Sport used to judge my strength.
Also, sport used to be a mildly insatisfactory experience, even if I would never admit it.
In my childhood, my most sportive exercice was my acrobative position in the stairs, when reading a book. Stairs aren’t the most confortable place to read, but as child, I cherished it: alternatively feet up the ramp and back on the step, belly on the slope and knees on the floor, back on the wall and thighs against my belly…
Looking back, I misunderstand why it took me so long to discover yoga.
In cegep, I wouldn’t even dare to look at the yoga class schedule. Someone told me about a focus on inspirations and exhalation in that class. I couldn’t be for me! I was taking aerobics classes, and swimming classes too. I was a cardio girl! I wasn’t a weak person who pretend to do sport while she’s just relaxing, being almost immobile… I surely loved the exhaustion feeling after a good work-out… I should and would aim performance anytime. I read, I understood, I accepted the facts: exercising is good and necessary!
Then, I would count the laps I swim in the pool – and I wouldn’t stop before I reached some out-of-nowhere-round-number. I also would be highly distracted by other swimmers, trying to get motivated when others passed me (because, actually, I just felt they probably enjoyed proving their superior performance). I read forums on motivating music for running, with a special interest for those with trigger of a high BPM. Then, out of home for jogging, I was realizing, again, that I was running too fast, too soon. A chest pain was usual, and had to be endured, as it was, to me, the right signal of a serious workout.
The calendars for sport, the motivational quotes continued to appear and disappear on my walls.
Because my sister said it was SO trendy, I tried Pilates or well, Pilates-yoga, as it was the only affordable class I found.
I enjoyed it.
Therefore, I felt strangely somehow betrayed when the teacher candidly admitted that the Pilates side was only to lure us, beginners, into yoga. (Hey you, cheater!)
But a tenacious memory of enjoyment led me to suscribe to a (cheap again) yoga class two years later, then another, and a friend lending me a yoga DVD, and myself founding one another in a thrift shop.
At the end, from dreading the downward-facing dog to enjoying it as much as the other poses, from bindly following instructions from a teacher to composing my own session, I was hooked up.
Yoga was like this guy who was there from the start, but that I refused to date because I was always interested by strong, cold and demanding boys for whom I was never enough,
but with whom I was staying because I believed their company would motivate me to become better. Yoga waited while suggesting me: «There’s no hurry. When you’ll be ready, I’ll surely be around. I already love what you are. We’ll meet later, and there will surely be a moment when we’ll be both available.»
It waited patiently while living its own life, just keeping its door open, knowing I would finally learn about myself with time.
I especially love two lines of my yoga DVD: «You’re exactly where you should be» and «Be gentle with your back» when stretching backwards. In a recent pilates class, I realised I wasn’t feeling guilty or annoyed by my fatigue in abdominal muscles. My body wasn’t saying «you’re a loser», but «love me, love you».
I love yoga because it never says I’m weak. It sees me where I am, not at the starting point of a far away and unconcrete state.
As for feminism, yoga is a a tool to appreciate what I am now, instead of saying «You may love you when you’ll be perfect. I may love you when you’ll convince me that you’re valuable enough to get my attention.»
It opens a door on my inner strength, that does not have to be developped but released by taking the time and bend a little more with full attention.
I still practice swimming, but my attitude has changed a lot, and my swimming did too. I change speed lanes when I’m tired. When I’m alone in a lane, I enjoy the pleasure of swimming with closed eyes, trusting my natural compass to keep the direction and recognizing the deeply-ingrained swimming movements of my arms, my legs and my trunk. I also run, but I forbidden myself to think about others when I adjust my speed. I take breaks and refuse to grow guilt.
I’ll never be an athlete, but I now enjoy getting my body in movement, and that is just fine with me.
Is there a sport which made a difference in your self-appreciation?
Credits : Photography, stylism & make-up by Pamela Sobczak