Rediscovering Our Body’s Lovely Flow

by Kate Greenaway BAppSc (Physiotherapy), Australia

Recently I had a fascinating experience that highlighted to me the difference between moving and exercising in a gentle flowing way, or pounding and pushing the body. I was packing my car after a lovely time exercising in the local pool – two middle-aged men were running down a steep cement driveway near me – they were literally pounding and jarring their bodies. They were red and puffy in their faces and they looked miserable. I was feeling really fluid and content in my body from the gentle moving and swimming that I had just done, and then to feel what these men were doing to their bodies almost made me wince as they slammed their bodies with each step. From my work in physiotherapy over the last 28 years I know this sort of activity to be extremely damaging to the joints of the legs and spine, and to the deep soft tissue that supports them.

This gave me pause; I remembered it was only a few years ago that I myself was pelting up and down the local pools to do my ’40 laps’, or pushing myself up the gazillion steps to the Byron Bay Lighthouse to feel good about doing something ‘healthy’ and ‘good’ for my body. Part of my drive came from that ‘I should have a healthy body’ as I was a physiotherapist, and ‘how could I tell my clients to look after their bodies and exercise, if I wasn’t?’

That drive was behind years of dabbling in all sorts of exercise. You name it – I tried it … from gym and weight workouts to twisting myself into all sorts of shapes with all styles of yoga – to a slow series of movements in Tai Chi and Chi Gung. I even studied Tai Chi in the UK under a ‘master’, and diligently practised even though my knees were giving me clear messages that this wasn’t a natural way to move and exercise. I realise now that all I did was make my body hard, and like these middle-aged men pelting past me I, was punishing my body rather than supporting it.

I had made moving and exercise, as with other things in my life, complex and outcome based, rather than a simple enjoyment of my body’s natural way of moving.

I remember as a little girl loving the lightness and spring in my body and being fascinated with how there was a flow in my body and in animals’ bodies and in nature too – especially in the trees and in water. I also loved the feeling of that gentle rippling through the body when I floated in water – it was a bonus having friends with pools growing up in Australia!!! Somewhere along the line I lost that love of my body and replaced it with what my body ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t do’.

When I was in my 30’s I was considered very healthy by the standard medical parameters, but I had low vitality, was moody – especially in the early mornings, and each day was just a job to get done.

When I was 35 a physio friend introduced me to Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine – that was a pivotal point in my life. I had the same love for the body and its biomechanics as he did from his sporting background, but he had a deeper awareness and knowing of the body’s natural healing than anyone I had met. This challenged me initially, as I equated knowledge of the body with some sort of traditional medical training, yet here was a man without that but with a far greater understanding of the body than all the health professionals I had known over the past 15 years. He just always made sense, and I could see that he lived what he presented – that your body’s vitality gradually comes back as you live more gently in it. It took me years to understand what being gentle and more self loving with my body meant, and I am still learning. As I became aware that the way I exercised and how I chose to exercise had made my body hard, I stopped most of what I used to do. But that didn’t work either as my body became weak and less toned.

Over the last 12 years I have been to most of the Universal Medicine presentations, and Serge Benhayon has never told anyone what exercise to do or not do – he has just shared what has supported his body. So over the last few years I have rekindled my appreciation of the natural flowing movement in my body when I walk, swim or do my light weights. As soon as I go back into the old way with ‘I must do three more bicep curls’, it’s as if another 5 kg is loaded on my arm and my body goes hard. When I come back to enjoying the natural flow of the movement and am open to learning from my body, that same movement with that same weight is easy and light. It’s still a work in progress – or really a ‘love in progress’. That old program of ‘exercise must do’s’ is so strong that I can slip into the ‘doing’ of it pretty easily. This is slowly changing as I catch these moments – enjoy my flowing movement again and just keep it simple as to how and what my body wants to do at that time. When I do this it’s like my body sighs with relief; over time the hardness continues to melt.

I have shared this with many clients over these recent years, and they have learnt to appreciate and even love their bodies again.

One of the best things to all of this is that exercise and movement have become fun and way more playful. It has made a big difference to my life. I am more confident in who I am and have re-discovered how lovely it feels being me. I am now in my late 40’s and I have way more vitality and joy in my body than I had in my late 20’s!!!

110 thoughts on “Rediscovering Our Body’s Lovely Flow

  1. Thanks Kate — so true. I just did the Byron Bay lighthouse this morning and I saw a number of people wincing in pain as they jarred their joints on their daily jog. My walking was brisk and I built up a sweat and swimming gives me a good cardio workout but neither are hard on the joints which is a huge plus.

    1. To see the agony in people’s faces whilst their exercise and feel the force they put on their bodies is excruciating to watch at times, but we are so trained to push our bodies to the limit that we actually believe that this is healthy.

  2. Such a lovely and inspiring piece, Kate. Especially interesting how a movement that looks as flowing and gentle as Tai Chi and Chi Gung (which I too used to practice) can actually be hardening one’s body as well as conforming to a rigid protocol instead of merely enjoying your own body’s natural movements throughout the day, like you mentioned.

    1. I did Tai Chi for a while too and as you say Michael, had not considered that the fact that the movements required holding certain positions could / would be hard on my body and / or cause my body to tense. At the time, I don’t think I realised this as my body was already familiar with hardness however I considered that because it looked slow on the outside that it would be supportive. The more however I have learnt to truly connect to my body, the more I am able to be aware when I am choosing an activity where my body tenses and hardens and I am more able to choose activities that naturally support it.

  3. Thanks Kate this is a super interesting blog and gives some real insight into how by actually listening to our bodies we can have that feeling of “lightness and spring in our bodies” from when we were kids. I for one, can relate and would love to get that feeling back as a constant when excerising rather than the drive I have also learned as an adult to tone, slim down, get fit etc that I too can slip back into, how fun does “love in progress” sound! A way lovelier exercise plan to me. Yum😊

  4. Thank you Kate. I love it when you say “that your body’s vitality gradually comes back as you live more gently in it”… this just makes so much sense, and I have felt this for myself.

    1. Yes Sara, that is a great one, true and prophetic: “that your body’s vitality gradually comes back as you live more gently in it.”

  5. Thanks Kate your unfolding re exercise and being playful with your body is something that I am developing also. I have recently participated in a group session you ran which looked at how to move and be playful with the body. The best thing for me during this session was remembering what it felt like to be a child and to move my body. Something you shared was that the body likes to ‘slide and glide’ which is very different to ‘pounding and jarring’.

  6. Thanks for sharing Kate.
    Great point that a lot of people go from hard exercise to no exercise at all.
    Exercising gentle is awesome & so much fun and is something we need to incorporate into our loving rhythms to support our body.

    1. I feel into this trap too, hard core to nothingness and my body continued to suffer, albeit in a different way. I know that doing no exercise isn’t caring for self at all and as I’m all into self care, then exercise needs to play a part!

  7. Thank you Kate! There always seemed to be a sort of ‘Hair shirt’ mentality to
    exercising. A sort of ‘no pain no gain’ thing. It seems almost magical that just by
    listening to our bodies, we can enjoy exercise so much more and also benefit so much
    more!

  8. Kate such an awesome blog. I love what you share. I’m learning to exercise again, after ignoring it for some time and I’m slowly finding how the stiffness and hardness I hold myself in doesn’t have to be – I can feel when you talk about the natural flow we felt as children and how my body has been missing that. As I exercise in a gentle and flowing way, I catch glimpses of that playfulness again and will enjoy playing with and exploring this more. Definitely ‘love in progress’ as you describe.

  9. This morning I woke early in a different environment after travelling and adjusting to a different time frame, and I began to do the connective tissue exercises that I learned from you. This was a beautiful gentle start to my day. Then I lay on the floor and began to do some exercises. My body was very happy with these choices, there was no resistance from my mind either! Thank you for taking this path yourself so that you can inspire others.

  10. I was the opposite, and hated to exercise because it all seemed so complicated and would exhaust me. The gentle way of moving has transformed my relationship with my body; feeling the fluidity of the body joyful, and always a work in progress.

  11. A lovely gentle reminder to be more gentle and playful when I exercise thank you Kate. The way we exercise feels so ingrained and habitual, and it feels so amazing when I stop feel and connect to my body, then move form that connection.

  12. Re-imprinting the gym is something anyone with years of routine is going to have to feel into; something I continue to play with. Following a routine with discipline for example is mind driven, feeling into what’s next, how many reps or what weight is to be lifted is a whole new ball game – not to mention then the intention and way the exercise is conducted. There’s some great reminders in here thanks Kate, thank you.

  13. Treating our bodies like something that has to be whipped into shape through hard , pushing exercise programs doesn’t make sense and as you say Kate , its doesn’t work like that in nature . I too wince when I see joggers pounding the pavement as I can feel all that potential damage to the joints, connective tissue; gentle exercise makes much more sense to me.

  14. Gorgeous Kate, the way you write has that lovely flow of you and reminds me to be more in the flow of my life rather than the push. I feel the flow comes from really connecting to yourself in each moment and feeling what is needed rather than imposing on your body with thoughts of how you should be or act. While not in perfection I am definitely taking more time to be with myself in this way and the difference is amazing. Thank you for the inspiration.

  15. Kate this was just gorgeous to read – the way you speak of enjoying the natural flow of movement from your body and how lovely it feels to be in this connection, has deeply inspired me to take this into my exercising and to learn from and be with my body in a new way. Thank you.

  16. Great blog Kate. Your experience dispels the myth of the ‘no pain, no gain’ approach to exercising.

    1. Yes Peter and it’s just being able to realise exercise is saying yes to loving your body more. Gentle exercise is allowing more love into ones life and body…so why can’t l motivate myself to do more of it? Why am l resisting more love in my life??

  17. This is an inspiring blog Kate. Three comments: 1. when we exercise we do not consider the whole as we override the messages of our own body saying this is not it (like in the Tai Chi in your case). 2. I just love “in your body’s vitality gradually comes back as you live more gently in it.” Pure wisdom and truth. 3. This blog makes a great case: exercise is necessary to support where one is and where is going.

  18. I’ve explored lots of different exercise regimes over my life – from the super fit requirements of rowing through to the practically non-existent / occasional exercise. After so many injuries, niggles, problems and a fair bit of help and coaching from Kate Greenaway I’ve found the exercise that suits me best.
    It’s not always the same – it depends how I feel. It’s low impact so my body doesn’t get damaged, but with a bit of cardio and muscular work so I’m fit for purpose (whatever purpose that is). And I don’t go about killing myself so I actually enjoy the workout rather than dreading it!
    The benefits are fantastic – do it regularly, and the rhythm supports me to stay consistent and steady. If I get caught up in other things, and don’t make the effort – the wheels come off all too quickly.

  19. Thank you Kate for your blog, I have never been much interested in exercise for exercise sake. but since learning the connective tissue exercise from you, I just love how how beautiful my body feel while doing them, it brings me back to feel the flow of love that is there in my body.

  20. Great sharing, I never did any exercise and when I did some it felt always hard work for me and I didn’t like it. Now I am discovering how exercise can be fun and harmonious within your body. Its such a difference to exercise with an expected outcome or tasks to do compared to exercising from a communication with the body. Its great to explore how every day is different, I sometimes go to the gym with the intention to swim and when I am in the water I realize that that day I just want to be floating in the warm water pool and sitting in the steam bath feeling my body surrender to the warmth, meanwhile another day I love swimming 20 laps. Today I can feel how exercise supports me and makes me fit for life!

  21. Thank you Kate Greenaway for presenting the fact that our body is gentle by nature. I can connect to this and can call it a fact as well because I feel the hardness in my body when I am moving it out of rhythm, but when I respect the rhythm it tells me to move with, it is as you say, responding with a sight of relief, allowing me to connect deeper to the true nature of it. The visualisation that comes to me is like the gentle ripple effect in water, in this gentle way my bodies tissues are communicating with each other and anything imposed upon in another energy feels brutal and harming to those tender tissues.

    1. Nvanhaastrecht I loved your comment and it’s interesting but the simple statement that you made about our bodies being ‘gentle by nature’ really stood out to me. It made me realise just how much of the time we are going against nature.

  22. Beautiful Kate. It is lovely to be reminded of the flow, the playfulness and the grace that I lived as a child. As much as we think access to living, expressing and appreciating these feelings as adults is out of reach, as you have illustrated they are not. Great blog.

  23. I agree Kate. More flow makes for more vitality but I didn’t realise that my body didn’t flow till I took time out. That came from a simple Esoteric Massage or Connective Tissue session. Afterwards I kept knocking into things or would find I turned the tap on and the water flew out! I could feel my body saying ‘hey slow down’ or ‘why are you tensing?’ those moments were great markers. Could I run now? Nope. Do I need to … Nope 🙂

  24. Somewhere along the line I lost that love of my body and replaced it with what my body ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t do’. How many of us can relate to this, losing the love with our bodies and the connection we had to our bodies as children? And as a result, if you are not loving the body you are bashing the body, which I did on a daily basis, then is it any wonder our bodies malfunction, break-down, become sick etc. Everything changed in my life when I stopped my body bashing and began instead to self care, nourish and nurture me and my body.

  25. This is a great question to ask when exercising – Am I punishing my body rather than supporting it?
    I used to think it was great that I could push through that pain barrier and keep on running many years ago, but now I really appreciate feeling that gentle flow in my body when I exercise. I walk up the steepest hill in the town I live most evenings, I can feel my body working, but I don’t end up out of breath or knackered at the top, I feel steady and fit and well supported.

  26. I was someone who used to be a sports fanatic- from the age of four I played team sports and never missed a winter or summer season of sport whether it be hockey, soccer, rowing, outraging, softball, swimming, cricket, netball- whatever the team game- I was into it. It never occurred to me to exercise to support my body it was always about pushing my body. Now it makes total sense to move in a way that is more natural for the body but it was something I had never considered before doing your exercise classes, Danielle.

  27. I have felt deeply supported by you Kate in my coming to admit to myself that what smashing it out in the gym was really doing to my body. With a rolled ankle a couple of times and a tear in my calf, enough was finally enough for me to do away with the ingrained way I had exercised and begin to take a different approach, one that was not harming. In feeling the difference those changes have made I have not ever enjoyed the movement of my body more. I’ll never go back to the way I used to thrash it around.

  28. Thank You Kate I really enjoyed reading Your blog. It feels so inspiring and I like how clearly and honestly you expressed this. Lovely to read how You can bring this understanding and Your livingness also into the livingness of Your clients. This is so inspiring :)! Wow yeah I feel also related to the should and stopped doing and now started moving with some gentle exercises each morning and am on the way to get some more gentle workout for my body :)…thank You dear. With love Nadine

  29. ‘I had made moving and exercise, as with other things in my life, complex and outcome based, rather than a simple enjoyment of my body’s natural way of moving.’ Thank you Kate for the inspiration to move with my body rather than against it as I did for so many years.

  30. This is brilliant Kate and such an encouraging read. My way has always been to want to do less work as I become easily drained but what I have started being aware of is all the ways I am hard with myself and how this feels like a heavy weight for my body to carry around. Even walking heavily creates pressure and pounds our joints just like you described with the two men you saw running. I will take great inspiration from your blog going forward in the way I choose to move! I was reflecting on this the other day and considered that no-one really teaches us how to move or rather, we are often not encouraged to move at our natural pace when growing up and so everything can be a rush. Becoming more aware of my body since attending Universal Medicine events, I am increasingly more aware of how my movements when I am working for example often have a push and a drive to get ahead and so I will practice more enjoying my movements as when we’re not exerting pressure on ourselves the fluidity of our movements opens our heart which leaves us feeling beautiful.

  31. It is great to dispel the myth of ‘fitness’. Many professional athletes who are at their peak do not feel well, vital or joyful. It is lovely to hear from your experience, Kate.

  32. Kate when I walk through the gym to get to the yoga room I am very aware that most of the men who are lifting weights are not having a good time. They are often pausing for long periods, seemingly reluctant to lift another stack. I used to exercise in a very strenuous way but thought at the time that I loved it.I got a pretty big buzz from a combination of loud music and hormones. The buzz never lasted though and after a while I realised that I was exercising to cover up a general feeling of agitation. As a result of making gradual changes to my life I now no longer live with agitation and interesting my desire to push hard with exercise has gone. In fact I choose to exercise in a way that does not change the way that I feel but actually confirms the way that I feel.

  33. Wow, Kate. “I had made moving and exercise, as with other things in my life, complex and outcome based, rather than a simple enjoyment of my body’s natural way of moving” – this is very exposing and I love it.

  34. For many years I was one of those runners who pounded their bodies on the pavement almost daily. I trained and pushed myself to run even when I was unwell, it was completely mad and looking back my body was very hard and masculine looking. Thanks goodness I have stopped running or exercising in a way that harmed my body. I now also enjoy exercising more gently and this is something I am developing more and more – so your blog is an awesome support and a great reminder Kate – thank you.

  35. I love how you make the link between moving with gentleness and flow and returning to true vitality. I can see how I exhaust myself when I choose to move in a driving or pushing energy. This blog reminds me to bring a gentle flow to all I do.

  36. Thank you Kate, It is lovely to feel the difference it makes when we” live more gently” in our bodies. There is no push and no energy drain, and as you say the body’s vitality returns.
    Gentleness is a balm and can completely change the way energy flows through the body. The harshness melts and there is a lightness and fluidity in the body.

  37. Beautiful to feel the flow that comes through your writing Kate.
    I have always loved movement and physical activity and have tried many different forms of exercise, yoga and dance. I can now clearly feel the difference when any movement is approached from the mind compared to the body, how it f e e l s in the body. It sounds so obvious but it is the quality in which we move that either impacts or allows a flow and fluidly throughout.

  38. “I had made moving and exercise, as with other things in my life, complex and outcome based, rather than a simple enjoyment of my body’s natural way of moving.” I agree Kate, this is what i realized yesterday in the gym moving and exercise is not about enjoying and connecting to our body but to get something like a fit or good looking body or muscles. Thats why the gym are set up with music and TV to rather check out and to push harder during the exercise.

  39. When I have been at the gym, there is a tendency some days to go hard with my body and push the activity rather than being gentle with myself. I feel much more myself and connected when I do not push but do gentle exercise. I also feel that in terms of results, it benefits my fitness levels as well, my heart rate still increases but I do not push myself in to pain or become out of breath. I pay attention to how my body feels. I feel much more vital than I did 15 years ago.

  40. I remember previously when I used to exercise, and if it wasn’t hurting that day or the next than I would feel I wasn’t putting enough effort into it. Now I know that true exercise is about gently exercising the body, not putting strain on the body but feeling which exercises need to be done to support ourselves.

    1. I totally forgot about the pain the next day and too right if you weren’t in a world of pain or walking all funny the next day then you didn’t train or work out hard enough. Wow great reminder

  41. The way I was doing exercise – pump classes with huge weights and boot-camps which saw me running up sanddunes to the point of almost vomiting – was too harsh and causing exhaustion rather than making me more vital, healthy and alive. I was strong and toned and trim, but that was just the outside facade. The way I exercised did nothing for my inner self, my mental strength, or my emotional strength. And so I stopped and did nothing, and became sloppy, judgmental and a bit sad. So not doing exercise wasn’t it either I realised. So introducing walks as my exercise was my next step. I have always walked as my exercise, but they were power walks, done because I wanted to look better. My intention now comes from within, as I ask myself what will the exercise do for my whole self, not just my facade. I’m yet to try weights again, but I’m sure that is in my future. It feels really good to give my body the chance to tell me what and how it needs to exercise.

  42. Kate I love how you describe how as a child your movements were in a natural flow. Almost everyone has lost this flow and connection with their bodies and has become hard as an adult. I have been doing 3 years of gentle exercise and each time my body lets go of some of the hardness it is amazing how responsive my body is when I stop punishing it, and move in the gentle way it likes to move, my body loves to rebuild its natural flow.

  43. Kate what a lovely way to interpret the reconnection with our body as “a ‘love in progress”.
    I have learnt much from Universal Medicine and my exercise regime nowadays is so much more gentle than the pounding I used to put my body through. As the hardness melts away it is replaced by gentleness and vitality.

  44. ‘Love in progress’ – hilarious! This breaks down all consciousnesses around hard training and working strained towards something that we have to reach and that we are not yet. How empty were the old days of wanting to be something that I am not. Yeah, love in progress means I am already everything I need to be.

  45. You never hear someone say that they are more vital and have more love of life in their late forties let alone late 30’s ,thats were I’m at. I agree with Kate 100% the more gentle you are how much more alive you are.

  46. I love that Kate, ‘love in progress’ Sometimes when I do my gentle exercises in the morning in front of the mirror I will see my face and how serious I look, then I know I have gone into ‘I have to do so and so’ instead of going with the flow in my body. It is joyful though to expose myself and smile to myself in the mirror when I come back to feeling the love in my body.

  47. Thanks Kate, I too have been rediscovering my body’s natural flow and with this the natural joy of moving in connection with my body.

  48. For many years I too used to push and drive myself jogging and pounding my body at the gym thinking that I was helping my body to stay fit and active. All the while I was doing this never once did I feel or listen to how my body was doing or realise how much I was actually harming it. Discovering gentle exercise movements has enabled me to start to let go of the hardness in my body through deepening the connection with myself and enjoying my body’s natural flow and rhythm.

  49. The body needs light weight exercises, as I have recently discovered after going to the gym for about 4 months.

    I’m currently 21 and rarely did any exercise while in high school. I never liked doing weights as I always felt I had to go hard and fast, as this was what everyone else was doing. This caused a lot of pain, so I never got into it.

    Recently I felt the need to start doing weights. When I do weights I take it easy, I don’t let rep counts dictate how many biceps curls I do but instead constantly check in with my body to assess how many are needed.

    I also think we can over do training session for no real gain. As soon as the body hits a peak point of muscle fibre tears the muscles only build up lactic acid and no further benefit can be achieved during that training session. The reason we over extend ourselves is because we are constantly trying to be an image in the shortest possible time frame instead of allowing the body take its own shape in its own space of time.

  50. Exercise as a simple enjoyment of my body’s natural way of moving. Going from punishing the body to supporting it. Now that’s a paradigm shift! It also makes me realise the extent to which I have been influenced by a huge consciousness around health and fitness – it being necessarily hard and making my body hard as a consequence. Moving away from punishing the body to fully supporting it makes real sense, particularly as you begin to get older and all that pavement bashing really starts literally to grate on your joints. My biggest take-away from your blog is this gem: ‘your body’s vitality gradually comes back as you live more gently in it.’ I figure I’ll never find that quote in any gym. So thank you for the inspiration and the instruction, Kate. Priceless.

  51. It is amazing how we push our body in the belief that we are exercising to be fitter, when actually the way many of us exercise is more harming to the body overall. We end up with stiff joints, needing new hips or often knee surgery to make good the damage we have caused. When we are connected to our inner selves and our body, we get to feel if a certain way of exercise is supporting or not. Our body responds much more to gentle exercise, that is respectful of our body rather than strenuous exercise that we push our body through.

  52. “I had made moving and exercise, as with other things in my life, complex and outcome based, rather than a simple enjoyment of my body’s natural way of moving.” Well said Kate, I am also rediscovering my body’s natural flow and it is lovely to feel the lightness and joy in moving in harmony with my body and being connected with myself.

  53. Love the title Kate, when I read it my body went yes, let me feel that lovely flow again that was once there….
    this is the way forward, for once I can feel that lovely flow back in my body again, life begins to flow too, as the saying goes, as within, so as without. What is blocking this lovely flow in my body, is still hanging onto protection and hardness I have chosen, which I am working on to clear and heal.

  54. “I had made moving and exercise, as with other things in my life, complex and outcome based, rather than a simple enjoyment of my body’s natural way of moving.” This certainly rung a chord with me as I used to constantly push myself in ‘doing’ everything. Presentations by Serge Benhayon and from observing how he lives has inspired me to introduce a gentle flow and appreciation into my body and to my movements.

  55. Gentleness in movement really is a work in progress for me, it is remarkable the difference in lifting the same weight with a different intention. Remove the stress and tension of the outcome and it does change the workout – that has certainly been my experience. To exercise just to support the body is much easier to commit to than trying to get to a goal of lifting more or looking bigger.

    1. I like how you put that Stephen, ; To exercise just to support the body is much easier to commit to than trying to get to a goal of lifting more or looking bigger. It has taken me a long time, but this is also where I have come to. I do gentle connective tissue exercises daily and walk daily which support my body and all my activities throughout my day.

  56. There is a sentence here, about how exercise can feel like it is ‘punishing the body’. That is exactly the mentality I had when I was in sport, and an echo of it survives to this day. How extraordinary that we champion this as the best way to look after our bodies, especially when there is a wealth of evidence that shows what this does to our bodies after 30 or 40 years of it.

  57. I loved gentle exercise and found that easy when I was a kid but most sports seemed so hard and the attitude of the players and coaches was hard in many ways, and I shied away from it. So exercise for me was something I considered to be fraught with unpleasantness and sport felt horrible. Mind you, I still ran all the way to the train every morning up and down hills, never leaving myself enough space to gently walk and I never saw the folly of that.
    It feels so supportive to now have good reasons to be gentle with my body, to leave enough space for gentle movement, to have exercises and even make up exercises that support me and are not competitive in any way. My body feels so joyful to be supported in this way.

  58. I’ve never really enjoyed exercise – but it was because how I was doing it was not enjoyable. Pushing myself because I wanted to lose weight or look a certain way felt like punishment and I ended up not doing anything at all. I have now got an understanding that exercise can actually be about connecting to my body and feeling what is needed. I want to exercise to confirm myself, not try to be or look another way.

  59. Kate, I love the way you write about the body. Your playfulness and wonder are super contagious and it makes me want to pay extra close attention to how my body moves and what it communicates. The potential of the relationship we can have with our body is limitless, in that it is our best friend if we honour and respect what it needs to be full and vital.

  60. ‘It took me years to understand what being gentle and more self loving with my body meant, and I am still learning.’ So true Kate, there can still be a push in my movements to get the job done instead of feeling the flow in my body and take my quality with me in every movement. This morning when I was working in the garden, I could feel when I was sweeping the path, how I could do it joyfully and effortlessly – a joy to feel!

  61. Thank you Kate, I love how you describe that as children we actually have this naturalness and flow with our bodies and that it is possible to return to this harmonious and joyful way of moving.

  62. Kate thank you so much for sharing your insight you have made with your body as it helped me to be more patient with me. I only can agree: “That old program of ‘exercise must do’s’ is so strong that I can slip into the ‘doing’ of it pretty easily.” Therefore it needs my constant awareness and my choice to stopp this “doing thing” as long as it will take to change this ingrained behavior in my body.

  63. Kate I am in my early 50’s and I have much more vitality and energy than I did when I was 20 and 30. My eyes shine, and just yesterday I was told how great my skin was! The pivotal point for me also was meeting Serge Benhayon and then making different life style choices that support me to nurture and truly nourish my body. And my body loves me for all the attention I now give it!

  64. Identifying and using the lovely flow in the body is key.

    In the past I used to think without pain nothing was achieved however I have realised it’s not about getting big or toned but providing ourselves with a body that is fit for life, not just looks.

  65. By rekindling our love for our body it revitalizes our natural flow and grace. This flow can not only be felt within but also emanates outwardly to inspire others to do the same.

  66. I think too often the way people approach exercise is similar to the way they do life … through making it complex and outcome focused and therefore denying the simplicity and beauty of just aligning to the flow that is there to guide us should we choose to connect to it.

  67. I lost the love of my body too Kate and like you I too punished my body rather than support it. However, these days that is no longer the case, as I now love taking care of myself and my body, and my body loves me for this choice and works with me communicating and guiding me with what best supports it. But what is key, is that now I listen! It is very self-nurturing to self-support and what have found is that I am way less needy, not needing anything from others…. this is a big contrast to the past where I was very needy and deeply insecure.

  68. Wonderfull confirmation that hard workouts do not work. I have never enjoyed any kind of weight training and I realize now that it was because I was doing it for an outcome rather then because it felt right. Things do not have to be uncomfortable in order to be productive.

    I am surrendering (no more working) to my life and when I can do this, magical things start to happen.

  69. This is so lovely to read Kate! What a difference to move the body from inside out, honouring its natural flow and suppleness instead of forcing an idea of what is healthy onto the body from the outside in.

  70. I love what I am reading over and over again in these blogs around exercise. There is a clear sense that exercising is good for the body – we all know that, but it is actually the quality of the way we approach exercise, why and how we are doing it that has an enormous affect on the outcome.

  71. Gorgeous to read and feel how playful and fun your exercise has become Kate, and how intune you are with your body knowing when to stop which is completely different when pushing, driving and forcing the body to do 5 more sit-ups for example when in fact the body had communicated it had had enough exercise 20 or so minutes ago.

  72. What? Exercise can be a joyful and nourishing experience, where we needn’t push ourselves to extremes, nor harden and therefore numb ourselves from feeling the acute sensitivity of these physical bodies we inhabit?
    Thank-you Kate, your sharing here is like sunshine through the finest of rain, to a body that is also appreciating a loving and connected way of exercising and moving, after years of activity that was performance-based and the rest.

    1. I definitely feel weller and more vital at 50 than any time before in my life and my relationship with my body and my approach to exercise is worlds away from the critical, driven, torturous route I was on. A beautiful, confirming read, thank you, Kate.

  73. Learning to exercise gently instead of pushing my body in a hard driven way is a totally different way of being with and relating to my body. Every time I do ‘exercise’ I slip into the old ways of pushing and striving – but learning how to move in a way where the body flows instead of being pushed feels completely different and expansive.

  74. Kate, what you have shared here about exercise is beautiful…it is about letting go of the ‘should’ and ‘should nots’ and allowing the body to show the way to exercise. I have come from a strong sporting background where I used to train for competition tennis playing 15-20 hours per week at times and then going running and stretching on the side. From here I transitioned into running 3-4 x per week and then yoga, at times doing 4 hours in a day. But all this was under a push and a way to justify that I was fit and healthy whilst all the time I was unhappy and even addicted to these exercises and sport in order to not feel an unhappiness lying within. Thankfully I have allowed most of this type of exercise to be shelved and now I go for walks and do light weights to support my muscle strength and tone. I still feel I need to develop more of a rhythm with this but overall I know that so long as I do not do it with a push or a drive, it feels great in my body and certainly supports me in ways that I did not even realise – sometime a simple series of weights done a few days in a week seems to grow my muscles instantly! I am surprised to notice these changes that can happen so fast!

  75. I stared clear of exercise for a long time because I thought it was all about pushing and enduring and I just didn’t like or enjoy that. Once I was introduced to a more gentle form of exercise then that changed everything for me. I now enjoy exercise, walking, going to the gym etc and my body almost sings when I exercise in this way. I simply love it.

  76. ‘That your body’s vitality gradually comes back as you live more gently in it.’ I would never have believed this before I came along to Universal Medicine presentations as I was convinced the only way to exercise was the ‘no pain – no gain’ sort of attitude. What you share here Kate has also been my experience and I have noticed my energy levels more stable and higher than 30 years ago – this is truly powerful and needs to be shared more widely through medical journals and magazines.

  77. There is an intelligence in the body that is far greater than “this is the only way” or “try this way it works for me”. The body changes from moment to moment. It is great to have a plan but the body has its own plan – its natural way of evolving to the next point. It makes sense we live in dis-harmony to the body and create dis-ease with it because we do not listen for it’s natural flow.

  78. I find it wise to respond to what the body needs (work in progress). I agree with Kate and it’s the greatest gift to give to yourself YOU – “I am more confident in who I am and have re-discovered how lovely it feels being me.”

  79. This is such a beautiful testimony that true change is so very possible, that we can let go of all the hardness and coping mechanisms we have adapted to get through life and actually come back to a way of moving where gentleness and tenderness is the quality we move in and then are naturally with each other.

  80. So much exercise done today is outcome based. I remember starting jogging with a friend in the early mornings, eventhough my body – and I – hated every moment. Learning to listen to what my body wants was one of the revelations I got from listening to Serge Benhayon’s presentations. Nowadays I love walking, sometimes more gently and sometimes moving faster, all depending on what is needed on a particular day. Our body ‘is the marker of all truth’. SB. Yes.

  81. There is great joy in reading this article. Gentle, light weight exercise that suppprts our body to return to a vitality one has not felt for years is a true reflection of the power of choosing to move our body so that our essence can be felt and influential on the health of our bodies.

  82. I have started to find a lot of pleasure in walking and enjoying the feel of my body as I take each step. This is miles away from the punishing exercise regimes I used to put myself through, but these days I have a much greater respect for my body and no longer want to treat it harshly.

  83. Having more vitality in your 40’s than in your 20’s needs to be studied and the results shared widely. It is such a common held belief that we decline as we get older and to almost ‘let ourselves go’. This turns it on its head! And yes whilst our body of course declines from general wear and tear, we can still have this vitality on how we are with our bodies.

    1. It’s an important point Sarah, as just by being more gentle and allowing our movements to flow we may not only find increased vitality, but there may also be a reduction in injury, wear and tear and it may even be supportive to reduce pain related conditions. Be great to see a study on this topic.

  84. Beautiful Kate, thank you. As I read this I feel a new relationship with my body and its movements initiating. How hard I have been on myself! Ouch.

  85. It’s so easy to slip back in to the mentality of pushing our bodies to do what we think is good for us. It’s such an ingrained way of being and thinking. I love the way you describe feeling fluid and content in your body and the contrast of the pushing and pounding that the men who were running portrayed. There is a vast difference, and one that makes all the difference as to how we feel in life.

  86. I found it of interest that the flow you felt in your body as a child when you moved was eventually what you came back to as an adult, and that this natural way created a much more positive effect on your vitality. There is a lot to be said for what kids offer adults, we think as adults we know so much and what’s “right” (thanks to the process of education), yet kids just live naturally and this simplicity, which is communicated by the body also in its natural flowing movements, is what we all may need to get back to.

  87. Kate, I literally smiled throughout this piece and felt your learning and understanding with how you move with your body and what supported it, and that it’s about being with our bodies in the flow they are. The word that comes to mind here is grace, to move with grace and tenderness in our bodies – and that feels exquisite.

  88. From force to flow, a truer way to support our bodies. It beats me why so many people equate physical pain with benefit: ‘ no pain no gain’. You put it so well, ‘your body’s vitality gradually comes back as you live more gently in it.

  89. We can even be in the flow when moving and transferring people from one position or place to another.. Connected to my body and with conscious presence this can be done gently, with ease, nothing forced, or hurried. In this way client and carer are supported and safe through the movement.

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