Friday, January 8, 2016

Fitness Secrets of a Sexy Beast II

Do you want to be lean and strong enough to hike up a snowy volcano or kayak between tropical islands? Do you want to be energetic enough to dance all night or shop all day in New York, Rome, or Buenos Aires? Do you want to be fit and flexible enough to make the love of your life feel breathless and grateful every day? Do you want to be dynamic enough in your physical presence for a more exciting or higher paying career? If you do, read and heed this series on restoring harmony with our primal spiritual natures. Here's the second part of our fitness quest: air.

In Buddhist meditation, we escape the suffering caused by sin and the telenovela drama in the illusory material world through meditation. Of course, we must return to the world to do some good. This path of moral action we must walk is called yoga. The best fitness training is part meditation and part yoga. It is more internal and spiritual than an average "iron pumping" yet more active and powerful than an average "yoga class". 

When we do a press exercise (which straightens arms or legs) or a curl exercise (which bends arms or legs) or a core exercise (which crunches the torso), we exhale our breath. When we return to the original position, we inhale air. The jaguar growl or grunt that may escape the lips when we exercise is a primal version of the ommm used to exhale and focus the mind in meditation. This basic sound is also a Hindu name for God, the foundational Spirit of everything. The biblical book of Genesis says the Creator breathed spirit into the first human. We are eternal spirits in primal animal bodies. An awareness of this permeates the most effective workouts.

The best physical training engages the spirit by concentrating fully on the breath and form in the moment. Athletes should ignore losers who mock their obsession with excellence or try to distract. If one really cares about others (not just impressing them), one can sometimes help them later (often when their lives become mediocre or a disaster). However, one must set a good example first then only give advice when people are humble (or humbled) enough to receive it. Gandhi said we must be the change we want to see in the world. Changing the world or just transforming your physical body begins with the inner spirit, plus your first and last act in this life: breathing.

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