I’m taking a two-week gym sabbatical to study the art of yin-living.
My health and fitness history has been a rollercoaster. Growing up I was never more than a size 2, and I had some serious body dysmorphia (and if I’m being honest, I still do – but it’s not nearly what it used to be). It led me to take some pretty crazy actions towards what I thought was a “perfect body”. I think it started in middle school. I was never officially "diagnosed" with it, but after learning the meaning several years ago I immediately resonated with it. Body dysmorphia is
A mental illness wherein the affected person is exclusively concerned with body image, manifested as excessive concern about and preoccupation with the perceived defect of their physical features. The person complains of a defect in either one feature or several features of their body; or vaguely complains about their general appearance.”
You can read more about it here . That’s just a small slice of my body image story pie, which perhaps I’ll share more fully with you in the future!
But for now, let’s just say that I’ve been pushing myself physically and mentally for quite some time. With websites like Tone It Up and BodyRock, working in the fitness industry, and going to school for nutrition, I pushed myself to keep going-going-going until I looked like Zuzana or Katrina. Well, that hasn’t really happened. I’ve made some great achievements and I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come. However, as I take closer stock of my emotions and self-perception lately, I think I could use a time out on this butt-kicking stuff.
:: I can already sense that by day one I’ll want to wrap myself up in TRX bands and say this was a mistake.
My plan of passive, non-attack pretty much comes down to yoga. I live in a city where you blink and there’s a new studio you’ve never noticed down the street (plus, introduction packages are usually really cheap). Whenever I leave yoga I feel stable in all ways. The meals I eat and choices I make after class are very sattvic (an Ayurvedic term used to describe foods that are nourishing, light, and balancing). I’m running a 5K next month, so I’ll probably be running on some days as well, but only when I really feel I have the energy and willingness to do so. If I run, it will be for the sheer pleasure of enjoying the scenery. Running has a similar effect on me as yoga. Also, I’m afraid if I don’t run right now I’ll miss the sunshine currently over Vancouver.
You’ll be able to find me at yin, restorative, and anusara classes. Maybe I’ll throw in some hot classes, maybe not. I may come out of this ready and raring to get back on the gym floor, but even if I don’t, my intention is to honour my body and give it some rest. The message of my yoga class yesterday was that at the core of yoga, we practice these asanas (postures) to remember that we already have bliss and self-realization inside of us. It may take longer than two weeks for me to remember this, but I’m willing to wait and find out.
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