Exercise and I haven't always seen eye to eye. Ex-er-cise. The very word would send shivers down my spine while unleashing a roar worthy of any lioness. A daily 30-60-minute lung torturing, body aching sweat session? No, thank you. I much rather partake in some Net-flix instead. Where at least the only pain is the emotional kind.

Alas, adolescence hit along with all the insecurities and other unnecessary tumultuous baggage that comes with it. As the homework load picked up, I began to play sports less frequently. I found myself trying to turn to exercise to fix the problems that I believed only it could mask. Boy was I wrong.

When you do things from a place of love (self-love), it's a lot easier than a place of dislike. I saw working out as the bane of my existence. A cruel tactic to make ordinary people suffer and make the extremely nimble and quick look like gods. I tried to burpee and calorie count my woes away, in the hopes of making a change, all the while reminding myself that my body is a temple.

My body is not a temple. Sacred? Yes. Important, beautiful and strong? Yes, yes and yes, but still not a temple. You are constantly changing as the years rush by, and while a temple somewhat stands the test of time, it is a fixture that doesn't adapt and evolve with its surroundings. So at one point, as the pollution and the calamities of the outside world begin to take their toll, slowly it crumbles into a pile of ancient rubble. Your body is not a temple, you will not collapse into a pile of ruins. Like a vast forest, you will continue to thrive, adapting to the change of seasons and giving birth to new ideas and dreams. Like a beacon of hope, you are are a testament to the world, as you continue to grow and reach for the sky.

Although mighty, it can take a while to see your body in this positive way. But I promise you that it is well worth the effort. Changing my mantra, helped my to see exercise under a new light. Now I actually look forward to going out and doing something that helps improve my health. Whether it's cooking up a healthy meal or working out. Personally, the gym and calisthenics weren't really for me. I prefer sports (rugby, basketball, and taekwondo), dancing (YouTube has tons of great routines to learn) and running (with friends).

I realize now that as long as your body is moving and that you are having fun, that it's truly a great tool to boost your mood and your heart rate. Ultimately, you define what healthy looks like for you, and you decide under what form you want to achieve this model of health.

“Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest—thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.”
― Beau Taplin

~Alexandra XO 

What do you do to show your body some love?