I have lately observed that there are certain times when my exercise rhythm is off or non-existent, and when I get so caught up in the ‘busyness’ of my day and the many things that I feel I’m responsible for or that need completing (ie. work, family etc.), that my exercise routine seems to be one of the first things that gets neglected.
I noticed that the busier I was, the more I was neglecting my exercise rhythm and routine… and the longer the gaps were between exercising. To add to this, I was also feeling more tired – which seemed to exacerbate the desire to even do any exercise in the first place, even if I did have time!
I was recently offered the opportunity to join a 4 week online exercise program offered by Danielle Pirera (Re-Connect Exercise), and even though I’ve enjoyed attending these classes in the past, my first response was “I haven’t got time!” There was no pressure to commit either way, however I was presented with the possibility that the exercise classes would actually be an opportunity to support me with everything else I was doing. I could feel that deep down this was absolutely true and that neglecting my exercise rhythm was neither feeling right nor supporting me in my day, so it became an easy choice to join the online program and make a specific commitment to completing one 45 min exercise group class each week.
What I have found most supportive is that the exercise program is presented in a way that encourages connection with my body – feeling how I want to exercise on each particular day – which I’ve found varies from week to week.
The exercise program has not been about doing the exercises a certain way, at a certain pace or level of intensity or how many reps or even doing the exercise the same way as Danielle, the presenter. In fact I’ve felt encouraged to simply feel my body moving, and to feel what’s right in every exercise. Led by example, the focus has not been on the technique of the exercise, but simply staying connected to my body and the quality of the movements.
In this, I’m learning more and more that exercise is not about what I do or how many or for how long, but ‘how’ I do it. And the other thing I’m learning is to not make my exercise routine so serious (!) …. to keep it light and playful.
With each exercise group I’ve felt how important it is to do what feels right for me in that particular session. By being encouraged to focus on this and committing to the exercise group every week, I’ve also found that my exercise rhythm outside of the classes is much more accessible and realistic. For example, if I had felt pressured or an expectation that I had to do ½ hour’s exercise every day, I would probably consider skipping exercise altogether! However for me, committing to 10-15 minutes, 2 times a week is something that is manageable and a great place for me to start.
This has also helped me realise that it’s the commitment and connection to myself that’s important as the foundation for exercise, not necessarily the amount of time spent.
I have found these exercise groups provide a true inspiration of a connected way of exercising, supported by the fact that they are taught by example. For example, it’s not uncommon for Danielle to express that her body feels a bit stiff and sore on that particular day and that she is going to move a little slower or not stretch so high, while at the same time providing support and suggestions for others to move faster or make their movements larger if that’s what they feel in their body.
In moments like these, I am being offered the opportunity and inspiration to honour my own body in exactly the same way, whether it’s to take the exercise more gently or increase to an intensity I feel is right for me. Exercising this way is a totally different way of exercising than I have ever experienced before. To have a fitness trainer teach and present this way – in a way that honours her own body – is not only unheard of, but is deeply inspiring as a true way to exercise.
I am still establishing the depth of the connection with my body, but am now starting to feel more of a quality and presence in my exercise routine and exercise rhythm.
With each exercise class I am learning how important it is to honour what I feel in my body, and not to exercise according to a set structure, technique or time frame or with an outcome of achieving a set result.
As I commit to my exercise rhythm I am experiencing more and more how this supports me in all of the other things I need to do in a day. I have more energy and am feeling less tired, supported by my exercise routine that is teaching me to connect to my body and be more present with Me.
By Angela Perin, aged 48, Brisbane
Great article- I’m off for a walk
For 10 years now I have been doing Daniels exercises every day… They have become a part of me… I had become a part of me and I am incredibly grateful… I have no idea if I would even be able to walk now if it was not for this ongoing reconnection with myself
Connection is a completely different way to look at exercise. No other exercise class or gym instructor or personal trainer I’ve had has ever made it about connection to the body. It’s always been about pushing the body to make it be what you want it to be. And, what that want is, is usually a picture or image about what health and fitness should look like. But is that really the goal for the body?
I have been finding that more that I commit to exercise, and gentle exercise, the more I deepen my relationship with my body, I have a deeper whole body intelligence. I do not force it, push it, but invite it and work with it and this brings a deeper relationship that supports the whole of my life.
Ah Angela I can absolutely relate. It’s a vicious cycle we can get into, we stop what supports us in life and then feel worse, and so like quicksand it can feel like the only way forward is to give up more. If we see our exercise as just a check-in to have fun, to experiment with our body, it takes away the ideas that you need to ‘get somewhere’. This leaves us free to play and have fun and enjoy moving, stretching, pulling and lifting. I’m off to the gym right now so what a great blog to read. Thank you.
I am realising too that it is the quality that I bring to everything I do that counts.
understanding and experiencing the importance of rhythm and ritual in our lives is deeply healing and can profoundly change and enhance our lives
Great to read this today as my exercise programme has fallen away and I am also more tired these days. You have reminded me that gentle exercise can be very nurturing to the body and actually revitalise it. Well worth bringing back especially at christmas where there is a huge consciousness of over indulgence and checking out.
Angela I totally agree, it never worked for me trying to be too dictatorial about setting aside time for training, because for me if that time past and I didn’t manage to make the exact time I thought I would, by trying to fit it in later it become a half-hearted effort. I totally get what you mean by connecting to your body, as it’s not about how much you do, it is about how your body feels.
“In this, I’m learning more and more that exercise is not about what I do or how many or for how long, but ‘how’ I do it” This is huge Angela and completely turns everything we know about exercise on its head.
“I noticed that the busier I was, the more I was neglecting my exercise rhythm and routine…” This is the same for me. Time to resurrect my daily playful exercising….. And stop using busy-ness as an excuse.
Very cool Angela. I’ve recently bought a yearly swim pass at my local pool. There were a few options to go with, either pay per visit (which I felt was way too expensive), get a membership that made financial sense if I went a min of 3 times a week, or buy a 60 pass card, which meant each visit was at quite a reduced rate, and there were 18 months with which I had to use it up in. This last option was definitely the best one for me. In the past I would have gone for the membership and then pushed myself to go a minimum of 3 times a week and then aim for 4 to get my money’s worth – ultimately setting myself up to fail due to the pressure I would have put on myself.
It’s so awesome to get to know yourself and realise that all this pressure we create is our own doing. I feel so much more relaxed about going for a swim now and not making it about something I ‘have’ to do, but rather something that will support me in my day and week.
Whatever exercise we partake in, walking, stretching, or regular exercise the key I am finding is to stay connected to our body and honour what it is lovingly communicating with us all the time. If one day I walk a bit too far, or for too long my body takes a few days to recover from this, while this may seem extreme for many, it is where my body is at and important that I honour this.
There is no doubt that my body appreciates the commitment I bring with a walk each morning, it sets the day as I see so many loving confirmations along the way. Now I also know my body would like to do some weight bearing exercise, but for some reason going to the gym is an obsticle I have put before me, when in truth I could do the 10min twice a week easily. It appears I am avoiding more than the gym which is a game I have used for a long time, as I know the joy I feel in connecting and committing to my body.
My exercise routine has recently slipped for the same reason you describe Angela. I have got caught up in the busyness of my working day and feel there is no time to squeeze in exercise. The fact is I know it supports my body in so many ways and that I actually feel more vital when I make it a part of my routine. I’m not waiting to go to the gym. You have inspired me to do some exercise right here at home this morning.
As a ‘structured exercise’ avoider, whilst knowing how much my body longed for it, I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed Danielles program. This was because of the space she allows for you to establish a deep connection with your body first and from there, an awareness of your body and therefore the freedom to take the exercise in whichever way you feel is right for you at the time. It is never regimented and often very playful which is why I enjoy it.
Danielle Pirera introduced to me a series of exercises that have been the foundation of my morning ritual for many years now… These exercises set me up for the day and I’m deeply grateful that she continues to offer this awareness of reconnecting with the body to the world.
Love this Angela,
I have recently had a baby and felt to stop exercising a month before I had her. She is now 3 months old and my body is itching to exercise once more. So i have been doing gentle exercise each morning and it feels great especially when needing to handle a baby all day. I’ve loved just doing exercise from listening to my body rather than forcing myself to do so.
Thank you Angela for inspiring and prompting me to recommit to a gentle and regular exercise rhythm.
I can absolutely relate to pushing exercising aside when the diary overflows and yet cannot deny the repercussions of such an unloving choice. It is indeed deeply supportive to make the time as part of a consistent rhythm, especially when life gets busy.
You’ve reminded me how much pressure I put on myself when it comes to exercise. Never do I consider that perhaps starting out with 10 mins twice a week could be the beginning of a foundation that I can then build from. I have this idea that exercise means a minimum of 30 mins and a standard time of 60 minutes. No wonder I fail at my own game, because I’m setting a target, some sort of end goal, which then ultimately leads to failure. Perhaps it’s not about an end goal. Perhaps it’s about ongoing support for my body that will never ever end and therefore the pressure to do things a certain way is actually not realistic and or necessary.
Oh dear Angela! The first 2 paragraphs describes EXACTLY how my inconsistency with exercise develops everytime. It’s amazing how one thing leads to another.
Often the hardest thing about exercising is getting started, I find once I commit to it that it tends to flow quite nicely, and having a structure is also important for me as it allows me to follow on from one exercise to the next. I can feel to keep developing the power of exercising is to be constantly building that awareness of how the body is in every movement. And as Angela shares not needing to be doing more of going faster or bigger, but accepting that each day my body may feel differently and need a slightly different approach.
Connection and commitment, and exercise whilst honouring our bodies are wonderful foundations upon which to build our lives.
I am building a consistent exercise program into my rhythm everyday, some days I only have 10 mins or so to exercise or stretch but I have noticed how this commitment supports my body and energy levels.
I only have a few words to say here, first SIGN ME UP and second thank you for taking the time out of your day to share such a detailed account of what this program offers. I feel so inspired to get back on the exercise train, which I always feel to busy to ride.
‘This has also helped me realise that it’s the commitment and connection to myself that’s important as the foundation for exercise, not necessarily the amount of time spent.’ Time – that really traps me. But the thought of committing to 10-15 minutes just a couple of times a week seems so amazingly simple and so easy to build from once I feel it’s time. Rather than being trapped into believing I need to spend 45minutes per day – then I just get overwhelmed and dissapointed when I don’t achieve that goal.
I haven’t even finished reading the article yet because this line is summing up my experience, repeated experience ‘…and the longer the gaps were between exercising. To add to this, I was also feeling more tired – which seemed to exacerbate the desire to even do any exercise in the first place,…’
I have had the same story, it’s just an endless cycle of off again on again.
There has been an obvious lack of commitment to me as I offer all my energy to things happening outside of me, such as work, which as a result often means that I am also being inconsistant at work, because when I lack exercise, I like energy and so up down like a yoyo I go.
Some great exercising tips here that anyone can follow – stay connected to your body and focus on the how of what you’re doing. In other words, the quality of the movement, not the body as machine or automaton, but holding it in respect and exercising with it in partnership.
Danielle doesn’t just tune into your body and help you reconfigure, she tunes into the deeper levels of you that YOU didn’t even know about, helping you to unravel old paradigms of self image and self worth that are there to sabotage all our attempts at reconnecting to our bodies.
Awesome blog Angela. I was drawn to reading this because I have been feeling to exercise more but finding it difficult to commit to regular exercise. This I realise is because I am making this into a bigger deal than it is, similar to you I tend to go into thinking I don’t have the time but by me thinking too much about it I have already wasted so much time. It feels so lovely to exercise when I feel to instead of thinking I should. You’ve inspired me to take a different approach to exercise, thank you Angela.
Angela thank you for the inspiration on exercising , it means different things to different people. For myself gentle stretches and walking most mornings help me with my day! Exercise can be done at anytime of the day by just taking a few minutes to stretch our legs and arm , shoulders and neck.
The body loves movement even though there are times when the need is to go slowly. Everything feel so open and full once I have warmed up with some gentle exercise. Thanks Angela for the gentle nudge to commit my body to quality rather than quantity.
What you share about exercise Angela can easily apply to so much else. It is fascinating to me that there are these things in life we know harm us, but we consistently and regularly do, and there are those things we know help us, which we let go of and drop at the merest upset. It is taken me a while to understand how these approaches play out in my life and hold my hand in both scenarios to stay with what I know is true. Thanks for the inspiration today to keep exercising my choice to connect. This is where I find true strength.
I love your sharing Angela of making exercise light and playful.
I have always approached exercise with a goal, wanting to get to an end result of a smaller bottom, stomach muscles or lean arms, and I would take that goal into each class and use it to drive me through.
I did not see exercise as a regular support but a chore to meet my expectations of how society wanted me to look.
I didn’t want to see how draining this was on my body. Everything was measured and controlled, when in fact this is the last thing my body responds too. I am recently pregnant and mixing up my exercise each day based on how I feel not what boxes I have to tick, and it has changed my relationship with exercise dramatically. Even though I am not controlling or pushing my body, I’ve noticed my body is actually relaxing and opening up. That I am not as tense and that I let go of the idea that if i didn’t push myself then I would somehow get very fat. None of this is true and my body actually responds better to exercise that is felt from the body not the head. Makes sense I know, but for so many years my head tried to block that relationship that has always been there, waiting to blossom.
Reconnection with ourselves in any form is always extremely beneficial, and building a relationship with our body a rhythm of daily gentle exercise is something that nurture us for the rest of our lives.
Thanks Angela for the reminder to take notice of my body and the messages it is sending me each and every time I am exercising. As I exercise these days I have been making a strong commitment to staying as present as possible with my body and to feel what each movement does – is it pulling and straining or does it feel like there is a flow with the way my body naturally wants to move. I find it hard to keep focused as I am used to my mind wanting to run off with a million other unrelated thoughts but it is becoming more consistent over time.
“This has also helped me realise that it’s the commitment and connection to myself that’s important as the foundation for exercise, not necessarily the amount of time spent.” This line is true for me too Angela, as I recently started an exercise program for myself and that is exactly true for me. I am finding that I am listening to my body more and how it feels, rather than just wanting to do repetitions to get it done. The quality that I am in even for just one exercise far outweighs doing the whole series with no presence or true feel of my body.
“This has also helped me realise that it’s the commitment and connection to myself that’s important as the foundation for exercise, not necessarily the amount of time spent.” This has been a real revelation for me in terms of how I approach exercise. Committing to anything provides a truly beautiful foundation for life and that is wonderful to feel. Thank you Angela.
Angela I love how you shared that ” it’s the commitment and connection to myself that’s important as the foundation for exercise, not necessarily the amount of time spent.” This has been the focus on my exercise routine. Making it part of my foundation just like, resting, sleeping and eating is what allows me time to spend quality time with me. Your blog has shown that there is another way to approach exercise that is not driven by looking a certain way or weight loss.