Exercise to Excel
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” — based on the words of Albert Einstein.
Most of my daily activities have to do a lot with my mind: I write, translate, read, interpret, study, read again… I love learning new things, working on my translation and writing projects, connecting with people all over the world through the Internet, writing. But that means I spend many hours a day sitting at my desk, or moving from one sitting stance to another. “It’s all in my head,” literally :)
But I am not just a mind, and to keep moving the intellectual wheels as I constantly do, I need to strike some balance between my mental self, and all of my other selves — spiritual, emotional, and, of course, physical.
Since my mental self is constantly exercising, working purposefully on my physical self seemed the way to go to start finding some balance. “Mens sana in corpore sano,” as the well-known Latin phrase goes (a healthy mind in a healthy body). Well, it wasn’t really a surprise to realize that when both your mind and your body are active and in harmony, then there is a good chance that your emotional and spiritual selves also find a way to express themselves and try to fit into that harmonious alignment. Is it easy to keep this balance? Not really, specially when it feels like a burden, “one more thing on your to-do list;” but the good thing is the more you have the intention to keep it, the more it balances itself. The more you flow with this equilibrium, the better it hints you towards what you need to do to regain it.
I attend Yoga classes twice a week to stretch, listen within, and connect to my body in a deeper way. I go to the gym two or three times a week to work on my strength, stamina, and resistance levels. This faster rhythm allows me also to get my body tired, which lets my muscles release tension and stress, and free some of the adrenaline that gets pent up everyday as I rush through my intellectual tasks, with pushing deadlines, and overlapping projects. This physical tiredness helps relaxation, and, of course, a better sleep time!
I also go out and take a walk in nature every time I can, some four times a week. I grab my bike to go around the city for my errands, and I dive into the swimming pool during the summer time to enjoy being active in the sun and water.
It’s all about finding little moments where to add activity into your life. You start as if it were an obligation and, slowly but surely, it gets to be a part of your daily routine. I use the word “routine” because it feels natural in this sentence, but, believe me, there is nothing routinary about working out, as the connection this gives you to your body and inner being lets you be in touch with your elemental force, your energy, your magic. Even if your body is doing a movement that is overly familiar to you, it is key to let yourself flow with it. Get to be “in the zone,” as many athletes describe that special moment.
Once you experience that rewarding experience of connecting with your body, your material self, the power within you that pushes you forward, that fuels your vehicle to take you wherever you want to go, that feeds your sense of “I can do it!”… you will not want to go back to having a sleeping, numbed body.
Any kind of exercise will do it. There is no one size fits all. You just need to find what you enjoy, and makes your body want more of it. Even if it starts hard, first figure out what motivates you (to find balance, in my case), and then, listen to your inner music. Your body knows.
Exercise to find that moving force in you, to connect to your inner fire, and find the lightning flame that will brighten your mind, open up your emotions, and give your spirit wings to fly.