Monday, January 21, 2013

UBC Day 21 - Exercising - friend or foe?

Day 21 of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge.

Some days the mind goes blank - nothing inspirational comes to mind, no prompts appeal or spark imagination. Then you come across something that fires up the mind and a post starts to take shape.

Over the last few days I've read some posts where weight loss has been mentioned and as I was commenting on one of them, this post started to form in my mind.

Over the years exercising has been friend and foe at different times of my life. When the weight just peals off, I know I've found the right exercise programme and that makes me truly happy. Then wham - something comes along to sabotage it.

The gym membership gets too expensive, or I change my work venue so now need to hook into another gym, or a health condition develops that prevents or limits that type of exercise activity, or I just lose interest.

In 1997 I joined a gym and I was enthusiastic and regular.  The weight just peeled off. I looked good and I felt great. Then the Winter came along, the motivation started to drop and that started the period of "donation" to the gym. I managed to get back in off and on over the years but the pleasure of "gymming" departed.

In 2004 I took up Qi Gung ( Chinese practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation). I absolutely loved it - it had all the elements I needed. I did it for nearly a year and then one day, our sifu (teacher) just upped and left - went off to China to further his knowledge of qi gung. The venue changed and it was just too far away for me to attend.

5 years ago I started doing karate. I did it religiously for 2 years, lost tons of weight, my fitness soared and again I absolutely loved it. Then suddenly circumstances changed again. My sensei (teacher) left, started his own dojo - again miles away from where I live or work. Karate was also damaging my knees and I was finding myself in considerable pain off and on. I continue practising at home with very lite intensity but it's never the same as attending a class.

Early last year I thought I found the perfect class - a blend of karate, tai chi and qi gung. Well, my back packed up twice and had me flat on my back for a week at a time.

I wasn't listening - the Universe was sending a message - no martial arts, find something else.

I started attending physiotherapy sessions and the exercises sent my mind back to the time I lived in India many many moons ago to my practice of yoga. These exercises were just that and so I started on my yoga practice again.

At first it was hard going and I really had to motivate myself, remind myself that this was good for my back, but the enjoyment wasn't there.

Then I found the perfect motivation.  I make my routines, my time for prayer. I say my mantras with each move. At the gym, I listen to devotional music while I'm on the treadmill and make that my moment of prayer too.

I spend 15-20 minutes of yoga each morning, 30-45 mins at the gym thrice a week and about 15-20mins of lite intensity karate on weekends. If the weather is good I try to take a walk and connect with nature - All in all nothing too arduous or time consuming.

I absolutely look forward to my yoga each morning - this is my peaceful moment of connection with Him. I exercise in His name.

I've made exercise my spiritual connection, not my recipe for weight loss, fitness or health. I believe that having made it a spiritual practice, these benefits that come with exercising regularly, with pleasure and with dedication, will simply fall into place.

So, is exercise your friend or foe?  Please share your stories and thoughts.

I hope that if you are struggling with exercising as I did for many many years, my post may prompt you to find that connection (whatever that may be) that makes it all happen for you.

Happy exercising.


Warm Regards and Namaste
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19 comments:

  1. As you say, it has been both for me, as well. I'm currently in an "acquaintance" relationship with exercise. We're not quite friends again yet, but I don't hate it. ;-)

    But you're right; finding both the right activity and the right motivation--both very personal choices--is essential.

    And, thanks for the reminder; I almost forgot to do my plank today!

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    1. Thanks Cheri. When we find our motivation, it starts to work wonders. All the best in finding yours.

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  2. It's both for me as well. At the moment I do very little of it while I'm pregnant and then once baby is born I'll be right back into it. Finding that motivation though? That is the key!

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    1. Thanks AMummys Life. Good luck with your baby and hope it all goes well. We can find the encouragement from friends and family, but unfortunately we have to find the motivation ourselves. Thanks for dropping by.

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  3. Yes Maam...we hear you....movement is the key to longevity...my inspiration just isn't here....once the weather is again over 30 degrees I will hike through my neighborhood. Until then, just call me couch potato! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Humour after 50. I wish you all the best - may you find that inspiration.

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  4. I have really been loving yoga as well! I do 35 minute session at my gym about three-four times a week and at home in the morning I'll practice some poses too. It's really allowed me to challenge myself. Whoever thinks yoga is easy, I always say, hasn't really tried it! :)

    Exercise in itself has been challenging to me because I sometimes get disheartened when I don't see results. But I love the endorphins that get going and sometimes that's the only thing that brings me back to the gym! Also, I hate to admit, I hate wasting money so on days that I don't feel like going but have the opportunity I remind myself that I'm paying for the gym so I might as well go. :)

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    1. Hi Jessica. So agree with you - yoga is not easy at all - takes years of practice to do it well.

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  5. Exercise is no longer a friend or a foe for me, it is a necessity, like breathing. I have adrenal fatigue and the best remedy is movement! :) tabata timing is great as it allows my body to rest in between and metabolize the raised cortisol that naturally occurs during workouts :) and since i give it as much importance as breathing, then it is a non negotiable :)

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    1. Hi Patti. Thanks for sharing that. I had never heard of tabata - had to look it up. Will try one that is not too high intensity.

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  6. thank you very much for sharing the information, god bless you

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  7. I've had a poor connection with exercise, Suzy. I love what you say of making exercise a spiritual practice. This is the second time this week that I've received that message. Thank you for sharing and being a messenger to me. ♥

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    1. Thanks Corinne - it's taken me a long long time to figure out my motivation. I hope you find yours. All the best. Let's hope exercise remains our friend forever.

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  8. Suzy Que,

    That was quite a journey. I know that exercise is my friend, but it is a friend I ignore way to often. I have knew problems that make many kinds of exercise painful and many others I find boring. I listen to tapes, but I keep wanting to leave and DO SOMETHING! Maybe Someday Somewhere I'll find the perfect solution.

    Regards,
    Dr. Hale

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    1. Thanks Hale. oh lol - I love the comment. It's a friend that's easy to ignore. I hope Someday Somewhere you'll find it too. Thanks for dropping by.

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  9. It's always hard to get into a habit, and to find something you love doing, but once those two things are sorted, I can get into a habit. I like to job or walk - with my headphones! I get education or podcasts, or music to keep me going!

    Shelley

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    1. You are so right Shelley. And once you find that something you love it becomes a good habit. I like to walk too - did a lot when I was in India but the weather here in NZ is so unpredictable and Wellington is so windy. Thanks for visiting. Enjoy your walking!

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  10. this post is very interesting and easy to read, I hope to visit again

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