I know you feel the same way about health. You love it, but don’t want it to dictate your life. Remember that fear when you would be invited somewhere and your first thought would be is there going to be a vegan option? Or how about that really long work event where your only option was a salad with chickpeas on top, sans dressing? Ew.
I’m happy we have started to find peace with food. But recently for me, I realized I had yet to find the peace in my workouts. You see I was working out about 4-5 times a week. At one point, I was even paying $125 a month for ClassPass. (Thank you for teaching me Pilates, Yoga, Boot Camp, Running, HITT etc., but no thank you.)
When I wrote about my trip this summer, I didn’t mention the part where I didn’t feel good in a bathing suit one bit. I had no guilt eating the delicious food, was fully relaxed at the beach and I loved walking it all off in search of the next monument, but I wasn’t particularly proud of the suit I was in. This was weird to me. Not only had I been working out frequently, but I had also been eating off the body positivity smorgasbord. In fact anytime a friend would be ashamed, I’d be the first one to stay quit it you weirdo.
When I returned from my month on the road, I knew I wanted to approach things differently. I wanted to stop paying for workouts, I wanted to feel better in my skin and I wanted to have more time. What I think was really driving all of this though, was wanting to feel balanced.
I had heard about BBG or Sweat w/ Kayla a little over a year earlier, I thought it was nice in theory, yet, there was a piece of my ayurvedic soul that saw it as too intense. (Read: Ayurveda guidelines for workouts.) In Ayurveda, it’s emphasized to workout until you have a little sweat on your forehead. And with BBG, you have sweat on your forehead within four minutes.
But in September, I decided to change my story when I took the picture that Kayla suggests to keep track of your progress, and immediately noticed an imbalance. As a Pitta-Vata, I could tell I needed to ramp it up and reduce my Kapha. So while the workout wouldn’t necessarily be ayurvedically friendly for a balanced human, as a human with excess Kapha, it was exactly what I needed. I decided to commit to the 12-week program. I’d be open to it and monitor my progress/body. If it were causing harm, I’d re-evaluate. The verdict – very into it.
I’m not going to lie; I dropped the F word a lot. But, as soon as the four-week mark, I could see the excess dosha shed, I had more energy and I was finding a new rhythm. M, W and F I would wake up at 6:30am, do this kriya, then have my coffee and write. From 7:30-8:00am, I would workout. After, I would hop in the shower and be out the door in 20 minutes. While it was a little hectic for the morning, when I got into work, I felt a sense of calmness. On non-resistance days I would sleep in and I would do LISS on my lunch breaks. I suddenly found my evenings open for meeting up with friends or side projects and that most certainly reduced any imbalances the workout was causing.
I was also able to workout on the road or switch it up on busy weeks. When I had my period, I would take the week off (esp. days 1 & 2) and only partake in walks or light activities. I finished the twelve weeks on Christmas Eve, which seemed fitting. And despite telling myself I could be done, that I could try something else or take a week off etc., I kept going. I noticed it made me feel better on the outside and most certainty in the mind. I began to trust my body again.
The best compliment I received was that I looked balanced. And if you know any one thing about Ayurveda, it’s that the goal is to be balanced. So while this workout may seem intense or un-ayurvedic, if it brings you closer to your balance, it’s doing its job.
I do think we have to change the body image story, how we achieve it and what we “give up” to get there. But I think taking stock of your body and mind and what brings them into alignment, is where we have to steer this ship. You’ll see the transformation in the image above, didn’t include a 6-pack. When doing this workout, I still listened to my body in terms of what it wants and umm… let’s be frank, sometimes it insists on chicken fingers. This is Ayurveda Toppings after all. But the more I found balance, the more it asked for all of the greens and maybe one day I will have abs, maybe I won’t.
What I want to say is if you feel good and happy, don’t you dare think there is anything wrong with that, no matter how you get there and what it looks like.