The Foundation of Empowered Living

fitness movement practice

The discipline required for a physical practice can help us develop our character:

A Means to Express Ourselves

We are physical beings existing in three-dimensional worlds. Everything we do, from communicating to construction, requires us to move our bodies in some way. And yet, many of us are completely body-illiterate, lacking such basic abilities as crawling, rolling, and even walking correctly.

Now, this may seem irrelevant to expressing our will in the world. After all, we have machines that can carry us hundreds of miles and other machines that can share our pictures at the press of a button.

From an objective standpoint, it is true that we have an apparent mastery of our physical worlds. But, we evolved to move our bodies, and our brains know when our bodies are not up to the task. Lacking basic movement capabilities, our brains can sense that we need to be more careful, more reserved, more restrained in our lives.

This definitely has an effect on how we interact with the world and others.

What is a Practice?

Yogis often use the term, 'their practice,' to distinguish yoga from other physical endeavors, like going for a jog or pumping iron at the gym. Other 'practices' include martial arts, dance, meditation, parkour, tai chi, and natural movement as it's being defined now.

A practice is something done for its own sake. It has clear standards of progression, but the progression doesn't really matter. What matters is that you're doing it regularly and mindfully.

Another defining quality of a practice is that it is all-consuming. You can't get good at it unless you involve your entire being. To be a master martial artist, your mind and emotions must be at the same level as your body. This makes sense, since the point of most practices isn't to focus on the body while ignoring other parts of our being, but rather to use training the body as a vehicle to training the mind and spirit (I'd say a good practice makes no distinction between mind-body-spirit...'cause there isn't one).

There seems to be an element of self-expression in it as well. Dancers have their own style. Martial artists and traceurs (parkour practitioners) are noted for their unique approaches to challenges. Yogis find ways to flow through poses that suit their moods and inclinations. This self-expression is empowering; it is the whole point of an empowering physical practice.

In terms of fitness, physical practices seem to place a much stronger emphasis on elements like coordination, applicable strength, and mental engagement through expression. Competitiveness, at least as a central feature, is generally a no-no.

That said, I firmly believe almost anything can be performed as a practice, so long as it is integrative and approached with the right mindset. I've said that meditation can be anything, and I believe the same is true of a empowering physicality. Some things lend themselves to it better than others, and there's a reason many martial arts share similar approaches.

So, how would you start a physical practice or adjust your current approach to fitness to make it more empowering and less of a chore?

I'm so glad you asked! That's the subject of this week's e-mail newsletter: creating a physical practice to empower your life.

But I will give some suggestions here:

Make sure to sign up for the e-mail newsletter to learn how to create a practice or shift your current physical training more in that direction.

Until then, Fight On Brave Warriors,

- (**

PS: Don't keep the inspiration all to yourself! Hit the share buttons on the left! (Unless this wasn't inspiring, in which case, I'll do better next time).

Photo credit: Mister.Tee on Flickr