Serge Benhayon Didn’t Tell Me How To Exercise – I Connected To Me And Went From There

by Danielle Loveless, Exercise Physiologist, BBiomed Sci, BExSci (Hons), PhD (ExPhys)

My understanding of exercise is that having a body that is moderately aerobically fit with good muscular strength means that it will much more easily achieve my daily physical responsibilities, in a gentle way that doesn’t leave me exhausted or in muscle fatigue and pain at the end of each day or work week. Knowing what exercises I personally need to do has not come from what Serge Benhayon or Universal Medicine has said, but from feeling what my body truly needs to be supported.

Exercising in a way that is about feeling what my body needs and how it responds to each exercise, I soon felt that if I did too much exercise or pushed too hard, the exercise would counteract what I was working towards – to feel more energetically vital in my body and more able to stay gentle throughout my day. Instead, I would feel somewhat exhausted, hard or disconnected from my body at the end of the day. Exercising at too high an intensity, obsessively, competitively or to perform or look a certain way also felt very unnurturing and un-loving towards not only my body, but to me too. And these were things that I had also been inspired to change – to be more honouring of my body, more self-aware and more loving with myself.

Discovering a way of exercising that is gentle and honouring of what is felt in my body has been life changing for me. In the past I have participated in over 20 years of extremely intense sports including athletics, football, netball, swimming, basketball, triathlon, marathon running and adventure racing at state and national levels. Not only has it allowed me to change the way that I work out my own body, it has also changed the approach that I have towards my work, in the field of exercise physiology. It’s not so much changed what exercises I do or what I recommend to others, but it’s changed the way the exercises are done. I now see that in the past I have worked as a sports trainer or rehabilitation consultant to try to help people who wanted their bodies to look better, get the right size or shape, be pain free, or to perform better in their sport. When the focus was on such outcomes, the exercise was performed in a way to try to achieve the outcome, usually at the highest intensity possible, to get there as soon as possible. By exercising in such a way there was very little consideration of how the body was truly coping or responding to the training at the time, often resulting in further pain and injury, or no change at all. It was very disconnected to the body, and more mentally designed, based on how to get to the outcome.

I can confidently say that the inspirations of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, about being more connected to me and my body and being self-loving and nurturing, have allowed my exercise and my work to become of greater quality and integrity. No one has told me how to exercise or how to work, this all came from connecting more deeply with myself and my body. At work I now take the time to connect to the person, feel their whole needs, and ensure that the exercises we complete together are in line with the needs of this person and where their body is currently at in order to develop not only a fit and strong body, but also one that is energetically vital, gentle and connected. Exercising in such a way is much more honouring and also very enjoyable and often results in a change to not only what type of exercise is enjoyed but also the intensity or duration of the exercise.

109 thoughts on “Serge Benhayon Didn’t Tell Me How To Exercise – I Connected To Me And Went From There

  1. Danielle we are told how to exercise at schools, and as we grow older, we are under the influence of media. Which totally is disregarded and ignored. And then we meet someone who happens to be called Serge Benhayon, who presents to us that there is another way to live, and that is from connecting with ourselves first and foremost before this reflection is offered to another.

    We realise that there is another to do and be many things and that is always from connection to our bodies. What a way to live and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  2. Fitness is important in life – so that we can do all the things we need to do whilst not getting tired from doing them – this is a great point that Danielle has made. And this fitness can change and fluctuate in life as we grow and as we age and as the demands on our body change too. Part of this then also requires us not to compare ourselves to others nor to compare ourselves to ourselves from how we once were or would like to be as this just sets us back and then we do not appreciate what we do have and can hold as a fitness overall. That said it is inspiring when one feels fit and well and can do what needs to be done and more.

    1. Fitness is essential as we mature and it does not need to be competitive in any shape or form. It is essential to keep some fitness and strength for our bodies. Just like maintaining our cars.

      When there is a level of non-competitive fitness, it enables us to build our energetic fitness. Which serves us far greater and wider than anything else.

  3. I too have come from a background of competition and pushing the body beyond its natural capacity and what feels right for it to do. As a result, I have had sporting injuries which now I understand come from the fact that the body is saying to slow down or stop or that too much is too much. Sometimes we learn the hard way with injuries as such. But if we have learned this as a true lesson, then there is no need to repeat that same choice and action but instead learn to work the body in a different way.

  4. Danielle, I love what you have shared here – there can be such an imposition and a forceful way of exercising to achieve a goal, of ‘getting somewhere’ but in reality the body responds best when it is allowed to do what it does best and in its own way. This is the amazing part – getting ourselves out of the way and letting the body lead the way.

  5. “to develop not only a fit and strong body, but also one that is energetically vital, gentle and connected.” This is such a different approach to fitness and to the outcome based approach described in the blog (body image, performance, etc). This is more exercise they is for a sense of well being and relates to the whole person, which is definitely more inviting than the ‘no pain, no gain’ outcome based approach.

  6. I really enjoy exercise when I move with my body. It really loves to move in it’s own way and I feel much more settled when I do this. Over or underwork the body because of what I think I should be doing and that’s when trouble starts.

  7. I love how you discuss the difference between exercising to nurture and honour the body, as opposed to overriding and disregarding what the body is communicating, ‘ I soon felt that if I did too much exercise or pushed too hard, the exercise would counteract what I was working towards – to feel more energetically vital in my body and more able to stay gentle throughout my day. Instead, I would feel somewhat exhausted, hard or disconnected from my body at the end of the day.’

  8. Exercise is great, but like anything else in life how we approach it is key … it can be driven and about achieving an image or it can be about feeling and connecting to our bodies and how they need to move … I’ve tried both and I much prefer the later approach, and I’ve really learned to enjoy moving and being with my body in this way.

    1. Great point Monica, forcing or pushing anything in life is certainly a sure-fire way to take the joy away and stop the body from holding its own rhythm. And then when we tune into the body and allow ourselves to feel things, then we can allow more of a flow that is not so imposing!

  9. In learning to love and honor how precious and tender our body and being is I have also discovered how important the way we exercise is. It can be an activity that deeply confirms and naturally strengthens our body and our connection to it or it can be an activity that disregards and overrides what we in the seeking of an outcome to be identifies in some way. I have tried both and the honoring way certainly offer far greater empowerment and confirmation.

  10. No pain no gain used to be the motto, now that level of abuse has been replaced with True Wisdom from my body with no push or drive but a True Purpose to remain In-Connection to my body and by listening to our bodies they will always share when enough is enough so our vitality and well-being increases.

  11. Listening to our body is a fundamental that once understood for how it benefits every aspect of life especially the way we walk and exercise. That their becomes a natural Living-ness, which inspires nothing less and being Loving in these or any other ways deepens our relationship with our bodies and all its movements.

  12. I once had someone offering to be a personal trainer – he tried to get me to do 40 leg presses even though I said it hurt. Soon as he walked off I got up and wandered off into another part of the gym. I ached for three days after and didn’t want to go back. Fast forward yesterday I am on the resistance machines by myself, do 5 or 10 reps or more, feel my muscles want to stop, get up and change exercise. Wake up this morning with no aches from the exercise and keen to go back again. I love going to the gym WITH my body and not to shape it into some ideal as soon as possible.

  13. I used to push my body hard in the past with exercise and have also come to the same conclusions that exercise does not have to be hard or intense to maintain fitness and strength. Nowadays my exercise program supports my body it does not wear it down or break it down.

    1. Yes, I have come from pushing my body hard with exercise many years ago, to now connecting with, honouring, and listening to my body; all of this feels so much more supportive and honouring of myself.

  14. I often wonder if excercising, strengthening and building our body should be considered as important as the daily nourishment of food, it’s so vital to have a fit and prepared body both for our work lives and our home lives, but it seems like it often becomes a low priority in our lives.

    1. Good point Meg that exercise is just as important as food for our daily health and yet we often don’t consider it that way or we may be more committed to doing it and looking at how we are doing it.

    2. I agree, a daily exercise regime is super important to nurture and support our bodies with their daily activities.

  15. Exercise is like food, in order to support your body you need to feel how certain foods affect the body and how you feel afterwards, I find exactly the same thing with exercise its all down to how my body feels before, during and after, and it is a forever evolving cycle.

    1. Beautifully said Sally. What you have shared through your experience highlights how the quality in which we approach everything in life can either harm us or heal and supports as such how life truly is medicine.

  16. Exercise is one aspect of how we relate to ourselves. Exercise is perhaps an obvious one regarding what we do to build a body that supports us back. Yet, it also brings something unique to us as well: through it, we learn the importance and the nuances of the art of proportion. Overall, exercise is a field that allows us to work on awareness, hence on our overall quality…. If we do it properly.

  17. I, too, have found responding to my body and what feels appropriate for it rather than what I think is best, or an outcome I wish to achieve, far more supportive and enhancing for my wellbeing.

  18. When we are connected to our body and are actually listening to it the way we move has a very different quality compared to when we are caught up in the mentality of rush and drive to get us to the finish line – this is applicable for anything we do from exercising to washing the dishes, any task at all.

  19. That is what is so beautiful and empowering about the Ageless Wisdom Teachings – that firstly it leaves no-one behind as the teachings addresses all that are here on Earth with a body and Soul, and how we can master living in connection to our bodies and being, to who we are in essence, and be guided by the wisdom that resides therein. Thank you Danielle for sharing just how much more enriching and joyful life is when we live in connection to and guided by our truth within.

  20. Pretty amazing to not adopt the cookie cutter approach where it’s one size fits all. Tailoring a program to every individual makes perfect sense, What works for one person could be detrimental to the next.

    1. Yes, one person might need high cardio, another might need more weight based training. The body always shares what it needs and it is worth connecting to yourself as well as to the level of fitness that keeps you fit for your life, not for someone else’s life.

  21. I can honestly say I have never enjoyed exercising – until Danielle introduced me to exercising in honour of my body and where it is at.

  22. I love this way of exercising, the only way I now choose to exercise, and really great what you are bringing to your client’s Danielle, ‘I now take the time to connect to the person, feel their whole needs, and ensure that the exercises we complete together are in line with the needs of this person and where their body is currently at in order to develop not only a fit and strong body, but also one that is energetically vital, gentle and connected.’

  23. To exercise in consideration and honouring of my body has been a new concept for me, having previously been of the attitude that the more and intensely I exercised the better it was for my fitness and health. I now love exercising in a gentle and honouring way of how my body feels, and have said no to disregarding and abusing my body.

  24. This part of Danielle’s writing has a great impact for any one who wants to see and feel the depth of tenderness one actually holds. “I soon felt that if I did too much exercise or pushed too hard, the exercise would counteract what I was working towards – to feel more energetically vital in my body and more able to stay gentle throughout my day. Instead, I would feel somewhat exhausted, hard or disconnected from my body at the end of the day.” And how our choices in how we exercise impacts on our ability to stay with our natural tenderness.

  25. So much exercise done today pushes and strains the body. So many sports injuries and pride is taken in ‘achieving’ a personal best, regardless of the havoc it plays upon the body in question. Listening to and honouring what my body wants – which can vary each day – is something I have learned from Serge Benhayon’s presentations. It is up to me to listen to my body’s messages and act accordingly, staying present with what I am doing to the best of my ability.

  26. Thanks Danielle, I have been reading a few blogs on exercise and what I have noticed is how we allow our mind to dictate exactly how exercise should be without any consultation with the body. That would be like driving a car in a damaging way but saying “this is how it must be because this is the current way of thinking”. We seem to have quite a hard, uncompromising (if not brutal) way of approaching our body when it comes to exercise, and we are much more respectful, caring and understanding of our car! Thanks for the inspiration to be more body connected as I gently exercise.

  27. For many years I felt the only way to exercise was to push my body and then I would be fitter and stronger, and that is the lie we are sold constantly by the fitness industry. Danielle you raise some really great points around exercise and how the connection with our bodies allows us to honour what movements or exercises feel true for us without any push or strain at all.

  28. I have found that when I have copied another in what they have been doing or have been told what to do and I have listened without discerning first whether it was true to me it never lasted. When the impulse comes from my own body it’s real and there’s no doubt that what I am doing is supporting my body because it is coming from me and therefore from no influence from outside of me.

  29. A very important, well written and simple blog for not only exercise science but the laws and energetic science of all actions. It is proof that there is 2 x types of intelligence we can listen or align to. One of the body; or one of the mind. “No one has told me how to exercise or how to work, this all came from connecting more deeply with myself and my body.” And important to NOTE:
    “It’s not so much changed what exercises I do or what I recommend to others, but it’s changed the way the exercises are done.” A more joy-full experience through connection to the body.

  30. As with anything, I have never experienced Serge telling someone to do things a certain way. He only presents a way that does not lead to the same pandemic of illness and disease in society.

  31. After I have now learned how to connect with my body and feel how to support it, it does not make sense anymore at all to do it any other way, but as you share I too exercised before trying to achieve a certain goal to tick the box of ‘done something for my health’ although it can never be that if it is done in an attitude that is fighting against the body.

  32. I have been starting to go to the gym after 8 years. I find the intensity in which people exercise has gone up, there is a drive, a competition in their training that is excessive. It feels and is abuse to the body to push it like that with bigger weight, faster running etc. It is quite challenging to stay in gentleness and delicateness and honour my body but my body is loud and clear telling me it is made to be love and need no punishment but exercising connected to my body.

    1. That is what makes it harder to choose your own way – because what you are seeing and the messages you are receiving are all high intensity, push, drive, hardness, the list just feels like a desperate need to harden and protect ourselves from feeling this vulnerability and tenderness.

  33. It feels far more honouring of the body’s needs to exercise in consideration of it rather than what many do when they are results driven. It is gorgeous that you are teaching this in the way you are for it is greatly needed to transform not only the industry but our relationship with ourselves as well.

  34. When I look around it seems like the focus is on pushing the body instead of co-operating with it in terms of what it is communicating with us and what it truly needs. It’s quite easy to override how the body feels and just treat it like a slave under our will to create a pretty thing but the body is very intelligent and communicates in a universal language and don’t need a translator unless we ignore what it is saying to us. Then the translator has to come in the form of an injury.

  35. Thank you Danielle for your sharing, I have never been an exercise person feeling that my gardening was enough for me. Exercising these days has so much drive and push and is so much goal oriented that actually harms the body.” where their body is currently at in order to develop not only a fit and strong body, but also one that is energetically vital, gentle and connected.” Beautiful to connect the two.

  36. Exercise and sport come laden with our beliefs about what we should be doing, how we were treated at school, whether we were actually good at sport and what that meant in the pecking order of playing sport. Some people feel that because they were not good at sport, their body has let them down so that they cultivated mental pursuits instead and ignore the body. The body is our vehicle of expression and it is the only one we have in this life. It is important that exercise is for everyone and is not competitive in any way. Exercise is for the enrichment of the body, so that we can live well. Exercise needs to be built into our daily rituals as an honouring of our precious body.

  37. Mainstream excercise is mainly about self abuse, and pushing your body to its breaking point, rather than building its strength and quality so that your body is equipped to deal with life. It’s such a different approach you’re suggesting here – it’s definitely the future in terms of excercise, health and well-being.

  38. Danielle that is a great sharing as it made it very obvious that most of us are exercising in a way that is harming the body – that means that doing sports can be very unhealthy! I only can agree from my own experiences that this “sporting attitude” can have this harming effect but if I am more connected to my body the intensity and way of exercising change immediately and of course my body love this!

  39. I well remember exercising in the past and being completely swept up in the thinking that I had to ‘keep up’. No-one EVER actually said, feel where your own body is at – if you are over-pushing it, you’ll know it.
    And so, I mostly hated it. Exercise (then) felt so disconnecting and draining.
    To approach exercise from awareness of one’s own body and work-play with deepening this awareness is absolute gold – a true revolution that restores exercise to the self-caring, fundamental place it deserves. Thank-you for sharing this Danielle.

  40. Danielle, what you’ve shared here turns the predominant exercise paradigm on its head.
    “…there was very little consideration of how the body was truly coping or responding to the training at the time…” Through actually listening to the body as you’ve described, everything changes, and we can see exercise as something that supports us to live a rich and full life, supported by a body that is well prepared for the activity in our day – rather than the potential to cause harm and injury that is just so prevalent.

  41. When we exercise to support our body to be vital and working harmoniously then our body supports us in all we do but when we push our body to achieve an outcome then our body can become a problem and a distraction.

  42. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a fit and strong body except when it has been attained at the expense of the body rather than in honour and support of it.

  43. “Discovering a way of exercising that is gentle and honouring of what is felt in my body has been life changing for me” I used to go to the gym and felt bad about myself if I didn’t feel like pumping hard. What a blessing to discover that there is another much more gentle way to exercise that my body really loves. Feeling my body as I moved was a whole new revelation to me, when I used to distract myself and get it over with as soon as possible!

  44. It is crazy how we push our bodies to the limit with exercise feeling in some way that this is beneficial. I know I exercised in total disconnection to my body never stopping to listen to the clear messages I was receiving. Through your discovery of exercising with self-love and nurturing Danielle you have been able to support and inspire others to also choose this way of exercise – changing the way I exercise has been key to building a body that has vitality, lightness and is truly strong.

    1. It’s so true Anna, when we stop pushing ourselves so hard with exercise, this overflows into our lives so we become less pushing and more self loving in our everyday lives. The body has a rhythm and a connection we can all feel. Your blog and exercise classes are inspiring Danielle thank you.

  45. Hi Danielle, I love the way you have turned your life around from pushing and competing with yourself to lovingly listening to your body and exercising to fit in with what is needed.I love that you did the work after being inspired by Serge Benhayon. This is so well expressed here:
    “I can confidently say that the inspirations of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, about being more connected to me and my body and being self-loving and nurturing, have allowed my exercise and my work to become of greater quality and integrity. No one has told me how to exercise or how to work, this all came from connecting more deeply with myself and my body.” Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  46. Danielle you have certainly made big changes in your exercise routine and also in the way you teach others. There is a lovely mix of connection and gentle guidance for the individual.

  47. I used to exercise years ago to clear my head and not notice what was happening in my body. Nowadays I exercise much more gently with the focus on my body and what it feels like it wants to do, rather than push it hard. I was explaining this yesterday to someone who said how great it was to run for an hour, (he didn’t much enjoy it) but that was his cardiovascular exercise done for the day. It was interesting that his body is telling him not to push so hard.

  48. It has made such a difference to connect more deeply to my body and exercise in a gentle way, thank you Danielle. Firstly I enjoy exercise more and it’s easier to commit to regularly and I don’t injure myself exercising pushing myself too hard anymore.

  49. Danielle, your exercise classes really highlighted to me how much I pushed my body or was affected by the ‘no pain no gain’ saying. Having worked with you over the years it has been lovely to exercise in a gentle way and in connection with myself, a work in progress that my body responds very well to.

  50. I have just done some exercises that I enjoyed doing with you Danielle. What they gave me was an example of how to learn to develop my own programme for me, and how to tailor them depending how I am feeling. I am getting into a great routine and it really supports me in my day doing my exercises, thank you.

  51. Danielle, I look forward to doing a class with you one day. Until then, I do have the tools and awareness to simply listen to what my body needs and develop an exercise routine for myself 🙂

  52. You have found your own flavour to exercise now it seems. You never needed Serge to show you how it’s done which is very cool. I love doing exercise with you Danielle, It sets me up for the day and I feel so much more with my body as opposed to when I use to exercise and forget about my body and just run for as long as I physically could.

  53. It’s amazing how connecting to ourselves allows us to become aware of the truth of the choices we have been making, therefore gives us an opportunity to choose differently.

  54. The way that we are taught to exercise in school is all about pushing the body beyond it’s limits. We are told that this is how we ‘win’ in life. When we come first in a race, we receive a stamp of recognition and that then becomes our purpose for physical activity, or any activity for that matter. Are we winning against another in how the body looks, how far we run, how much money we earn etc.? I have been experimenting with exercising in connection with God. It brings a whole new dimension to it where it is done to keep in good condition a vehicle that is fit for serving humanity.

  55. I used to go to the gym and with complete disregard to how my body was feeling on the day, drive it hard with an array of intense exercise techniques always under the banner that this is what is accepted as healthy by everyone else, so it must be good for me. I would then drive out of the gym while lighting up a cigarette. How hypocritical and backwards is that! Danielle’s awesome Re- Connect exercise classes have supported me to change how I now exercise and helped me to build a deep honour and appreciation of my body. I truly love exercising this way, and so does my body.

  56. Today’s obsession with exercise and being fit at all costs (especially to the body) has never felt true to me. It is great to hear from an expert on the subject and the changes you have made through connecting to your body – thank you Danielle.

  57. I really enjoyed reading about how you have built a new foundation for exercising and working with your body based on what felt true for you. It’s such a change from so much of what you see in exercise and sporting pursuits these days, as you said it is outcome driven and contains so much push that the body and how you feel seem to be placed well below whatever the perceived goal of the exercise is. It’s refreshing to know that you are pioneering this change Danielle and that you are now able to support others to reconnect back to their bodies and move and exercise in a way that takes into account (and supports) how amazing are bodies (and we) truly are.

  58. So true Danielle, thank you. I can recall the formative years in primary school we were made to do each sport whether we had a want to or not, all the while being tested on how we performed at that particular event. What happens to what is truly there for us kids – the simple joy of movement not for any other reason than how it feels for our body.

  59. I have been inspired by you to exercise to support how I feel every day. I used to try to completely ignore the pain in my body from exercise, wether it be running or weights, now I really enjoy feeling and connecting to my body, and I actually have fun with exercise. I never push myself and have been building a steadiness with exercise that flows into each day. Thank you Danielle for sharing a much more considerate and supportive way of exercising that is about each person feeling for themselves what is needed – it’s gorgeous and pretty much at odds with everything else out there at the moment but very needed.

    1. True Laura that this way of exercising is pretty much the opposite of what is been promoted as being the ideal. No pain no gain is a mantra that most will recognise and I’m sure, many of us have taken on. I didn’t realise how much I had subscribed to this belief until I started exercising in the way Danielle presents and then it came to the surface. It has now been blown out of the water by my own experience of exercising to support my body instead of pushing it hard to fit into some picture or ideal I am holding onto.

      1. As with so many things in life quality is more important than quantity. With exercise it is very tangable to feel the affects of quality of movement on the body.

  60. Thank you Danielle for sharing a much more supportive way to exercise that allows you ‘to feel more energetically vital in my body and more able to stay gentle throughout my day.’ I have always known that my body felt better for doing some exercise but was never consistent with what I did which led to years of back problems. Approaching exercise by feeling what my body needs has totally changed what I do and the intensity with which I do it and my body loves it.

    1. I have found the same as well Helen, that doing some daily exercise is extremely supportive. I know when I miss my morning gym, walk or swim that it feels as if something is missing in my day and then towards the end of the day I find it harder to focus on what I am doing. I have found that doing some weights also helps build not only strength in my body but also strength in my expression. Exercise allows me “to feel more energetically vital in my body”.

  61. Reading this blog brings back memories of when I used to go to the gym, working out and feeling exhausted afterwards. All I was concerned about was losing weight and the appearance of my body. These days, I love walking and the exercise is very different in that I am connected to my body, I am aware of my breathing (whether it is gentle or not) and most of all I am present – there is no abuse to my body and a feeling of not trying to get anywhere but a staying with me. Afterwards instead of the exhaustion, I feel refreshed and energized.

  62. Thanks Danielle for sharing your story. How awesome is that that we don’t actually need anyone to tell us what exercise to do, for how long or how many repetitions. When we connect with our body and feel where it is at, the body can tell us to what intensity to work at and for how long. The key I have found is to not let the mind over ride the body, but continue to come back to feeling my body. I have also found that checking in with my breathing and that it is gentle is also a good indicator to see where I am at. If my breathing becomes heavier or hard, I know that I have disconnected from me. Exercising in connection is a whole different way of exercising that is fun and playful. I never use to like exercise before I started to exercise in connection and in honour of my body. Now I love it!

  63. Hi Danielle, thanks for sharing how it is possible to exercise in a way that is loving and honouring of how the body feels, rather than pushing the body in the ‘no pain no gain’ mentality.

  64. Great blog Danielle! Reading it my memories went back to my teens, when I used to do sport on a more regular basis than now. What I realised, reading your blog, is the fact that I never ever imagined that the best marker to consider when exercising could be how you feel in your body, whilst doing it and in its aftermath. It was all about winning, competing or simply abusing my body for the sake of confirming to myself things I had identified myself with (like how flexible I am).

  65. The awareness you have developed and brought into your work is profound & inspirational. It makes complete sense to exercise with a connection that honours where the body is at and what it truly needs, and to do this in a self-loving and nurturing quality is just a gorgeous approach to something that can otherwise be experienced as quite unpleasant.

  66. I know for me that it became clear from Serge Benhayon’s presentations what was too much exercise – and for me it was when my breath became ‘ragged’, having to open my mouth to take in great gulps of air. Over time I’ve developed a fitness programme when I can raise my heart rate, and my breathing but remain with a gentle breath and so remain with me… not pushing too hard. It puts so much less stress on the body, and using my awareness of my breathing is a great marker of not pushing too hard (which in the past has led to injuries etc).

  67. The outcomes we want from exercise is such a key point. When we are desperate to achieve something through exercise we can be very hard on ourselves and can make it a real slog. But the process itself can be so much fun when we remove the need to achieve and can enjoy exercise and the simple act of moving our bodies. We were after all made to move so we might as well have fun doing it.

    1. I agree Stephen, so often exercise is outcome driven or based on an ideal outside of our bodies that we have to achieve whether it be a competition or a certain body shape or weight. This puts the body immediately into compromise and trauma. It often means we have to over-ride the body. If we let go of outcomes and develop our awareness of our bodies then we can exercise according to what the body feels from the inside which does not compromise or traumatise the body because it always takes the body into account.

      1. I can really relate to being outcome driven when undertaking exercise and also that I drove myself to get it over with as soon as possible in total disregard of my body which led to physical problems and also exhaustion – the complete opposite of what I was trying to achieve! Having fun and feeling what my body needs is so much more enjoyable and supportive of my body and myself.

  68. Danielle, I have experienced a very similar path as one who used to play almost every sport out there, and especially crazy marathons, triathlons, and adventure races. What I found was that there was no end to it as I would always be training for the next more challenging (and physically abusive by the way) race because I never felt ‘enough’. Well, those days are over, and now it’s amazing to feel how I never had to push myself like that and be fit, because just by walking and doing gentle exercises, push ups, etc., I feel fantastic and actually lost weight that was from all the massive carbs and gluten I had consumed training for races (and filling that emptiness I felt). The irony too, is that I would reward myself with beer (a known poison) after a race and after I had been carefully controlling what I ate during the training period prior to the race. This is quite hypocritical, indeed. It’s great what you have shared here Danielle, as it shows how we can really simplify our lives and be more connected to our bodies, allowing them to come to their own natural weight and supporting our bodies to do the work being asked of them.

  69. Thank you for the post I found it interesting as well as confirming for me how exercise should take place for me.

  70. I have also found that re-defining my exercise routine to make it gentler has been much more supportive for my body and how I am able to go about my daily life. This has come about by trusting my body to tell me how much exercise is needed on any given day.

  71. Thank you Danielle as this is a very interesting read for me as I have in the past either pushed my body too hard or not done any exercise at all which are both not great at all, I am currently learning to regularly do gentle exercise that works me, my body and my life style in my own time which is working out to be an amazing way to do it. And really simple and fun.

  72. Thanks Danielle, until I worked with you I hadn’t realised the difference between working to someone elses’ program and working with what my body wanted and needed to support me in the work that I was doing. It is a constantly unfolding exercise 🙂

  73. Having pushed my body to the extremes as an endurance athlete I found I was always stiff, sore or nursing an injury. I would get a cold or the flu really easily and take a long time to recover. Yet I thought I was super fit. In fact I was quite exhausted and compensated for this by eating a lot of sugar and caffeine, pasta, cakes and anything starchy. Being able to exercise more respectfully of what my body can handle and by keeping in my limits I can now keep my body fit and healthy without having to hurt myself, get sick or wearing my body out. For me I find walking, swimming, gentle stretching and light weight training work really well. It is refreshing not to have to “go for the burn” and let go of the no pain no gain mentality that I was taught you had to apply to be healthy and fit.

  74. I too was pushing my body beyond it limits during all the sports, aerobic activities, weight training, just to be the best, run the fastest, lift the biggest weight and at the end of it all feel so exhausted but kept pushing myself everyday not listening to what my body was telling me. Two years ago I got injured at work. All I wanted to do was get back to the gym to strengthen my back muscles so I could go do all the sports that I was doing before, that was until I met Danielle and the Universal Team. Danielle has shown me how to connect to body, listen to what my body wants so I can then work on those areas. I still go to the gym, swim, walk and exercise, in a much more loving way, and still get the same result I was before but without the exhaustion at the end off each session. Thanks Danielle and Kate you are truly amazing.

  75. Danielle, what you have shown me through your workshops and own exploration has given me a much deeper appreciation of how much I used to push myself in exercise, it was almost like I was wanting to throttle my body. To have a new way to approach exercise is an inspiration that I got from you.

    1. I think the ‘throttling’ your body analogy is a vey common theme in the way most people exercise today, a big part of it is to ignore the pain or get through it by disconnecting to what you’re feeling. What Danielle has shared is so much more supportive and honouring of our bodies, more gentle, fun and simple, and yet the effects are very powerful.

  76. I have had sessions with Danielle and can say that from these sessions I am learning to feel into what exercises to do for my body. Danielle has supported me to connect more to my physical body in a very loving, nurturing and gentle way and after having studied Physical Education for 4 years at University I can’t say how grateful I am for this different view on exercise. My body really appreciates it!

    1. I love this point “having studied Physical Education for 4 years at University I can’t say how grateful I am for this different view on exercise.” It’s interesting to note that the universities and training organisations all present exercise in a similar way, which is the amount we all need and require is based a lot on scientific research and how much we can do, towards a maximum. To date there is no research showing that this may be too much exercise and that in fact we can monitor according to very small adaptations In our body and only the need to do very gentle exercise.

      1. Research is needed into exercise as the way you have continually presented, feels amazing and thus with the programs that you offer Danielle a new model for exercise is assured!

    2. I absolutely love this approach to exercise as well – learning to feel what exercises support the body – it is much simpler and simply makes so much more sense.

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