Newton watched an apple fall from the tree and discovered the law of gravity. Fitness, too, has its foundation rooted in such observations. Our rishis were not merely sadhus, lost to the world as they meditated on a higher plane. They were practical men who imbibed the laws of nature by noting the behaviour of animals and birds.
Their evolved minds enabled them to use these practices in positive ways for humankind. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to watch the splendorous fanning out of the vividly-coloured feathers of the peacock in its rain-dance may have viewed it purely as an aesthetic exercise. But our rishis noted the anterior stretching, the compression of the abdominal muscles of the peacock and decided it would be beneficial for people. Then, they saw cats and dogs stretching, elephants washing their stomachs, tortoises controlling their breath, frogs hibernating (read: relaxing), snakes twining their way to suppleness. In all these postures, they envisioned the growth of a better, fitter human race.
They gave us yoga, where equal importance is given to both exercise and relaxation. The word 'yoga' is derived from 'yuja' meaning 'to join'. For, that is what our rishis did - they joined or combined physical, mental and spiritual elements to make us fitter and healthier. While we are not really into yoga, we've picked on certain important points that illustrate what we've discovered for ourselves.
We feel exercising is a vital peg, a starting point from which you can begin your journey to a more positive lifestyle. Initially, you may see a workout as merely a passport to losing weight. But if you continue, you will realise it's much more than shedding a few kilos of fat. It is also your visa to an inward land which makes you more open, more forthcoming to the world without. You are laying a fertile soil in which seeds of a positive attitude can sprout. That sapling of thinking, however, needs to be further nourished.
Just as you exercise your body, so you need to give your mind a good workout. We've often found that phrases such as 'I can't' convince you of your imagined inabilities and suppress the potential within you. Such phrases create mental obstacles and it's only by removing them from your vocabulary can you get started on a more comfortable lifestyle. We know some people who complain constantly "I can't sleep. I suffer from insomnia.
" And sure enough, they are wide awake when the rest of the world is fast asleep. What they don't realise is that they are setting themselves on a negative obstacle course and going against the natural laws. Auto-suggestions are strong practices that can rejuvenate or destroy you depending on how you use them. So, why not use them to benefit you? We'd advise such people to replace the 'I can't' with the positive 'I can'. For, as we've discovered, fitness is also an unlearning process which helps us to re-learn what we've forgotten - to re-tune ourselves to the laws of nature. The 'I can' axiom will have far-reaching, positive consequences for you too.
Tell yourself, "I can exercise." Just as you put aside time for eating or doing your puja, initially set aside 20 minutes every day for exercising. As we said earlier in, this chapter, there is a god within you. And for that god, workout is worship. On your knees is the start of both prayer and sprint.
Sets you thinking, doesn't it? And like prayer, fitness is a constant process. As you put it into practice, you will find yourself becoming stronger, healthier and happier. Positive things will happen to you because positive forces will have worked within you. And don't ev.
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