What does physical exercise has to do with “spirituality”?
This is not some training with nonsensical “3 sets of 10” without any “reason.”
We have a body. Bodies are designed to move and require “maintenance” to enjoy Life to the fullest. That is an obvious “reason.”
What is not so obvious is that part of the teaching that any seeker will need to go through, is called “conscious movement.”
That means that our movement will need to be slow enough so we can be AWARE of it. That is, our mind will need to be empty of thoughts (BE in the now) so we can be conscious of what we are DOING.
If we walk “consciously,” we will notice the swing of the arms and the position of our body as well as any sensation of stress, anxiety or pressure. Only if we NOTICE, if we are AWARE, we could correct this; otherwise, it will go on hurting ourselves. Once we make something into a “bad” habit, correction happens through awareness while in the moment, the now. It is instantaneous.
Although the mind would like for us to BE unchanged; reality is that the body ages, the body will not need the same amount of exercise as before, nor the same amount of food to eat. If the mind takes over, then that person will try to keep up with the past. The idea of “performance” will take over and eventually, the disappointment of knowing that “ I am not the same.”
That is a great “spiritual” realization. We are never the same. Is the body deteriorating? Only in the perspective of continuity; but truly we ARE different at every moment. Choose your perspective.
For our society, we will do great in Life, if our changes in time are very close to that “younger” photograph of the past. That is a hurtful fiction.
When I observe people exercising, typically their movements are automatic. They do not FEEL the movement of an exercise, but merely go through the motions. They want to “get something” rather than enjoy the experience of movement, the little rush of endorphins running through and the overall feeling of wellness. “No pain no gain” is their motto. No wonder, that is the same way most look at Life. It is a painful “gain” of unaccomplished illusions for them.
As we grow older, the value for conscious movement increases. We could maintain a “good shape” by moving consciously, that is by slowly feeling the muscles involved in a particular exercise. There is no need to count (mind game) the number of sets and repetitions, there is only a need to be AWARE when the muscle fatigues.
Exercises for flexibility (stretching) and with your own body weight are helpful to be physically fit. Walking or swimming are great cardio complements of a healthy routine. The emphasis is not on going “fast,” but in becoming fully aware of the movement.
This little “practice” will prepare us to become acquainted with our own feelings in the “now,” and to perceive how these influence our bodies. That will allow us to recognize emotions as they appear in our lives. As we become AWARE of them they could lose power, as we could become witnesses of our own existence. Then, when we observe our role in Life, we are not identified with it. Then, we could take things calmly, take our time and enjoy Life!
Now, that is “spiritual.”