Many people, especially women, are put off going to the gym and lifting weights as they think it is too hard or in turn will make their body become hard, but exercise, lifting weights and the gym can be loving, nurturing and so much fun.
I used to work as a fitness instructor, personal trainer and yoga teacher, and for a while was put off going back to the gym, because I ‘thought’ it was too hard for my body, but in truth it was how I had been choosing to exercise that was hard, not the exercise itself.
In truth my body really responds to it – rather than exercise feeling like a hard slog and something I’ve got to do, I have discovered exercise feels amazing, joyful, nurturing and really supportive. For me the key is to stay connected, to not be drawn into looking in mirrors, checking out other people, their bodies and what they are doing, but to truly stay present with myself and how I feel from within.
It is also not about being rigid with the exercises I choose to do. Sometimes I love using free weights, at other times I feel the need for more support and use machines. I also love playing and experimenting with equipment. There may be days that I stay at the gym for 20 minutes, other days where I will be there for an hour or more, all depending on how I feel and my workload that week, e.g. if I have a long, physical week.
There are even times when I have been tired, and ‘thought’, “Oh I’ll go home and relax”… but then have chosen to go to the gym instead and done a lighter session, which in turn has felt so nurturing and supportive, and in truth re-connected me with my body, and out of my head.
One morning, whilst sitting on a weights machine, I felt so clearly in my body, that if I make exercise about my outer and how I look, I go into my head and my body hardens – it becomes about drive and something I do… Whereas if I feel how I am actually lovingly supporting myself, making a commitment to me, then immediately I, and my body, feel much more present, gentle, amazing, light and full of joy.
Not only can going to the gym be joyful, nurturing and supportive, it also offers an opportunity to feel how I have been choosing to live in other areas of my life.
- does my body feel hard
- are there parts of my body that feel tight, heavy or stiff
- does my body feel unbalanced
- am I racy, anxious, stressed out
- am I being arrogant… thinking I know better than another
- is there a force, a drive, a push
- am I in my head thinking about lot of other stuff
- am I ignoring what my body is sharing
- is there comparison or judgement with myself and others
- am I putting myself down, disliking parts of my body, or
- am I focusing on one thing instead of feeling all of me?
…All of which is not me…
OR do I feel:
- joy-full and
- full of wonder at what my amazing body shares with me?…
… All of which is definitely all of me!
As I have found out, it is also an amazing opportunity to honour my fragility and vulnerability, to not override it and feel I have to be or act a certain way. I can feel fragile and vulnerable, be all of me and still exercise – each time my body is asking me to connect to something deeper.
So for me, going to the gym, exercise, swimming and walking is not a ‘should do’ or a ‘have to do’ – it is a ‘love to do’ – it is about joyfully connecting, honouring, nurturing and committing to myself and to my body, so that it will be of support no matter what is truly asked of it.
It is with thanks to Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and Caroline Raphael, who have inspired and reminded me to choose love again.
By Gyl Rae, BA Hons Fine Art, PGDE, DIP Personal Training & Sports Therapy
I love exercising in the morning. Having time with my body before the day starts. It feels energising as it always does when I connect to my body.
There is a ‘gym consciousness’ that I used to be very much a part of. I understand it much better since understanding that our thoughts, speech and movements are governed by our preceding thoughts, speech and movements. This fact combined with the fact that when we buy into consciousnesses, they come in pre packed bundles. Therefore when I went to the gym to look better and keep my body firm and sculptured then it ensured that I would move in a particular way. One of those predetermined movements was constantly checking myself out in the mirror and another was comparing myself to others. Now that I go to the gym to connect more deeply with me then my movements are very different indeed, one example being that I do nearly all of my workout with my eyes closed.
Exercise is an integral ingredient in supporting our overall health and well-being. It is also far more enjoyable when we allow it to be light-hearted and fun and not a burden or a chore.
I absolutely love exercising, it is a time for me to strengthen my connection with my body, a time when I focus on the detail of my body more deeply and although I am aware that all moments in time offer this opportunity, exercise seems to be the time that I am able to really seize the opportunity the most.
Gyl, I loved reading this article. I can feel how I had thought that going to the gym was a very masculine, hard thing to do and that I had written it off, but what you are sharing in this article about it being about how we exercise not the exercise itself, makes me reconsider about going to the gym.
R-learning to exercise in the most gentle way while staying focused on our breathing, which should also be at-least gentle allows our body energy levels and vitality to increase measurably.
I love going to the gym. It supports me to do my job with ease rather than my job draining me because I am not fit enough to do it. It’s important to listen to my body while at the gym because if not I am worn out and often sore for days afterwards. Going there, working out to whatever limit my body has that day leaves me feeling energised and supported.
Some great questions to ask ourselves in order to gauge our quality. I used to push myself at the gym and now I am learning the importance of listening to my body and getting an understanding of how to respond to it not how to control it.
‘it was how I had been choosing to exercise that was hard, not the exercise itself.’ We can adapt any exercise to suit ourselves and the personal trainer helps us to do this but it is not often that they suggest we connect to our bodies and allow our movements to come from there and not our heads. When we have this body awareness and bring it to our exercises at the gym the exercises feels so different in our body and we can so much more easily gauge what is supporting us or not. It is the quality in our body and how we move in that quality that is the foundation of the health benefit we derive from our work out.
I used to enjoy working out at the gym, but realise I would push and override my body at times, coming from my head and my drive to be fit. My health does not allow me to go to the gym now, but when I last went my purpose was to stay connected with my body, to be really present with me and what my body was conveying to me, and to honour that.
Life becomes a Love to do in all we do when the Love we are is deeply connected to.
Imagine the hoohaa associated with man going to the moon or inventing the internet. This stuff is so minor compared to rediscovering our essence and how to live from that. Once redound it changes everything we do and the end result of how you feel in you. Huge!
It feels to me that going to the moon is an elaborate and rather expensive distraction. Anything that doesn’t suppprt our journey inwards is a distraction from the truth of who we all are.