What exactly is the Wellbeing Revolution? Where did the dream of a Wellbeing Revolution come from and what can you do? By Kat Farrants, founder of Movement for Modern Life.
The Wellbeing Revolution is something I dreamt up of from a sense of frustration with the ‘one-size-fits-all’ culture that we’re all shoe-horned into.
Our culture has us all dressed in the same uniform of fashion and brands. It has us watching the same programmes on TV, and doing the same ‘fashionable’ activities. We are looking to be led by an expert to live a healthier, better, perhaps more meaningful life. Instead we’re fed advertisements, and we are corralled by big business and consumer culture as to what we should do next, what we should eat, where we should go, what we should think, how we should feel.
The Yoga Culture
Our yoga culture has mirrored this. Yoga as a business has taken over yoga culture (maybe MFML is to blame too… I do hope not!), so that we are told what yoga classes are best, which teachers are best, and what our bodies need. We are told which yoga and movement classes are the newest and trendiest, whilst Instagram tells us that the goal of yoga is to look like a hot, skinny, 23-year old doing handstands on the beach.
Social media culture affirms this, as the most popular, biggest yoga brands use images of skinny, white women making impressive gymnastic shapes. Often these same brands capitalise on the feeling of ‘something missing’ that many of us have, in order to peddle their expensive products. We are told that if we try hard enough, if we perhaps buy their super-sticky extra-large mat, we’ll contort our bodies into those (mostly) unattainable shapes, and we will end up with a younger, hotter-looking body.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m just sick and tired of being told what to do.Kat Farrants
I’m not sure about you, but I’m just sick and tired of being told what to do. Of being told what’s best for me. In my yoga practice and in my life. Now that I’m in mid-life, I feel that I can finally take ownership. I let my own body, my own heart, my own gut, my own mind, decide what I should do, and how to do it.
Awakening to our own body intelligence is radical. It’s the last thing that the marketeers want you to do. They want to be able to tell you what you need and what you should buy. We have, as a society and as a culture, distanced ourselves from our own innate wisdom.
Many of us are like Mr Duffy who ‘lived a short distance from his body’ (James Joyce, Dubliners’.)
But when we learn to inhabit our bodies, we learn that our body is giving us crucial signals all the time. Our bodies have an intelligence and we can listen to our hearts, our guts and our minds. We can listen to our aches, our creaks and we can listen to the uplifting feeling of joy and freedom. When we listen deeply to our bodies, we learn that they contain much more wisdom than all the experts, the magazines, the health and beauty industry are telling us.
Listening deeply to our body’s innate intelligence may tell us that we are tired, and need more constructive rest. Our body may tell us that we need to move in different ways, we need somatic movement, rather than structured movement. Our bodies may be telling us to take a break. To mix things up. Maybe we need to modify our yoga poses, or modify our practice, or modify our lifestyle. Maybe our body feels different to how it felt yesterday, this morning, or to 20 years ago. Listening deeply is about welcoming in the changes, re-imagining how we could feel, and being aware of how our body has changed and continues to change.
Our culture is incredibly visual, we are led by how things look, rather than how we feel. It is a revolutionary act to draw back inside ourselves, and to deeply feel how things are on the inside. How does it feel to inhabit your own body today? What would serve you today? The real you, not the imagined you, not the you who you were 20 years ago, or yesterday, or this morning, but now. The question is, who are you and what do you need?
It is a revolutionary act to draw back inside ourselves, to deeply feel how things are on the inside.Kat Farrants
In order to connect to this inner wisdom and to know what we really need, we have to come to our yoga mats from a place of silent reflection and stillness. Just a few moments of sitting quietly before you practice might have you doing a very different practice to what you thought you needed.
Perhaps you felt you were tired, and you thought you wanted to do a class that would energise you. But in fact, after listening to your body, you realise you’re too exhausted for that. What you really need is to rest and nourish your body with gentle restorative practices. Or maybe you just feel sluggish and you need to reinvigorate your energy. In this case your body could enjoy something more challenging and strength building, e.g. a Barre class. Or perhaps you want to build deep inner strength and a Pilates class would work. Or just maybe, it’s 4pm, you’re at work and feeling drowsy. Could you be revolutionary enough to practice a short Yoga Nidra in the afternoon to help you re-set instead of reaching for the caffeine and biscuits?
The Dawn of the Wellbeing Revolution
Each day, each moment, our bodies need to move in different ways. The dawn of the wellbeing revolution is about listening and doing what our own body is telling us. Not what I say is good for you to do, or what anyone else in the world tells you to do.
It’s just between you and your very beautiful and precious body what you do and how you do it.
Now, how is it that you’ll choose to move next?
Written by Kat Farrants, Movement for Modern Life founder.
My Journey from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga to a Wellbeing Revolution – By Kat Farrants
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The Body Intelligence course is designed for you to get to know the language of your body better so that you can make better choices for your body, your mind and your life.
The course is a collection of classes taught by senior teacher, Elizabeth Reumont. The classes offer tools to help listen to our body’s unique way of sensing and experiencing information. Understanding this information guides us to move with more sensitivity to what our bodies are actually telling us that we need.