What is your favorite workout? Maybe you have heard this: If you love one practice, stick to it. Get really good in one thing. Be great at either running, yoga, meditation, kung fu, ballet, fitness, pilates, volleyball, surfing, you name it…
But I am going to tell you the opposite.
Mix it up
Do different things.
Practice movement styles you have never done before. Sure, you’ll have your favorites, but do not keep it to one movement practice!
Maybe you are the ambitious kind, and you like to get really good at one thing. Nail all those difficult handstands in yoga poses. Or be able to win a marathon. Or you just like to stick to what you know! Which is great and I have nothing against that.
What if I told you that you could improve yourself, your body and your practice even more if you would alternate in between different practices.
Every practice has a different emphasis. And doing a number of them will balance your body on deeper levels than ever before.
Body, mind, and energy
In my personal training and my work with students, I use and fuse different practices for body, mind, and energy. Body, mind, and energy are connected, and every workout embodies all three of them. But every practice has a different emphasis.
Great workouts and good teachers do touch upon all three of them though.
Get fit with physical workouts
Physical practices are running, yoga, fitness, ballet, Zumba, dance, swimming, etcetera.
When we talk about personal training or workouts, this will be the first category that comes to mind. And it is great. Nothing better than getting out of your head, into your body and just move. And, when you do a physical workout you will notice at that at the same time your mind quiets down.
Within physical workouts, it is great to alternate as well.
I take ballet classes, but I alternate them with yoga classes and workouts in the gym. I make sure I get some cardio training in a couple of times a week, and I train specific muscles with ankle weights or elastic bands.
Doing this improves my abilities to dance as well. And it keeps my body strong, flexible and happy.
If you like running, you might notice your muscles (hamstrings) are pretty strong and short. So you make sure you also do a practice where you relax and lengthen your muscles.
If you do a lot of yoga, you’ll be strong and flexible. But you could benefit from a cardio practice (running, swimming) and your benefit will love ball rolling exercises (see example here) or getting a massage every once in a while.
Sssshhh the thoughts with a Mind practice
Meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), mindfulness...
Mind practices are there to quiet your mind and to help you to have less unnecessary thoughts. If you are not aware of the ongoing stream of thoughts in your head, just sit still for a minute, and bring your awareness to your breath.
When you do that, you’ll notice that it is hard to keep your focus on your breath for one minute. Your thoughts will take you away from it. Which means you are not aware of them.
Your thinking mind (a.k.a. the monkey mind) is playing with you.
In that state, it is harder to be fully present. Which is important in your workout or sport - anything you perform when you are fully present you will perform better.
And of course, that translates to every aspect of your life. Being present is beneficial to anything you do.
If you like to work creatively, you’re an artist or an entrepreneur, you especially need that quiet time, to get into a creative state. When you meditate, you’ll have more ideas flowing in easily. Creativity just comes to you, all throughout the day.
Be unstoppable - do an Energetic workout
Qigong, Tai Chi, Kung Fu are Energy Arts.
An energetic practice works straight on the energy level. The energy level is fundamental to the other levels (body and mind). If you change something on the energy level, you will notice a direct shift in body and mind.
Energy practices used to be well-kept secrets. (and in a way they still are). Because they are so powerful, it isn’t something you learn in a drop-in class in the gym. It is a subtle level, yet fundamental to the whole of your existence. So when you dive into Energetic practice, you are going to make some big epic changes to yourself and your life.
Qigong is a powerful energy practice. When taught as an energy art, so are Tai Chi and Kung Fu.
Another option is to go to an energy healer. Somebody who can help you clear your energies and improve the flow of energy within your body.
Why does this work?
The amount of benefits to practicing each one these different levels is endless. By practicing an Energy Art, you will create inner shifts with ease. Also, it gives you the ability to release tension after a hard workout and prevent injuries.
Mind practices make it easier for you to be present, which means you’ll do your workout or your Qigong practice with more depth - and therefore get more of the benefits. Your weekly cardio workout in the gym will make your body stronger and will stimulate happy hormones that make you feel great!