Fitness: Compassion Versus Judgment, by Sandra O’Brien

I have been involved in a variety of fitness passions, on and off, in one form or another for over 48 years. I started ballet at the tender age of 3. Then discovered tap and jazz a couple years later. Once I hit the school system I was a huge fan of floor hockey and track and field. The excitement of tournaments, the suspense of game outcomes, was a rush. Feeling part of a team, where I made a difference was a big part of it. The sense of belonging to something greater than myself was key, especially in the pre-teen years when my self-confidence was at an all-time low.

But back in those much younger years, I was very hard on myself. I was extremely competitive with myself and others. If my body didn’t perform the way I thought it should, it could throw me off for days. When the relay team didn’t come in first, I decided the bulk of that losing outcome was due to my shoddy performance, regardless of the fact that I had given it all I had. I believed if only my body wasn’t so fat, so weak, if only I had done more, I would have been able to serve my team with a loftier outcome. There was little room for compassion or self-love in those days.

Thankfully, now, I no longer apply those harsh codes to myself or to others. Over the years, I have softened my views on how my body shows up while being active. Whether I choose to dance, run or do yoga, I now see my body as a wonderland of goddess energy. I marvel in how my body shows up. I acknowledge the breath flowing in and out of my lungs, and through my cells. I find great joy in my body’s ability to do all it can do to support me in my activities. Its ability to stretch, balance, lift and move never ceases to delight me.

Learning to choose compassion towards myself versus judgement, is not only healthier for my body but my mind and soul as well. How I treat myself is ultimately how I treat others.

So take the time this month to revisit the tough codes you may be imposing on yourself in your fitness journey, and celebrate through each movement the wonderland you already are. Wishing you a month full of love and laughter!



Parvati Magazine would like to thank Sandra O’Brien for her fitness columns since the magazine’s inception. Sandra is moving on to focus on running her new hot yoga studio in Muskoka. Please join us in wishing her all the best, and stay tuned for more great fitness columns from other writers in the months to come.

Sandra-photoSandra O’Brien is mother to the world’s three most fabulous children. She is also a Law of Attraction Life Coach, Personal Trainer, yoga instructor, published author and Reiki healer. Her work has been featured on CityLine Television, and The Toronto Star. She is owner of Muskoka Hot Yoga, and Muskoka Goddess, offering hot yoga, tabata bootcamps, personal training and coaching. She created the Goddess Creation system, a female fitness program to blowtorch body fat, sculpt sexy lean muscle and empower women everywhere to be the best version of themselves, inside and out. She enjoys dancing, reading, hiking in the forest, and meditation. For more information on Sandra, please visit