I've written a little about why I do things so it's time to flip it and see what's the reason you do the exercise and movement practices you do?
For me this has changed through the years. I first discovered Yoga and Pilates at a gym I attended. I had occasional back issues and heard both were good for for this so thought I'd give them a try. I was way more drawn to Pilates and looking back I see two main reasons. I could 'do' Pilates better than Yoga. I naturally had more strength than mobility so the way they were being taught meant my ego didn't like Yoga. Secondly I saw more aesthetic benefits from Pilates. The focus on the 'core' had given me a six-pack which is every guy's dream right? I was going to the gym thinking that I wanted more strength, but looking back it was again for aesthetic purposes. In all honesty, in everyday life how often do we think to ourselves, 'I wish I had a bit more strength'? You can either lift something, or can't. If you can't, it's a hell of a lot quicker to ask someone for help than spend days, weeks, years in the gym.
In time I lost the desire for the aesthetics and found Pilates was doing a lot of other things. It became about discovering my body, fully turning inward, which also had a meditative effect. What Yoga did for others, Pilates did for me. It became something I didn't just want to do, I went to classes to learn as much as possible about the whys. Which eventually led to the obvious choice of plunging into teacher training.
My Yoga practice has followed a similar evolution. Eventually after a lot of self-development/spiritual work I had lost a lot of the ego that somewhat held me back from Yoga. I was searching for more mobility in my body, and felt that Yoga was giving me that, slowly but surely. But then I got to the realisation of 'do I really need to be more mobile?' I didn't really have any pain caused by it. In fact the sole purpose was to be able to sit crossed legged in meditation- which is exactly what Yoga was originally for. I still can't sit in that position comfortably for long, but I realised it didn't matter. There are other ways to sit, and just because they don't look quite so Yogic, it doesn't bloody matter! But again I found myself wanting to know all the whys, which again led me into teacher training.
Now both of these practices have become my time to discover about myself, physically, mentally and emotionally. Learning all of the whys has now pushed me in the other direction to not worrying why, but just experiencing (most of the time).
So why do you do Yoga, Pilates, gym work, body pump or whatever it is you choose?
To keep fit?
To relieve pain?
To prevent injury?
To be more flexible?
To learn about yourself?
To calm the mind?
To be stronger?
To have some you time?
My thoughts to all of these has hugely shifted. I now think things like 'unless you're doing lots of heavy lifting, just how much 'core' strength do you really need?' If you're not in any pain do you need to be more flexible? Quite a lot of the time we want and do things because we think we should. But in reality there aren't necessarily massive benefits. Yes if you have lower back pain it can sometimes be attributed to a lack of strength in the supporting muscles. But there is usually a lot lot more to it than that. The more I learn the more it appears that so much is attributed to the mind. So that has become a huge part of the why for me.
Have a think to the reasons you do these things. The main reason to do this is because it helps you get so much more out of what you do. When you know the why, you can focus on gaining that benefit. Additionally, it would be really good for me to know so that I can then produce content that you find useful, so give me an email or leave a comment.