I have had a handful of students attend my classes and let me know they thought it was “too easy”. At first it hurt my feelings, but then I started to pray and ask God, “Am I not pushing my students hard enough?” After sitting in meditation and listening for a response, I understood a couple of things. Different strokes for different folks, and if those students were patient enough to come back for a second class I would be able to progress them appropriately. During a student’s first class I test 3 main areas of fitness to ensure the material I am giving them isn’t going to injure them.
- Core Strength and Function
- Ability to follow directions and coordination
These are the 3 areas I am looking at when I meet a new student. If a student is lacking in number 1. Core Strength and Function and I give them an advanced exercise on day one, I could seriously injure that student. If the student is lacking in number 2. Flexibility and I ask them to perform a movement that requires a minimum amount of flexibility that they lack, I am potentially setting them up for a torn muscles. Should a student be lacking in area number 3. I run the risk of a student not just hurting themself, but potentially hurting another student in class.
In the name of “giving someone a good workout”, I have asked God this question many times. How do I pick up the intensity of a class and keep it safe? Doing no harm is my number one commitment to my students.
What I learned is I am not just interested in sculpting bodies, I am interested in setting someone up for a lifetime of painfree movement.
I have so many secrets to share with you in the department of painfree, consistent exercise that makes you feel blissful in your body, even orgasmic, but you have to be patient. You have to be consistent. And you have to attune yourself to the subtle energies that fill your body when you open the joints through movement. I understand it’s not for everyone.
But if you want to know how to love your body more deeply, you’re in the right place.
Have you ever watched a professional dancer on stage making the most challenging movements look easy, look like nothing, with a serene expression on her face or even an effortless smile. This takes years of practice, repetition, and dedication. In a daily ballet class a dancer starts with the support of the barre by practicing the smallest most effortless movements over and over to warm up, gain strength, flexibility and coordination. Then gradually adding larger and more challenging movements. As class progresses the support of the barre is no longer needed and the dancer moves to the center of the room now aligned, warmed up, and ready to test her center of balance. By the end of an hour and a half warm up class before rehearsals start the dancer is practicing her largest movements jumping, also known in the exercise field as plyometrics. Jumping requires strength, flexibility, coordination, endurance, alignment, and cardiovascular ability. She practices these skills every day of her life to maintain her advanced level as a performer and athlete.
May I share with you what I hope for my students to possess in order to live a healthy life with painfree function based off of my knowledge of what is required to attain high levels of function and use of the body?
I have one goal for you, finding ease in movement.
Maybe that sounds different from your goals that you have for yourself to have the perfect body, to look how you looked before your baby or in your twenties, or to lose weight. But I promise you it’s better, because it will pave the road to your goals with love. Whether you meet your goals or not, you will be moving, you will be consistent and you will be healthy.
And the door to every other style of movement will open for you.
Achieving balance in your body is the key to preventing injury. Balancing the body front and back. Balancing the body right and left. Balancing the body upper and lower. The root of pain can be traced to imbalances in the body such as if your right side is longer than your left. If you have more rotation in your right hip than your left hip. Or if the front of your body is shorter than the back of your body. A great workout program is designed to create balance in your body which requires education, understanding, and practice.
In a society where we equate more as better, I challenge you to question that belief. Yes your most advanced movements may require 100% effort, or if you are working on building endurance, but to work at 100% all the time would burn you out, not build you up. With a thoughtful warm up, you want to ask yourself, “What is the least amount of effort necessary to perform this movement with balance, control, strength, range of motion, and core stability.” Core stability specifically requires us to put effort in activating the core so our extremities can move freely.
3. Fortitude is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “courage in pain or adversity.”
Fortitude is what is required on the days where your brain is saying, “I don’t want to do this.” Meanwhile your body is ready to go. I find as soon as I get out the door negative voices that try to derail my workouts clear. We could define fortitude in relationship to exercise a couple of different ways such as:
Knowing the difference between good pain and bad pain.
Knowing the level of intensity that will free you from physical pain versus make your injury worse.
Knowing when to push and when to take a break.
The better you know yourself and know your body, you will be able to dialogue with yourself and God and ask, “What am I capable of? What boundaries can I push? And when do I need to replenish?”
For me consistency means working out daily with maybe one day off a week. Ask yourself, “What does consistency mean for me?” How many days a week are you willing to commit to exercise and how are you going to keep track? Writing down your workouts in a planner, or setting a reminder on your phone are great ways to keep track of your goals. Make a date with yourself and keep it. The more often you do something you create a groove in your brain, in your schedule, and muscle memory carries you through making the task easier and easier every time. Create a groove of love in your heart for feeling good in your body, for exercise, for movement, for breath, and for life.
Exercise is an act of love towards yourself. If you are struggling with exercise ask yourself, “why?”. Sadly enough many people feel good expressing love towards other people but struggle to express love towards themselves. Going down the rabbit hole of asking yourself, “how could I love myself more deeply?” is a valuable question in creating healthy habits in your life. Take 5-15 minutes every day for a week to journal to the prompt, “how could I love myself more deeply?” Should exercise arise as a topic I would be so curious to understand the blocks that prevent people from moving daily and how to overcome them.
Choose freedom, choose love, and choose care, but start with yourself. Small acts of loving kindness towards yourself build strength and confidence. That can be as simple as practicing one Warm Up video going outside for a 15 minute walk daily.
I created Warm Up to make exercise easy for people. I created Warm Up to teach people how to stretch, how to activate their core, and how to love movement. Use Warm Up as a way to heal your body, as a way to heal your nervous system, and as a doorway to your heart and soul. When the body is supple the light of the soul flows freely into our physical form, inspiring us with creativity and ideas that put us into motion towards goals that make us happy. Living a sedentary life prevents us from achieving our potential as souls that embody bodies. When you ask God for help, doors fly open. Ask God to help you exercise daily and explore what kind of movement is fun for you. Remember every workout starts with a Warm Up.