The Gym Is a Lie

One of the most rewarding parts of traveling to conventions to teach YogaQuest classes is seeing geeks moving their bodies and having a great time doing it. I am so grateful when attendees come up to thank us and say that they didn’t realize they could engage in self-care and still have fun.

Supernatural yoga, anyone?

I love yoga, but I recognize that it’s not everybody’s idea of a good time. Lately, I’ve had folks asking about how else they can incorporate wellness into their lives in a way that works for them, rather than fitting themselves into a traditional wellness model. Some geeky folks feel comfortable in a gym environment, but many don’t, and that’s okay. There are so many ways that you can move your body without stepping foot inside a gym. Here are some ideas to get your started on incorporating geekery into wellness practice.

1. Think outside the Box

Media tell us that working out looks like putting on designer stretchy pants and going to a confining box with a bunch of other people we don’t know to torture our bodies and whip them into a certain shape. We are told that this should be a grueling experience and that we should work until we drop or vomit or cry. This is just completely false. Whatever you do to move your body is beneficial—and if you’re throwing up during your workout, your body isn’t happy. Seriously.

2. Incorporate Your Fandoms

There are some existing resources you can use, such as these pose sheets, or you can create your own. Maybe you want to assign movements to certain actions or phrases in a show, like this. Do you have a favorite drinking game? Change out the drinks for poses. If you’re doing squats every time Sammy says “get this” on Supernatural, you’re going to get in some serious squats. That’s just one idea, but there are so many options!

3. Work Out to an Epic Soundtrack

Lord of the Rings? Doctor Who? Pick your favorite! For some people, moving for the sake of moving just isn’t enough motivation—but add in the additional narrative that you’re escaping a Balrog or chasing Daleks, and suddenly this “chore” feels like an adventure. If you prefer to have an actual narrative, the app Zombies, Run! is a great and inexpensive option. If you have another person or two, you could even take turns being zombies and hunters. Who’s chasing who? You decide!

4. Engage with Community

If you want the motivation of working on your wellness initiative with a group, ask others to join you. If you’re part of a role-playing group, see if you can incorporate physicality into the rules of your campaign. Just because we picture D&D as a game of sitting still doesn’t mean it needs to be that way. You’re imagining an entire world, so get creative!

5. Have Fun!

If I haven’t made it clear enough already, moving your body doesn’t have to be a drudgery. There are activities you can do that will make you forget that you’re even taking care of yourself. If you have a cosplay group, why not get together and go for a LARP photography project in the woods? Yes, my Supernatural group and I did this, and we had an amazing day hiking and jumping and fighting and freaking out Sunday picnickers. It was absolutely a workout that didn’t feel like one. Plus—the photos!

I told you we had fun

And finally, here's a serious one.

And finally, here’s a serious one.

This list is just the beginning. Keep exploring and discovering what works best for you. I would love to hear about your explorations in the comments!

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