Monday, December 17, 2012

Wonderfully Made

It amazes me sometimes how we are all so fearfully and wonderfully made.

For example, I'm a terrible runner. Try as I might, I never improve and I never enjoy it. I run for cardio exercise -- never for fun or challenge. And if I don't run for a couple of weeks, when I get back on the treadmill it's like I have never run before.

But yoga -- that's a different story. I love it. I've always loved it. It makes me feel good while I'm doing it and afterward my body feels like I just got a massage. I can see improvement quickly when I do new asanas or series. If I can't do yoga for a few weeks due to travel or injury, when I go back to it I haven't lost much strength or flexibility.

But I know people who are great runners who hate yoga. And it has nothing to do with personality, but everything to do with the way our bodies are designed.

And that right there is why I hate the whole idea of a physical ideal. There is no perfect body type -- we are all perfectly uniquely made.

I've been a vegetarian for almost 7 years. And I still get questioned about it. I assure people it's a dietary decision, not a judgement about what they just ordered at the restaurant. But even that's not satisfying to most people. They ask me if I did it to lose weight. And at that point my filter comes off and I tell them the truth -- I had gut-wrenching stomach aches my entire life, and when I stopped eating meat, I stopped getting those stomach aches. End of story.

But so many people are looking for that quick fix. They want to be told, Do this exercise and stop eating XXX and you'll be skinny in 6 weeks. But that's not the way we were made. We are all unique. I experimented a lot with both diet and exercise to figure out what worked for my body -- and I still have to consciously resist comparing my lifestyle and body type to those of my friends.

These bodies of ours are gifts, and they are not indestructible. Yoga and a meat-free diet keep mine working pretty well. How about you? What have you found that makes a big difference in your overall health?

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