Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I don’t exercise!

I don’t exercise!
Claire Aslangul - Wednesday, March 27, 2013

If you have been reading the blog for a while, you will notice that both Myra and myself do some form of regular "activeness". Myra has her dancing, predominantly Kundalini and I have my obstacle racing. Now these 2 activities might sound worlds apart when it comes to ways of moving your body, but in actuality they have a lot in common. One common component is, neither of us exercise.

You read that right, I go out, run long distances, tackle obstacles, climb mountains but never do a single minute of exercise. In the past I have done exercise, I have swum, ridden and run triathlons in my lunch break instead of eating, I have risen at 4am to stomp the pavement for a few hours before work, I have pushed myself through Bikram classes with tears streaming down my face. But not any more. Now I just don't exercise.

Instead, I now move and play. For the last 10 months my mantra has been; "If I am not smiling I am doing it wrong." I have totally changed my goal posts and in doing so, I have changed the way I feel about my body, her strong points, her not so strong points. Sometimes I set out to do a long run, but get distracted and end up doing pull ups and a short run, sometimes the opposite, sometimes I just walk in the rain listening to music, sometimes the kids and I set up a circuit and look like idiots in the local park (Bear crawls down hill can be hilarious). But whatever I am doing, I am smiling. I choose to feel into my body and enjoy the movement.

Myra with her dancing is very much the same, it is about moving with joy and pleasure. It is about feeling the music, reconnecting with your body and finding passion in the dance. Movement is life, it is joy, it is fun, it is playtime.
Dance is also a very primal way to move. Across every culture, dance has been a way to tell stories, to communicate emotions, to bond with family and tribe and to reconnect with ones own body. Dancing is a true expression of life. It is the creative, right brain and feminine side of primal movement.

Obstacle racing is also incredibly primal. It is an embodiment of the hunt. Run, jump, crawl, climb, swing, hike, swim, throw, dodge, carry. It is a sport of camaraderie, it is about working together to get everyone through. Out on the course you will see complete strangers chatting, encouraging, lifting each other up. It is the left brain, masculine and grunt of primal movement.

Both obstacle racing and dancing release lots of great hormones, like oxytocin, your hormone of love, trust, bonding and altruism. Dopamine, a feel good, excitement and happy hormone. Beta Endorphin, another feel good, painkilling and mild "high" hormone. And Prolactin which is an antidepressant among other things. But these aren't the only 2 activities that do that, find what sort of movement makes your body smile. I urge you to quit exercise and take up some sort of playful movement.

I must go, I am off to catch up with a friend to climb a rope into a tree...

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