“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape”~ Anonymous
When I first started counseling others on fitness and wellness, my philosophy was incredibly simple.
Eat real food, bend (or move) your body daily, and breathe as a means of staying present. To me this was (and in many ways still is) the holy trinity of health.
Bending in particular has been instrumental in my own path to wellness. Pilates was a gateway to my passion for movement, the mind/body connection and sparked my interest in nutrition and mindfulness.
Lately I have taken on a new appreciation for bending. In years past, bending was about staying lean and creating strength. It was about skinny jeans and preparing for bikini season. Yet, as I usher in middle-age, bending is much more about flexibility.
I am not just talking about lengthening hamstrings or opening shoulders (though, God knows I need more of that with each passing day). Rather, I am referring to bending as a means of adaptability. As many of us age, we find that life’s curve balls become a bit more complex. We experience divorce, death of parents, infertility, bankruptcy, and a whole host of “adult” problems that were foreign to many of us in early adulthood. There was a time when I would greet these curve balls with a rigid mind and spirit. When confronted with unexpected change, I held onto old ways and habits with a death grip and each time I inevitably cracked like a branch of an uprooted tree.
I am now beginning to see the importance of bending with the inevitable forces of change. Author and Omega Institute founder Elizabeth Lesser put it this way, “If you go with the river of change, your heart will be full of courage and enthusiasm. If you resist the river, you will feel stressed out, aggravated, and stuck in the same place.” Bending with the river allows us to flow with it, to tap into its energy, and ride the current to wherever the universe chooses to take us. Fighting the river only leads to floundering and exhaustion.
As I walked through the crisp fallen leaves earlier this morning, I could almost feel the winds of change beginning to stir. This time, rather than bracing for the fight, I will stay flexible and calm and simply eat, bend and breathe.
Maureen is a full-time email marketer, part-time Pilates and TRX instructor, and haphazard meditator (though she promises to work on that). She owns eat.bend.breathe wellness studio in Philadelphia where she resides with her husband/editor Justin and her dog Tonka. She can be found on Facebook or reached by email at [email protected].