All Things Are Interconnected. All Things Must Go Somewhere. Nature Knows Best. All Action Brings About Reaction.
These concepts exist on the physical, mental and spiritual levels of each of us. It is consciously applying and practicing these concepts that will bring about whole body harmony and growth. It is a philosophy and a lifestyle. It is intended for any age, gender or level of experience. The fitness philosophy is based on observations, perceptions, empirical knowledge, study, research and practical application over the past three decades. It is not intended to be a “quick fix” or “cure-all” for cosmetic or medical conditions, but rather, a method for living a healthy, physically fit and happy life. Before starting any health and exercise program, a consultation with your doctor is advised.
There are a few “ground rules” or assumptions that need to be understood and accepted before moving forward. The basic assumptions are:
You must be open and receptive to change. You must believe in a greater awareness, consciousness or higher power. You must believe that this power has a “will” or “force” far greater than ours and that this force is going to flow no matter what we want or do; like the great ocean tides, “resistance is futile”. You must believe that you are part of that higher power. You must be willing to be objective and conscientious when applying these principles.
Many people find themselves motivated to make positive changes to their lifestyles for a variety of reasons. For some, it is a health issue in some form that initiates the desire or necessity for change. Perhaps a doctor has recommended adding an exercise program to tone up the body, or exercise the heart with some cardio vascular activity. For others, it may be to develop their physique to its maximum potential. For still others, and perhaps the most common, it may be simply to drop a little body fat or to add a bit of muscle to bring the body more “in shape”. The term “in shape” can mean many things to many people. To the professional or Olympic athlete, “in shape” means being at his or her competitive peak. For most of us, “in shape” means keeping the body toned and healthy; or as some put it, “under control”. For the sake of clarity, let’s use the latter definition as an example.
In this scenario, assume that you just got the photographs back from the last pool party you attended. “OHMYGAWD” you may have exclaimed, after looking through the photos. “That shot doesn’t even LOOK like me.” “I used to look great in that swimwear, what happened?” The exact answer might be a little different for each of us, but the fact is you have slowly, imperceptibly changed. Part of it could be due to the aging process. Other reasons could range from lack of any regular physical exercise to improper meal planning or eating habits.
When starting to practice The Art of Fitness, you must first understand that we perceive things around us through our physical selves; so naturally, the first thing we are aware of is our body. For a lot of people, this awareness is contrary to how they have perceived themselves. Because they don’t like what they see, there is a very normal reaction to fix the situation, NOW! This is the ego or body-based intellect at work. Very often, it may include a rash judgment to seek a cosmetic procedure, or enter into an indiscriminate exercise program, try over-the-counter remedies that are “guaranteed to get rid of those extra pounds overnight”, and even attempt extreme dieting or worse, not eating at all. None of these choices will provide long-lasting results.
The best approach works from the inside, out. In the example here, we would stand back from initial reactions and simply observe our entire being, as well as its relationship to the “larger picture”. Changes in the body don’t happen over night, they occur over time. Therefore, the correction process, in this example, will take time to see the positive changes, as well.
It is the nature of all things to change. It is the nature of all living things to grow and develop by allowing the life force or energy to flow. This force of nature would have you be healthy, fit and happy. Even in our “concrete and steel” society one can see the forces of nature at work. How many times have you seen a weed, a flower, or a vine push upward and through a tiny crack in a sidewalk? That force to survive, live, grow and develop is in all of us as well. Just pausing and reflecting on this fact, allows us to “respond” instead of “react” to the situation.
In this example, let us suppose that you have put on some weight in the form of body fat over the past few years. Okay, so you have! Now that you have disbanded the denial, you have a “here and now” starting point from which to begin the work you need to do to correct this situation. Use your mind and intellect to review your eating habits, daily routine, your job, your age, the type and amount of physical exercise you perform and your genetic make up (husky, thin, or somewhere in between).
Next, make a simple list of the responses to the areas listed above, and write them down. The list may include the kind of foods you eat, the quantity, the meal times and so forth. Do fatty foods, sweets, or heavy carbohydrates show up on the list a lot? If so, then restructuring your meal plan would be in order. In just about every situation, a combination of proper meal planning and a regular exercise regime work hand in hand to achieve the best results.