Thursday, 4 October 2012

Let's Get Physical

Now then, to begin with, I am familiar with the benefits of physical exercise, I studied it in order to become qualified to help others to reach their fitness goals - but also equally important I have the personal experience of how becoming more fit affected the quality of my own life (expertise is after all more than intellectual, there is much to be said for the experiential). Having said that I have also experienced a certain pattern of "all or nothing" in my life which in part answers how I came to go from being interested in improving my own well-being to taking on the role of guiding others. Next my own journey increasingly took me into the realm of other aspects of personal development, spirituality and healing and I realized that it is not enough to just maintain the physical - it is an important aspect (being the "house of the soul") and in part being the vehicle through which living is experienced. But having discovered the importance of these other facets of being I was no longer satisfied speaking to people only about the physical plane. The next phase of my development eventually displaced my passion for physical well-being (if not the participation in) and as my life became increasingly filled with workshops, and meditation,reading and the exploration of myself as a writer & musician (all of which were generally sedentary pursuits - I not only examined the teachings of Buddha (among a wide variety of paths - if you are thinking didn't he say something about "all or nothing" - yup here we go again) but I began to take on the physical appearance of him as well (and not the swarthy Prince Siddartha - I'm talking the more round representation often seen in gardens that carries the tradition of rubbing his belly for good luck). I have to say I have one out on my condo deck - he is always smiling I've seen him half buried in snow - in rain, sleet and dry spells still smiling - so he does speak to me metaphorically in that regard, however I'm neither the Buddha nor was I laughing about this physical reality. So earlier this year I began a walking program and then added in some yoga and qi gong. The walking is now mixed with running and just this week I decided to resume some workouts in the form of circuit-training with weights. As I said I know this is effective - I have been there before (which is both a blessing and a curse) as yes I know what is possible but I also must accept where I'm at and work with that - not expect to perform at levels that were once possible, and think I'm just going to pick right up where I left off. On that note - I know to expect some stiffness when commencing a new physical activity but even given the number of times I've experienced this (even at the peak of my fitness if I decided to try something brand new just that newness was enough to stress the muscles in a way they were unfamiliar with) I am, as I write this at the pinnacle (I hope) of my DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) after beginning a new routine on Tuesday (this is Thursday - right on schedule). I'm also sporting an elastoplast patch on my shin as the day I started back to the gym I decided to ride my bike there and while I was into my backpack to fetch something I leaned my bike against a pole it tipped over toward me leaving me with an abrasion down the front of my leg. I have not had cable for many years now - I don't tell you this to suggest this represents any particular virtue but rather to suggest that though hours of sitcoms are no longer part of my life - I truly have access to an ongoing comedy (that doesn't take a hiatus through the summer) in the form of my own life. I give you exhibit A - I chose to ride my bike for the exercise and enjoyment that I actually get riding, which was meant to address an aspect of my wellness - ironically the bike became the source of the contusion on my shin. The stiffness I mentioned is significant - I swear someone came in through the night and lowered my toilet and though I have increased my flexibility through the yoga practice, for today, my feet will be acknowledged with nothing more than a wave - I know they are down there, however reaching them, touching them or any routine maintenance will simply have to wait another day or so. The "no pain - no gain" school of thought has largely fallen out of favour - I truly believed I was easing myself back into action. It should prove interesting as tomorrow is meant to be another workout day (which would entail the second of three new circuit routines) we'll see, I will "listen to my body" perhaps the guidance will call for some revisions. At the moment I believe the message being conveyed is "are you out of your ever loving mind?" "What made you think you could go from lazy-boy to boy-wonder?" Ah but here is where all that attention to the other aspects of my being will pay off - I can embrace from the emotional -"laughter is the best medicine" from the mental - "the journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step" and the spiritual - "this too shall pass!"