There are a bewildering number of different ways you can work with your body, and it can be very difficult to know where to start!
The good news is that maintaining a healthy body can be really simple, enjoyable, and quick. Most of the confusion comes from fitness gurus and companies competing to sell you their equipment, nutrition supplement, or method. The key is to aim for health and longevity as a life-long practice, not a quick fix.
I offer advice and demonstrations on how to set up practices and habits that nourish your body.
I mainly use body-weight exercises because I find them to be lots of fun and they provide functional strength that translates into the normal day-to-day movements. These exercises can involve no equipment (push ups, squats etc.) or basic equipment (climing ropes, gym rings, pull up bar) Body-weight exercises are also very scalable. You can start with very easy versions, and work up towards extremely challenging exercises that require some serious strength.
Mobility and Movement
As I get older I am getting more interested in mobility and movement. This is mainly due to counteracting the effects of aging and the necessity of keeping one's body supple and mobile, but also I have found it to be a lot of fun. Mobility is about moving your various joints through their range of movement, and this can often be achieved through different types of movements such as crawling, swinging, shaking and rolling.
How to eat healthily is a subject that is permeated with bad advice, fads, and clever product marketing. But, the reality is that it can be very simple and enjoyable. Over the years I have tried all the weird and wonderful diets out there, and have landed on what I believe to be a sane and sustainable approach. I try to stick to eating whole foods, which means eating food that is unprocessed, and I am careful to get the correct proportions of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, and fibre. There are many tricks I've discovered over the years to achieve this without letting food rule your actions every day with time consuming preparation.
Spiritual practices and the body
Spiritual practices like meditation become more and more embodied over time. For example meditation often feels located in our head when we are beginners as we learn to disidentify with our thinking. It is common that over the years of practice the 'seat of consciousness' starts to drop down into the centre of our chest.
In contemporary Western culture the 'place' we feel our identity to be located is usually in our heads. Scientific materialists think of mind as being in the brain. In many Eastern languages they have words for consciousness that would translate into English as 'heart-mind'.
Another key area of the body that tends to be associated with the power that is generated through spiritual practice is the bottom of our torso - our gut and genitals. Is is common to say a person 'has guts' if they are brave and powerful.
To feel the erotic, ecstatic urge of the universe in your genitals is also a common experience deriving from various spiritual practices. This comes with the necessity of developing deep personal and collective ethics. The failure to do so has been the downfall of a disappointingly large number of Gurus and groups.
These are just a few examples of the rich and complex ways spritual practice relates to embodiment.
P and C owned by Ralph Cree 2023