Grace and Gusto is what you’re after, but you don’t know it, because it goes by other names, like “beautiful” or “healthy” or “effortlessly slender”. Grace is the allowing and Gusto is the doing. Grace is seen in the body-lines and Gusto is felt in the muscle tone. Grace is a sense of relaxation and Gusto is obvious hard work. The yoga world calls it yin and yang and it is the most the important – yet most elusive – foundation to authentic wellness today for women.
These days, the Grace part is falling by the way side. The high-protein diet stuff, the boot camp trend, The Biggest Loser TV show, and basically modern western society as a whole, are one big Gusto binge. More is better. Harder is better. No pain, no gain. The top-selling exercise infomercial of the moment is called Insanity. There is no Grace in insanity….people are literally buying Insanity. (Since when did mental illness become so desirable?)
Well, I’m here to tell you that more isn’t better. More is just more. If a doctor prescribes you a 10 day supply of antibiotics and you take it all on day 1, you might just kill yourself. Harder isn’t better either, it’s just harder. If your body lifts 5lbs comfortably, but 10lbs causes great strife, we seem to be choosing the 10lbs, thinking “I’ deserve the angst. This will make me beautiful and healthy and effortlessly slender FASTER”. But au contraire, it actually makes you grumpy, injured and the opposite of effortlessly anything! It reinforces dissatisfaction with your body and ultimately your self. Let it be known – Gusto is useless without equal parts Grace and vice versa.
So how do you know you need more Grace? Here’s a one-part quiz. If you answer yes, you need more Grace:
Question #1: Does working out feel like a job?
Grace is the ease that you think doesn’t belong in your workout. It’s the ease that maintains a sense of serenity even when you are challenging yourself. You have been brainwashed into thinking that ease cannot co-exist with work. It can, it should and it does in my workouts, in most forms of yoga and anytime you “get into the zone” while in motion. Grace with equal parts Gusto, is the perfect formula for “beautiful” and “healthy” and “effortlessly slender”.
Getting more Grace will affect your whole life too. You will start to notice how certain foods do not agree with you. You will become more sensitive to people gravitating towards those that truly feed your soul. Reveling in your mind/body/spirit transformation, you’ll look back a year from now and say, “It all started with a workout”.
So just imagine this – you are standing up doing easy shoulder rolls. You are barefoot and dumbbell-free. You inhale joyously, stretching your arms up overhead, almost like a yawn at dawn, filling your lungs up with air. Exhale and sweep your arms down and feel your core muscles pull in slightly, feel your shoulders melt. Now, limber your back by softly twisting your spine right, left, right, left, gently circulating blood and synovial fluid. Start to step to the right and left, feel your feet make light contact with the ground, the warming of your leg muscles, and the energy swirl through your heart. So far, so good, right? Your energy is percolating.
Every workout can be equal parts Grace and Gusto, even running a marathon. (Your whole life can be equal parts Grace and Gusto too, by the way.) All you have to do is be present. Focus on your breath, connect to your energy and covet feeling good. Negative feelings, like fear, guilt and insecurity create muscular and spiritual stress, tipping the scale into too much Gusto! However, that only occurs when you aren’t present – when you mentally visit the past or the future. So just be present. If you can only be present for 20minutes, then your workouts should only be 20minutes. As the intensity level increases, Grace must go right along with it. You can really push yourself, without abusing yourself. It’s an extraordinary break though, right? If you’ve been struggling with your weight or any other wellness issue, give it a try and finally find “beautiful” and “healthy” and “effortlessly slender” and________. Fill in the blank. What other word works for you?