I have never identified as an athlete, although I was a modern dancer and performer for my entire childhood and teens. I loved dance and I hated sports. My perception of being athletic meant I would be required to run and I couldn’t imagine anything more boring and pointless. I actually used to hide out of sight of our instructor in grade school and wait for the last lap around the field to then join my fellow students. “I will run when chased with a knife. And even then, just kill me.” I’ve said this many times. I used to drive past people running up that steep hill on University Avenue in Edmonton and just shake my head. What are you trying to prove? Just get in the car.
Then a few years into a massive overhaul of my emotional well-being, to my own shock and awe, I ended up joining the Running Room and became one of those happy “nutjobs” bounding through the snow in -30C, and thrilled to do it! Being active within a community was just what I was looking for and it turned out my own attitude was the only thing that was holding me back from enjoying running. The activity created a massive mental shift for me in terms of who I thought I was and what I thought I was capable of.
And then it became painful, and I kept running. Then my feet went numb, and I kept running. Soon, I discovered I had displaced my hips and twisted everything out of balance. I wasn’t able to listen to my body or honour its request to stop. I would not honour the pain and so it became louder and louder. Soon, my ability to run was taken away. Doctor’s orders. I felt really discouraged and defeated. I took this as another exhibit of my inherent brokenness. Thankfully, I was encouraged to find a more gentle path of movement. I needed to remember how to breathe and how to stay still in this moment, to know when to stop and rest. Yoga was a perfect fit for me. In the first few classes of practicing, I felt the alignment return to me. Years of dance training clicked into place. My posture, the activation of my core, all of those tools had returned. I remembered that I can hold myself. I had forgotten how strong I was.
My greatest challenge has been to find my way back into myself and stop treating my body like a nuisance or an enemy. This is why I am so passionate about HERoic and redefining what strength looks like. Movement has helped me connect to a deeper sense of who I am and how I interact with the world. I can now appreciate the wisdom of my body and its ability to hold the pieces of me together. I know I am resilient and I can heal and recover. I am not broken.
And so I’m terribly excited to be part of building a community around this series and to create spaces for women to come together to share stories about how our bodies can root us in our personal and collective power. Let’s inspire each other - not to be more, but be who we truly are.