Today started in a typical Wednesday way with a yoga class. I was a little apprehensive about it, because the usual instructor is on maternity leave and a yogi that I had been in classes with was taking over. I knew he was very strong and flexible from observing him in class (yep, when I’m supposed to be paying attention only to me), so I wasn’t sure that I would be able to catch up. I’ve also been a little off lately physically, with a buggered up knee/foot and some extra fatigue. But, I pushed aside my excuses (barely) and headed for class.
I’m not going to tell you that it was my best class ever; it wasn’t. I was pretty stiff and not very agile and finding it not always easy to keep up with the rapid pace and still have any sense of form at all. And yet, right in the middle of class, upside down with my hands on the floor and my feet on the wall (picture a wobbly upside down L), I found myself grinning like some sort of loon, happy as could be about what my body could do – even in the face of what it couldn’t. I wasn’t completing any pose perfectly, and some were far from the goal, but I was there and breathing and trying and it felt good.
Wouldn’t it be great to always be in that place – to just live in the body and enjoy what it can do and be instead of critiquing what it is not? It’s a possible that seems truly wonderful to me. And, having read a recent article that indicated that exercise probably isn’t good for weight loss (and may even cause some gain), perhaps this is part of the true value of finding some sort of physical activity that speaks to you. When we engage in a physical effort that we enjoy – much like children skipping or playing hopscotch – we appreciate our bodies for what they are and can do, instead of depreciating them for what they are not and can’t. In a culture where the female (and to larger and larger degrees, the male) body is primarily viewed from an external stance as an object of viewing pleasure, anything that pulls us out of that framework and pushes us to love our bodies, each unique and wonderful and valuable and accomplished, has to be a good thing.
My body-happy moment is yoga. What is yours?