Exercise, Ego and Encouragement

I practice yoga.  I remember the first time I discovered that I could close my eyes while experiencing the poses.


This was so new to me.  Always having been in dance or aerobics classes with mirrors….push, push, pushing me to jump higher, be more like that person next to me, comparing and contrasting.  While this worked for me when I was younger, I found that after having children and the full life I was leading, I needed a quieter, gentler approach to exercise.

When Pam (my yoga instructor when I first began taking yoga classes) said listen to your body, close your eyes…this is YOUR practice” I was taken aback.  This was a new way of thinking for me….and I was so happy to hear these words!

So I closed my eyes, found my balance, practiced the poses and breathed into my muscles…thanking them for getting me through another beautiful day.

I continue to practice yoga on my own thinking of Pam’s words…hearing her voice in my head.  I needed this and began my yoga practice at just the right time…with just the right teacher.

Then, last year I decided I was ready to get back to my roots of dance and challenge myself more aerobically.

I found Jazzercise.

Yes, there is the push and encouragement to jump higher and  move a bit faster.  (My ego jumped at this…I pushed a bit to impress, trying to be my old self and my body called out  “Whoa!  Slow down, sister!”).

But Jen, my instructor, reminds us at each session, to go at our own pace.  Low impact is encouraged and I listen.  I jump only as high as my body will allow.  I focus internally…I listen.  I remind myself that this is MY practice!  And I am still rising to the challenge of a good workout for me.  And the music is fantastic…and I am HAPPY!

I know I need to honor my body.  I know that it is OK to be doing something a bit different then the younger dancers in the group.  I can move, enjoy the music, dance!  and still feel like the way I am moving is just right for me.  (OK,  so no closing of the eyes in this class!)

So what is my point?  It is the teacher, the need to follow the pace of my own body, the joy for movement….and the letting go of the ego that creates a wonderful experience.  I see when my ego kicks in.  I smile at her, and thank her for her enthusiasm, but my body and spirit need to be honored.  The joy is immense.

I am enough.

And thanks to wonderful teachers like Pam and Jen, I am validated and honored for being myself.

Susan Loughrin is an Arts Consultant and Creativity Coach.  She helps others see the joy and creativity in their every day lives.  Her monthly e-zine, Inner~Creative~Voice Newsletter,  brings inspiration through creativity ideas and activities that can be implemented every day. If you are ready to learn how to bring creativity and wonder into your daily life, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://eepurl.com/C8RH

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