A Healthy Mind Resides in a Healthy Body


It’s no secret that a healthy life requires regular exercise, however, only a few of us manage to successfully integrate it into our daily routine. Personally, I’ve never had a feverous relationship with exercise. As a kid who never learned to ride a bike (I still don’t know how!) I only engaged in a bit of skating and ballet. As a result, I’ve grown up as someone who has never set foot in a gym and lacks excitement for any athletic endeavor. After the age of 25, pilates entered my life alongside my usual evening walks. At the beginning the idea of stretching my body in a studio with a sea view was quite enticing, however, soon the stressful reality of rushing to a class after work on an empty stomach, marked the end of that adventure. I continued to practice what I learned and realized that exercising in the comfort of my own home, at my own pace, and without having to socialize with anyone, was the right fit for me.

My first experience with yoga was in the 90s and marred profoundly by the dizzying smell of incense and the news that the instructor had committed suicide. And so when the people around me kept recommending it, I felt distant and lackluster. I was biased and completely unaware of yoga’s meaning and philosophy. Only Ayşe’s (Ferhangil) conviction was successful and I finally found myself in a yoga studio once more. At the beginning, everything was great. I was mesmerized by the feeling that yoga bestowed on my body and mind, and even a bit mad that I had waited so long to make it a part of my life. However, after a while that adventure also came to an end as I grew tired of trying to find a spot in the crowded class, judging people’s urgent need for a pedicure, and once again rushing to get somewhere on time. Of course the overarching guilt I felt for not attending yoga class was also a burden! I had grown fond of yoga itself but not the particular conditions, and so my own home was once again the best option.

Two months ago I also began running. Alongside the added advantage of living very close to an evergreen waterfront, exercising while watching the seagulls glide over the serene sea, in a state of peaceful silence, is just good for me.

For many, sport is synonymous with discipline. I think, like everything in life, its synonymous with personal enjoyment. You can make up excuses for not doing something you don’t enjoy. You’re either too full or too hungry, too tired or too busy. But if that activity is something you look forward to instead, you’ll always make time for it. The issue is that, like all aspects of life, you have to find what is right for you. For example, for me the keywords are: alone, morning, home, and open space and I’m able to freely mix yoga, running, walking, and pilates to these words and enjoy it. Starting the day through the movement of my body also makes the evenings more enjoyable and guilt-free.

I don’t know what you prefer, but I recommend that you find out as soon as you can and really engage in that activity for yourself only. Believe me, there’s no better way to keep a healthy mind.

Begüm

 

Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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