As a fitness instructor I am always looking for ways to teach people about health and how to honor their bodies as the vessel that allows them to have this physical experience in this life. For me, fitness has always been about reconnecting the mind, body and spirit -- a notion that mainstream American culture and society has somehow seemingly and sadly forgot in the last decade.
It seems we all have a definition about what healthy is for each of us. I see people who struggle with their workouts -- lack of motivation, knowledge or overexertion to the point of exhaustion. With New Year’s Resolutions in effect, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to our bodies and how we treat ourselves. Remember that wonderful Law of Attraction? It becomes very real, even in our physical fitness routines. Our minds are always aware -- we hear every thought on a cellular level. And because we are so in tune with our thoughts, our bodies recognize and listen to those thoughts. If you are looking in the mirror and telling yourself you hate your thighs and that they are disgusting, your body hears that. It’s no wonder why we have a difficult time losing weight. Why? Because we are focusing on the body we don’t want, not the one we do.
In the past few years I’ve spent most of my time asking the question, “What is it that people truly desire?” To be fit? To be “skinny” to “look good” or “feel good”-- the answer always comes right back to happiness and feeling a sense of purpose. You can go to the gym and workout vigorously, eat healthy and have the best job with the highest paying salary, but at the end of the day -- are you happy? Are you living your sense of purpose in the world and treating your body like a temple?
So just how do you get to having the body you want?
1. Choose a workout regimen you’ll stick to.
I’ve tried it all. From Zumba to yoga, to dance to ice skating. Whether you love extreme sports, downward dog or walking your dog- there is nothing more effective than having FUN. If you love it, you’ll do it. There was a long stretch of time I hated running until I chose a running partner. I couldn’t even run a ½ mile when I started my journey. After a few months of Sunday runs on beautiful days, I found myself enjoying it…oh yeah..and running 6 miles! Having a workout partner holds you accountable. Group fitness classes work great for keeping up too! If you can’t leave the house because of obligations, there are virtual classes available right from your computer at home. You don’t have to see it to believe it, You have to believe it in order to see it. I always loved dancing, yet had never taken a dance class a day in my life. A few years later I found myself on elite NFL Cheer team. The element of fun sparked my interest and I became what I desired.
2. Replace Negative Self-Talk with Positive Affirmations.
You can begin to change your body by changing your thoughts. Candace Pert, Ph.D., an internationally recognized pharmacologist and author of Molecules of Emotion and Everything You Need to Know to Feel Good, shows research suggests that our emotions affect our immune systems. Our thoughts and feelings have a direct impact on the behavior of our cells. Pert illustrates that the mind is not focused in the head, but is distributed throughout molecules in the body. This research suggests that the mind’s thoughts can create health in a sick body and also manifest the thoughts we believe.
Stop looking at your stomach and saying how “fat” you are, stop telling yourself you are ugly and gross. Your brain actually listens to those thoughts and translates those messages into reality. You will actually allow yourself to believe you are ugly and fat- and trust me, you are NOT. You are a beautiful soul having a physical experience. Your body is a temple and you have the ability to nurture and honor it. Each time you have negative self-talk, replace it with this positive affirmation: “I am beautiful, I am worthy, I am loved.” The more you do this, the more you will become aware and feel stronger in your body.
Through years of trying almost every fitness regimen on the planet -- I have always found that it is important to spend 5-10 minutes of your workout on reconnecting and acknowledging the mind, body & spirit connection. In American society, we have always been taught to “think logically” be more analytical and practical, but we are never taught to trust our intuition and the gut feelings we all have. How many times have you ignored a gut feeling and should have listened? Those are the messages from your higher self. Spending at least 5 minutes in a meditative posture after a vigorous workout is a very powerful way to connect with your own divine spirit and intuition. Learning to connect with your intuition is like discovering your own inner compass -- the directions to your life are always inside of you. We are constantly given messages and guidance about our path and purpose; it is whether or not we choose to listen that can make a difference in our lives.