I ran Cross Country in college, as well as in high school, and I ran long distance track since junior high. I was in love with running. It was fun, energizing and meditative. Since college, I have lost my love for running and movement.
I started going to the gym again with my oldest sister. We’ve been doing group classes together: Zumba, Cycling and Yoga. It’s been a nice change of pace, compared to sitting on the bike leisurely, while reading. I used to love working out. It felt great exerting my body and matching my movements with my breath. It allowed me to clear my head of thoughts and get in touch with aligning breath and movement. It was like meditation.
At some point post-college, I lost motivation and lost sight of the meditative aspect of movement. I made myself too busy and it became one more thing I should do on a growing list of stress inducing to-dos.
I noticed a shift these past few weeks, exercise isn’t something I should do anymore, it’s something I want to do. I like starting most of my mornings with stretching, Yoga, going for a walk, running at the gym, doing Zumba, getting in some type of movement. It makes me feel good. It gives me a reason to drink more water. It gives me a reason to stretch more. It helps me go to bed earlier if I want to exercise in the morning. But going to sleep earlier, drinking more water, being excited for Zumba or a run, it doesn’t feel forced anymore, it just feels natural and energizing, while simultaneously relaxing.
I think I found this peace with exercise and motivation again because it’s not about meeting specific goals. It’s not about getting back the speed or distance I attained in college. It’s not about running a marathon. It’s about me. It’s about my mind, body and soul. It’s about balancing my energy and grounding myself.
I was on the treadmill this morning and I ran and walked for 20 minutes. And when I ran, I pushed myself. I was breathing relatively hard, and it felt great. I was running at a pace that used to be a warmup pace for me. In the past, I would get discouraged thinking about how much my running pace has declined, but this morning I felt empowered.
When my movement aligns with my breath, my head begins to tingle and I get in this very calm and focused place. This usually happens when I’m breathing relatively heavy and pushing myself because when I’m breathing that heavy my breath has to find a rhythm for me to continue running. I reach a crossing point, I can either let my thoughts consume me and stop running, or I can let go of my thoughts and become my body and my breath and run for what seems like forever, in a very relaxed and enlivening state.
It feels great, rediscovering why I loved running and movement. It’s about living in the present moment and enjoying the process.
Emelina Minero writes for Curve Magazine and EDGE Gay Media Network, and is Curve’s Social Media Manager. She’s launching her own progressive LGBTQ publication, The Human Experience. She’s a Connection Connoisseur, Networking Maven and Self-Love Enthusiast. She founded Community Bucket List and co-founded the Love Warrior Community. Find her on Twitter, @CommKr8veWriter.