One of the A-typical things you probably are told to advocate throughout your life is to ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Last night, during an inability to sleep, my mind challenged that state of mine. Both in a metaphorical and literal context.
Literal: I always judge physical books by their cover, and why shouldn’t I? Let’s be honest here, during the process of creating a book cover, it is very likely that the designer was not thinking about making the cover as ugly as possible and it is very likely that they wanted to attract potential readers. If I pick up a book that does not catch my eye, I put it back. Similarly, if I am looking at a cook book with no pictures, I am not likely to take it. That’s the way of the world. We’re visual creatures.
Metaphorical: As we all know, when we’re told to refrain from this discourse, it is less about an actual novel and more about people you meet in your day-to-day life. Likely individuals you’re not well acquainted with. Now, unlike my views on books, I am very much an advocate of not judging people by how they look. Especially in terms of socio-economic status, race or ethnicity, preference of dress, etc. These are all just individual characteristic which hold no baring on a persons personality. That said, last night a thought came over me that does not highlight this mentality all too well.
Judge Me by My Cover: Exercise. Why do you do it? No, no, wait … why do I do it? If you ask me this my answer would be like this :
“I do it to feel good, you know, and heart health. Keep my bones and muscles happy”.
Well, how much more ‘out of my ass’ could I be talking? I do love how it makes me feel, yes. And, I do want to keep my bones and muscles happy [not totally sure what I mean exactly by that, but that is likely what I’d say] but that fact of the matter is I do it for one other reason to.
“Well you know, to look good”.
This is where I started to challenge the whole ‘judging by the cover’ rule. My mind instantly asked itself: Why do you want to look like something you don’t value? Or, in other words, why do I want to do certain exercises or eat certain foods to look a certain way if I don’t actually want to do them.
Maybe I can simplify this more.
[before I move forward here, my dog is whining really loudly and scratching herself… I love her but she’s totally crazy]
OK. I love yoga. It’s my life. Doing it makes me feel good, alive and, albeit, sexy. Even more than ‘dancing’. Yes, dancing does, but the feeling I get from a good flow is incomparable to anything I’ve ever experienced. There is a level of strength of yoga in both mind and body, as well as a softness that makes me feel light and centered. I love it.
So here is my question? Should I not be happy with how my body looks when I do that? Rather than forcing myself to engage in things I need to do? I means, it is what I love and who I am, should I not want my body to honestly reflect that of me, rather than displaying a fallacy? If I was a body builder, would I not want my hard work be visible via lean muscle? If I was an endurance athlete would it not be in my best interest to be seen as prepared to run a marathon, or highly fit? In my case, should I not want my body to represent my practice: simple, healthy and balanced?
The current plan, which is in conjunction with some rules, is as follows:
Sunday – Complete rest
Monday – 10 minutes of warm up + arms and abs toning work
Tuesday – 30 minutes of vinyasa yoga
Wednesday – 30 minutes of light-moderate recovery cardio (walking, fusions etc)
Thursday – 10 minute warm up + glutes and leg work
Friday – 30 minutes of vinyasa
Saturday – 30 minutes total body toning
You might look at this and think, it isn’t enough. But for me, it seems so perfect. Tentatively, I am to follow this plan with no exceptions. I am not allowed to exceed 30 minutes and am encouraged to do only 20 minutes if I want or take an additional day, if I need it. Upon the return of my cycle, the only change I plan to make is an increase of 15 minutes – 20 minutes on my vinyasa days. I am also providing myself with the ability to – if I want – have one 40 minutes vinyasa series per week, if the additional ten minutes are light, and mostly focused stretching. I do not know what will happen in the future, but I want to follow this for now. This is all I honestly want to do, ever so why force myself into something I don’t want to do?
So in a sense, I am telling people, or allowing them, to judge me by my cover. No lies, just a genuine look of who I believe in. Being fit is not synonymous with happiness or beauty. Being strong, flexible and balanced in both mind and body, however, is. No more lies. No more trying to fit what is considered a proper routine. Just simple pleasant yoga. :)