Do you hate going to the gym? I know lots of people who hate the whole idea of working out at a gym. I used to feel exactly like that, in my 20's. I was unfit, uncomfortable, and nervous. Let's just say that I didn't exercise much back then.
I used to think things like:
What is all this equipment for? How do I use this?
Are people looking at me?
Why should I want to watch other people sweat?
Am I supposed to be doing what everyone else is doing?
Many, many years later, I am a happy member of the Walker Family YMCA in St. Catharines. As a fitness instructor, I'm now comfortable using the amazing variety of equipment and love creating a variable program for myself which changes as I need, each day. Experience, education, practice, and self-confidence has changed it all for me. Now, I drop my son off to the childcare and have a GLORIOUS 1.5 hours to myself! Some days I just rest and meditate in the reflection room. Most days I do a bit of cardio and a bit of strength, with (of course) some Pilates thrown in there. I've been learning to take each day as it comes, and try to find balance in all aspects of my life- physical, emotional, spiritual. One thing that I've discovered is that I actually find a great deal of inspiration from my time at the Y.
Inspiration, you say? FROM GOING TO THE GYM?!?
In life, we look around and we see what we want to see. I could probably look around the Y with my old eyes now, if I wanted to. But I'd rather look around and feel inspired. I almost always feel inspired when I'm on the track on the upper level. I generally spend some time walking and/or running during my workout. This time on the track allows some wonderful space for my brain to engage and I often find this becomes meditative movement for me. Here is what I see now from this meditative mindset:
I see so many different people on that track. With all levels of fitness. In wheelchairs. With canes. Hunched over. Standing tall. With knees taped up. With arms in slings. Old and young. Alone. Friends working together. Moms with their sons. Anyone and everyone, all on the same track.
Every single one keeps on going. They are there. They are trying. They are moving. It is truly amazing and it humbles me. I have aches and pains- and injuries- and they do too, to varying degrees. It's not important to compare these things at all. In fact, I feel that I have completely set aside this comparative mindset. Instead, we are all working with what we have available to us, at the present moment. There is a collective power in this place, with everyone working towards the same goal: self-improvement. I get to join in to this collective when I am on the track. I get to see it all, and feel inspired, and inspire others too.
Maybe this kind of experience isn't for you. I totally get it. But I wanted to share my inspiration with you all today. It's how I feel when I workout at the Y. I hope that you have found a way to work towards improving your own self- physically, emotionally, or spiritually- however it is right for you. If you feel stuck and want some help along this journey, feel free to send me a message or write a comment below. If you see me on the track, I'll be the one with a smile and a bounce in her step.
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.