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Mindfulness and Exercise
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Mindfulness and Exercise
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Spread the Kung Fu

I was heading to the lockers in the club this morning and passed by quite a few ads of offered classes. I read names like box fit, ab killer, booty shake etc. and couldn’t help but think of late night infomercials. As I walked through the club I saw TVs on treadmills and mounted on walls; I heard music playing over speakers throughout the gym, people with headphones jammed in their iPods and in the classes the screaming of the instructor and the sound of the bass, penetrated down to my bones. And then I realized that all of this isn’t really to promote better health, but to make exercise seem like it’s not really exercise. For some reason people in the West still view the body and mind as two separate and independent things. And this is wrong.

You are not supposed to take your mind off exercise, you’re supposed to incorporate it in your exercise; and it doesn’t matter what type of exercise, or work you are doing. Would you want your doctor watching tv while examining you?  When you take your mind out of exercise you are missing half of the benefits. Things like structure, form and especially breathing are critical in doing any exercise, but if your mind is being blasted with music, or videos you will not have the concentration necessary. This is especially true in martial arts, which is why there is so much emphasis on focus and discipline. When you engage your mind in an exercise you are not only sure to do it correctly, but you are learning control over your body.  According to Chinese qi gong theory the mind leads the qi (life force, or bio electricity) which means when the mind is engaged so is the qi and thus your body will be more energized and you will benefit more from the exercise. Don’t believe in the importance of the mind? Here’s a quote from someone with a little experience in fitness.  “The body is very important, but the mind is more important than the body.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

So next time your about to do whatever it is that you do; take out the headphones, turn off the tv, breath and focus. You may find its even more rewarding than working out to Madonna.

E. Tomaine



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