physic.
I practiced the art of reflection early on this year, and something unthinkable happened that my former self would not have even thought to do.
I stopped going the gym and took to the mat.
Now, yoga was always that spiritual practice to me that never required physical ability, instead, it involved slow movements, stretching, and meditation. I didn’t think that could be classed as a great way to strengthen your body, nor that it would be able to fit in with my natural desires to be active.
It has always been intriguing to follow many inspiring yogi accounts on Instagram and YouTube for a long time, admiring their flows, their postures, and positions. Yet, something was stopping me from entering into this world, and that was fear. Fear of judgment, insecurities, and the unknown.
Fear of judgment, insecurities, and the unknown. All things that have held me back from growing into the person I truly am.
Never would I have seen myself walking away from the weights, to step onto a yoga mat. However, there is no doubt in me that I chose the right thing for me. I am connecting to my true self; those parts that I had pushed aside as weaknesses and practicing compassion, noting that these are parts of me that make me exactly who I am. Acceptance of the self right here right now, develops more confidence and belief, in body and mind, which are fundamental elements of yoga.
I am very early doors into my practice (consider myself a baby yogi), though there is much that I have gained already from this huge leap of faith towards something new and unfamiliar.
Though I am very early doors into my practice (consider myself a baby yogi) there is much that I have gained already from this huge leap of faith towards something new and unfamiliar.
I have learned to be compassionate towards myself. I respond to my body’s cues that something is or isn’t alright at this point in time. That it’s okay that am not quite able to perform a certain flow or position. Understanding where I am at both physically and mentally has helped me to see the greater picture beyond aesthetical goals.
Being in the Present
Feeling each movement, each breath, each sensation there and then has revealed more layers to what it truly means to ‘be’. Focusing on what is, rather than was has been or what is to come is a beautiful energy to harness, and is possible for all of us if we give ourselves the chance.
The Body is a Remarkable Thing
To be able to move through flows, to have the power, balance, and ability to hold stillness in poses gives me such a great feeling of self-confidence in my body. Our bodies are our homes, our protectors, our warriors. It is down to us to honour them and look after them back in return for all they do. Channeling my attention to the body has awakened a new lease of life and self-respect that I hope will continue to grow as I learn more and more.
So here’s to a new chapter. Here’s to finding my flow.
Disclaimer – This is my own journey, not one any other person can imitate or take away.
Sharing my thoughts is not to push any other opinions on what works for everyone, it is to show that finding your flow begins by listening to yourself, respecting your body and following your own path towards self-contentment and happiness.