Looking for bliss

There are moments when I’m working out that feel blissful. Often that happens somewhere in the mid-to-end portion of a long run. When I realize all parts of my body are working in sync. There’s no stiffness in my legs. A knee that may have felt a bit pinchy in the beginning is fine. My mind is clear and lost in the meditative motion of my legs moving systematically ahead. I’m grateful for the moment. The ability to do this thing with my body that makes my mind feel good. It’s bliss.

Nicole in a black and white tank top and white ball cap after a spring run that included feelings of bliss.

Who can’t use a feeling of bliss in their life? It’s the type of salve that helps heal the stressful effects of worrying about the pandemic, politics (although there were some wins this past week) and loved ones’ health concerns. Bliss and similar emotions also help with those of us who feel the negative effects of changing from summer to the shorter, darker days of autumn. Am I the only one who feels more tired these days?

Bliss, not limited to occurring during a workout, often feels like a combination of tension, hard work, doubt, and existential dread, being released and replaced with lightness, ease of motion, ecstatic vibes.

A tattoo of people dancing in bliss on Nicole’s back.

Years ago, I went to a spinning studio several times a week. In the final stretch of a 45 minute class, there would be a final push. The spin instructor would encourage us to give it our all. After a class of rolling hills, challenging intervals, sometimes, clunky feeling legs, I would put my head down, stretch my arms back, turn down the tension, and give it my all. Those few minutes, eyes closed, body pushing, pulsing music, energy from the spinners around me in sync, were bliss.

I love my conditioning and strength workouts. There is a wonderful feeling of contentment after the class is over and my body feels exerted, my head and lungs feel clear. I love that feeling of contentment. It’s not quite the same feeling of bliss provided by my body and mind being aligned during continuous cardio movement.

Seeking that bliss is why I still go for a run when I feel tired. When I’d rather stay in bed. When it’s cold out.

I am trying to find that bliss on my new indoor bike. Cate talked about how much she loves her new bike here. I decided to buy the same bike, as I want to make sure I have easily accessible exercise in the colder months ahead. I like the bike so far. I haven’t found that bliss on it yet. To be fair, I’ve only done a few workouts on it. I’m still figuring out which apps work best for me, for the type of workout I’m craving. The one that ends in that blissful feeling.

What workouts or other activities are giving you a feeling of bliss these days, Readers?

Side note: Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. Remembrance Day reminds me to be grateful for the people who fought for freedom. I do not take freedom lightly nor the sacrifices they made.
This is one of my favourite quotes about freedom from Aayan Hirsi Ali:

“I lived in countries that had no democracy… so I don’t find myself in the same luxury as you do. You grew up in freedom, and you can spit on freedom because you don’t know what it is not to have freedom.”

This freedom we enjoy in Canada allows us to have wonderful discussions about what kind of Canada we want today and how to build on the great foundation we enjoy:

A video link to a TED Talk: Canada’s Multiculturalism – Worth Defending – Amira Elghawaby
Nicole P. lives in Toronto with her husband and two dogs (one, Miggy, is in this pic).

4 thoughts on “Looking for bliss

  1. There are some great group workouts on Zwift with intervals. The workouts are rubber banded so you stay with the group regardless of speed/watts. I like the Chicks Who Ride Bikes. They’re Australian. That with loud music feels the most like a spin class to me.

  2. My darn canadian credit card is taking ages to process. I can’t wait to buy myself the Bowflex too! Like you though, I find most bliss at this point on a run outdoors–but I’ll be happy if I can get that great music/spin class feel, too.

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