Today is the first day of fall. Are you ready for the new season? I think that we never really are. As humans, our forte is maintaining things the way they are, not welcoming to change. Yet change is everywhere. It’s easy to feel pumped when the sky is blue and the sun caresses our cheeks. The need to dress up, to boost and beautify comes with gloomier weather and tougher temps.
This fall I will take things one day after another. I will find excitement where I can. I will welcome the calmness of nature and the lessons the turning colors offer me. I will trust that I will be OK – that I will find joy even when all the leaves will be gone.
My Facebook group Happy Place – Fitness Community in English in Quebec City is well on its way. There are 30 members now and we are getting to know each other. I started the group after joining another group earlier in the summer, created by Mary Ann and located in Seattle. I wanted to have something local. A chance to get together from time to time in real life.
The anchor of my group is the workout class that I am teaching on Saturdays. This year it will be a mix of zumba and power yoga. We will be doing half an hour of each. There will also be some other cutting-edge fitness techniques thrown in like Pilates and Barre in the course of the year. I’m excited about sharing my fitness knowhow. I used to teach aerobics and work as a personal trainer at a gym so this is in a way going back to my old love.
Creating a group like this can give the founder and the participants a great boost. You make connections with likeminded people and they can pull you higher. We are all on this journey together. No one has the ultimate answers, nor is everyone the same. We have to figure out what exercise routines and eating habits fit our unique bodies and lifestyles. Learning from other’s experiences can provide precious inspiration.
I recently got asked how I figured out a way to body love. I used to pick on myself. I didn’t like the way I looked. There were favorite body parts, like my abs, that I especially focused on. I was constantly trying to loose weight. I wanted to maintain a weight lower than what was commonly recommended for my height. Then one day came a moment when I did some serious soul-searching. I wrote down my true values. None of them turned around bodily measurements. I also recognized that when I was in contact with others, I never paid attention on their weight. I wanted to see them as they really were, a person with interesting things inside. So, I figured that I needed to apply my core values to my life as well.
I decided to stop the fight between my weight loss wanting mind and the actual needs of my living body. Trying to maintain a lower than normal weight led me to controlled and inflexible behavior. Keeping things where they naturally aren’t supposed to be is hard work. Some people spend their lives fighting with the scale, deciding that they’ll never go over a certain number, come what may. But in the meantime they are limiting how much they really experience this life. There were times when I’d stay at home just because I didn’t want to eat more and thus didn’t have the needed energy to go out and enjoy other’s company. Or maybe I’d go but only be a shadow of myself because I was exhausted. These are rather extreme examples but you get the picture.
I decided to allow myself the amount of energy, nutritious food, that it needed to fully function. Slowly I incorporated all foods back into my life. I had forbidden foods like nuts, chips, pizza or chocolate from myself. I now go by the 80-20 principle. I try to eat 80% clean, just because I know it makes me feel my best, and 20% indulgence. I’ll have that chocolate chip cookie if I want to. I do physical activity every day. I do it because it helps me to feel good in my body and also boosts my mood. I know that I have to be mindful of maintaining my happy spark alive. I also know that I have to be proactive. I take myself out for a walk or do some yoga before I feel too sad.
I have recently focused more on health magazines and social media in comparison to the fashion magazines that I used to read. I still like fashion and read the glossies I subscribe to, but I pay attention on not getting any negative body vibes from them. If my day’s good and I’m feeling great in my skin, then there’s no problem in looking at a young girl with a very thin (and probably photo shopped) frame. But if I’m already feeling self critical so then maybe that day I need to entertain myself with other things.
I continue to look for articles, social media influencers and messages that support my quest for body love. I’ve found a group on Facebook where women support each other’s sports and health goals. That has been a very positive experience. That is why I was inspired to start my own Happy Place fitness community here in Quebec City.
So, what’s the secret to body love and peace within? Deciding to want it more than anything else and then doing all you can to get it. There’s beauty in putting yourself out there and giving encouragement to others. That’s why I wrote this post.
I had flirted with yoga before but it is only this summer that I’ve really delved into it. I took yoga lessons back in Paris which left me dubitative. I craved sports and didn’t find it in that particular practice. But now either I or something else has changed, and I really see the interest in yoga. I still feel that it is a lot like my twenty years of ballet – a discipline based on strengthening and lengthening the muscle all within the same practice – and what is more precious than that.
I enjoy yoga outdoors and with music. I also like the mental side of it. Sometimes the instructor will encourage you to set a certain goal to our practice like finding peace or energy, or even an answer to a question. I like the emphasis on being thankful and also radiating the love you have sparked when finishing your session.
I recently discovered a beautiful girl – inside and out – who teaches yoga lessons online. Here’s a link to Boho Beautiful if you also would like to try working out at home with her. She will take you to do yoga on the beaches of Asia. You find differently focused lessons: core, shoulders, morning wake up, digestion and so on. I say let’s go find peace and power…
It’s been the longest blog break I’ve taken ever during the lifetime of this one since 2007. Things just went that way. We were enjoying ourselves by the ocean and wireless network was unsure. So I took time to live real life and to breathe in the ocean air.
I’m extremely happy to be back though. I am contented to be reconnecting with you. My blog is about sharing joy. It’s about bringing sunshine and positive vibes into this world. I’m thankful that you’re here right now. That you’re interested in reading what I have to say. As the new business/school/activity year is dawning, I’ll be here more enthusiastic than ever to inspire you to feel good be it fashion, self development, traveling or relaxation.
Our first vacation week was spent on Cape Cod in Massachussetts. We camped less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. We took long walks on the beach. I did yoga there. We swam and cuddled and slept there. We took in all the renewing breezes. As my tank top says, I needed “vitamin sea”, and I truly got my dose.
This weekend I wish that you also find “your beach”. Go take some time for yourself. Rejoice in what is beautiful, calming and energizing around you. Get lost in the moment. Be you.
I’ve enjoyed June so much. More than ever before, it feels. I just love every dulcet summer evening breeze of air, every unexpected opportunity to venture out for a long walk and every free moment now that work has once again, summer time thing, slowed down a bit.
I’ve used the time to connect with others, and myself, too. I’ve sought zen moments and longed for mindfulness meditation. I’ve practiced being here and now. Just enjoying the present time without rushing anywhere else forward in thoughts.
Truly appreciating what you have here, now and today takes practice. Of course things could be better, and of course we should strive for better results from ourselves, yet at the same time it is so liberating when you really learn how not to long for anything other than now. Accepting that life goes as it does, and that my job is to adapt to it.
Life becomes an exciting journey when you start living it with a thankful servant’s heart. When you wake up in the morning and think “my input is important so what can I do today to make a difference?” I have my list of things to pray and work on this summer. Do you have one, too?