Joyous Movement & My Surprise Athleticism

joyous movement jennifer dene

Joyous Movement & My Surprise Athleticism

Athleticism has never been in my blood. If you throw a ball at me I’ll close my eyes and my running style has been likened to some form of interpretive dance. 

So you can imagine my surprise when, in 2008, I was asked to start teaching fitness classes at some of Sydney’s top gyms and health clubs.

(Me! The girl who spent school lunches hanging out in the library!)

At the time I was studying journalism at the University Of Technology, Sydney, and had joined a gym in Bondi Junction.

Even though I enjoyed taking classes I never imagined that I could be the one on stage. Yet there I was, mic’d up and ready to roll. The fitness gods had finally decided to cut me some slack.

My first gig was teaching a program called BodyBalance™. Visualize a dimly lit studio, a pre-choreographed flow of tai-chi, yoga and pilates, and a playlist that rotated between Seal, Sting and Sade. Oh how I loved it!

Teaching BodyBalance™ was the first time I realized that I was actually quite good at this whole physical activity thing  (as long as you didn’t throw me a ball or ask me to run).

In fact, by the time I left for America, I had gathered quite a following in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and Lower North Shore, with my classes regularly holding 90-100 people.

I’m telling you this because yesterday, seven years hence, I decided to put on one of my old BodyBalance™ workout DVDs. 

Can you guess what happened next?

15 minutes in and I was giggling so hard that I had to I hit the pause button.  As it turns out, BodyBalance™ was pretty easy. (And I may not have been the total badass trainer that I thought I was!)

One quarter-way into the workout and all we had done was some deep breathing, a basic yoga salutation, and the modified Pilates Hundred.

The L.A fitness crowd would have died of boredom.

I kind of loved it.

Breathe. Move. Flow. Be gentle to your joints and kind to yourself. That’s the kind of fitness that I can get behind.

Its simplicity allowed the hour to be spent in a state of movement meditation and, as previously crowed, it made me feel like I was good at something physical, which counts for a lot.

I share that story to remind you of one of my healthy living truths: you should exercise to feel good, not to prove a point.

A lot of women I know think that exercise has to be grueling to be effective. This is absolutely not the case. Your motivation to exercise comes from doing something that makes you feel great, in body, mind and spirit.

Exercise shouldn’t feel like just another chore, and daily joyous movement can become something that you crave.

Plus willpower is finite, which means that you need to find a form of fitness that inspires you to do it on a regular basis.

With that in mind, I give you permission to do the following:

  • Stop any form of exercise that doesn’t make you feel good
  • Ignore the latest fitness advice from glossy magazines
  • Don’t worry about how your expression of movement ranks on the hot-right-now scale
  • Find your own interpretation of athleticism
  • Exercise to feel good, not to prove a point

Let me know how it goes.

With love,

4 thoughts on “Joyous Movement & My Surprise Athleticism

  1. You used to catch the ball pretty well on the beach at Scotts Head Sweetheart and I think that your running style is pretty cool🙂As for me and running! When Heng beat me in a 100 metre sprint over eight years ago, I hung up the running shoes and now, like Jerry Seinfeld, I choose not to run😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *