While society has clearly progressed in so many ways over the last hundred, even fifty years, recently I can’t help but step back and question, “Is this really the world we live in?” In a century which has seen countless wars (including two world wars), slavery, genocide, racism, discrimination, and continuing terrorism, it often astounds me that with everything we’ve been through together as a human race, we still do not see the citizens of this earth as just that: humans.
I AM YOU. It is such a simple phrase, yet captures the very essence of where I believe our world has gone astray, and also the answer to how we can achieve our greatest level of peace, love, compassion, and understanding. I am you, and you are me. To put it even more simply - we are all human, we are all the same. Every one of us, no matter what our “class,” race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, shape, or size - every single one of us is living on this earth and experiencing a completely human existence (well, maybe not Beyonce, but most of us, at least). We all feel joy, we all feel pain, we celebrate love, we mourn loss, we connect, we disconnect, we feel rejection, we feel accomplished, we feel insecure, we feel confident…we feel. This is the essence of the human experience: feeling the experience of life, and connecting with other human beings.
Yet somehow, we still live in a time and a world where it seems we are very far from seeing others just as we see ourselves - as other humans going through their own very human experience. No, we still see people through that lens of social ranking, economic achievement (or lack thereof), race, gender, religion, shape, and size. We live in a time where people are still being killed and terrorized for these factors - and who is doing the killing and terrorizing? Other human beings.
Terrorism aside, I am most saddened when I see judgment, hatred, and emotional terrorism between people in my everyday life. Let’s face it - we can be mean - and often we do it for sport. And why? Why do we see others so very differently than we see ourselves? Why do we feel we have the right to judge anyone for how they live their lives (let’s put aside people who choose to harm others), or how people look, the type of car they drive, the God they worship, the color of their skin, their clothing size, or who they find sexually attractive? Do you want to be judged by such factors?
I am you and you are me. We are all one and the same. We are all doing our best to make it through this crazy world, to live our lives, to love, be loved, find purpose, and find connection. So why do we need to be so deeply divided? Why do we need to be so judgmental? The answer: We don’t. We are doing this to ourselves. If we start approaching every person with compassion and non-judgment, and have our first thought be “I AM YOU,” this world will already start to be a different place for you and for those around you.
When it comes to our health journeys, while The Sweat Life has always subscribed (and still subscribes) to the belief that our healthy lifestyles are and should be one of the most individual journeys you will ever take, health is still also a human experience, journey, and a right. With the rise of expensive boutique fitness studios, $100 yoga pants, and green juices that cost more than the average American’s meals for the day, it can often seem that getting healthy is a rich man’s game. While in certain ways, there is some truth to the fact that money and our zip code dictate ease of access to a healthy lifestyle — if you have a body, you have the power to get healthy. Period. Health does not discriminate - both in a positive and negative way. Diseases like cancer certainly do not see color or your bank account, and in the same way, neither does the power to move and make better choices for yourself. It is a human right if we choose it.
So this week is dedicated to this simple, yet never-more-poignant mantra - which is also the name of our featured studio - I.AM.YOU. This yoga studio, tucked into a loft in the heart of Little Italy, is the brainchild of founder Lauren Imparato. It’s where sweaty, athletic yoga meets meditation, a 360 degree wellness lifestyle company & yoga studio based on yoga, nourishment, mindset, and music.
On the written side of the site, we hear from Alvin Ailey Dance producer David Claps on why men should ignore the “rules” and give group fitness classes a go; SWERVE head trainer Dyan Tsiumis shares how she used her own 220-lbs body transformation to pay it forward and help others find their best self; and I.AM.YOU founder Lauren Imparato guides us to go easy on ourselves and live the RETOX lifestyle. We also have our very first MEAL PLANNING MONDAY, from holistic chef Jessica Li Phillips, with recipes for the week – 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners - and a grocery shopping list, all the tools you need to need to start the week out right.
I challenge you: Every person you come in contact with today, be it your cab driver or your boss, have the first thought be “I AM YOU,” and see how it starts to change your perspective on the world. Then I want to hear about it!
Until next week,
Founder, CEO, and Host
The Sweat Life