I care about a lot of things. But I do NOT care what you look like. Not one bit.
When you walk through the doors of my physical (or virtual) studio, I will look at a lot of things. But not your appearance. I could not possibly care less what the color of your skin is. What you identify as and what your orientation is. Whether you have wrinkles or gray hair. How fashionable your workout gear is. Whether you feel like your legs are ugly or your stomach is bulging. I REALLY DO NOT CARE.
What I DO care about is HOW YOU ARE DOING. Do you feel good in your body? Can you move well and easily? Are you able to do the things you want to do – whether that “something” is running a marathon, playing with your grandkids, setting records at powerlifting meets or playing an instrument without pain? I care about your gender and your weight only in terms of the implications for how you move. And then, I want to know: What can I do to get you there?
What Western consumer culture has fed us about “exercise” makes me angry beyond words. It’s created this belief that “exercise” is some type of punishment for eating too much. That you have to set records and beat your body to the brink of exhaustion. And that your reward for doing all of that is looking like a 25-year-old superstar for the rest of your life and be happy, healthy and successful.
I am calling BS on that.
If you continually beat your body through those massive workouts and starve yourself, you know what’s going to happen? Well, for one thing, you are going to be absolutely MISERABLE. You may thrive on the social rewards of “thinness, but make no mistake – it won’t feel good. There’s a pretty solid chance you’ll wind up totally exhausted. And if you’re unlucky, you may wind up with a malfunctioning thyroid and possibly a painful autoimmune disorder. I could go on and on.
That is NO WAY TO LIVE. Or at least not the way I want to live.
Our bodies are pretty sophisticated organisms. But we’ve learned to ignore their signals. Partially because of a society that tells us to cover up pain (a big signal your body is sending!) by popping a pill instead of figuring out what the root cause is and fixing THAT.
Which is why I’d like to invite you to learn to trust your body again. To show it some love.
Probably 8 out of 10 people who come into my studio start out by apologizing for their body. You don’t do that if you’re really comfortable with your body. (I can relate. I’ve been working on this for years and still have my moments!)
So how do we undo all this damaging conditioning?
The way we start everything – by taking that first step. This will take time, but trust me, it’s worth it. By moving carefully, mindfully, with intention. And – lest that sound woo to you, which I am most emphatically NOT – also, by letting yourself have fun with it.
What kind of movement do you enjoy? What have you enjoyed in the past? Let yourself go there. Take a walk in the park. Go for a swim. Break out a couple of dance moves while making breakfast. Or go take a long trail run or grab that heavy barbell – movement at any level is a good thing, as long as you’re listening to your body and truly enjoy it!
Only this time, DON’T:
- obsess over how many calories you burned
- worry about what you look like
- refrain from wearing shorts or a tank top because of how you think it looks
- notice how it makes you FEEL
- observe how that sensation changes with the movement
- wear that swimsuit
- think about other ways you could move that would feel good to you
That’s your first step. And then go from there.
And if you need some guidance, I would obviously love to see you in a class or session. I can assure you that when you come into my physical/virtual space, there will never be any judging of your physical presence. And that is also the expectation I have of everyone who shares this space. Which makes classes welcoming to everyone. Oh, and yes: I will definitely steer you away from negative self-talk.
Please message or email me with any questions. And definitely reach out if you’d like to have a conversation about this. My (virtual) door is always open!
Much love – and show yourself some kindness!
Eva @ Sunroom Pilates – A brighter place
PS I thought I’d share this little anecdote that you might enjoy. Years ago – I was still translating full-time and teaching yoga on the side -, I was attending a conference and some guy said something about what they were wearing. I responded (somewhat awkwardly) that I hadn’t noticed. And then proceeded to put my foot in my mouth by trying to explain that I don’t actually notice clothing, only the body IN the clothing. Well, THAT got me a weirded-out look! Of course, I didn’t mean that I walk through the world mentally seeing people naked! Yikes! That would be seriously creepy!! Instead, when I perceive people, I instinctively look at the quality of their movement and their posture. And immediately start to have ideas of how to help them improve that. (I’ve since learned