Fitness IS a Spiritual Practice

Fitness is a form of spiritual practice that is the catalyst to enhance your personal growth, your purpose, your engagement in life with self and others.

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Mavens (2018) defines spiritual practice:

A daily spiritual practice refers to any ritual that we perform each day to nur­ture our deep inner being. A spiritual practice quiets the mind and brings us into a state of peace or harmony with ourselves. A spiritual practice can take many forms—but it is not the form that matters so much as the intent. In fact, a spiritual practice does not even need to be explicitly spiritual to be effective. It simply needs to be something that helps you turn inward and connect with your own truth and purpose.

You do not need to be religious or even spiritual to benefit from develop­ing a spiritual practice. A daily spiritual practice is not about dogma or wor­ship; it is about tuning in to your own sense of spirit.

Life is multi-faceted…it would be difficult, if not impossible, to disconnect the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of life.  There is a relationship of these elements that permeate and integrate with living. For me, physical exercise is a form of spiritual practice that is the catalyst bringing these aspects together. In my blog, Run for My Body, Run for My Soul, and my three-part series on Well-Being: Self Exploration I describe how my running is more than just the physical action of putting one foot in front of the other. Bringing the body and mind together is a form of spiritual practice.

“The older I get, the more I realize there is more to these activities than just the competitiveness I found in the past.  
Improving and enhancing body, mind, and spirit 
result from my physical activity.”

“I savor the peacefulness of a light rain and the solitude of my run. 
I have always been grateful for my runs (good, bad, or indifferent). 
I have learned through this experience is to be more aware 
of the meaning my day-to-day activities. 
This awareness will have an influence on uplifting my well-being.”

Movement can be a way to focus on our well-being.  Think about it…exercise is like cross training for life.  The physical aspect of movement is just one of the many outcomes. Movement improves thinking, perspective, and purpose.  When you move you become physically and emotionally healthier. The more you move the more you confident and capable you become.

Scott-Dixon (Precision Nutrition)

Dupue (n.d.) provides reasons why he believes fitness is a form of spiritual practice.

  • You use it for greater happiness and fulfillment.
  • You use your workouts as a time to reflect.
  • You face yourself and grow in more ways than physical.
  • You test your will.
  • Your heart is engaged.
  • You expand your comfort zone.
  • You change your karma.
  • You release emotion and energy.
  • You take a moment a breathe.
  • Your mind quiets down, and you are present.
  • You have mental or emotional breakthroughs.

Here are a few examples of how fitness can be a spiritual practice…you may already engage in some of these suggestions. These rituals, relationships, and reflections through movement, exercise, fitness, working out to enhance your personal growth, your purpose, your engagement in life with self and others.

  • Listen to inspirational music
  • Listen to a book or podcast
  • Listen to the sounds of nature 
  • Mindfully notice your surroundings
  • Mindfully notice how your body feels as it moves
  • Participate with others to stay connected
  • Reflect on what you are grateful for
  • Savor the experience as it is happening and afterwards
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