Yesterday I completed my 6th run this year. I’ve been on my yoga mat more regularly and organically and even as I write this, I am on my way home from the yoga studio having taken after teaching. None of these numbers are spectacular or outrageous in accomplishment. But there is a reason that I am especially proud of them because I have had a huge mindset shift these last few months.
It all started with an impromptu movement challenge that I created back in the middle of November. One day I simply decided that I was going to commit to moving my body in some way, 30 minutes a day for 30 days. There was no specific way that I had to move, I could go for a walk, practice yoga, dance, everything was an option. I shared it on Instagram and before I knew it, I had 40 people jumping in on the challenge with me. Every morning I sent out an inspirational email. In it I would include journal prompts and things to consider. Then in a private Facebook group each day I would place an accountability post for each person to comment on when their movement was completed. The sharing and stories that people showed up with was beautiful and inspiring and I watched in awe as so many people re-ignited a joy for moving their bodies.
So here we are 2 months later and I still find myself carrying with me the biggest lesson that I took away from it: “Move because you can, any way that you can”. This mindset has been a big key into changing the way I move and my motivation to do so.
For as long as I can remember, moving my body was a chore, something to check off the “to do” list in order to reach my goal in terms of how I wanted to look. The entire emphasis of movement and exercise was on the “end” result of how it would make me look. I wish I could say that when I found Yoga it changed. And it did a little bit, but I also very vividly remember thinking in the first few years of practicing how great those chaturangas were going to make my arms look.
The worst part is that moving and exercising from this space of motivation was only serving to hurt me. It was fueled by shame and the idea that I needed to be better than I was in that moment. And then, when it didn’t happen or I missed a workout, the guilt would set in and I would punish myself internally. It even got to a point where the movement itself was doing harm. I very clearly remember my senior year in college, waking up before the sun and a full day ahead of me and I would go out for a 6 mile run in the woods. Mind you, I was a theater major so each day was full of physical movement already. It was the year of my showcase in NYC and my goal was to get down to a size 0. I accomplished that mission. I also look back on it and can now see how incredibly unwell I was in my own mind. Movement was actually a weapon that I used to justify my own unhealthy attitude and mindset towards my body and how I looked. The irony too is that even when I got down to that size 0, it’s not like anything magically changed. I still didn’t appreciate my body or find any joy in it. The problem wasn’t my body. The problem was my mind.
Yesterday after I finished my run, I kept asking myself what feels so different now. That’s when I realized that I am simply moving when it feels good to move, however it feels good to move. I don’t measure my runs, I don’t count the calories I burned. When I roll out my mat now, it’s with the simply intention to move with presence. However that comes out physically doesn’t matter, whether I do 50 chaturangas or none at all.
I also take deep stock in the fact that I CAN move my body in the most literal sense. Currently my grandma is transitioning from life to death She spends her days in total stillness unable to rise from her bed. This past week, a professional athlete died. These are people who no longer can do the things that I am currently able to do. One day, I won’t be able to do it either. Not to mention all of the things my body HAS done like grow, birth and nourish a human being or how it simply walks me through each day, breathing breath and pumping blood effortlessly, without my having to think about it.
I move now because I can and I do what I can with my movement. I let it be enough because I am enough. I do not need to look any differently or “fix” myself physically because there is nothing wrong to begin with. And the irony is this, I am now moving more than I have in years past. I am finding joy in the effort I put in and total peace and acceptance when it’s time to rest. My heart knows it is an honor to live in this physical being and my mind finally agrees.
I challenge anyone who is moving from shame and guilt to try and shift you vision and mindset. Simply go out and move because you can, however you can with no agenda in mind. Plug into the freedom that comes from “I am enough” instead of the prison of “I need to be bettter/different than I am”. One day you won’t have this body or it won’t be able to move the way it can today and so can you create joy in the simple fact that you can. And as a BONUS: As you venture into this new mindset and feel inspired to share what movement comes out it, tag me on Facebook or Instagram and use the hastag: #MoveBecuaseICan
I have also started an IGTV channel where I share my own #MoveBecauseICan moments so follow along!
Let's shift the old societal mindset that movement has to always be leading to some better version of ourselves. Let's BE enough, exactly as we are so that as everything moves forward and onward, what we CAN do is already enough.
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.