When we are considering what kind of exercise to engage in, which foods to eat, how much rest we need, how many hours or what kind of work it is in our highest best interest to do, we can find the answer by asking ourselves one simple question:
“Will this exercise, food, rest or work bring me into greater or lesser harmony with myself?”
Being a long-time teacher of yoga, I understand the principle of harmony.
The word yoga means union. Many people equate yoga with hatha yoga, the practice of physical postures. But yoga is far more — it is a way of living.
When we are living our yoga, we are in harmony with ourselves — physically, energetically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
As we live, exercise, eat, rest and work in harmony within, we have a profound effect without, contributing to the peace and harmony of others.
There are countless books that prescribe different exercises. A new diet book comes out virtually every month.
I know because I am always studying the latest, greatest methods of fitness, nutrition and healing.
Whether it’s a posture assessment, kinesiology balance, Thai yoga massage, nutrition consultation, Reiki healing or personalized workout, these are not the products I sell. The real product is the results my clients enjoy in terms of pounds lost, pain eliminated, depression and anxiety erased, happiness and peacefulness.
It is typical for me to see new clients who have been following a magazine workout or a diet book their friends told them about which only makes their posture worse, gives them zero results, makes them even fatter and adds to their overall feeling of exhaustion.
One of the Total Fitness principles is to exercise, eat, rest and work in harmony with yourself.
Each of us is biochemically, structurally and biochemically unique. When you live the principle of harmony, you understand that just because something works for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you.
For example, in past newsletters, I have discussed how different kinds and intensities of exercise have different biochemical, energetic, postural and therapeutic effects.
Yoga is a complete system of exercise. Although many people think of yoga as a form of relaxation (which it can be), yoga can either be the most therapeutic or the most physically challenging exercise you will ever do.
When I teach yoga classes, as my students well know, I always ask each student at the beginning of every class how they are doing, physically and emotionally. Some classes are specifically physical strenuous, others calculated to be emotionally nurturing. I teach a different class each session so that everyone leaves in a state of greater harmony.
Weight lifting brings us into greater harmony by challenging the muscles and improving our posture. It counteracts sedentary lifestyles and stimulates the nervous system.
Qi Gong balances the acupuncture system, improves balances and coordination and provides a surprisingly excellent gentle aerobic workout. It builds chi, or life energy, and is perfect for all those who are tired and stressed.
As you prepare each meal, ask yourself:
Which foods will bring me into greater harmony at this time? Protein builds muscles and makes us feel more alert. Carbohydrates increase serotonin levels in the brain, calm the nervous system and provide energy. Fats and fiber make us feel full. Fake fats, artificial ingredients and processed foods only increase inflammation in the body and add to pain and malaise. When you eat dead food, you feel dead.
Do I feel satisfied on all levels of my being by what I am eating — is this food physically nurturing, emotionally rewarding and something that will add to my overall life energy?
You can not be in harmony with yourself if you are stuffed, gassy and bloated from overeating or eating foods to which you are allergic. Do you need to eat everything on your plate to be in greater or lesser harmony with yourself?
In our culture of overachievement, the whole concept of rest is frequently seen as a waste of time.
At Total Fitness, our cleints learn in great detail how they can make an incredible investment in their overall well-being by learning to rest, meditate, sleep better and balance the overactive nature of their lives.
Here are a few questions you may not have considered, especially if you are overweight, depressed or exhausted.
How many hours can you actually work and still feel happy, alert and productive? How many hours sleep do you need? If you take time to meditate, are you less hungry, calmer and easier to get along with?
I can almost guarantee that if you are overweight, depressed or exhausted, you have either never considered these questions or you have not found the right answers for you.
Finally, a few simple truths:
1. If you do not exercise in harmony with yourself — whether that means more exercise or higher or lesser intensity — you will not achieve the results you want.
2. If you do not eat in harmony with yourself, you will never achieve the look you want or have the energy you need.
3. If you do not give yourself the rest you require and find balance and comprehend the greater meaning of your work, your physical and mental health will suffer and you will not be in harmony with yourself or anybody else.