Perhaps you have been left hanging since part 1 of the Joyful Movement series was released, wondering, ‘Well, Ani, you’ve told me all these ways exercise and movement are NOT joyful… what’s a person to do?!” Breaking down the complex messages we receive about what movement should and shouldn’t be is so important to truly finding joyful movement. Truly, you’ve already taken the most important (and scariest) step to finding joyful movement. Now let’s figure out how to bring joyful movement into our lives!
The benefits of physical activity have long been established on physical and mental health. While it is far from a definitive cure or prevention for disease, it enhances our wellbeing. When we find the movement that is truly joyful to us, we establish the groundwork for long term relationship with physical activity.
One of the most important insights I’ve gained since starting this journey is that incorporating physical activity can impact other areas of wellness (e.g. emotional, financial). At its worst, physical activity can negatively impact another area (or several areas) so much that any benefits from physical activity are outweighed by the drawbacks to another area. For example, joining a gym whose fee is so high, paying for essentials becomes difficult. Another, increasingly prevalent, example is when movement takes an emotional toll due to fear of not being physically active (e.g. fear of weight gain). However, physical activity can intersect with other areas of wellbeing in positive ways. Some people join gyms with a great and supportive community, which increases social wellbeing at the same time as physical wellbeing.
Due to the current climate in the health and wellness industries, stumbling into the physical activity that will enhance your overall wellness rather than detract from it is pretty unlikely. However, taking time to reflect on what is important to you and being prepared for trying things that don’t lead to joyful movement will set you up for a successful search. Check out page two of of our Joyful Movement worksheet to begin this reflection!
Ani is a yoga teacher trainee with YogaQuest and has a degree in dietetics. She is passionate about Health at Every Size (HAES) and body positivity. Yoga has played a key role in her personal wellbeing and body image and she is excited to begin offering body positive classes!