Give Me An Inch...

I have now gone to Bikram yoga three times in the last three weeks. And although I'm stiff, I'm mostly sore in the right places (aka the muscles that should be working). My back is holding up fine, my shoulders and neck are doing well, so what's there not to be happy about?

This is where I may need to revisit some ideas about gratitude.

I found myself sitting in the yoga class last week plotting about how I could possibly fit in two yoga classes a week. Hold on a second there, missy. Was it not so long ago that all you wanted was to just be able to go once a week?

The main thing that has really sunk in for me during my years in physiotherapy is that my body is not a machine. I need to treat it well in order for it to actually work properly. And that means moderation of every sort.

With the wedding coming up it is so easy to get sucked into the idea that if only I could do my yoga class twice a week it would be an insurance policy that I look fabulous in my white dress. After all, there will be relatives coming from all parts of the world who haven't seen me in a while and we will be paying someone a good chunk of change to take lots of pictures that we will of course need to display in coffee table books, on the walls, and in Hello magazine (joke).

But I keep reminding myself that I am exercising now not because of some pre-wedding madness, but as part of a long-term struggle to get my body back in working order – and because I want to exercise. I have my body back these days (mostly) and I can finally do the exercise I like to deal with the stress of everyday life and to take care of all those amazing systems we learned about in ninth-grade biology. And I generally feel better about myself and my body when I am exercising, regardless of how I look to the outside world.

Also there's the enjoyment factor. Enjoyment? Gasp.

I don't know if it's being American, with our long history of embracing the puritanical work ethic or if it's just our society's current obsession with perfection as the new 'good'. A New York therapist once told me that her clients were no longer worried about morality or being perceived as 'good' by others. Instead, achieving 'perfection' was the new gold standard.

But what about enjoying life and being in the moment? This is where gratitude comes back in. I wrote a few weeks ago about my take on gratitude, as part of the Self-Discovery, Word by Word series (click here to read about November's word and participate). But gratitude is not just for one blog post.

It's easy to forget how not so long ago I was often shedding tears, feeling sorry for myself about how my body was not working properly and pain that would follow me around everywhere. I am genuinely thankful for being able to go to yoga again, to take my weekly tap dancing class. It's easy to forget about balance.

But I'm not the person I used to be – I am much more sane about what I can handle these days. It's just that every once in a while I get carried away. And who doesn't?

P.S. You can actually mail your wedding photos into Hello magazine. If you've done it, I want to hear about it.

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