To look or to feel

Whenever I go on facebook, instagram, twitter or any other form of social media I see  conflicting messages such as 'real women have curves' VS  'best exercises for a flat belly' etc. To say these messages are confusing is an understatement! There is no doubt that fitness has become fashionable, and this is a great thing; it’s far better than it being cool to slob around doing nothing. However, the backlash of ‘beach ready’ photos is as un-nerving as the multitude of blog posts on how to get the ‘perfect beach body’.

It's got me thinking... why do I practice yoga and work out? Why do I eat healthy, clean food and take care of my body? What is it about the things I do that I enjoy? The more I focus on these things, the more I feel like I am looking after my mind and my body for me, not because it's the 'in thing'!

As we live in a voyeuristic world, the emphasis on how ‘healthy’ looks is more and more apparent. And so I remind myself… I do yoga because it makes me feel calm. I do crossfit because it makes me feel strong (and when I moved to a new part of the country the prospect of a ‘community’ made me feel safe), I surf because it makes me feel alive, I run because it makes me feel free. I eat clean healthy food because the thought of putting rubbish in my body just doesn’t make sense to me. The body I have is a result of all the emotions that I am lucky enough to feel due to my actions, and these are what I enjoy. I’m still working out how to capture all of this in a witty image that will grab people’s attention, because it's not about how it looks, at least not for me.

I spend a lot of my time delivering yoga and fitness sessions to young people, many of whom have no interest in sport, low self esteem and a multitude of stresses placed on them either through home or school life. I try my hardest to remind them of the way they feel after a class. The focus may not be on their sporting achievement but on the fact that they have participated, enjoyed themselves and maybe done something they didn’t think they could do.  Developing a connection with these intrinsic motivators in my opinion is the only way that we, as a society, will grow to be healthy, fit, strong, happy and resilient.