Is It Possible To Work Out Hard In an Expansive, Relaxed Way?

Morning Work-Out: Cool, It Is Possible to Work Out Hard In an Expansive, Relaxed Way!

 

This morning I went to my body-work-out class and I discovered something new. Or maybe it just showed up more clearly for me. You know how I am exploring creating from ease, from relaxation, expansion instead of contracting and forcing it. I guess I was still inspired from our play-day, see prior blog.

As I am doing my work-out I noticed that there are two completely different states of mind that I can approach my exercises with, it´s almost as if there is a switch that needs to be turned. I am not sure if I can even find a good way to describe how that feels in my body, but it was such a tangibly different experience, and I was playing with switching back and forth.

Working-Out Hard - And Getting a Bit Serious And Tense About It ...

I can engage in a working-hard-kind of work-out. It feels kind of good, I am doing it with the goal of getting into better shape, I feel like I am doing something good for my body getting it moving, and probably that is true. However, there is an element of extra tension, and an idea that also physical exercise has to somehow at least almost hurt a bit to really be efficient and good for  me. Something in me is tense - more tense than needed - it´s not just the muscles I need to use for the given exercise. It´s also a certain kind of attitude. A work-attitude. Doing it well, right. Checking my performance in the mirror. Something is contracted, and does not allow the breath to fully move through my entire being. I feel movement, sweat, and the weight, the density of my body. A feeling of accomplishing something. I am working.

Working-Out Intensely While Being Relaxed? …

And then there is another mode of being: I am still doing the same exercise, even in the same intensity. And yet, something is expanding, softening. As if my system let´s go of tension in all the areas of the body that are not needing to tense up for this movement - and I am surprised how much relaxation and opening is possible while moving. It´s also a shift in my attitude. Somehow way more carefree, softer - but not in a disengaging way. As if I am allowing the sensation of moving right now, and the joy and aliveness of that in the now. It´s as if the breath, more oxygen is moving to more places, in between the physical structures of my body - and my entire body feels less dense, a lot lighter. Even the perception of the music that´s playing is different: I am now not only hearing the beat through my ears moving to it; it´s as if now the music can more fully move through my body. And I am feeling so much more joy and pleasure while engaging in the very same exercises.

And How About RIGHT NOW? Re-Wiring Old Tendencies…

Ha, and right this moment, as I am typing these words into the computer, I caught myself getting somehow serious about writing this (while writing about pleasure and joy, haha!), and I noticed my shoulders were tensed up. I catch it, release the shoulders with my breath, and instantly, I return to a more receptive, less use of force doing mode. Seems like my system is conditioned and used to tensing up, - how did this ever end up becoming the default mode?!? - So it requires a good amount of awareness to catch and rewire myself. So worth it, though!

A Closer Look: “I have to push and force it” versus “It´s okay and safe to relax and enjoy!”  

It is even hard to describe what exactly it is, what I do, or maybe stop doing to initiate this switch from efforting to a more flowing way. I guess I myself are still in the process of finding out. But it seems it has to do with my breath. I also relax my belly, that seems to tense and lift up, when in working/survival mode. And there is a kind of receptivity that I can open up to, a trust. More allowing, less pushing. And it seems to have to do with a conscious decision in myself, a shift in my belief system from “I have to push and force it” to “It´s okay and safe to relax and enjoy!”  

YES, ENJOY!

Yes, I will write this down one more time, just to make sure I really, really take this in, again and again “Dearest Heike, it´s totally and utterly okay and safe to relax and enjoy!” Hmmmm, yummy!

Yes. That being said - next thing I will go and do is enjoy a nice hot steaming shower...