So, What Exactly is Joyful Movement!?
Self-Love & Celebration!
At the very core, joyful movement is about self-love & celebration. It is moving your body in ways that feels good, that makes you smile, laugh and feel amazing. It’s about celebrating our bodies and the wondrous things they do for us. It is radical self-acceptance – a celebration of our uniqueness and a way to practice body positivity!.
It is consciously moving away from thoughts around weight loss & appearance and towards acceptance, nourishment and fun!
Joyful movement also challenges the mentality around exercise being something we have to do. It flips this idea on its head and says movement and exercise are celebrations of our bodies. It’s not punishment, not something we have to do to counteract for eating a piece of cake with lunch or when we stayed in bed last Sunday.
We move our bodies to feel strong, healthy and to honor ourselves. Gentle exercise helps us to relieve stress, stretch, build fitness and to enjoy the gift of our bodies.
One Big Myth Around Joyful Movement
So often I hear that “joyful movement is just something that people can use to get out of exercise”
While yes, joyful movement does sometimes involve taking a break from working out. If exercise is not serving you mentally or physically at a certain time then taking a break & re-evaluating is very important. Pushing ourselves to do something that isn’t feeling right or is causing issues or stress has the potential to do more harm than good.
The essence of joyful movement is all around finding ways to move your body that feels good for YOU. Making movement something you look forward to and crave, rather than dread or avoid. It is not about saying NOT to exercise, not at all! It is saying to find exercise you love because as we all know when we like something it is always going to be more sustainable.
When you practice TRUE joyful movement, you will look forward to movement and exercise rather than dread it. It will become something you won’t want to miss out on because you will learn how great it can make you feel! The endorphins, the stress relief, the achievement, the celebration and the joy! All of that good stuff.
Furthermore, joyful movement creates a healthy relationship with exercise. And if and when you need to skip a day or two due to illness, injury, mental health or any other reason, you will not fall into the cycle of feeling shame and guilt around what you “should be doing”.
You will know you are doing what is right for you in that moment.
It is pleasure over pain.
Incorporating Joyful Movement Into Your Life
So, right now you may be thinking “joyful movement sounds great but where do I even start?!”
1. How to find ideas for joyful movement?
Take the time to listen to your body, remember what movement feels good to you.
Did you play any sports at school that you loved? Have you thought about joining a social team?
Or, how about swimming? Swimming can be a very freeing and gentle way to move your body.
Did you love roller skating when you were younger? You could start skating again!
Dancing in your lounge to your favourite music? Or, running races with your kids?
Lifting weights or Gentle Yoga in a candlelit room?
Maybe you find joy and freedom in running, or maybe you LOVE going to the gym
Ask yourself where YOU find that feeling of joy?
The options really are endless because we are all unique. Our versions of joyful movement will be unique too.
Listen to your body. What does it tell you?
2. Find someone to move with to enjoy exercise again.
We hear a lot about “gym buddies” and there is a reason why so many people workout with someone else. It has the ability to make working out a lot more fun. PLUS, it can also help to hold us accountable when that is something we need.
Places like workout classes are also a great way to meet new people. Feeling connected while you work out makes it even more of an enjoyable experience.
We offer a body love yoga class here in Hamilton, maybe that’s something you would like to join?
Getting outside with the kids or dog is a great way to create time for movement too!
Why not ask your exercise buddy or best friend to join in a new activity with you. You could bike together! Taking you back to childhood memories of days spent riding around for hours having the best time, now that was joyful movement.
We can find that again!
3. Take it slow to find a way of moving that is enjoyable and fun.
Starting something new can be daunting and this is a practice that you want to be able to maintain for life!
You may want to try out a few different activities to find one what really works for you. Lets find one that has us excited to go out and do!
Building a healthy exercise routine and a healthy relationship with moving your body is a marathon, not a sprint. Give yourself permission to take your time, there is no need to rush.
4. Make it easy for yourself – Find what works for you!
A big part of why people don’t stick with an exercise routine (or enjoy it) is because they feel like they have to go out of their way to do it. Exercise becomes something we dread rather than look forward to! This isn’t sustainable.
The solution can be simple, make a routine that fits in with your lifestyle, after all, it is all about YOU, what works for YOU.
A good way to start thinking about this is to map out your usual schedule. See if there are times and/or locations that match up with when you would like to exercise and what you would like to do. We can find movement that fits effortlessly into our routines.
5. Incorporate Mindfulness to find what joyful movement might look for you.
As mentioned above, it is important to listen to our bodies and find our own unique way to practice joyful movement.
When we approach movement with mindfulness we are tuning in to ourselves, we are connected and engaged with our bodies, minds and spirits.
Take mental notes of how you’re feeling, physically, emotionally and mentally – When something feels good or when something doesn’t feel good, when we look forward to doing something or when we dread it. This will help us immensely in finding our version of truly joyful movement.
Be sure to check in on yourself as you go and figure out what works for you.
Take your time and have fun!
Now that we have an understanding of what joyful movement is, and we have explored some simple ways to find your own, you can start to to incorporate joyful movement into your routine.
This is something to do for yourself, to make yourself feel good, to feel strong, accomplished and healthy.
There are no rules, you could be dancing with a hula hoop or lifting weights at the gym, it is your time.
We hope you find this helpful and inspiring.
Get out there and find YOUR joy!