Soul Journal: A Framework of Growth

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My body is rejecting salt, oil, and caffeine. That’s a strange thing to write, it sounds a bit hocus-pocus to me. How would you know what your body is rejecting?

I get high blood pressure when I eat foods with those things in them. I also get high blood pressure when I listen to loud music or think stressful thoughts or fantasize things—exciting things like meeting a celebrity or going to Mallorca or some other dream. I’m 26 years old, about 125 lbs and otherwise healthy. There is no reason to experience this, really, and it’s only been happening recently.

So instead of going to a doctor and having them prescribe me a short-term course of blood pressure medication, I’m choosing to honour what my body is telling me by committing to a course of clean eating, no exciting music and lots of things that help.

Non-high intensity aerobic exercise like walking helps, yin yoga helps, apple cider vinegar helps, mantras help, and guided meditations help sometimes.

I didn’t have to look any of this up… I’m connected with my body and its signals, thanks in part to the curse/blessing of being considered a slightly anxious person. It’s the other way around, actually. Some anxious people like me are more in tune with their bodies and tend to feel panic when they misinterpret totally normal occurrences in their bodies that other people wouldn’t even pay attention to.

There are different ways to see the same thing.

And while I’m presenting this as two paths, where I am choosing to take the one that is right for me, I admit that ultimately I see this as a meaningful part of my journey, not just a blip. My body is asking me to allow it to accommodate more. More emotions, more situations. It’s asking me to adapt my environment so that it can do more for me by being more adaptable to changes.

I know because this is how it’s reacting to the whirlwind of changes happening now.

And I want all that. I want to be able to live in the now, without the security of the future, a fantasy that  isn’t happening now, the fake excitement of a Spotify playlist that takes me somewhere other than here, and the emotion-numbing allure of salty, oily foods and caffeine—or alcohol. I want to be able to live free from of all of those things and to live here.

While I am being forced to make a change, this is also a change I want with all of my being. I’m lucky this is happening to me. And I am so grateful, too.

Ballet Beautiful

While the internet rages over Khloe Kardashian’s “Revenge Body” workout, I wanted to take the opportunity to share what home workout I have been using lately to stay healthy and happy.

Some background: I have been in exile from the gym, where running shoes are a must, because I left both pairs of mine at the family home over the holidays. I will be getting these back soon, but I haven’t missed a beat without them thanks to Mary Helen Bowers.

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If the name doesn’t ring a bell, this might: she is the creator of Ballet Beautiful, a former New York City Ballet dancer and fitness trainer to fashion models like Miranda Kerr, and she helped Natalie Portman train for her stunning performance in the film Black Swan. Ballet Beautiful, her fitness program, is based on low impact, ballet-like body weight movements at painfully high repetitions (I mean it!), which work well to build long, lean muscles—just like a dancer’s.

The really good news is that Mary has partnered with BeFit and created short segments (8-17 minute) totalling 60 minutes of workout time for different body parts. They are available on Youtube, here. This makes it possible for us all to get an idea of what Ballet Beautiful is about, even if we don’t live in New York City, where group classes are offered, or own the paid program.

It took me less than two sessions of home Ballet Beautiful to become a fan. While I feel very challenged during each workout, I love being able to get up the next day without feeling like I’ve lost half my range of mobility (I can go down stairs, lift my arms and everything!) and then get back at it again the next night.

Ballet Beautiful even has its own Youtube channel, with informative videos like an introduction to ballet muscles to useful tips like how to foam roll after one of Helen’s tough workouts. There’s even a chic series of videos titles “That Ballerina Style.” Here’s one of my favourites:

What do you do in a fitness pinch? Let me know if you try any of the workout videos I’ve linked. The abdominal one takes just eight minutes!