In 1776 our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence. They were tired of someone who didn’t know their circumstances, telling them what to do and think.
On January 1, 2013 I signed a declaration of independence of my own.
For months, my body had implored me. Please, cried the little voice in my head, do something for sustainable health.
Fat chance, Body, I’d said. I’m the head that wears the crown. I have no time for gyms and no patience for zumba.
My body rebelled in time for the holidays. No fireworks, just guerilla warfare. Little battles against me were easy to disregard at first. I ignored the exhaustion, the lines on my face, and kept going, powering through to conquer my tiny corner of the world on little sleep and less exercise. After all, isn’t putting everyone else’s needs first part of the deal when you’re a mom?
My answer waylaid me with a full-blown attack of yuckiness. I’d like to have crawled in bed for a month, but the holidays were upon us. I was in full retreat.
I promised my body to work with it rather than against it. I prefer moderation than deprivation when it comes to food. I prefer pleasure to pain when it comes to exercise. My husband is a beast on the bicycle and never lets a baked good pass his lips. My friends have regular exercise schedules and know a jillion ways to prepare a veggie. I declared my independence from giving a damn about their choices and their thoughts about mine. I applaud the healthy lifestyles, but I can’t compare. Our struggles are not the same.
Making a healthier life to enjoy was going to be achieved my way.
So, on January 1, with no chance of defeat, I declared my independence from this world filled with experts and listened to my body. I set the big ol’ achievable goal for 2013: Work out at least once a month.
ONCE A MONTH?!
Yeah, that’s right.
That’s more than previous months. The first time I went to yoga and lunged into a warrior pose, I won a battle.
And you know what is liberating about listening to my body and living by my own code? I surpassed my own expectations. Just as our great nation has grown from 13 colonies, my healthy living has improved.
At first, I tried practicing yoga once a week. Then I slipped into practicing every single day. Even if my kids are dive-bombing me during downward dog, I’ve found a way to exercise. I’m not running or cycling or cross-training, but I’m doing what makes mehealthier. Yoga makes me think of the food I put into my body and want to choose better. Maybe other things will come later, but for now this is what I do for me.
At the beginning of many sessions, instructor Heather Ezell of Hang Zen reminds us that yoga is not a competition with other people. Yoga conflicts with my naturally competitive nature. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. Yoga makes me focus. I declare my daily independence and strike a warrior pose, ready to live my best life.
Last week, Heather mentioned that yoga is often misconstrued. “It’s not a religion. It’s not about getting a firm tushy.” She smiled. “It’s about kindness: Kindness to yourself and those around you.”
Isn’t that what independence is as well?
Brandi Barnett is our Blogger of the Month.