Movement Is Not A Moral Obligation

This year has been one of doctor’s visits, and tests, and surgeries, and medication.

I am not ill, I just have what they call a ‘pre-existing condition’. 

There are a few things that have been challenging: the main one is that the drugs and surgeries have meant I am often too unwell to move. And I rely on movement rather heavily for my mental health.

I also have a little voice in my head that tells me, every day, that I ‘should’ move.

This is a hangover from the body dysmorphia and eating disorders of my youth - but it’s a pretty insistent voice, and it tells me I should move EVERY DAY.

So when Fiona Sutherland, who’s doing yoga teacher training with us this year, posted this on her instagram, I was like YESSSSSSSSSSS!

Jodie Mechielsen from A Healthy Paradigm is obviously talking straight to me, and also expressing my exact thoughts on bodies and movement and health and self-acceptance in a wonderfully lucid way.

I’ve talked before about the yogic concept of purnam - wholeness. It’s very simple: you are human and therefore you have value.

Your movement or food choices DO NOT change that inherent wholeness, humanity, and value. Your skin colour, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality do not change that inherent human value.

That voice in my head telling me I SHOULD move even when I am actually in need of rest (or unable to move) is trying to tell me I have less value if I move less.

But I’m on to it.

I know that there have been times before when I’ve moved less, and times I’ve moved more. Times my body has changed shape for many reasons. It’s a dynamic thing, not a static, right NOW I’m perfect situation.

So if you sometimes feel the need to apologise for missing yoga, don’t! If the voice in your head beats you up sometimes about the things you should be doing? Ask yourself if it’s helpful or valid. Probably not.