The Poetry of You: Why Working OUT is an Unhelpful Mindset
You are not small
you are not unworthy
you are not insignificant
The Universe wove you from a constellation
just so, every atom, every fibre in you
comes from a different star.
you are bound by stardust,
altogether spectacularly created
from the energy of the universe itself.
And that, my darling,
is the poetry of physics,
the poetry of you
Nikita Gill (Your Soul is a River p12) isn’t employing poetic license when she writes ‘The Universe wove you from a constellation’ - our amazing bodies really are made from star dust. In an interview with National Geographic Iris Schrijver explains this beautifully:
our bodies are made of remnants of stars and massive explosions in the galaxies. All the material in our bodies originates with that residual stardust, and it finds its way into plants, and from there into the nutrients that we need for everything we do—think, move, grow.
Physics Central explains it much less succinctly and in more detail here
Whether you want to understand the theory behind astrophysics and the formation of elements and how stardust makes up 93 percent of our body - or not - aren’t we absolutely incredible? Take a moment to be impressed with the inner workings of your body, your cells and the atoms within those cells. Remember that wonder when you next look in the mirror, post on social media, compare yourself to other people at work or in life. We are all the same on the inside and we are all frickin incredible.
I also encourage you to take a moment before you next exercise/take a long walk/dance/climb/you get the idea. Ask yourself - what does your body need from this movement? What is happening in your body right now? Before a group class I check in with each of my participants. Often they will be standing with their weight on one leg, or one shoulder will be higher than the other, or their head will be tilted to the side “I’m great” they will tell me. I’m ready for a challenging work out. A challenging work out for the left dominant person might be to use their right side as much as their left in every exercise, there will be no ‘burn’ and not much sweat, I hope there will be focus. The person with uneven shoulders may need gentle neck mobilisation, pectoralis stretching or retraining of their scapulohumeral rhythm. Again, sorry - no burn but please pay attention to the inner workings of your body.
For many exercises I layer in three levels of difficulty, I want the flexion free participants to stay with the first exercise, most of the rest of the class to stay at the second layer and the professional dancers at the back to work with a slightly greater challenge. I want people to work within their limits and to do what is best for their bodies on that day. I don’t want them looking around and comparing themselves to others I want them to work IN. Perhaps I should get everyone to close their eyes? Would blindfolds be too kinky?
Lastly, I want everyone to BREATHE. I want them to exhale on the effort, inhale and fill their lungs with fresh oxygen. I want them to breathe slowly to turn on their parasympathetic nervous system. There are so many benefits to breathing properly and fully and at the right time it would fill an entire blog post. Joseph Pilates called it an ‘inner shower’ because we breathe cleansing air in and toxins out - easy right? Not if your focus is elsewhere, out of your body and watching your neighbour.
Our bodies are miraculous, please tune in and listen to them. That is the poetry of you.
Picture credit: Thank you to Miha Odar for permission to share this photo of him playing on his slack rope in Primrose Hill