22 July 2013

Self-Centred Sundays: Exploring Inner Strength.

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This week I also intend on exploring the strength of my body a little more. Think: vinyasa yoga, Pilates barre and 5km beach runs.

That was my declaration as I wrapped up last week's Self-Centred Sundays, and - holla! - I was onto something.

Active Living (a term coined by Lorna Jane) is an unwavering theme in my life right now.

I'm chomping at the bit to get moving.

MORE, written by Lorna herself, arrived in the mail this week.

Hell, yoga and Pilates are even hanging out in my astrological chart at the moment, I kid you not!

You could be hitting the gym hard or adopting a core-based practice (the sixth house rules the abs) like yoga, Pilates, even belly dancing.

- Astrotwins

But before I share with you how utterly amazing I feel, a back story.

I've been a little afraid to exercise.

I have a history of over-exercising and self-loathing.

I dead lifted till I couldn't walk.

I used to leave the club at 5am - high as a kite - to make it to volleyball training by 6am. And there I'd stay, for 3 hours of elite-level strength and conditioning. There were times, after training, when I was sitting in my car, gulping down a protein shake from the service station across the road, that I thought I might literally die. My body was ablaze with nausea and franticness. I couldn't recognise my face in the rear view mirror. I couldn't think straight. I'd tremble.

My addiction to my Party Girl identity spoiled exercise for me for a good long time. Once my volleyball career finally did walk out on me, I still trained hard; I trained angry. I didn't know that there was another way. Nights out on the piss would mean that I'd have to 'punish' my body with a gruelling spin class. I'd stack too much weight while bench pressing. I'd run my little legs out, and never bother to stretch. I clung to every statistic in Women's Health magazine and ate meat 5 times a day, so I could look like one of 'those' women.

It was high-energy, high-stress, high-hatred.

So you see, it has been difficult, abrasive even, re-discovering exercise, particularly after returning to a somewhat 'normal' lifestyle. When I was snowboarding for those four-odd years, I would have scoffed at your exercise regime, cuz baby, 'those mountains up there, that's my gym.'

And it was good for me. It saved me. Snowboarding brought me back into my body. It filled my lungs up again. It made me cry with aliveness.

And then I came back to Australia. And I started a business. And I would sit at my computer for 14 hours a day. And my body starting changing again. And just like that 21 year old, trembling in the car with her protein shake, I started to not recognise the girl staring back at me in the mirror. She was bigger. Swollen. Puffy. She was blogging about living a vibrant life, and well, she didn't look too vibrant.

I was scared to move. Scared to sweat. I didn't want it to be hard anymore. I had ingrained, deeply sketched memories of exercise being married with suffering. With unreachable goals. With unrealistic expectations.


My work in personal development, alongside my commitment to spiritual practice, has changed everything. 'Strive', 'achieve' and 'should' are words that don't exist in my world anymore; they're like planets that live far, far away.

I adopted 'gentle' as my new life speed, promising my body that we'd step it up only once she was ready. No more battling. No more forcing.

I started with walking. Soon after, Glen and I started running along the beach.

I had a feeling yoga would crack me open, and it did. I was nervous to get back on the mat, but I remained present, remembering that 'where I am right now, is perfect'.

When my body was ready - for more strength, more sweat, more endorphins - we tried Pilates Barre. And we celebrated in a hilarious, alive heap as our butt took days to climb the stairs without the tender, but oh-so-worth-it soreness.

This body of mine is stronger than I ever thought it was. It's endured a lot in my short time on this planet, and you know, moving it just feels plain good.

Yoga teacher training cements me in my practice and opens my body up to limitless possibility. Pilates makes me feel powerful and feminine. Beach runs make me smile as the water laps at my feet. Hikes with my honey bring out my adventurous spirit.

It was a nervous journey; this one of getting back into a rhythm of Active Living, but one absolutely worth navigating.


Can you accept - I mean, truly, madly, deeply accept - that your body is the way it is right now? Can you accept it, be with it, and love it (even just a little).

There's a lot of - dare I say it - 'unwholesome inspiration' out there. Start where it's easy, beautiful. Your body deserves it.

How I celebrated Self-Centred Sundays this week


I had the most divine day. Early morning yoga, runs along the bustling Burleigh esplanade, juices and smoothies, arts and crafts on the deck, and I even snuck in a few hours of Vitamin D - in the middle of winter! I've gotta say, I'm a little bummed that myfavouriteshowinthewholewideworld, Elementary, is now finished. Obsessed with that program (or, it could just be Johnny Lee Miller).

Oh, and Universe, here's a visual reminder of what Glen and I are manifesting for the new year. You got the memo, right?


Here's how YOU celebrated! Hashtag that shit #selfcentredsundays


Looking forward

It's a creative time, right now (can you feel it?), so I'm-a ride this energy out and go where it bends and sends me.

I'll keep writing, keep moving, keep sitting in the silence. Keep doing my job. Keep smiling.

Like I said, no striving. ;)


I want to hear about your relationship with exercise. Where are you at? What resonates? Are you resisting? Let me know in the comments.

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    • 22 July 2013

      Ah exercise... we have had the most rocky relationship. One based mainly on hate, rather than love.
      And it's only been in the past 6 months that I've turned that relationship around.
      Yoga is what brought me back to my body as well. It taught me to be gentle, be present and to listen. It's such a powerful practice, and one I know will be with me for the rest of my life.
      Yoga and walking is what floats my boat these days. The occasional run thrown in for good measure. And I've set an intention to get on a surfboard more often this summer - just for fun. :)
      Have a beautiful week, gorgeous xxx

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        Me too! Bring on the waves :)

        Thanks for this comment lovely x

    • Jen // Creating a Colourful Life
      22 July 2013

      I love, love, love how raw & honest you are Tara! Yoga & walking are my regular exercise these days (gone are the days of thinking I 'should' go to the gym, even though I hated it!) but you've inspired me to give my body a little extra push this week..a gentle one...I see a date with my mini trampoline in my very near future & who knows where that will lead... :) xx

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        How beautiful. Enjoy exploring your strength jen xx

    • Jade
      22 July 2013

      This is so lovely!

      I've been thinking about a similar thing this week and have been playing with where my desire to do something is coming from.

      I feel like we either do things from a place of being good enough, or from a place of not being enough.

      Exercising (or doing anything!) from a place of 'I'm not good enough' becomes a way to torture ourselves. Like, I have to go to the gym because I'm fat and I have to lose weight in order to be good enough and be worthy of love.

      Exercising from a place of 'I'm good enough, and I'm pretty awesome' becomes a joy and a gift to ourselves. Even losing weight looks like I'm awesome and as such I want a body that reflects that and allows me to fully enjoy and embody my awesomeness.

      Thank you so much for your writing Tara! I'm absolutely loving your blog!

      Jade xxx

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        YOU are so lovely.

        Its all about the intention isn't it, babe. let's keep those intentions golden, and 'good enough.'

    • 22 July 2013

      Such a beautiful post my lovely- thank you for your honesty and light. (Love the mini vision board reminder as well- heads up, Universe!)

      I used to have a very strange relationship with exercise and accepting my body. After having spent about 3 years in bed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I would never trust my body when it told me I was ready for years after that. I would get dressed to go to yin yoga, get to the front door and then retreat back indoors. I let my fear get the the better of me, and this happened for months- I just didn't trust it not to give in on me again. That's until a regular yoga practice cracked me open and told that everything was ok. That where I was was perfect and that there was no reason for this moment and this asana not to be as perfect as I was perceiving it to be.

      Thank you beautiful lady- love these post-SCS explorations! xxx

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        You're welcome, as always gorgeous.

        Yoga is the best drug out there. Where would we be without it? :)

    • 22 July 2013

      Straight through the heart with this one. I am still in the scared phase - I don't want to punish myself like I used to, but even more, I don't want to awaken my ego (she has a lot to say when I try to look after myself well). But when I stretch myself just a little and do some yoga or walking, it feels amazing.

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        Oh babe, you bring up such a good point.

        Like I said to Vicki- keep everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) focused on your breath means the ego can't break through.

        It's just you and your body, moving, with your mind focused on nothing but your breath.

        Whether you're running or walking or weight lifting or stretching..

        Maybe this will help? xx

    • 22 July 2013

      I got my copy of 'MORE' on Saturday, then promptly read it in one sitting. What a beautiful book.

      It makes me so excited that you like barre! I had a period after I was diagnosed with my bleeding disorder that I was too exhausted, then honestly, too scared to put my body through anything that could possibly damage it. And it got weaker and weaker and less resilient as time went on, and I trusted it less and less. I also ended up with more and more injuries, spontaneous bleeds and bruises and issues. Until last February when someone introduced me to barre, and I loved the work I had to do, the challenge of the classes, and the lovely soreness after. I've taken my time and worked up from 1 class a week, and I did a challenge this year where I did 5-6 classes a week. My body loves it. I've got muscles everywhere that reward me for my hard work - few injuries, and the ones I do get are much less problematic, no spontaneous bruising, fewer other issues. I have a great trust in my limbs now, and its quite nice!

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        Barre is incredible, no?! I love the energy in the room.

        The giggles. The grunts. The ohmygodicantbreatheijustwanttoputmylegdownhurryuphurryuphurryup's


        5-6 classes, wow. Barre is totally transformative and I have NO DOUBT that that week would have left you feeling stronger than ever.

        Atta girl :)

      • 24 July 2013

        There was one crazy chick who went every day for the 60 days of the challenge! She's so strong!

    • 22 July 2013

      Thanks for this post Tara, I found it so heartening. I sometimes have a fear of exercise too, though it comes from the opposite side of the spectrum to yours, in a way. I have a heart condition which means I have poor circulation and get puffed easily. I struggle with more rigorous forms of exercise. Still, I would look around and see all these girls getting really into hard-core exercise, and I'd start to feel like I was just copping-out. Sure I just did a 10k walk, but shouldn't that have been a run? Or sure I love yoga, but shouldn't I be doing weights and hitting the gym? All of which only served to paralyze me more. I'm slowly learning not to compare and that it's ok to be more gentle with my body. Posts like yours help to remind me to find the joy in movement. Thank you!

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        You're welcome beautiful.

        Your body will never lie to you. Remember what Susana says- it's your truthspeaker. She's right.

        That heart of yours needs nurturing my dear. With the breath, with intention, with gentleness.

        Align with it.

        Love you x

    • 22 July 2013

      I used to go to the gym, did all the classes (because that’s what the magazines told me to do ). But I was sick constantly. Felt run down, always had a cold. I was so confused. I was eating well and exercising. Then I visited my first doctor of eastern medicine. Oh baby, that man turned my life upside down. This man told me that the gym was not for me. My gym pass was to be exchanged for walking and yoga; I love walking (lucky, because I don’t have a car) and I hike often. He made me aware and taught me to listen to my body.

      At the same time I stopped buying magazines which I know helped so much. While I have never had low self esteem about my body or looks, I was just following the crowd when it came to how I should exercise and eat. I was ignoring my own needs and what was right. I listened to his advice and watched my body, scanned it and now know when I am not being gentle.

      I think once we stop reading magazines and start reading our bodies more, we find the magic formula that is right for us.

      • 22 July 2013

        btw, love the vision board!

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        Oh babe. That last comment. Yes please. x

    • Vicki Lee
      22 July 2013

      You're in my head!!

      You've so nailed it... I am definitely in the scared stage... scared that any kind of pushing or extremes will send me into an addictive pattern or self hatred.

      So I've spent a lot of time in self nurturing... but over the weekend I remembered what an active, happy kid I was!! Growing up in the country... thriving on nature, fresh air, running around, sweating, horseriding, swimming, bikeriding, laughing, playing... and I decided that I was going to bring that Vicki Lee back.

      Please keep sharing Tara!! You're always inspiring the journey xx

      • Tara
        22 July 2013

        You know babe, I've found that - really - the more I just watch my breath, and really BE there when I'm exercise, it's all good. We're gravy. There's no room for ego or addiction or craving, 'cuz I'm just breathin'!

        It's nice to keep it simple.

        Love you x

    • 22 July 2013

      Hey Tara,

      Thank you for such a candid and beautifully-written post. It's so valuable to hear about your experiences with exercise, and how you've transformed your relationship with movement. I've definitely been in a similar place motivation-wise in the past, and it's like being trapped in a living nightmare. Reading your post is a great reminder to myself that whatever we're doing, it's the intention and motivation that counts. Even if we're engaging in something that is normally classed as 'healthy' (such as exercise), if we're motivated by anything other than wanting the best for ourselves and our well-being it's going to catch up with us one way or another.

      Thanks again. Have a lovely day, and I'm excited to see where your vision board takes you... :) xx

    • Shani
      22 July 2013

      So relate to this one Tara, and so love and appreciate your gift for sharing important things with such honest grace.
      Amazing to hear snippets of your life then as an athlete too - amazing how many 'incarnations' are packed into one!

      After umpteen years of full time dance training I -still- have inner-wrestles with exercise - that many years of such rigid discipline and part of me still equates exercise with duty and discipline and teenage-me silently rebels at times. Warm weather helps! And have learned to embrace the ebbs and flows - dedicated months of Ashtanga/pilates/Nia/whatever the latest thing is, then very little for a while, in a cycle I've come to accept. Sharing the love of pilates barre at the moment too - loving how just one class a week builds muscle tone each time!

      Thanks so much for you.

    • Louise
      23 July 2013

      Brilliant post Tara, and clearly a 'fear' experience many of us relate to. Lately Ive been questioning whether I should pump up the volume on my current yoga, walking & cycling practice and introduce some more intensity. But with a background of pushing myself to the extreme & subsequent chronic fatigue, fear is definitely present. By stepping it up will I revert back to my old ways, pushing myself once again to a point of exhaustion and undoing my healing efforts to date? Or do I trust that I have grown, and that my consciousness will step in and help me find the balance between stretching out of my comfort zone and taking it to the extreme? My gut says it will be ok - Ive grown and Im a different person now to who I was then. Yet the fear gremlin still sits on my shoulder! I think Im ready to trust and take the leap though. If I never try Ill never know!

    • Fel
      24 July 2013

      i love you. that's all. xo

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    • 29 August 2014

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