Recently I had the opportunity to really appreciate the support that exercise contributes to my life, and to discover the relationship between my commitment to myself and my commitment to exercise.
I was quite the exercise fanatic for a large percentage of my life, but in recent years I had pulled back rather substantially from my exercise programs. Whilst I never stopped exercise completely, as I love my walks, I definitely reduced the amount, intensity and regularity.
In effect, I had experienced the two opposite ends of the scale – exercising too much for most of my life, and then in recent years, pulling back to a very minimal exercise program. But I felt that something was not quite right with my approach and with my commitment to exercise – and so I started to explore.
I began to introduce a regular gentle exercise program and I discovered that my body loved this new gentle and connected way of exercising. Listening to my body made me realise just how supportive and important exercise is and how it had such a positive effect on how I felt throughout the day. When I listened to the wisdom of my body and began to exercise for health and vitality, rather than weight management or body image as was the case in the past – I felt amazing!
I started a more regular and committed exercise program of cardio, light weights and some gentle stretching. I noticed how this supported my energy levels and thus my days in a very positive way. And it got me pondering:
- Why did I stop a lot of my exercise in the first place?
- Why do such a large proportion of the population do very little exercise?
As I began to honestly reflect on why my commitment to exercise had waned, I started to piece some things together. Apart from the obvious fact that I was exercising way too much and too hard, and then not exercising enough, I started to connect the dots of what was happening in my life and why these choices were made. It dawned on me like a big yellow light bulb, that…
There is an innate relationship between my commitment to exercise and my commitment to self.
My lack of commitment to myself was not something I was conscious of at the time: I didn’t go walking around saying out loud “I have given up on myself!” I discovered that this process of giving up on oneself seemed to be a slow chipping away over time that easily went unnoticed, as most of my focus was on getting through the day’s events.
On reflection, I can see that I went down the path of giving up on aspects of my life like relationships, family and friendships, because it all felt too hard or hurt too much. Over time, the self-doubt started to kick in, confidence and self-worth headed south, and the joy of life started to lose its sparkle and magic. My energy levels became erratic and my exercise commitment started to decline. I had to pull in more vices and outside motivation in order to get off the couch to exercise. Examples of vices I used were stimulating food and drinks (coffee, alcohol, sugary foods) to give me energy, or convincing myself off the couch to go for a walk even though my body was tired and unmotivated.
If I am really honest, the only reason I stayed in good shape during this time was vanity and my career. I wasn’t choosing to exercise for health and vitality: I was choosing to exercise for the purpose of a body image that I knew was accepted by society. But as I was to discover, like many others have, this approach cannot sustain itself long-term.
The relationship between the commitment to me and the commitment to exercise has become so clear to me now. The more I struggled with life, the more I struggled with committing to exercise. Now that I have seen this connection, my relationship with exercise is very different. Choosing to commit more to me and to truly living life has included dealing with the unresolved issues that were dragging me down. As a result of these choices all aspects of my life have changed… the way I eat, relate to people, my work, my relationships, energy levels… life has become a joy!
When I reflect back it all makes sense; of course I would lose interest in caring for me if I had on some level checked out or given up on aspects of my life. When we feel we are worth it and life is worth it, we pull out all stops to care for and nurture ourselves.
My newfound commitment has come from the understanding and claiming that…
- I matter in the world.
- I am making a conscious choice to make a difference.
- I am equally as amazing as anyone else because only I can bring what I bring and share with the world.
- I truly believe I am worthy of expressing my full potential.
Our daily choices really are powerful and have a big influence on our health and thus how we feel.
I have started to notice more and more how my body feels during, and after, my daily gentle exercise program. Here are the things that I am very much appreciating that regular exercise offers me…
- Increased endurance, stamina & energy levels
- Increased ability & ease to stay focussed on tasks
- A sharper mind with increased clarity
- Increased confidence in my body
- A content feeling in my body after exercise
- Improved quality of sleep
- Improved digestion & stool movement
- Reduced appetite, thus less likely to overeat
- Less likely to comfort eat, if at all
- An awareness of everything internal flowing with much more ease & efficiency (blood flow, circulation, digestion, assimilation etc.)
No longer is exercise a chore or something I have to do, but simply one of the many ways to support my wellbeing. It also confirms to me that my commitment to exercise is because of my commitment to me.
Without a doubt exercise is an important part of looking after ourselves, and we are all absolutely worth it!
By Marika Cominos, Fitness Professional / Yoga, Meditation & Complementary Therapies Practitioner, Melbourne, Australia
I love the list that supports you in your new found commitment to yourself. Beautiful. Thank you
I recently started going back to the gym after an 8 year break and like you Marika hand swung from one extreme to the other, from pushing my body to be the ultimate fitness and performance machine to doing very little other than walking the dog. I started to develop pains in my neck as my back was getting too weak to support my head during my work as a dentist. I sought treatment to ease the tension and was supported by my practitioner to start going back to the gym. It was really challenging to even go in and ask about a membership as it brought up so much in me around the way I had abused and mistreated my body in the name of fitness. However with the intention of going to support my body and exercise within my limits I was able to start. I was horrified at what a weakling I had become with “old” ladies being able to lift more than me. Then I realised it wasn’t about competing with them but caring for me. After a few weeks I had developed a routine where I felt what I could manage in each session and focused more on how my body felt rather than how much I was lifting or how many times I performed each exercise. Gradually I have built strength and improved my posture and my neck pain issues are a thing of the past. Now I really enjoy the gym and combine that with my daily walks.
By letting go of my fears and beliefs about exercise I have been able to support my body and commit to caring for me.
Rachel…I love this last line: ‘By letting go of my fears and beliefs about exercise I have been able to support my body and commit to caring for me.’ This is exactly what I had to do to start exploring what felt true in my body – to support and care for it.
Its so easy to be swayed by what others believe or say about exercise, or anything really as there are many opinions out there. But the best advice I have ever received and continue to receive is the conversation that my body has with me on a daily basis – there is such wisdom in the body which I am now enjoying listening to.
That is exactly the part I picked out Marika; I love “by letting go of my fears and beliefs about exercise I have been able to support my body and commit to caring for me”. I also like what you have added here: “the best advice I have ever received and continue to receive is the conversation that my body has with me on a daily basis”
Hi Marika thank you for sharing your experiences of exercise – I myself have always had an on and off relationship with exercise but mostly I did it in the hope of loosing weight and then I would give up and do nothing. I particularly find it difficult in the winter as I do not like the cold, so I have invested in a walking machine for the winter months or for the days when it is raining a lot.
I have been having a similar a-ha moment these last 2 months – I started a swimming programme that encouraged me to exercise 3 – 4 times a week, and a decent amount of time. I have also been having a highly stressful time with exams, work and more work. And yet I am more vital, more energetic and thinking and feeling clearer than I have, and I know this is because of the support I’m getting from the exercise and being in the pool. The blog is great in giving a deeper understanding of the why – thanks Marika
Having just re-started doing regular exercise myself, this is a very timely article. What you say here is so true and very revealing of how I have been with my commitment to exercising my body. At times I have been really dedicated but it was always to fulfil an outside image. Now I am feeling how it is to do exercise simply because I feel so much better for it, and that is reason enough, but there are all the other things that come along with it too! One thing that I have also noticed is that as I feel better about myself, so too are others feeling more open to me.
Thank you Marika for sharing about your commitment to exercise and to yourself, it just goes to show how every aspect of our life is but a part of the whole and by committing to the whole of us we expand our awareness and our livingness. I love your words – “Our daily choices really are powerful and have a big influence on our health and thus how we feel”.
Marika a great blog. Just today I was looking back on how I missed out my exercise the day before because I wanted to finish something and how the whole rest of my day felt went wrong from that point. So I started today with some walking and it made all the difference. I love your take on exercising for “Health and Vitality”, it’s something that inspires me to take a new look at my exercise and introduce a greater commitment to it. I certainly feel more focused, less anxious and ready for what the day holds after some exercise in the morning yet does not get the commitment it deserves.
An amazing article – its great to read your experiences, especially as you have been at both ends of the spectrum – extreme physical fitness and very little – so you speak from a place of authority. Thank you for sharing.
Marika. Exercise is one way to keeping fit and a healthy life style. It does happen where we can fall by the wayside on occasions. If you drop off, a quick walk round the block is better than not doing the exercise you set yourself.
Gorgeous blog Marika, I have been going through a similar process with exercise and I just love what you have shared with us here. Especially where your new found commitment has come from, knowing that you matter in the world and that you are worthy of expressing your true potential and how exercise is supporting you to do this – thank you.
Thank you Marika
I totally agree I love having regular exercise as a part of my life, I enjoy the classes I attend where I can feel the joy of movement in my body and sometimes I can feel that joy expand and envelop everyone else in the group.
I also can relate to the committing to life analogy without feeling the joy I can forget what life is about and find myself just going through the motions.
Commitment to exercise has been non existent through my life. Never having been over weight and always ‘rushing’ through my days I felt that was sufficient.
Recently I have begun a daily exercise routine, this in part due to a diagnosis of Osteoporosis, which has revealed to me how I have disregarded my body in the past.
Thank you for your list of appreciations, they are so powerful Marika, they inspire me to continue the routine, plus, a full commitment to me, I am absolutely worth it.
You have made it possible to understand the underlying cause why many have real problems either keeping to their exercise routine or getting “off the couch” at all, Marika. I appreciate your sharing of your experience so clearly and it helps me to reconnect after a period of back pain when I became less willing and able to continue the exercise routine I had lovingly put in place for myself and was benefiting from, it dropped off because I was frightened to move! I realise now that I had not felt into how I could support myself in this period by exploring other ways of moving that are possible for my body without harming it. I start today!
Having recently returned to regular exercise I am learning it is about my commitment to myself, and is absolutely necessary as part of looking after myself. I have come to see I matter therefore my body matters as it matters what I take out to the world in my daily life. Thank you Marika for an awesome blog.
Hi Marika, thank you for this awesome blog. I recently started exercising myself again after not having done that for a couple of years. The way I do it now is different from the way I used to do it. I used to push through even if my body was telling me loud and clear it was too much or too hard. And now I started exercising being present in my body and the effect is like you describe: huge. It changes my whole day! And I agree with what you wrote:
‘Our daily choices really are powerful and have a big influence on our health and thus how we feel.’
It is our daily choices that are true medicine.
Thank you for sharing Monika and Marika – what I love is how you have both presented the fact that it is not about doing exercise (as you used to do it), but it is about the QUALITY of the exercise, and about honouring if you feel it is too much. This changes my perception and I’m sure many others’, as we are all told to get 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week as the recommended amount, but no-one tells us of the quality of this exercise as being more important than the intensity.
Yes thats my experience too Jessica, quality is key. I used to exercise in a regimented way, but listening to my body and what it needs each day with exercise is such an empowering and nurturing way to be with my body. It took quite a while to unfold this as so many beliefs and ideals were ingrained in me & I had a fear that if I did less I would become fat – when in fact my actual experience was quite the opposite & I felt so much more at ease within myself.
Thanks Marika, I am in need of reminding that I need to choose exercise because I am amazing and I am worth it! My current excuse is that my house is too small (we literally have no floor space to stretch!). However the need to exercise is so strong, my body is calling me so much to do it… I go for walks but nothing else….. I am moving house soon to a place with floor space to stretch, yippee! So I will look forward to lovingly introducing exercise into my day, for me, because I’m worth it, inspired by you. Thank you 🙂
🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m doing some twirls of joy with you Rachael…and yes you are absolutely worth it, as is every single person on this planet.
A joy to read Marika.
At school I dreaded all the sports activities as there was so little co-ordination with my hands and feet. ‘Clumsy’ was one of the words continually shouted at me from the teachers and very competitive pupils.
Since attending Universal Medicine presentations I have begun to enjoy a different perspective and understanding of exercise. and it does not have to be pushing so hard to keep up, being hardly able to breathe or having sore or injured muscles for weeks following which just kept up the whole cycle of lack of self worth and never being good enough!
A gem for me in your writing –
“When we feel we are worth it and life is worth it, we pull out all stops to care for and nurture ourselves”.
Top blog Marika. I have been in and out of gyms for most of my life and it always used to be pushing and working hard because I had a belief system that that was the only way to stay fit and keep the weight off. I was making it all about how I looked on the outside. Like you, I now approach exercise with a much more gentler attitude and exercise to how my body is feeling at the time. Because my focus is more on how my body is feeling and not on how myself or society would like me to look, my body tells me what it would like to do. Whether its light or heavier weights or gentle CV work, there is no more pushing, no more exercising out of obligation and no more belief systems on how I think it should be done. With this gentler way of exercising, I actually feel much fitter and have more vitality than I have ever known.
ps. I am also studying for my ‘BBA’ and its going very well!!
Great comment, Tim. The way you describe your relationship with exercise feels very freeing and honouring of how your body is from day to day. It makes so much sense to approach fitness from this more loving perspective rather than the rigours of imposed disciplines.
Wonderful Tim…I love what you say about…’my focus is more on how my body is feeling and not on how myself or society would like me to look, my body tells me what it would like to do. Whether its light or heavier weights or gentle CV work, there is no more pushing, no more exercising out of obligation and no more belief systems on how I think it should be done.’
The wisdom of our body and what it can communicate, should we listen, is amazing.
And great to hear your BBA is going well 🙂
Wow Marika thank you for sharing your journey with commitment to life and exercise and the way they are closely related. I have always known I feel better when I am having regular exercise but have often lacked consistency with this and now I know why. Awesome.
Beautiful Marika, I relate to your blog.
“No longer is exercise a chore or something I have to do, but simply one of the many ways to support my wellbeing. It also confirms to me that my commitment to exercise is because of my commitment to me.”
I notice at times I put other things before my exercise time and it is at these times I notice my days become a little erratic. The time I spend with me gently exercising brings a quality that sets the foundation to my day.
Yes Beverley. I am appreciating the exercise I have now taken up as I notice it too when I miss a morning due to other reasons. It definitely impacts on my day and how I feel about myself.
Beverley I also find committing to exercise helps set me up for the day and I do miss it if I stop for a few days. I’m finding that stretching is now something I feel my body is asking to do more of… it will be interesting to see how this impacts on my day.
I agree Beverley and have found the same thing that ‘gently exercising brings a quality that sets the foundation to my day’.
Marika, I hadn’t seen my lack of commitment as giving up on myself, but now that you say it, it makes so much sense. I had always thought myself to be quite committed, particular when it came to work, but more recently went through a fairly long period where commitment was a challenge. I only just saw that what I thought of in myself as commitment had in fact been me pushing myself and striving, and that my subsequent lack of commitment was just the other end of the same scale- and as you have now shown me, in both cases I had in fact given up on my self to some degree.
Great realisation Catherine…it was the same for me. I used outside motivation and vanity to keep me going and ‘push through’, and when that lost steam, I was left to really look at what was underneath it all.
This blog makes a lot of sense to me, especially highlighting and reminding me that if I am committed to expressing my highest potential then my actions need to reflect that thought of ‘I am committed’. From experience I understand that expressing my full potential and feeling confident in doing such cannot be done in my body when it feels heavy, exhausted, anxious, emotional etc. The body is what I use to express with through the quality of my actions, like a car if you want it to preform at it’s best you treat it a certain way (Correct fuel, regular services etc etc). This blog is a great inspiration to return to my exercise routine, Thank you.
I love this blog, Marika, summed up beautifully in the line – “When we feel we are worth it and life is worth it, we pull out all stops to care for and nurture ourselves.” The link between our feelings about ourselves and to exercise makes so much sense. It is an important awareness for us all, and also for the medical profession to have when addressing obesity etc.
I agree Janet, this blog would be great for working with obesity – exercise is a difficult thing for many people, and this blog breaks it down into something simple and easy.
Great point Janet…if the medical profession understood this, or any profession really, there would be much more understanding why we are amidst an obesity epidemic. Yes the food we eat and exercising is important…but if the commitment to ourselves is not there first as a foundation (i.e. a healthy self-worth) then nothing we choose to do can be sustained long-term or even enjoyed.
So in effect we don’t have an obesity epidemic…its really a ‘lack of self-worth’ & ‘lack of commitment to ourselves’ epidemic. Address the commitment and self-worth and the rest can unfold with ease. No diets or ‘thrash n bash’ approaches to exercise needed.
So very true Marika, when we look at it in this way it is very simple, but this is not being seen by the majority of the medical and health profession, though there are a few who are changing the way. Even in the gym as I observe fitness and personal trainers I often feel it has to start with love, if we love and hold ourselves with such deep love and care, then we will all approach exercise and life in a very different way. Start with the inside rather than focus on the outer and unobtainable goals, unobtainable in the sense that yes we may reach them but we will never be enough, because we never feel enough from within ourselves first, there will always be the next thing or goal to achieve and then the next. When really it could be so simple and so joyful if we connected and exercised in a completely different way.
That’s right Gyl…it can be simple if we approach life from the inside and connected first…living life from the inside out. But what I have observed is people choosing this without really knowing this is what they are choosing. For example when someone has hit rock bottom and then one day they make a decision to make a change…that change is initiated from within and then manifests into action – the commitment to exercise, the healthy eating etc etc. It really can be as simple as a choice – a choice to care for yourself.
I have also found a strong relationship between commitment to exercise and commitment to life, understanding this made it much easier to commit to exercise having like you gone from one extreme to the other. I now also enjoy the feelings of support and the power there is in exercising in connection. This is a great blog Marika, one that offers a lot of wisdom.
I really enjoyed reading this and can say that for myself too, my level of commitment to exercise is a commitment to myself. I am really enjoying the exercise routine which I now follow and I feel the benefit of it in my body.
Looks like you are doing well with the BBA! 😀
Thanks Michelle, yes the ‘Bachelor of Being Awesome’ gets more and more interesting…and sounds like you had already started a BBA yourself 🙂
Marika, I also know the pattern of letting everything else get more important and how then joy and playfulness disappears. Great, that you have found back the commitment with yourself in exercising. A reminder for me to commit to exercise as it is supporting our wellbeing.
Thank you Marika for showing a different approach to exercising. I have also come from either exercising too much and with force or not at all to a more gentler rhythm and workout. More feeling what the body needs on a daily basis to support me and my well-being than exercising for an outer outcome.
This is great to read Marika, very inspiring, I loved reading your understanding and claiming that,’ I matter in the world.’
I am making a conscious choice to make a difference. I am equally as amazing as anyone else because only I can bring what I bring and share with the world.’ I have stopped exercising lately because I have become busy with work and other things but I really feel inspired to start my daily walk again, thank you.
Yes I do too Marika. I used to take a yoga class twice a week for years but stopped quite a while ago as I felt I was doing it to get to a place of feeling good rather than taking exercise to support my body already feeling amazing. Now I’m staring to feel how awesome I am, I want to start adding some exercise into my life to strengthen my body and support it in all I do. I walk often but not regularly but reading this I feel inspired to make a commitment to exercise more to taking care of myself.
Thank you Marika. I can easily convince myself that taking the dogs for a walk will do for my daily exercise but I have found that taking the time for some gentle stretch exercises and weight lifting leaves me feeling more alert and alive rather than weary. I also realize that my commitment to exercise is a revealing marker of my commitment to myself.
Thank you Mary, this line really stood out for me: ‘ I also realize that my commitment to exercise is a revealing marker of my commitment to myself’.
I found that too Mary – although for me it wasn’t walking the dog, it was walking to the bus stop for school – if I said that walk counted as my daily exercise then I wouldn’t feel as “alert and alive”, as you say, as the intention was just to get from A to B instead of making time for myself, but if I made time for a walk on the walking machine for even just 10 minutes then it would make such a difference in my day and how I felt at school. Thank you for the blog Marika
Such a great article Marika thank you for sharing this very important understanding as a way of living for a healthy body. I too have found the support of exercise as part of my life and my rythmn with the knowing that it is part of my relationship and commitment to my self.
Changing the intent of exercise , loving ones body and caring for it really does change ones life in all aspects and we are definately worth it, as is the sparkle!
Marika a great inspirational blog. I never really like exercised but a few months ago I put myself on a gentle exercise routine. You are so right it does change how you feel within and the joy it brings. But I love how you share the relationship of exercise is the relationship to commitment to self. I have been pondering most recently there are days when I have struggled to do my exercise, but now it makes sense, what was my commitment to self, was that slipping? Something for me to reflect on.
I can relate to what you say Amita as I never really liked exercise, tried various classes in the past but soon gave up – now I realise I gave up on me! Inspirational article Marika and you look great too!
Bachelor of Being Awesome, what you share here is so true. Committing to an exercise program and our intention as to why we are doing it, has a very different effect on our bodies and in fact our whole wellbeing. I know that when I exercise to develop a deeper connection with my body, that this is what I get and life is much clearer and things are much sharper. Highly recommended.
Thank you for sharing so honestly Mary…
Forget the honours degree, go for the PHD 🙂
Our intention is huge. I used to be an exercise addict when I was younger, about 12 years ago I stopped, partly due to my physical body being what I thought was unable to do any exercise without repercussions. As my physical body has become increasingly weaker I decided recently to start some gentle exercise, with the intention of helping my body to regain its strength and building my connection with myself. However, I soon started to get physical pains from this, so eventually had to stop completely.
When seeing a practitioner about this recently he helped me look at my intention, and how that was still disregarding where my body was at. My body was feeling very weak, so I thought by lovingly exercising with myself to the best of my ability that I would assist my body. Not so, because underneath it was me not liking feeling weak that was driving my intention. Ouch. I had thought I was being loving putting myself on this very gentle easy program, which felt great to be on, but at another level my body was not able to cope with this.
Beautiful and honest share Lorraine, and highlights the importance of the intention behind anything that we go to do and in this case exercise: ‘underneath it was me not liking feeling weak that was driving my intention’. And your body soon let you know this was wrong when you started to get physical pains and had to sop completely which gave you the space to see what was really going on. Awesome!
What you share here Lorraine is great as it highlights the importance of always listening to your body each day and honouring what it may need in that moment…not comparing to the day before…but simply trusting the wisdom of your body.
There was a stage in my life when I had chronic fatigue symptoms and it was so important to honour where my body was at each day – which was always different and if I pushed it, even a little bit, it sent me into further exhaustion. It actually was a great time in my life to really learn about listening to the messages from my body.
Superb comment, Bachelor of Being Awesome! Great thing about this BBA is that anyone can apply and study for it and there are no exams! Thank you Marika for instigating a new degree without walls, without fees and no tutors other than what we can feel and connect to within our hearts. The only reference material required is Universal Medicine in its many and varied presentations on-line or face to face. Perfect studying options and it all comes with a highly recommended support team.
I love that BBA idea too and have just decided to enrol myself, love the idea of no exams and no fees and the level to which we take it is only a matter of choice.
I love this Mary, thank you for sharing. There is an absolute joy, a deep amazingness and power felt when we choose to commit to ourselves.
Thanks for a great blog Marika. I know I can drop my commitment to exercise because the day is so full. It is so worth taking the time for myself to exercise and the difference is so obvious in many ways. It can then support me with my full day.
I agree Rebecca – it is easy to look at all the things I need to do in the day and the 1st thing that goes is the exercise yet that is one of the most supportive things I have in my day for my body. It is interesting how usually the most supportive things we do are the 1st ones to go when we get really busy.
I can relate to what you say about, “the process of giving up on oneself seemed to be a slow chipping away over time that easily went unnoticed, as most of my focus was on getting through the day’s events.” and “The more I struggled with life, the more I struggled with committing to exercise”. But by making the commitment to ourselves and to exercise for health and vitality makes a huge difference to the focus of exercise.
Having just started exercising with cardio and stretching again after many many years of not, I am loving the new found strength in my body that is there to connect to.
What I love about your example Marika is the great list of positive changes from choosing to make exercise part of your daily way of looking after your body. When our body experiences and then lives with such great changes, it’s going to be easier to continue to choose to exercise.
Thank you for sharing your journey of discovery of a balanced exercise programme and its importance not only to enable you to be or achieve something but instead to support your commitment to you. What a life-changer it is when we make our choices to support what we already are: innately loving and caring beings.
Thank you Marika for sharing your fantastic light bulb moment…’There is an innate relationship between my commitment to exercise and my commitment to self’.
I find that I place more emphasis on all sorts of things rather than taking better care of myself, particularly exercise. It’s one of those things that I find quite easy to put off.
Now that you have presented that ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ it’s time for me to truly commit to me. I look forward to doing so.
Rod, I also find exercise really easy to put off! I agree that Marika has presented “that missing piece of the puzzle”… ’There is an innate relationship between my commitment to exercise and my commitment to self’. I feel that I am on it with food and sleep, but exercise is not consistent yet. I also feel inspired by theses words and to get going with exercise.
I agree as well – if I don’t bring loving discipline to every day and my exercise then it only takes one day of being ‘off’ and the comfort of not doing it is so tempting… But as I deepen this relationship with exercise I absolutely love the time to be with myself and feel my body in a more focused way. With this as my first and foremost approach to exercise I can feel its not just about my body and its physical movement but the state of being and the quality that I am in and keeping steady in that connection. Exercise supports me to go deeper with myself.
Well said Natalie. I love the quality in my body now after I have exercised. There is a gentleness there, even if I have felt to exercise energetically and it is lovely to take that connection into my day.
You allude to a great point here Rachel…that our commitment to ourselves affects all aspects of our lives…how we eat, sleep etc. This has also been my experience and realisation – my commitment to me, or lack of commitment to me affects everything.
I agree ‘our commitment to ourselves affects all aspects of our lives’ and as Rod said ‘I place more emphasis on all sorts of things rather than taking better care of myself’ – yet what is fascinating is that it is our body we take to do all these things and so the quality of our body affects the quality of everything we are doing. And as such it is crazy not to look after our bodies. Yet I know that when I get busy with life and doing this exercise, something I do to support my body, is usually the 1st things which goes. If I think about it – one of the main things that supports me I discard when I get super busy – not very clever really!
Definitely Marika, commitment to ourselves does indeed affect all aspects of our lives, it is hugely important.
Yes, I agree with all the comments about commitment to ourselves and how that affects all aspects of our lives. It is so easy to slip, yet when I maintain that commitment my life is so much more flowing, easier and joyful – it would then seem obvious for it not to slip but this sometimes happens, which is an unfolding journey and work in progress. Your article, Marika, is very inspiring.
A beautiful testimony Marika. I have just started regular on-line exercises with Re-Connect Exercise: cardio, stretch and weights. I now appreciate that exercise is more than just going through the paces, trying to get somewhere, or following a routine. It’s about quality of movement, connecting with our bodies.
To connect to the quality of the movement of our body feels so supportive and reminds me that it is something that can support me throughout the day. Thank you Kehinde.
Great article Marika, and one I know I will return to many times. I can already feel something unfolding. Thank you.
This is so beautiful and I can relate so much to all you share. After having over exercised and pushed myself in the past, when I first felt this I reacted to it and then went into a stagnant feeling time of under exercise. Now coming back to a gentle exercise program from a whole different angle, vitality and celebrating the warmth and flow of my expression, it couldn’t be more different or more lovely, and such a huge support in my body and my life.
I love all you share here Marika, just your summary of you on its own, is a joyful gift!
I agree Katie – I find exercise to be like swings and roundabouts – either all or nothing. It is building the gentle but firm foundation of exercise that I find bring the best results
This is lovely Rebecca, ‘…it is building the gentle but firm foundation of exercise that I find brings the best results’.
The firm foundation is what keeps us coming back to regular exercise. As the foundation is reachable and the pressure to constantly strive for excellence is not there.
As others have said true commitment to exercise is not about striving but coming from a true foundation of love and honouring our body. True exercise allows us to feel our connection to our body and striving is just a distraction from who we innately are.
I agree Rebecca, ‘a gentle but firm foundation’ is the way to go. I find it is easy to continue with my exercise once I have it up and running but then if I miss a few days or longer it is tricky to re-start it – it’s like I know my body wants it but somehow my mind over-rules – whereas when it is a part of my daily rhythm it is just something I do without question – the support I feel is then huge.
This is so true James and a good reminder for me to allow my body to take the lead back to supportive and loving ways.
It’s exactly the same for me James. When for any reason I let the pattern of my daily rhythm slip, my mind puts off the exercise my body really wants. Crazy!
This is exactly the way it works for me James.
Yeah I have just let the rhythm slip and it feels horrible, my body definitely does not appreciate being left to last where anything is concerned but I really notice it when I haven’t exercised. Back to steady regular rhythm
You make a good point here James about the head versus the body. Whats really interesting in what I have noticed within my self is that just as I can use food to numb what I am not wanting to feel, so too can I avoid exercise to not feel something. Exercise does support me to connect back to the body and thus bring me back to honesty. For example walking is so powerful in what it offers…there have been many times where I feel stuck and simply going for a walk brings such clarity and a support to moving forward.
I agree Marika, and the crazy thing is it always feels so much better for me if I do go for that walk – when my body first tells me it wants to go too.
I think it is easy to underestimate how powerfully exercise can support us to feel great and settled in our body. I often wonder why something that can give such good feelings is so easily the first thing dismissed out of our lives when we get busy or lose motivation. It is almost like there is some kind of force stopping us from doing our exercise. Always at a time when we need the exercise routine even more. I have found when I have struggled to commit to exercise that when I do it is very transformative of my mood and wellbeing.
What I have found has supported me with exercise is to make walking a part of my daily rhythm…one of the many things I incorporate into my day to support me. The duration and intensity of my walk/exercise may change according to how I feel, but the consistency stays & I find this supports my day especially when there are challenges that I am faced with.
My only exercise is a 30-40 minute walk each day and a tiny bit (five minutes) of other exercises. With the way I eat, work and live it seems to be just right which is quite surprising. Maybe the recommendations for exercise are written for people with a different lifestyle.
I agree Marika… Walking is very powerful. I love to walk to clear any emotions that I may have taken on from outside of myself. A 20 minute walk supports me enormously to be in my body and therefore going for a walk is an important part of my day.
Love what you share here Marika as it is revealing so much about why I have not been supporting my body with exercise. As you say ‘I avoid exercise to not feel something. Exercise does support me to connect back to the body and thus bring me back to honesty.’ love the clarity of this!
Exactly the same for me James. Consistency is a vital ingredient. Break the exercise rhythm and it’s hard to re-start. Reflecting on why we stopped in the first place, is key.
Yes gentle and steady feels great. I have always been active in the past, lots of cycling, horse riding, walking. I never considered this exercising, it was either a mode of transport or leisure, which I feel is different to deliberately exercising. I am now building a rhythm of gentle exercise, which is new for me. It is supporting me to build a loving relationship with my body and the way I move, which I have found lacking in other exercise regimes. I am learning that working gently with my body is far more supportive than jogging, cycling or intensive sports, as my body does not have to recover from gentle exercise in the way it has to recover from the traditional activities, which saves us both energy!
” I find exercise to be like swings and roundabouts – either all or nothing”. Oh! how I can relate to this Rebecca. But now I too am building a gentle but solid foundation of exercise which is lovingly delivering results I desire and that is best to support my body.
I love what you have shared here Rebecca – a gentle but firm foundation.
‘It is building the gentle but firm foundation of exercise that I find brings the best results’ True Rebecca, this is the way. Thank you for expressing it so simply.
This is very true Kate and I have experienced a similar way of living and I am enjoying not putting pressure on myself on how much exercise I do, but just letting myself feel when is enough… this article is great and a testament to Marika and the way she lives.
I have also found the gym after years of sedentary working, but only do what my body feels like doing. I don’t wear my glasses at the gym so I can’t read the numbers on the machines. So, my exercise routine is the 4 hole on this one, somewhere near the bottom on that one and I adjust up or down for how my body feels on the day. I get what my body needs and it is different every time.
That sounds a great way to exercise Steve. I’ve always been pretty active, so never really felt the need for an exercise routine, but as i get older I feel I can benefit, so am considering adding some sort of gentle exercise routine into my day . Because I’m worth it!
I agree Amina, I did the same as Kate as well it is easy to go from ‘all or nothing’ as Rebecca said. Incorporating some form of exercise each day definitely helps support my body and my daily rhythm. When I miss out on my exercise I can feel the difference it has on my day.
hmmm… Agree very much Amina, I’ve also been experimenting with the level of exercise that I perform. I use to measure my success by increasing the number of sit ups every time I worked out. However this has changed to the ever expanding quality I experience after every work out, which isn’t dictated by the number of reps but how that training session has supported my body.
I agree Amina the level and rate of exercise I do each day depends on how I feel in the body. Marika your blog redefines the ways we look at exercise and how going through the motions doesn’t build and
support the body.
ha ha…yes studying my new BBA (Bachelor of Being Awesome) is a delightful long-term degree that just keeps getting more fun with age – I highly recommend it, and its free!
I’m just enrolling for that course having seen how much I have allowed myself to be sabotaged by self-doubt and ‘not good enough’ beliefs. I have always enjoyed exercising but I have had difficulty motivating myself to do it for the last few months and I realize now on reading your blog, Marika that it’s because I had given up on my commitment to me. It’s great to see how you turned things around by choosing to commit more to yourself and to life.
Ha ha, that’s great Sandra…go for it. No motivation is needed when we commit to caring for ourselves. We are all absolutely worth it. No-one can bring to this world what only you can bring Sandra.
I used to be exactly the same Kate. Exercise for me was all or nothing and I guess it went to nothing because I gave it my all. Instead of honouring what my body was telling me I would push and push until I either had an injury or just gave up. Because I no longer have this belief that I need to push myself really hard to stay fit the way I exercise now is so much gentler and in terms of continuity is easier to maintain.
I took something from what you shared Kate, about exercise being such support in our bodies and have reconnected with the awareness of how much my body supports me, through listening to it. With exercise, I note that having established a regular practice, my body tells me loud and clear when it wants to exercise. This is both because of the respectful way I exercise it, so it really enjoys exercise ( I get the picture of a dog loving going for a walk, and asking for regular walks); plus because of the fine tuning of awareness to it. So really it feels important to me that in placing our bodies first, much comes into line with exercise and with commitment, naturally so