Rethinking movement: Exercise as a reward

Exercise, key to sobriety

Movement, walking, dancing or exercise can be a way to nurture and strengthen yourself, and it becomes an important tool to help you change your drinking.

As JR, a fellow Club Soda member, posted in the gym, exercise can help us all in different ways:

“Exercise has been KEY to my sobriety. I feel great when I am kind to my body and my mind and I do this by exercising. Even when I don’t want to. I am proud of my commitment to this. Goals. Achievements. Results. Changes. Smiles.”

Kat from online yoga Movement for Modern Life helps you make that switch

1. Listen to your body, but challenge your mind

The mind is very clever, and at its first chance it may jeopardise your practice time or space. Even when in doubt, create a tiny space for a limited practice. Drop the expectation of having to do a long or challenging class, and be satisfied with doing something rather than nothing.

2. Be honest with yourself

When you aren’t making it onto the mat because you feel too tired or think you may be too busy with other commitments, see if you can travel beyond these excuses to make a space in your day. Similarly, when you notice your mind starting to wander while you are on the mat or struggle to get into certain poses, see if you can re-centre your focus on doing something for the body that is beneficial, beyond squeezing yourself into a position that is a misaligned shape you are making with the body. Do less, well, rather than doing more in an unfocused way.

3. Make the commitment

Once you have started a practice, commit to a specific amount of time or a specific class. Starting a practice and then quitting halfway through is a slippery slope. Be realistic with the time you are willing to commit, and if you are trying out a new teacher or new style, try to make a commitment in the first five minutes or so. If you don’t enjoy the first few minutes, you still have time to change approach.

4. Just show up

Whether it is 10 minutes or ninety minutes, be present for the duration. The most important part of a class can be the moment you recognise you are not paying attention; that is the moment you can refocus and slow down to get back into the body rather than simply following a teacher’s instruction blindly without honouring your own body, its limitation and potential.

5. Nurture yourself

Be present to how you are fuelling the body and mind. The quality and nutrients we put into the body are as important as the thoughts we allow into the mind. Eating an organic, plant-based diet that is prepared without harming any other being and with love is as important to fuelling our yoga practice as is healing, positive intention. This means learning to listen to the body’s needs and how to translate that into healthy, healing foods.

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