Health is pretty cool. I also find that the healthier I am, the cooler I think I am too. Being healthy is cool, right? Taking care of our physical bodies is awesome! Eating healthy foods, exercising, and sleeping in a responsible way are fundamental to good health. Simple choices we make on a daily basis can do wonders to increase our energy that we may then harness to go forth and do whatever we love to do!
What is Exercise? How do we Exercise?
Eating healthy foods and exercising is definitely a good start to achieving optimum physical health. Exercise, however, is a vague term which I think can be expanded on. Most people know about the differences between lifting weights and cardiovascular workouts like walking, running, or bicycling. Both types of workouts seem to be good in moderation.
Recently, I’ve embarked on a journey of exploring other ways to optimize not just physical health, but also mental and spiritual health. Here are a few of the other not-so-common “exercises” I do that bring me lots of energy.
1. Meditation: sitting still, focusing on breathe or on some ideal like Peace or Love increases my awareness of my body. I also will sit still with my eye closed and listen to a piece of classical music. Listening to music can be a meditation too. The key is to relax and let yourself be fully present with your experience and the music.
Meditation is almost naturally an enjoyable activity because you are singularly focusing on something you enjoy, whether it be a beautiful song, a loving person in your life, or a great idea like Peace or Love. You can even just focus on you, on your breathe and how cool your body is. If you have a favorite animal, you could even imagine that animal and watch it having fun in your jungle or across some planes in Africa.
In our imagination, the possibilities are endless! We can all imagine something that brings us Peace and Happiness, and that’s what meditation is all about. Meditation is an exercise that relaxes our bodies and opens us more fully to a present-minded enjoyment of the Moment. Take yourself on an adventure in your own wonderful imagination and enjoy the increased energy you experience. Also, realize that anything you can create in your mind, you can also create in physical reality. As Napoleon Hill once said, “Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Just imagining yourself full of positive energy and radiating beautiful light will make you feel more awake and alive.
2. Yoga: Woot woot! In some ways, yoga is actually the same thing as meditation, as it is often translated as ‘singularness of focus,’ yet, for the purposes here, we might as well understand yoga as stretching. Whenever you lift weights or participate in any cardiovascular exercise, you can always improve the workout just a bit by adding in some time for stretching, or yoga, at the end. Whether you spend 5 minutes or 50 stretching isn’t important – any stretching is good! When we stretch, we encourage our blood to circulate to all parts of our body. I’ve heard from a yoga instructor that our deepest reservoirs of stress reside in our lower back and in our hips, so stretching out those parts of the body are particularly important to promote optimum blood and energy flow.
I usually do yoga for about 15 minutes when I wake up, then for about 30-60 minutes sometime in the afternoon, and ideally 10 minutes before I go to sleep, although I’m not quite there yet. One thing I know for sure: the more yoga I do, the better I feel. I have yet to reach that “too much yoga…me no like…” state. 😉
3. Laughing. Many a times it’s been said, “Laughter is the best medicine,” a statement I believe is true. As far as physiological effects go, I don’t know much other than that endorphins release when we laugh, and supposedly those are some very happy chemicals that make us feel good.
Perhaps more importantly though…who doesn’t like to laugh? I used to have really high standards for what I considered funny and didn’t laugh much, but recently I have greatly lowered my standards and will pretty much laugh at anything, even what might look to be nothing. Some days I will go outside, walk, and just make the decision to laugh at nothing in particular. Laughing to laugh – it’s a darn good choice! Besides, life, existence, creation, all that is, it’s a very funny world we live in, and the more we start to laugh at ‘supposedly nothing,’ the more I think we will become aware of the great Cosmic Joke, or the Divine Comedy to use Dante’s terminology. God is the Master Comedian. Everything is funny.
I think the more attuned we become to the humor in every situation, the healthier we will be. Besides, not only is laughing one of the favorite activities of almost any person, but people enjoy being around people who laugh more. Laughter is the sound of joy, love, and life. It is the sound of energy and happiness and celebration of all that is good. I think we’d all benefit with increased energy and health by laughing a bit more. If laughing aloud might not be your thing, then perhaps try smiling so big that it feels like your face is about to explode, just…don’t let it explode.
By practicing healthy living ourselves, buying the healthy foods, physically exercising, and also exercising that sense of humor and enjoyment, we set a good example. The more energy we have, the more we have! With more energy, we can do more and give more to ourselves and to others.
One of my favorite ways to share healthy practices with people is by living them myself – it’s a win / win. So, if you ever find yourself wanting to do some exercise or meditation or laughing, consider doing everyone a favor and do it in public! Okay – the ‘laughing at nothing’ bit can be a tough one to do in public and requires a hefty dose of confidence, but eventually maybe we can all work up to living in that abundance of freedom of expression. Until then – at least we can share other healthy practices with the world, embracing the journey of optimizing our own health and setting the example for others to follow so that we all may experience more of that beautiful energy that flows freely through the Universe for all of us to enjoy.
Here’s to a healthy, vibrant, energetic day of Love and Service!