Sunday, 6 September 2009

Body balance

Well, I can still move. It's a start.

I've been thinking of going back to the gym since my last swimming session last year. I have to admit to being more of a splasher than a lap swimmer, and I definitely need a snorkel (not as in get out of the gutter, you're standing on my snorkel) because I prefer to swim underwater. I need to get back into it because I'm a total water baby.

Well, also because I'm detagging pictures at a rate unknown to man because I absolutely HATE myself in them and because I try not to look at my reflection below my cleavage - which I admit to being very fond of and which tends to be the big obstacle to any weight loss programme I consider - I never want to stop being a Bravissimo girl.

Haven't swum yet, plan on that this week, but signed up for a gym class - Body Balance - a mix of tai chi, yoga and Pilates. So this afternoon, Andrew came with me to pick out some tackies, tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt. What a star.

I was being reasonably chirpy - after all, how hard could it be compared to Boxercise and Body Pump, right?

Oh, f*** me, how wrong I was.

The stretches, no problem - for some reason, I've remained fairly flexible and despite my ballet training being all of two years when I was 6 and 7, I still stretch, point my toes and place my arms reasonably well, and could take the harder options on all of those. Balance, more of a problem - must practise standing on one leg more often, that tree position is a bitch. Abs - not too bad. Upper body strength - let's not go there.

What I did find most interesting about the class was the command, "Follow your breath," and the meditation afterwards.

I breathe? What?

That tends to be one thing I forget about - I was reminded of it a month or so ago when I went to hug a friend when I was really upset and thought, "Wow, he's breathing really deeply." Then I realised he was breathing normally. I was holding mine.

Following my breath made all the difference.

I live in my soul first, my head second, and my body is a somewhat distant third. I tend to come back into it when I'm eating fabulous food, holding a newborn, snuggling in a blanket or a huge jumper, touching a lover. But for the most part, it moves me where I need to go.

I - and most people raised in the Western world, I think - have this problem. We forget what our bodies tell us, and not just about our physical health - my solar plexus tells me when a decision is wrong or when I'm being lied to; my heart tells me when it really hurts; I choke up when I grieve.

Following my breathing brings me back to all that and to an awareness of what an AMAZING creation my body really is - as a marvel of engineering and as a house for this particular soul. It reminds me to give thanks for it.

The meditation afterwards was not only an excuse to semi-collapse, but was also a source of great amusement, as I'd just hypnotised a friend earlier and used very similar words in a progressive muscle relaxation. Turnabout is fair play, lol.

Oof, my core muscles are feeling it now, and from the way my legs and shoulders are feeling, I suspect the rest of me will be feeling it tomorrow.

So what to do?

Go back Tuesday evening for more, of course.

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