Holistic Fitness For Your Body, Mind, and Soul

Super Foods for Extreme LongevityDespite our annual winter worry that summer will never come again, we can finally embrace her arrival once more. As the weather improves and we move out of doors to appreciate summer, we will hopefully have an increased level of physical activity. So, summer becomes a friendly reminder about our lack of winter activity and fitness.

This might be a good time to look beyond just the physical component of fitness and see that holistic approaches benefit our spirit, as well as mind and body. As with all activities, the more you do them, the more benefit you derive from them.

Here are some holistic fitness ideas for you to explore or to once again include in your daily routines. Although they are in random order and you can try just the ones that interest you, meditation really does need to be number one in everyone’s life.

1) Meditation – The cornerstone of all wellness programs is the age old practice of meditation. You need no equipment or special clothing, just the desire to close your eyes, relax your body and mind, and breathe. Try doing it outside at this time of year – under a tree, by a stream – basically anywhere that you personally find conducive to relaxing.

Connecting back to nature grounds us into the natural world we inhabit. Let your senses experience the sights, sounds and smells of your surroundings, and the healing effect it can have. Silence of the mind combined with natural surroundings reaches right into the soul.

2) Walking – This is the most complete fitness activity encompassing every level. It’s important to let your mind relax, stop thinking, and start breathing. This can also be thought of as a walking meditation, but keep your eyes open! Let your mind wander – don’t use this time to sort out the problems of the world. Allow yourself inner silence while in motion. It is very conducive to connecting your mind, body, and spirit.

3) Diet – Come warmer weather, we need to alter how we eat; it does not need to be as heavy as in winter, since we don’t need as many calories to stay warm. Nutritious eating need not be expensive, and preparing a fantastic meal can be as recharging to the mind as it is to the body.

4) Body Work – Any bodywork, from massage therapy to aromatherapy, helps to join our body, mind, and spirit. There are numerous research studies that show just how important safe, nurturing touch is to our entire being.

5) Play – with your children and pets. Research shows that playing with pets calms us and lowers our blood pressure. Playing with children and pets encourages our own inner child to come out and play, allowing us to be creative, silly, and put our serious adult aside for awhile. Unconditional love moves us right at our soul level.

6) Have Fun – Most people are much more serious in the winter; being buried under layers of clothes and shivering is not conducive to being light and airy. Get together with friends, especially those who love to laugh. Have a barbecue, go on picnics, or dine at your local restaurant patio and laugh a lot.

(Editor’s Note: Is swimming good for burning calories? Definitely! While you’re having fun with family and friends, you’re also able to give yourself a good exercise.)

7) Gardening – Growing things gives us a strong connection to nature. To know you are co-creating with nature by nurturing plants and flowers touches your spirit. The sheer beauty of the summer garden gives your soul a welcome sight. Plus, the work of planting and upkeep gives you a physical workout. Again though, let yourself enjoy the experience without whipping up your thought process.

8) Leave the City – If you are a city dweller, get out into the countryside whenever possible and connect with nature. The absence of city sounds, smells and sights will lift any spirit. Try to meditate in this environment.

9) Curl up with a book – Let yourself read for the joy of reading. You do not need to be learning at every corner. Find something that is pure fun for you and enjoy. The spirit finds as much nurturing in relaxing as it does when you are doing spiritual growth work. In fact, it may be nurtured even more!

THE HOLISTIC APPROACH

Your spirit probably isn’t having too much fun lost in the issues of the human personality and interactions. The idea of holistic fitness is to give yourself a break from all the work you do – whether earning a living or in personal and spiritual growth – moving you to lighter activities to recharge yourself.

The key is to stop thinking so much. We lose ourselves in our issues, always processing as though there was a time limit to reach some highly enlightened state. The fact is, life will always be a series of learning and growth challenges that need to be offset by our ability to nurture and care for ourselves. The trouble with the mind is that it loves to keep slogging away if given the chance.

To fully appreciate the lightness of our spirit we need to give it space to be experienced from the inside out. Nothing will cut off and use up our spirit’s space more than constant heavy thinking. Learn to find a balance between working on what you need to learn and enjoying yourself in the inherent lightness of your spiritual self. Acknowledge your mind, body, and spirit each day, and give it room to play and enjoy. So while the summer may bring your focus toward physical fitness, try to find a place for your entire fitness – body, mind, and spirit. They go very nicely together.

Gord Riddell and Kathy Ryndak are co-founders of the Transformational Arts College of Spiritual and Holistic Training. The College offers professional training programs in Spiritual Psychotherapy, Spiritual Director, Holistic Health, and Coaching. For more information or for a course calendar, call 416-484-0454 or 1-800-TAC-SELF, or visit www.transformationalarts.com. To receive their monthly e-newsletter, email marketing@transformationalarts.com

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