The spiritual side of exercise

February 24, 2012

Exercise, Spiritual

No matter what type of exercise you embark on, calm your being and allow your spirit to shine forth.

by Tara Patricia — 

The cheer of the crowd falls silent to his ears. The young man digs deep into every ounce of his being. This is it. All his years of training and sacrifice come down to this very moment. As the crowd jumps around him in slow motion, a drop of sweat rolls down his face. The beating of his heart echoes through his mind. He is one with everything, yet there is no distraction … just him and a silent sense of knowing. With pure focus and a calm spirit, he makes the play. The crowd nervously watches, but he knows he will deliver.

We have all seen this situation played out in the movies. We have listened to athletes as they describe “being in the zone.” We have heard the runner, swimmer or cyclist say, “It clears my mind, and I feel alive.” But what are they talking about? What is being in the zone all about?

Simply put, it is the spiritual side of exercise. We all know how physical movement affects our physical body, but have you ever thought how that same movement affects your mental, emotional and spiritual self?

Physical movement creates a chemical and emotional shift in the mind/body state, which allows us to clear the clutter of our mind and reconnect more deeply to our inner spirit, our true essence. When athletes experience what they call “being in the zone,” they are actually in a state of meditation.

These athletes have completely focused on the “now” of the moment; they have detached from the chaos of their minds and have reached a place of complete connection. In this state, they become united with the true self, feeding spirit and allowing the natural process of life to unfold.

Experiencing this spiritual side of exercise allows you to calm and control your thoughts, increase your joy and peace of mind, improve your concentration and creativity, and reconnect with your true essence. Sound too simple? Well, it actually is that simple.

In our society, we have filled our schedules with busyness. Over time, this chaos has shifted our attention away from what is truly our purpose in life. We race around so much that once we lie down at night, we still have to take time to settle our busy minds.

Tapping into the spiritual side of exercise allows you to slow your mind and free yourself from distraction. By being in the now and detaching from the clutter in your mind, you not only reclaim your mind, but you enter into a form of meditation. In this state of moving meditation, you can begin to reap many more benefits than simply losing weight or toning muscle.

In this mind/body state, you will begin to build confidence, increase emotional stability, decrease restless and negative thinking, improve focus and clarity, and bring your mind, body and spirit into harmony.

The word “om” comes from the Hindu tradition. It is the sound all of nature makes when it is in perfect harmony. It is this perfect harmony we must strive for every day, and plugging into the spiritual side of exercise is essential.

But how do we embrace this spiritual side of exercise? Simply allow it to unfold. While many of us choose an exercise program as a way to seek a better-looking physique, instead, try to put it all into perspective and allow the physical changes in your body to be the reward.

Look in the mirror and see the body you chose in spirit to have on this journey. If you have not treated this body as well as you could have and, as a result, see the ill effects in the mirror before you, smile and forgive yourself.

Tell your body that you appreciate how hard it has worked for you, even though you may not have always made the best choices for it. If you dislike a part, accept the dislike for what it is. Make the decision right here, right now to see your physical form as something that deserves your love, and make the appropriate changes.

Make the changes because you are honoring yourself and your body, not because you wish to become something different. Then allow the process of exercise to unfold. Give your mind permission to leave your worries behind. Do not get upset with yourself if you find them creeping back in — simply acknowledge them and move on.

Focus on your breathing or the warmth of the sun as it shines down on you. Be aware of your body within the space that surrounds you. Notice your breath as it travels through your nose and into your lungs. Feel its warmth as this breath exits your mouth. No matter what type of exercise you embark on, calm your being and let your spirit shine forth.

As you begin to allow yourself to enter into and feel the process of the deeper mind/body state during exercise, you will begin to notice this calm, connected feeling spill over into other parts of your life. This will result in a decrease of stress, and a better sense of joy and peace of mind.

You will begin to see an increase in your creativity and a more enthusiastic approach to life. Detaching from the clutter of your mind through moving meditation and reconnecting to the spiritual side of exercise will brighten your day and rekindle your soul.


Tara Patricia is the author of The Road You Were Meant to Travel and a speaker in the field of self-transformation. She holds a master’s degree in psychology with advanced post-graduate studies in clinical and neuropsychology, and has worked for many years with families and suicidal adolescents.

Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume 30, Number 3, June/July 2011.

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