To Sweat IS to Glisten

by Julie on July 13, 2009 · 2 comments

“Horses Sweat, Men Perspire, Women Glisten” ~ Grandma

Yes, this is what my grandmother would say to me when I was young. You see, I was one of these kids who would go outside to play, and within 10 minutes my coat would be off and I would have a line of sweat all the way across my upper lip. I loved to play and I loved to play hard! There was no doing things half-way for this girl.  Of course, you can imagine what my grandmother thought of that. She was a product of her times. I am sure she was told that women ‘glisten’ by her mother (or come to think of it, maybe her father).

Most of us women learn at some point that it isn’t lady-like to sweat, regardless of what name we give it. But, there’s nothing like a GOOD SWEAT. I was engaged in a delightful email conversation with my good friend Ellie this morning, and we shared what a great sweat we had just enjoyed. She’s a runner and mentioned that she had a wonderful run this morning that was “delicious…fresh air, orange sky & lots of sweat — the stuff that makes me happy most mornings”. I responded to her about my extraordinarily sweaty dance yesterday morning where, once again, I played hard…or I should say danced hard. I ended the two-plus hours of straight dancing INCREDIBLY SWEATY, and I felt absolutely and utterly clean and light from the inside out for the rest of the day.

I dance the 5Rhythms (developed by Gabrielle Roth), and on Sunday mornings I dance with 149 other beautiful souls in a two-hour silent practice called Sweat Your Prayers…and we do. We sweat. I do seem to sweat more than most of the others… something I guess I am used to since childhood, but I notice I sweat a LOT MORE than the other women. This used to bother me, until I realized I was holding myself back from fully diving into my practice.

As I dive deeper into the practice, I realize I am dancing much more deeply grounded, deep down in my legs, pelvis and core. And when I do, I sweat unabashedly. Heat gets generated, toxins are released, and I feel clean and light.

My friend Ellie says, “Isn’t sweating the BEST? It’s so under-appreciated. One of the main reasons I love running is the sweat factor…major cleansing from the inside out!. Funny, I use to sweat a lot during Bikram, but it wasn’t as satisfying a sweat.”

I concur! In my almost two-years of doing Bikram, I loved the sweating, but it wasn’t as satisfying. I wonder if that’s because when I dance, I am generating all the heat from within my body, dancing from deep within my core. The room certainly isn’t heated, although with 149 other people dancing in close proximity, there’s a lot of heat being generated.

So are you wondering yet, why I’m writing about SWEAT on Unabashedly Female? In corresponding with Ellie, I realized how much women are taught, at least in my day, that sweating wasn’t ‘lady-like’. I can STILL hear my grandmother (and mother’s) words.

But, I know how healthy and satisfying a GOOD SWEAT can be; AND, I wasn’t being me, wasn’t really dancing MY dance when I was holding back because of any old leftover worries about being TOO SWEATY. When I dance deeply, I invite others to do the same. When I sweat, I am IN MY BODY, loving the experience.

To sweat IS to glisten!

Being unabashedly sweaty is running/dancing/yogaing/etc. with full-on engagement. It’s about loving life and learning to love ourselves enough to embrace the gift of a GOOD SWEATY GLISTEN.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

QuinnCreative July 13, 2009 at 12:01 pm

What a lovely viewpoint. I hate sweating–it makes me feel dirty and sticky and smelly. On my morning walks, it’s inevitable that I sweat, in fact, its a sign I’m working hard enough, but I find it embarrassing to have a soaked Tshirt and can’t wait to shower it off. Different perspectives, I know. You DO sound like you love the experience, though. And that’s wonderful.

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Julie July 13, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Thanks for your comment! After a good sweat, I, too, like to get into the shower. That’s a wonderful feeling as well, to shower off after a good sweat. I do enjoy the experience, not simply of the sweat itself, but of the intensity of moving my body that deeply and that freely. The sweat is a cleansing by-product of glorious movement.
I have also found it is an essential practice to deepening my creativity. When my body is let loose to move, my head quiets down, and the muse comes alive!

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