This piece was originally posted on Elisa's blog, but she gave me her permission to repost it's amazingness here.
"Oh you teach yoga?! Yeah I’ve done it, but I haven’t gone in a long time. I know it's so bAAAAAaadd. Even though I love how I feel after class.”
I hear something like this a lot as a yoga teacher when I tell people what I do. People feel like I’m going to judge them for not coming to a yoga class. That I will karmically curse them, or something. Guess what…I won’t! It’s OK if you haven’t attended a yoga class in a while. I’m not a yoga witch that will curse you, and your children’s children, and your children’s children for not taking a yoga class. ;)
But I understand. I feel similarly towards other forms of movement and exercise, such as lifting weights or HIIT training. We feel guilty that we’re not doing what we’re “supposed” to do. For me, I feel like I’m “supposed” to “workout.” Even that word “workout” is now a trigger for me to go to my restrictive and obsessive place in orthorexia land. I feel guilty. Perhaps we feel that “should be” guilt because we don’t feel like we’re a part of the pack? Or not investing in a community that we once did? There are many reasons, but the end result usually comes in the form of guilt in which we need to defend ourselves from possible judgement. However, oftentimes we defend ourselves by defacing ourselves.
The example quote above exemplifies how we place moral power, guilt, and shame into our actions to placate another’s possible judgement. We acknowledge and call out how “bad” we are for not doing something that we “should” do. Furthermore, we do this usually without any awareness of what power we’re giving away by demoralizing and critiquing ourselves. As a collective, it’s normal.
In terms of exercise and movement, I think sometimes we get caught up and think that I will love this form of movement for the rest of my exercising career. It sounds silly, but I think it’s true. A primal part of ourselves loves routine and finds safety within that framework. So it makes sense that we don’t want to let that go when we “fall out of love” with that routine. When it no longer serves our body, or serves our spirit.
There is a season for everything. But why can’t we apply that to our movement and exercise? Maybe last fall, you felt empowered and joyful from HIIT training, but now it exhausts you physically and emotionally. Perhaps it doesn’t make you feel joyful anymore and you want a break. But that fear and guilt in the back of your head prompts you to not try something different and stick to the routine.
Well friend, acknowledge that fear is there to primally protect you from change, but take the steps that will serve your new season of life. What makes you feel EMBODIED, joyful, happy, empowered? Swimming? Belly dance? Pole dancing? Weight training? Tennis? Running? Karate? Yoga?
It takes courage to step outside our routine and face the fear judgment. But honestly, no one really cares except ourselves!
"YOU DO YOU BOO!"
Do what makes you happy TODAY, in this season. Remember and recognize that you can always come back to something you previously loved to do and it will be there. We shift and change every day. Be ok with that, and honor that today.
So how will you choose to move today that honors the season of life you’re in now?
Elisa Jordan is a certified Eating Psychology Coach, Yoga Instructor, recovering perfectionist, and writer of everything at www.wellnesswarriorprincess.
PS. If you think it's time to give yoga another go (guilt free!) head on over to my latest program Yoga for Healing and get started today. I'm not a yoga witch either! Even as an instructor I have struggled with having my practice morph, shift and wane. I get it, but let's do this together! - Tera