My Own Rulebook of Holistic Fitness
Acts, Ideas and Rules I adhere to Keeping Myself Holistically Fit
In my previous blog, I had discussed how logical pursuit of happiness is fitness and it is extremely personal. One has to make their fitness regime according to their desires, resources and responsibilities. Some misunderstand fitness here to be physical fitness. When I say fitness, I mean, holistic fitness (Physical, mental and spiritual ).
In this blog, I would discuss what I do keep myself holistically fit and strive towards being fitter every moment. The rules that I follow, the diet that I follow to keep myself in good shape physically, mentally, and spiritually.
All though there is no real segregation. What I do for physical fitness, improves my mental and spiritual fitness too. But it’s like strengthening Maths would improve your Physics too but if you really want to improve your Physics then you have to understand its concept well before applying Mathematics to it. Hence, I make direct efforts at my physical, mental and spiritual well being.
Let’s start with physical fitness.
I am very fond of travel. And I travel extensively over the weekends. And hence, my week is physically very demanding. Because over the weekdays I work and almost all the weekends I travel to distant locations with Bae. And these travels are really hectic trust me. And hence, it is very important for me to keep myself physically fit so that I meet the requirements of my personal, and professional life. The key to it is a very strict discipline that I follow.
Following are the rules that I follow with almost 95% of the times (A little bit of flexibility as per need is essential too):
General Routine and rules:
- I wake up at 5:30 am almost daily. In case I am tired or for some reason, I could not get good sleep (A dog sits just outside my room and at times keeps barking the whole night, not letting me sleep!! Yeah funny and sad :P ) then I allow myself to sleep till 6:30 or 7 but it is rare.
- The first thing I do is drink almost 1 litre of water. I am prone to acidity and gastric issues and hence, I drink so much water for cleaning my stomach and intestine. Drinking a lot of water removes extra acid in my stomach. This is a conscious effort of keeping your body clean other than the usual cleaning mechanisms of body namely urination, excretion, sweating etc. Sometimes I do, Kunjal too.
- In fact, I drink 2–3 litres of water daily. Carry my Copper water bottle everywhere I go.
- I eat an Apple or Beatroot or Cucumber and go to the gym. I spend 1.5 to 2.5 hrs there. Generally, it is 2 hrs but it can be more or less depending upon time, physical stamina and intensity of the workout.
- My workout in the gym keeps changing every three months. Like earlier I used to do 15–20 mins cardio. The 1 hours of intense full-body stretching and then weights of one body part and then either abs or sides this took me 2–2.5 hrs. But recently I have switched to Yoga. I used to do Yoga earlier to in my stretching exercises. But now I am doing cardio and yoga exclusively with intensity. Nothing else.
- I take a full meal of breakfast. Proper Dal, Rice, Curry and Roti types because I burn lots of calories and I don’t take any supplements and hence, I take a full meal.
- As a rule, I take stairs everywhere and walk as much as possible rather than taking auto for small distances. My office is on tenth floor and I take the stairs daily. I have become so used to it that now I don’t feel tired for even 2 mins after reaching office.
- I generally eat of fixed timings (travelling is an exception to it). 9:30 Breakfast, anywhere 1–2 pm lunch, 6–7 dinner. I don’t eat after taking dinner, even I take it at 6 pm. We should not eat just before sleeping and we should not eat long before sleeping too. So, I keep a gap of 2.5- 3 hours. It is important to keep your body clock in place. And eat on proper timings.
- I take lunch from home every day, wherever I go. And Carry sprouts and raw vegetables as snacks. They are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals and help me keep my digestive system in good shapes. Because trust me, you can’t have a healthy body, mind or soul without a healthy digestive system (Unless you’re Buddha or alike :P ).
- I enter my own space at around 8–8:30 pm. And sleep by 9:30–10 pm.
I am not a foodie but I am very picky about food and love rice. So, I allow myself certain indulgence and about certain I am very strict.
- I eat lots of rice daily. And hence, I burn a lot of calories too. Because I don’t feel I have eaten anything unless I eat rice. I remember once, in college, we were coming back from a treat at Dominos and I said can we stop somewhere to eat Fried rice. I feel hungry. Everyone was like WTF!! :/ :/
- I don’t eat deep-fried stuff. Almost never. Like French fries, Samosa, Chilli Potato etc. NEVER!
- I include fibrous food items in my diet almost daily. It could be sprouts, raw vegetables or fruits or all of them.
- I control my diet when I am not able to do physical work with same intensity consciously. Because I know my body doesn’t need so many calories now. For example a few months ago, I broke my leg and for a good 3 months, I was unable to do any physical activity and hence, I consciously I decreased my diet by almost half.
- I eat at home whenever I am in Delhi. I rarely eat outside, unless it is unavoidable and if I have to eat outside I try to eat healthier and simpler dishes.
- I do not eat processed food like Biscuits, Chips, and other stuff that we buy from supermarkets or grocery stores. Unless I am too hungry, my stomach is bubbling with acid and there is nothing else to eat. Then in slight quantities.
- I am not fond of sugar, so naturally, I don’t consume a lot of sweets etc. We should anyway keep our sugar intake in check.
So, you can allow yourself certain indulgence sometimes. But earn these indulgences and be conscious of them. Also, don’t let yourself lose. Eat slowly and in limited quantities. You don’t have to eat the entire pizza if you’re craving for it. Share it with people. Take only 1 or two slices. Eat them slowly and relish them fully. And make sure, you burn what you eat. Else you would have to carry it around your belly, thighs, arms, face etc etc.. I am sure, you don’t want that :P
These are the rules I follow to keep myself physically fit. Not able to stick to all of them strictly when I travelling but I try to follow as much as I can without being obsessive about them.
Mental fitness is very important to all of us but we tend to ignore it. Being mentally fit is important for excelling in physical fitness as well. I consciously take certain steps every day to keep myself mental health in good shape.
Following are the rules I follow very strictly to keep my mind healthy.
- Minimising Screen Time: My work is such that it requires me to engage on laptop and mobile quite a lot. And I have felt that too much engagement with the screen is not good for me. And hence, I limit my screen time by doing the following things. I do not use the phone for almost after half an hour of waking up. In fact, more often than not, I do not switch on my internet until I come back from the gym. As a policy, I never take my phone to the gym. I switch off my internet in the evening at around 7:30 to 8:30 pm. After that, I do not communicate with the world at all. Not even Bae. For work, I do the basic groundwork on pen and paper before opening the laptop. Even for this blog, I had written all the points in my diary in detail and now I am just elaborating them. I don’t chat a lot. Only basic requirements. Not a continuous exchange of messages with anyone. All of this saves me a lot of screen time. Good for my eyes and mind.
- Consciously Controlled Communication On Social Media: In past few months, I had become very aggressive on social media with my political ideology and my posts. A lot of my good friends, criticised me on social media, calling me bigot, racists, supremacists and all kinds of things. Even the people who did not know me put really objectionable allegations about things which are far from my actions and ideology. I am not complaining. I was no better. I also wrote long scathing replies. I made sure, that I said things which would shatter their ego and bruise it. It gave myself a momentary ego gratification. But later I noticed that the vibrations of those comments, that hate, anger and negativity, lingered with me even after closing the internet. It kept on disturbing me now and then. And hence, now I have resolved to not to indulge in such communications. Now, I don’t respond to rude comments, even if I do, I simply write okay or a smiley. I try to control my language on social media so that it doesn’t hurt someone so much that his/her vibrations affect me later. Everything is related. We can’t keep ourself untouched after causing pain and hurt to someone else. It comes back and I don’t want it. Hence, I consciously make sure that I don’t indulge is such things on social media. Also, I blocked the people, who spew venom irrespective of the fact that I don’t want an altercation. Trust me it worked wonders for me.
- Keeping All Personal Relationships in Harmony: All though it is better that we keep all relationships and associations in harmony to keep our mind at peace but if not all of them then at least we should keep all our deeply personal associations in harmony. Because, I have experienced it time and again, you can’t be at peace when you have a conflict with any of your siblings, parents, close friends, partner etc. It will simply not let you be at peace. And hence, I don’t let these conflicts linger on. As much as it is in my capacity, I try to resolve it amicably even if it means that I have to bow down, apologise even when I feel it was not my mistake. Because, being a peace, keeping the other person at peace, and keeping the relationship in harmony is more important than the gratification of my ego.
- Sitting Quietly When Something Unfavourable Happens: Time and again we face disappointments because we have so many expectations from ourselves, from our family, from society, from our partners, from our careers, from our boss, from our colleague, from our best friend and from God as well. Whenever these expectations are not met, we feel sad and disappointed. It happens with me too. But having taught by life I have changed my way of handling this. Now, whenever I meet with any disappointment, I just sit quietly, without internet and contemplate. Try to accept whatever is happening and also try to understand that my mind is limited to understand the overall scheme of things. There has to be some reason behind whatever has happened. I would be able to connect the dots someday. I try to be empathetic to the people in question. Depending upon the intensity of my hurt and disappointment I keep contemplating and eventually, I feel better. Acceptance is the key. It is a virtue like no other. And good to cultivate consciously.
Now let me discuss things that I do for my spiritual fitness.
Honestly, spiritual fitness and my spiritual goal is most important to me. All the other things and activities are planned in alignment with it. So that I can pursue my spiritual endeavours without much hindrance to my knowledge and ability. Following are the things I do and rules I follow to keep my spiritual progress going:
- Contemplation, Meditation and Chanting: I spend 20–30 mins in the morning and 20–30 mins in the evening in contemplation, and chanting daily. I chant Hanuman Chalisa, Siddha Kunjika Strotam Mantra, Mahamritujnay Mantra, Dwashdash Akshara Mantra of Vishnu, and Beej Mantras of the Chakras. There is no fix pattern and numbers to this. It keeps varying every day. But I chant Hanuman Chalisa daily 7 times. Other than this dedicated time, I keep chanting the name of Rama almost perpetually when I am not working or when not engaged anywhere else. I keep chanting his name all the time. I would write another blog on the scientific breakdown of vibrations of Rama and Ravan. And how chanting Ram keeps uplifting you spiritually.
- No Lying to Self and Minimum with Others: I as a policy never lie to myself. For spiritual progress, it is very important that we remaining truthful as much possible. I rarely lie. Obviously there are certain things I have to lie about. Other than those compulsory issues, I won't lie. But I never lie to myself about anything and never judge myself for anything. If in a heat of the moment I feel like killing a person. I don’t lie to myself about it. I talk to myself about it like a counsellor. I don’t lie to myself about my vices, my desires, my shortcomings, my sensitive ego, nothing. I feel this a very important policy for anyone’s spiritual progress in life. Because lies mean duality. It means conflict. You know the truth is X but you told someone Y. He or she doesn’t know but you know. So this gives rise to duality and conflict in your being. That’s why scriptures suggest moralistic living. Because, when you abide by a moral code of conduct, you mostly would not have any need to lie. Lying means you have something to hide, which you’re not comfortable sharing. If you’re in this state, how can you progress spiritually, unless you’re lying for a greater good.
- Witness Attitude Against Doer Attitude: I have discussed this in my blog on What Do We Mean By Fitness. I follow this rule also very strictly. I always try to consider myself the witness of events, not the doer of them. We all generally have a very strong sense of body consciousness, ego and hence a very strong sense of being the “DOER”. Our ego and sense of being is a control freak and wants everything our way. Realising that my sense of being “POONAM GUPTA” is a very small fraction of the overall scheme of things and I can’t control it unless I become one with the unifying fabric of all creation, I have stopped wanting to control any of it. I just think of myself as a medium to a certain experience, not the organiser of that experience. This helps me dissolve my ego instead of powering it. Trying to control things and taking pleasure in when they happen our way is the easiest way to strengthen our ego.
- Detachment From Praise and Criticism Alike: I consciously try not to get attached with words of praise or criticism. Like, the comments on picture with hot pants, people’s comment on my blogs… “Wow, you’re so hot, wow you’re so deep”... All of this is nothing but fuel for the ego. And I do not want to fuel my ego. It would slow the process of dissolution of my ego and my spiritual progress. The vice versa can also hurt my spiritual progress. Like, “I don’t align with your thoughts, how short your dress is… So against Indian culture”. Such comments can bruise my ego and hamper my peace of mind and not let me sit peacefully in meditation. I just remind myself, that people also have the right to express their opinion especially when I have shared something publically then it is a subject of public judgement. Judgements and opinions are very personal and conflicting. I might not agree with people’s opinions but I can’t change them and I can’t criticise them for expressing it or try to defend my actions and thoughts vehemently. Trying to change people’s opinions to suit our conveinience and ideology is one of the easiest ways of remaining perperually tensed in our lives. Hence, I try to detach myself from words of praise and criticism alike. I might not succeed always. But more than not I do.
- Reading Scripture: I spend good amount of time reading scriptures every week. I do not try to read them in haste and finish. I read them, take time to let it sink in and then read further. Especially texts like Tripura Rahasay and Yogavashitha they are so intellectual and detailed in their content that it really takes long pauses to understand them before moving on to the next sentence. I have started reading Upnishads. Kathopnishad was on my read list for a long time. Finished it today itself. There are some books that I keep revisiting like Ram Gita, Bhagavad Gita, Raj Yoga by Swami Vivekanand, Inner Ramayan by Chinmay Mission. But there is no point reading any of these books if we are not able to implement their lessons in our lives. Then it would just be sort of philosophical intellectual masturbation to sound deep and intelligent in some philosophical debate on facebook. Such intellectual masturbation is fun but we have to very conscious of them. They nurture ego in a very subtle way. These books are not for that. These books contain timeless wisdom from saints and seers of from Vedic era to recent times and deserve time, attention and implementation. Reading these books helps me align better with my spiritual goals and keeps giving me direction whenever I feel lost as a seeker.
6. Listening to Devotional Music and Chants: Listening to devotional music and chants also helps me in keeping myself spirutally fit. Some of these songs fill me with lots of devotion and love for the supreme conscious being and life force that powers everything in this creation. This devotion and love flows through my entire being and makes me feel really light, peaceful, and still. Listening to devotional songs is very helpful in lot of ways. Because, even in your spare time, you’re thinking, listing and contemplating only about the all-pervading lord/God/Consciousness/Self. Hence, the association with materialistic and worldly things becomes week day by day. You would hum these songs only. But if you listen to other kinds of songs, namely, romantic etc then your mind would keep going back to them, humming them, thinking about them. This powers your association with the world. For example, when I used to listen to Punjabi songs. I would keep humming them, the video would keep flashing through my mind every once in a while and generating similar tendencies. And hence, I consciously stopped listening to other songs. Following are some of the of songs I listen on repeat mode very often:
Out of all of these Shri, Hari Strotam is my favourite. And I listen to it daily almost on repeat mode. And this has been going on for over two months.
Broadly this is what I do to keep myself holistically fit. All of this is subject to change and evolution. And all of this is deeply personal too. This has evolved over time. I have made it to suit my desires, resources, and life goals. Hence, you need not copy it or apply it to yourself. You just need to be Raj Hans and take what is good for you and leave rest. If you don’t believe in God and spiritual endevours then just skip it.
My agenda is to explain that fitness is an extremely personal endeavour and you have to make your own fitness regime to suit your desires, needs, resources and life goals.
I submit this work to the all-pervading, ever-present, immanent, transcendent, timeless, and omnipresent supreme consciousness.
Hari Om Tat Sat _/\_