“… we have to go through the body, we cannot go around it.”– Donna Farhi
Most of my experiments to date have been about removing something from my life. Or denying myself something, as my friend Lisa described my year off of drinking. I may get a chemical and emotional jumpstart from the process of withdrawal. I enjoy forming and breaking habits, like the soda-a-day habit that got me through my twenties.
But lasting change is more likely to come from joy than pain. January: a month of working out gives me a chance to add rather than deny. This is the first experiment (a fact another friend, Kristin, pointed out) I am adding something positive to my life rather than removing something (potentially) negative.
There is a connection between how fast (and how often) our body moves and how the mind feels. I live an active life, but what my body is doing—running and farming—tends to be disconnected from what my mind is doing—worrying, planning, fantasizing, rehashing. Eight days in a row of yoga has put my body and mind in the same place at the same time, if only for an hour.
But so has this blog, in a way. My mind does all of the above worrying, etc., in the form of a draft. I’m constantly writing and rewriting life in my head. By writing about what I’m doing on a keyboard instead of just in my head, I feel union, similar to what I feel in yoga.
And by assigning myself a month of working out, I have to pay attention how I spend my time. Ensuring that I work out tomorrow requires me to start preparing today. Clean clothes, Clif Bars, a free hour of time; it takes a little wrangling to make sure I’ve got all those things.
The extra time, the extra load of laundry, yet another chocolate chip Clif Bar, it’s always worth it. That feeling towards the end of a run, when you turn back towards home or head down your last hill, or when you ease into pigeon pose in a yoga class and you know that the thigh-quivering warriors are behind you and all that remains are twists and corpse pose, or the top of the mountain with a view that you can feel in your chest; you feel all of those moments in your body, as well as your mind. Runner’s high? Endorphins? Bliss? Samadhi? Yes, please.