Buddha said, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” Our mindset can imprison or free us, depending on the stories we tell ourselves. This applies to every facet of our lives--creative, intellectual, physical, emotional and, yes, spiritual.
A committed mindfulness practice allows us to connect to that layer of our being that is pure consciousness or Spirit, and stay grounded in our truth. An ancient Vedic saying expresses this beautifully: “In a pure mind there is constant awareness of Self. Where there is constant awareness of Self, freedom ends bondage and joy ends sorrow.”
Sometimes we get too comfortable with where we are--stuck in our comfort zone, so to speak-- and we settle, we stagnate, we stop growing. We fail to realize that we’ve stopped becoming our best possible self. When we stop moving into any sphere of our life experience, inertia, complacency, even depression can set in. That’s why it’s so important to move!
MAKING THE CONNECTION
Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 23 percent of adults in the U.S. get the recommended amounts of exercise each week, potentially setting themselves up for years of chronic health problems? Only one in three children are physically active every day, and adult-onset diabetes is now epidemic in children. Depression is more prevalent than ever, with an estimated 19 million Americans suffering from some form.
Though the cost of sedentary behavior has not been quantified in dollars, the cost of poor health and ensuing productivity loss has been, and is, a whopping $225.8 billion overall per year and climbing according to the CDC. Workplace wellness programs are becoming more prevalent, to encourage employees to boost overall health and well-being. Our bodies love to move; they’re meant to move. As one of the pillars of optimal health and well-being, regular physical activity and conscious movement leads us ever closer to our quest for harmony between the multidimensional layers of self—body, mind and spirit. Your body, as an expression of spirit, is most blissful when moving with the life force flowing through it.
And movement is what connects intention to action. When we are sedentary, our intentions become disconnected from our actions. It is then, in this state of physical inactivity, that we risk losing one of our most precious gifts—spontaneity. This loss of spontaneity makes it difficult to engage joyfully and passionately toward fulfillment of our dreams, goals and yes, our Dharma.
Moreover, a chasm, or disconnect between thought and action may result in inertia and profound fatigue. It sounds illogical that nonmovement could create fatigue, but it is a fact. Physical activity, the regular, deliberate and pleasurable physical movement of the body, can help stave it off. If we forsake regular physical movement and disconnect our intentions from our actions, depression or at least some aspects of this debilitating mental illness can become a real possibility.
The connective tissue that connects and surrounds our muscles, called fascia, can form harmful holding patterns. These tight, constricted holding patterns may literally be blocking energy flow through your mindbody physiology. Think about the hurts, strains, sprains, pains we experience when we become passive about our activity and our biological life force energy. Simply standing up from the couch can be a strain for the couch potato. Certainly, yoga is the most marvelous therapy ever to release held patterns of tension, or “armoring” in our body and our mind. Yoga- including asanas, pranayama, and meditation help us feel more comfortable and fluid, more at ease, more flexible in our bodies and our minds.
Perhaps you’ve heard it said that “A body in motion stays in motion,” or, “When you rest you rust.” All absolutely true. Wayne Dyer once said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” He was so right. When you change the way you see the world, when your intentions are positive and powerful, then your life transforms into the amazing and wonderful adventure it was meant to be.
See physical activity as a pleasure, and as play. No matter how “adult” you are, stay playful in the here and now. Watch what hap- pens. And, for goodness sake, get moving!
MARY BETH JANSSEN is a certified health educator for the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and author of seven books, including the latest, The Book Of Self Care: Remedies For Healing Mind, Body, And Soul. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, marybethjanssen.com