Adding Exercise to our Spiritual Practice

Adding Exercise to our Spiritual Practice

By Desmond YSC

Ceramic Products Manufacturer in Malaysia

Ceramic Products

In the book ‘Spark – the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain’, John J. Ratey, MD wrote about how the results of one of a school in the United States (Naperville, Illinois School District 203 ) improved when a teacher introduced a daily exercise routine into the school curriculum. In addition to the improved results, disciplinary problems also dropped significantly.  Naperville consistently ranks among Illinois’ top 10 school districts even though it is not among the top spenders per pupil. What’s more, struggling students who participate in gym before school raised their grades significantly.

Every morning, the teacher would put heart rate monitors on his students and asked them to run a mile while maintaining their heart rate at the optimum level for their age. When interviewed, one of the students mentioned that it sucks being sweaty after class but she will stick to the programme because she no longer feels moody every day and she is able to concentrate better in class.

In the book, John shared research which showed that exercise is as effective as anti-depressant medicines and the risk of relapse is lower. He also showed many other benefits of exercise such as improvements in memory and brain functions, higher intelligence, better tolerance for stress and so on. The book also covers the positive effects of exercise on anxiety, depression, ADHD, addiction, hormonal changes and aging.

We can also look at exercise from a yogic perspective. In addition to our physical body, we also have energy, mental, emotional and causal bodies. These bodies are inter-connected and affect one another. Kundalini and Kriya Yoga uses techniques to work on our energy body which in turn brings about positive benefits to our physical body. It can also work the other way round, by exercising, we can benefit our energy, mental and emotional bodies through our physical body.

Starting an exercise routine is probably the fastest and easiest route to bringing more happiness into our life. Some experts recommend pacing ourselves so that our heart rate is maintained in between 70% to 85% of our maximum heart rate[1] so that we are able to exercise longer without over-exerting ourselves.

Some of us may decide to give up exercise in order to have more time for spiritual practice. This is inadvisable. If we need more time, it is better to reduce television time or other forms of entertainment.  It is easy to find an hour to spend in front of the television or computer but it is almost impossible to squeeze in 30 minutes for spiritual practice or exercise. Exercise can bring happiness into our life and should be given top priority in our agendas.

[1] We calculate our maximum heart rate by deduction our age from 220 for example, the maximum heart rate for a 30 year old is 190 (220 – 30)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: