More and more, I’m learning how important movement is to me.
Twice now in the last year, I’ve even had acting teachers, who’ve hardly known me, tell me that I need to find ways to incorporate movement into my artistry. Somehow, they could see something I’m just now beginning to see.
Ever since I was super, super young, I was always found prancing around in my living room – either dancing or simply running circles around my brothers as they – much more maturely – colored and watched The Brave Little Toaster on our one channel television.
I was at every track and field meet in elementary school and played on my school volleyball and soccer teams up until high school graduation. I also figure skated for over ten years, quite competitively, however it was never the jumps and free skates that I actually enjoyed. It was the ice dancing. The flowing routines of intricate footwork and swooping cascades, with or without a partner. Gah. They were so beautiful. Or it was the artistic solos where no jumps were required but rather an entertaining routine judged on artistic expression. Not surprisingly, however, my greatest passion was always for dance. I danced literally all my life, and even took my professional training through to college. That’s what I wanted to be. A dancer.
Then, somewhere along the road of college graduation meets independent living meets the reality of life not going as planned, I started to lose all of these forms of movement. Even dance.
It got to the point where it had been so long since I had played volleyball – which, I gotta say, I was pretty darn good at – swam, tried a new sport just for fun, or took a dance class, that the thought of doing so just hurt too much. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be nearly as good as I used to be. And that scared my perfectionistic self. But more so, I was terrified of the feelings of sadness, guilt, and regret that would arise when I realized how badly I missed this part of me.
But through this time, I had to find a way to appease this inner energetic need. So, I turned to something more tangible and regimented. Something where I could see improvements; quick results and an immediate sense of accomplishment in a life where I was feeling anything but. Something that would fulfill my desire to release myself through movement, but also something where there would be no vulnerability attached.
I turned to the gym.
Fast forward 5… 7… years, and to this day I still struggle to see other forms of movement as “exercise.” Through the worst of my exercise addiction, I would not feel like I had done enough exercise – worked hard enough, burned enough calories, what have you – unless I had literally been to the weight room and had done my planned set of exercises. Anything else – walks, bikes, swims, yoga, games – were just “extra activities.” Very black and white.
In the last few months, I’ve had so little motivation to go to the gym. If I’m honest with myself, I really haven’t wanted to be inside, strategically lifting weights, and then feel sore and tight. But, I’ve still wanted to move. Oh dear lord my desire to MOVE has been burning a hole through my skin!!!
But because the gym is a) free for me and b) can be worked into my scheduling and ideal timing, it has been very hard to choose other forms of activity instead of it. It still remains a way for me to move…
It just isn’t HOW I want to move.
I’m tired of feeling tight and sore. I don’t want to feel tight!! I want to feel free and limber and energized! I want to find movements that are flowing, not static.
But by damnit that pull of the gym being the only way to “stay healthy” still clings on very strongly. Old thought patterns take a long time to break.
But. As this desire has been growing and growing over these last few months, I’ve been taking the courageous act of trying out other forms of movement, and letting this black and white idea of the gym get weaker and weaker. Things that maybe I did in the past and have been secretly longing – but too scared – to return to. Or maybe something new entirely. Anything that could potentially fill this desire in me to move my body and express myself physically.
Its a big act of trust. To leave something you know behind. That safety bubble you’ve built up over time. And instead, to take the risk in trying something new.
Thanking Meg for the weekly link up!
Last week I…
For the first time in, literally, over ten years. I never really liked swimming, actually. I was always a very good swimmer and did my lessons up until lifeguard status, but it was never my chosen activity. And I hated… HATED… when we had to do laps. Oh god please don’t make me.
But the other week I discovered there is a beautiful – and totally free – community aquatic centre less than 5 minutes away from me. So on a weird day where I was feeling pent up and anxious and really wanted to move, but knew in my heart I did NOT want to be inside a gym, I grabbed my swim suit and entered the pool before I could think my way out of it.
I loved it.
I just kept going! Lap after lap. It felt so good in my body. I was moving, gliding, using up my pent up energy, but in a way that was also calming and rhythmic. And it was cardiovascular so I could feel my heart working happily.
I’m excited to make this a more frequent thing. Why have I not made use of this resource until now!?
I went to two yoga classes.
I’ve been craving yoga so much lately, and in my longing to find some way to move that is not inside a gym, I began searching out yoga class deals online (’cause those individual classes or yogi memberships are tooooo much mula for this one). I ended up finding an unreal deal through Groupon: 10 classes for 20$!
Groupon is amazing. If you are wanting to find new studios or classes – of any kind! – you can always find a spectacular deal. If you’ve never tried it out, I strongly urge you to. Follow this link to get 10$. I hope to look up other types of classes to try out for a first time – like pole dancing!
I find yoga to be mostly beneficial for calming my mind, but it does this through a whole body experience. I’m slowly learning to trust that yoga is “exercise,” too. Even if I may not break a sweat in the same way as a hard core gym session, I know that my body is simply working in a different way and strengthening – while lengthening – my muscles with just as much (if not more) benefit for my health.
Let’s be honest, sometimes my bike commutes are not that fun (after a long shift? please no….) But I have to see that, even though this is a means of simply getting myself somewhere, it is still exercise. Twenty minutes to and from work is definitely moving my body. I did this a number of times this week.
And I went for a walk
Even in a big bad city there are always new places to explore, and surprisingly beautiful paths within a not-too-far distance. Plus, in the summer I definitely don’t want to be trapped inside if I can help it. So finding ways I can move outside are extra winners.
Last week I took off exploring and got a bit lost, but discovered a trail that had just been revamped.
Walking feels good on my hips – which are always tight – and as a whole body movement always makes me feel lighter and energized. It continues to be hard for me to choose a walk and let it be my “physical activity” for the day. But my intuitive desires have had me craving this movement far above a gym workout so much, that when I know I’ve listened to my true cravings – much like with food – I feel perfectly satisfied by the end. That is the huge pay off to being intuitive.
All this to say, as I’ve been trying out new forms of movement, I’ve found myself feeling very excited. I left my swim feeling thrilled about finding a new form of exercise that feels good, fun, and physical. I feel happy with the thought of seeing yoga as a physical practice, not just a mental one. And I love that I can really see how good my body feels after a nice brisk walk.
I’m sad that it’s taken me so long to let myself get back to other forms of movement. I’m sad that I let the gym overcrowd my intuitive self and let it convince me that it was the only way to move. And I still have a long way to go. There are many other things I want to get back to or try. Like dance. And to join a volleyball team once again (god I will be SO awful). It still feels scary to leave something I know, or to return to something I once knew. It’s scary to trust gut and intuition, rather than head and habit. But I can feel myself slowly getting back there.
Because when it comes down to it, I really just want to move.I want to move. Intuitive Exercise and the excitement of finding new forms of movement!… Click To Tweet
Are you someone that needs to move?
What forms of movement leave you feeling really good? What types of movement does your body crave? For me: Any sort of dancing, flowy yoga and brisk walks.
Are you okay with letting other forms of movement still be “exercise”? I’m working on it…