The key ingredient to the body you want
This week I really wanted to write a blog about cardio and it’s benefits.
However, as some of you may know through my social media channels, I have been in Sydney, in and out of hospitals all week. My step-dad has a motoneuron disease and has been extremely ill in palliative care. I’ve witnessed some pretty confronting scenes and the contrast of seeing a very ill body has actually made me want to share something more important than cardio.
Wait a second, before you roll your eyes at the screen.
I’m not going to get all earnest and gooey on you, I simply want to remind you of the importance of LOVE in the role of fitness, and health.
But first, what motivates you to train?
Is it that summer is around the corner? That you’ll be half naked in a bikini, representing the lifestyle habits and choices you’ve made over the last few months? Is it because you base a teeny bit (or maybe even more) of your self worth on the shape of your thighs or the definition of your abs?
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with using aesthetics as a motivating factor, however, if it’s the only reason you’re training - then where is the LOVE? (go on, sing it - I did).
In my opinion, training works most effectively and sustainably when it comes from a place of LOVE, of PASSION.
Don’t you remember your first love? Remember how good it felt? How eager you were to see her or him? You’d drop everything to be by their side, to turn up, show up and tune in to whatever that person was doing or needing (can you tell I’m Cancerian yet?).
It’s never a chore to see the one you love until, that is, your love runs dry.
Has that possibly happened to you and your body?
Are you feeling as though you ‘have-to’ go to the gym? Or that you had ‘better-not' eat that, even though you really want to?
Well, perhaps more than drinking skinny pooh tea or gluten free juice detoxes you actually just need to fall back in love with your body (and maybe even just yourself).
Here are my top 3 tips to rekindle the romance;
1. Spend some time in Nature: but here’s the key - you have to do it by yourself. No phone. No music. Just you and raw nature. Why? Because it will suddenly put you back in touch with the amazing senses your body has. Your ability to hear, see, taste, touch and smell. Even if one of these abilities is lacking a little, don’t worry. In Buddhist and Yogic philosophies they believe that you can reach enlightenment through simply meditating on just ONE of the senses. When nature begins to infiltrate your senses, you suddenly realise how wonderful life really is, and not just life, but your body for helping you to experience the richness of the nature surrounding you. It’s a practice of gratitude, not just in the mind but in every 'sense'.
2. Dance: not just any dance, I’m referring to free form movement. Dancing the way you wanna, liberated dancing. You don’t have to do it in public, you just have to do it, and you have to do it without drugs and alcohol (I mean this wouldn’t really be a very health oriented blog if I was encouraging that sort of thing, now would it?).
Scientists have actually researched to discover that beat perception is innate (the study is pretty cool actually) - to myself and Shiva Rea (as discussed in her incredible Burning Man TED talk) this innate awareness of beat is one of the very reasons that it is so important (and maybe even imperative) that we shake and move what our mumma gave us, freely.
I personally believe that Dance or free form dance is a joyous way to connect to celebratory vibes within the body. We are talking about love here, and I don’t know about you but I’ve seen a few romances begin on the dance floor.
3. Meditate on Love: This meditation actually comes from Thich Naht Hanh (a Buddhist Master)
Reading it alone can be enough to bring about a sense of peacefulness to any negative fires within your mind or heart - but what I have found helpful on myself and my clients is actually recording this on my phone, and playing it back during the meditation - from there it becomes a guided meditation. *If you don’t like the sound of your voice, then, well, get over it, this is a blog about loving yourself, so start with learning to love your own vocal chords.
“Until we are able to love and take care of ourselves, we cannot be of much help to others.”
May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.
May he/she be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May he/she be safe and free from injury.
May he/she be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.
May we be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May we be safe and free from injury.
May we be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.
The first verse is in reference to yourself, the second verse can be said twice, as you would actually have in mind someone you love first, and then for the second round, visualise someone you ‘hate’ or ‘dislike’. The third verse is about including all of you together.
Cultivating love is also about forgiveness, and although you might not think that forgiving your ex will help you become more fit, the release of resistance towards that person or situation will, in time, support your body and your life. Be it through a simple reduction in cortisol, or the vanishing of a need to emotionally eat - letting go of anger and resentment, while cultivating absolution will make you a healthier human.
To finish - here are some of my favourite quotes about love. Apply them not to the love you have of others, but instead, love of yourself. See how it feels (it feels damn good when you get it right - better than hot cinnamon donuts or warm baths or dare I say it, a morning coffee).
"All, everything that I understand, I only understand because I love."
“If I know what love is, it is because of you."
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Lots of love