Body and Mind: Together At Last

I’ve never been an unhealthy person, thanks mainly to healthy genes I inherited.  I never exercised most of my adult life and never had problems or became overweight.  I’ve never been athletic and always very inflexible, but so are a lot of people — so I never considered it a problem.

But I’ve always been interested in exercising, mainly for vanity reasons.  As skinny as I am, I am not uninterested in looking good…. So when I got my current day job over a year ago, which had a gym in the office and a dedicated personal trainer, I signed up for a basic resistance training class.

I did that for a few months casually, and then one thing led to another and my family joined a local JCC and I started swimming regularly.  I’ve always been fond of swimming because my mother enrolled me in a swimming class when I was 3 years old, because I was a quiet, shy kid who got sick often.  I know that I kicked and screamed every time my mom took me, only to really enjoy myself once I was in water.  I’m forever grateful for that gift of swimming class.  Now I swim several times a week, and am experimenting with incorporating some resistance training into the routine.

I knew that exercising was also good for your mood, so I expected a dramatic shift when I started exercising regularly — which never happened.  I always felt proud of choosing to exercise, so I knew it wasn’t bad for me, but I never felt high or elated.

But now that it’s a regular part of my life, I do notice a change, not necessarily in mood but more in how I think of things.  Much more confident.  I am able to hold myself up to a better posture and I feel stronger and more present.  My pre-exercise stretching is making a noticeable improvement in my flexibility.

I used to think that our body is a container for our mind.  It’s the foundation of our existence, so it’s good to train it.  But now I realize that the connection is even deeper — the body is our mind.  The physical problems have their sources in the mind — in the other words, if you have mental problems, it comes out in your body, too.

They are one and the same.

I read that message several times in various places, the latest of which was a Sting interview I read in an in-flight magazine — I am no avid Sting fan, but I knew he was practicing yoga and is a very fit guy.  Inflexible body is a sign of inflexible mind — and I’ve had so many disappointments in my life because I get too attached to certain things and ideas.

So then, training my body is training my mind.  No wonder my world view is changing.

Now I really got to try yoga.  I’m going to, soon.