Why I have to move
Updated: Jan 14, 2020
I remember the first time I was really aware of my body. I was in 6th grade and joined the track team. Having participated more in music lessons up to that point in my life, I remember being completely out of my comfort zone as the coach demanded more and more laps of us. I felt so uncoordinated and defeated, my legs burning and my breath wheezing.
After a few weeks, my body adapted, and I was able to begin learning how to work with breathing, pacing, turn over rates, and other tools that were helpful on the track. I began to feel empowered by the connection between my body and brain.
As I near 40, I’m struck by the evolution of movement in my life. How different types of movement came during different chapters. How each fed my growth in such perfect ways.
In middle school and high school, I learned the ropes of my body and social life through sports—swimming, soccer, track and field.
In my mid-twenties, I skied obsessively — counting the hours until I could get my boots in snow again.
After that, came 8 years of deep devotion to CrossFit.
Finally, yoga came stealthily into the picture.
Each chapter gave me exactly what I needed to evolve. I always fought the transition, believing I would never find something as fun as skiing. That I wouldn’t be able to do life without CrossFit. That my body wouldn’t be healthy if I didn’t practice yoga.
Each transition was due to a block that seemed outside of my control. An injury or shift in physical capacity. I saw it as an error. Something that shouldn’t be. Something that was wrong. Looking back now, I see how beautifully these transitions served me.
Skiing was my bliss. When I was surviving my first years of teaching and completing my masters degree, it was the part of my week when I could shed all the heaviness and responsibility — empty my mind and focus on speed, dodging trees and flying off jumps. I laughed and pushed my edges and drank beer. It was the ultimate release during a time of intensity and stress.
When I tore my MCL and was out for a season, I was devastated. What could I possibly find that would make life as worth living as skiing? The answer was CrossFit. By fate (or destiny), I met others who pulled me into the community just as it was forming. I found my people and my adult playground. I learned from incredible teachers how to push my body. How to build strength and control. How to endure discomfort in the moment because it’s the only way we learn what we are capable of.
I learned how to be a competitor. I revisited how to control my breath and work with it instead of letting it control me. I learned my system; I knew when to hold back and when to push the gas. I learned again and again and again how to be in discomfort.
Again, this was the place I went for release. For escape from the grind of teaching and the stress of heartbreak or crisis. I walked through the doors of the gym and felt all the heaviness slide off my shoulders. I could go to bed and sleep soundly, having sweat out my anxiety and stress onto the floor of the gym.
CrossFit helped me know my power. It’s where I proved to myself (again and again) that I could do the impossible. I learned the truth about what the journey of progress and achievement really looks like through my physical practice and mentorship from my coaches.
Then, my dad died. CrossFit was no longer something my grieving body allowed me to do. It was too intense. My body and being needed gentleness and presence to move me through the oceans of emotion. That’s when yoga became my main way of moving.
Yoga taught me how to “be with” what is. There was no where to go — just be on my mat. With my breath. And my thoughts. And my broken heart. And my tears. It taught me how to be strong in stillness and soft in movement.
I learned a new kind of power in my body — the power of being fully present to it and deeply accepting of it. I deepened my breath practice. I learned how to be an observer of myself. To be more neutral and loving. I discovered new ways to heal by not resisting, but instead leaning in.
Yoga taught me how to be still with myself. To leave all the noise and distraction behind on purpose. To learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable in a new way.
Yoga taught me how to fiercely have my own back. To love myself in each and every moment, even when especially when I’m a mess. To see the gift of the mess, when I can love myself to the other side of it.
Movement is essential for humans. It’s how we increase mind-body connection. It’s how we tune in to our intuition. It’s how we create space for what’s coming next.
For me, movement is when my best ideas come… It opens channels for creativity to flow — allowing insights to bubble up and universal intelligence to download.
So when I don’t feel like moving (cuz it always happens) this is what I tell myself…
Move, dear one… This is what your body’s made for It’s when your wisdom gets to be loud. Honor your health, your mission, your soul And move in the way that feels delightful today.