1 May 2014

Exercise and Spiritual Growth

Exercise and Spiritual Growth
Exercise and physical well-being is an often over-looked aspect of spiritual growth. Whilst meditation, intellectual development and a healthy diet are all important in developing the self, it is meaningless if physical exercise is ignored and brushed under the carpet. The human body needs to be exercised to maintain good health and promote happiness and well-being, as it is an equally important part of the mind-body-spirit complex that makes up every living person on earth.

The problem however, lies in the fact that we live in an increasingly chaotic world where hectic work schedules and family commitments take so much of the individuals time and energy. The burden of modern living leaves limited scope to devote much time to exercise.  

Many find themselves sedentary for years or even decades, when a suddenly an epiphany dawns, that of the need to be healthy and to ‘get in shape’. It could be in the form of a health scare, a tactless remark from a family member or colleague or some other event which sparks the sudden motivation to lead a purer and healthier lifestyle.

A further problem lies in the strategies most people take to physical exercise, they set themselves up for failure. Once the initial motivation takes hold, the individual spends countless hours researching work out routines, digesting the latest fads enthused by orange skinned, Lycra clad individuals and spending hundreds of pounds of hard earned money on the latest sports clothes, electronic progress tracking gadgets and expensive exercise machines – all of which come with nebulous promises of the perfect physique in 6 weeks. Like meditation, physical exercise should be practiced a little everyday, and worked into an ongoing lifestyle routine.

Spirituality & Health Magazineprovides spiritual, health and exercise information for all-round healthy living.

At this stage, the enthusiasm to actually exercise has usually waned as the subconscious has resolved whatever inferiority complex had triggered this fad in the first place, and the individual returns to the previous sedentary lifestyle.

The most determined of individuals will fall into another trap, that of setting themselves unrealistic goals. This includes a 20 mile run before breakfast every day and a 3 hour heavy weights session every night to guide them to a path of self perfection. Needless to say this lasts maybe a week or so, before they damage their immune system and catch a string of viruses or suffer a serious training injury – bringing about much negative energy which could be averted. Once again all the expensive sports equipment starts to gather dust and the eventual return to old cognitive patterns of behavior is complete. 

Sudden changes are a precursor to failure!

The key here is to set realistic goals and to make exercise, healthy living and spiritual balance integral parts of your life. First and foremost, it is important to find a form of exercise that you actually enjoy and can maintain an interest in. Not everyone derives much enjoyment from running and not everyone is physically well suited to such a high impact activity which places so much strain and stress on the joints, knees and hips. In such cases an alternative should be found, swimming or cycling would be ideal as both these forms of exercise can become hobbies which will never seem like a mindless chore and burden. If choosing to do weight training it is better to do a little each day rather than formulate lengthy and complex workout plans that are unsustainable and destined to fail.

Whilst exercise should always to some degree be ‘hard work’ in order to be successful it should never feel like a burden. When physical health gains are made the individual feels other aspect of their lives are also impacted significantly. The mind becomes sharper and more focused, the body’s energy centers, or chakras, are more vibrant and Prana (spiritual energy and life force) is able to flow more smoothly and fortify the etheric body. The individual finds themselves not only feeling and looking better but also more able to cope with the influx of negative energy that is an unfortunately integral part of modern day living. The ultimate result is that the pursuit of spiritual development is made much easier and the mind-body-spirit complex as a whole is raised to a higher vibration.

by Paul Tudor - Guest Author