My Body

Maura Barclay on Sublimating Your Urge to Run

Maura Barclay is a former two-time Junior Olympian gymnast and a former professional fire fighter. She's also the creator of Unbreakable Woman, Awesome Arms, and a Yoga Tuneup teacher and teacher trainer.

I’ve evolved from being a posing weight lifter to being a yogi who's changing the world one body at a time. The truth is, I grew up with dangerous men in my family, and I’m a survivor of that. Because I grew up in a dangerous environment, it usually goes one of two ways. Girls have very bad boundaries, because your boundaries are trespassed again and again. So women are very flirtatious and are looking for protection. Or my route, I became my own protector. I became a warrior. The weight lifting was to protect me, to make me strong. Because I grew up feeling like at any moment something was going to happen to me, I grew up always feeling like I had to be careful. The weight lifting was a function of that mindset.

My body has been, for me, the teacher, the therapist, a foil, showing me what is going on in my life. It wasn’t even until I was in my late 30s that I realized I'd been complicit in these very dysfunctional relationships from my childhood, and once I started to process everything, all the sudden, I stopped lifting weights. I started wanting to do more self-care things.

I believe that all of our experiences — not just this lifetime — all of our experiences are embeded in our muslces and our joints. We carry our experiences in our bodies. Unless that stuff is loosed, it hangs around. I saw this important need to dissolve all this crap that had been fermenting in me through yoga.

The muscle we have that helps us deal with discomfort — good discomfort, not injury —that’s the most invaluable tool, and you get it from tolerating the discomfort of physical practices like yoga. It’s conscious. It requires you to be present in the room. It’s not like throwing on headphones and hitting the weights. 

Instead of sweating in the yoga studio, often times I would cry. That’s how I’d know I was moving things, processing the emotional pain of my past. My body taught me how to be healthy. It showed me when I wasn’t. Body building taught me how to listen to my body, and yoga showed me how to do the work. That was the biggest transition.

Now that I have grown into the mind body specialist that I am, I am so much more powerful than I was when I was a weight-lifter. Yoga makes you more aware of everything. You become a master of yourself, physically and emotionally. There are practices that are so challenging that you have to sublimate your urge to run. When you can do that in your life, when you’re angry when you’re scared, it is such an incredible growth tool.

Maura (via <a href="http://unbreakablewoman.com/maura.html">unbreakablewoman</a>)

Comments

beautiful.

msh258's picture

Wow! 

Not sure how you find these inspiring stories SW - but AWE-some!

michlny's picture



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