Of health week and the journey back to true strength


Spring is here, and so is Health Week! I have been talking about getting back into shape for months and now I have run out of excuses. Lots of my friends have also started their fitness challenges and I’m finding a whole heap of interesting things. There are the eight-week fitness gym challenges which would be great. A couple of years back I would get up at 4 in the morning to meditate, scribe, and be mindful of all the things I am grateful for. After that it would be an hour’s workout in the nearby gym, before getting ready to head to work in the city. I don’t think I could commit to going to the gym as regularly as I used to given the demands of studying full-time, working part-time, and caring for my amazing nine-month old offspring. 

There are some really exhilarating running challenges as well. I used to play competitive soccer and one day I am hoping I can get back into playing a team sport. I think at the moment I have to start slow. After all, my body is still healing from the emergency caesarean procedure I had several months ago. I would love to go back to regular swimming, but again I feel like I don’t want to lose this special time with my baby daughter; these very early years where she still depends on me a lot. I figure that she’ll soon be a teenager and I’ll miss these quiet moments filled with cuddles and shared breathing. 

I used to do a lot of free diving in my younger years and have recently realised how much I miss the yoga practice I used to do as part of my training. Luckily, there are a lot of yoga at home practices you can follow on YouTube and I’m grateful a close friend of mine shared this 30-day at-home yoga challenge with me. The practice is called ‘True’ and I’ve found that it’s not just been really good for my body, but it has helped ground and calm me during especially stressful times (uni deadlines, work demands, baby duties, etc.). 

I had gotten my daughter a 2m x 1.4m padded playmat which transforms into my yoga mat when she is napping. Being able to follow the challenge on my laptop from home means that I can have the baby monitor right next to it, have some time for myself, while my daughter is safely napping in the next room. I’m lucky I can practice in a bright and airy room, with a clear window to the trees and the sky. This fitness challenge allows me to focus on my breathing, sharpens concentration, stretches and strengthens my body, and calms and centers my nervous system. Each of the sessions in the 30-day yoga practice focuses on a particular sub-theme such as, trust, be still, be kind, balance, be brave, be free, and so I like the strengthening of my physical self is complemented with the deepening of my emotional and mental power. 

We have the power to control ourselves, to correct ourselves, and to find fulfillment by so doing. Genuine self-knowledge is the greatest, and the only legitimate, lasting, unshakeable source of joy: most powerful is s/he who has herself, in her own power.Dominique Loreau

PS: Since writing the recent post on ‘not all who loiter are lost’ (which you can read here), I realised that time is such a valuable thing. It’s fleeting and impermanent nature makes it even more necessary for us to learn to savour moments. I have always lived such a busy life and it’s been incredibly busier since I became a mother, but having a few quiet moments to savour moments, sensations, and feelings, whether good or bad, is truly important. I hope that if I live long enough to become an old lady, I can draw up the memories of the beautiful moments of my life made true and meaningful as I shared it with family and friends. I don’t want to be lying on my deathbed regretting that I wasn’t present in my own life and that I betrayed myself by living falsely and selfishly. 

And if we accept impermanence, we are far more likely to live in the present, to relish the beauty in front of us, and the almost infinite possibilities contained in every hour, or a single breath.Julia Baird


Tagged in what messes with your head, phd, Student life, Student health, parent-student, yoga