Meditation and exercise may seem like two different things. When you meditate, you put yourself into silence mode sitting peacefully on a cushion and doing nothing. While you’re doing exercise, you will move your body to be active and get sweat.
However, we all need meditate and exercise in balance as well. It’s not only good for our body, but it gives you more benefits you may not know before.
Why Your Body Should Meditate and Exercise:
1. Meditation and Exercise Wake You Up
During your meditation state, you’re putting attention on the feeling of the body breathing and if our focus wanders, we shootingly bring it back. What is actually happen when we notice our attention has wandered, we’re waking up to the fact that our mind is somewhere else, we will come back to discover ourselves and we’re feeling alive in our bodies at this moment. It’s really turning you to your senses and awakening you to the present.
Sometimes people do enjoy the daydreaming section on the meditation cushion. It’s normal and not necessarily a bad thing. However, the moment you notice that’s happening, you will potentially wake up to what you’re doing in that moment.
In different pattern, when you’re working out, you also have the chance to tune in to your body and sense to be alive. You will feel re-energized and reinvigorated after exercise.
2. Gentleness in both Meditation and Exercise
Gentleness is important when you doing both exercise and meditation. At a glance, it may sounds a bit counterintuitive when it comes to working out. The author and head of global community of meditation centers Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham, said “If we do not push ourselves enough, we do not grow, but if we push ourselves too much, we regress. What is enough will change, depending on where we are and what we are doing. In that sense, the present moment is always some kind of beginning.”
Discipline and exercise aren’t the same as aggression, which sometimes comes from a sense of lashing out and discontentment. Thus, we can actually push ourselves in a supportive way that’s filly alive to how and we are at the moment. You can keep reminding yourself to come back to your motive and the basic instruction for working out or meditation, otherwise you may never want to try it again. With a sense of gentleness, you can enjoy your working out and meditation to become truly be kind to yourself.
3. Discomfort and Pain in Meditation and Exercise
Chogyam Trungpa, the founder of Shambhala, said “Pain is not punishment, and pleasure is not a reward. They are both ordinary occurrences”. Especially when you’re the beginner in meditation or exercise, you may experience uncomfortable feeling, fidgety, irritated or achy. Well, people were all of these things before and they’re just shining a light on it.
You will also experience the physical sensation and then there are storylines that your minds attach to them. You will feel ache in your knee or waist or back. It should not make you wary. Actually, this is just reaction that your exercise starts burning. When you can enjoy this reaction, you can touch in to your original motive for exercise and really feel whether this pain is hazardous or if it’s the result of being outsife of your comfort zone. Your body instinct may actually say it’s improved your self even when you experience little pain for a while.
The same goes to meditation. At first, you may feel uncomfortable, irritated or itchy, which actually could be a signal that your mind isn;t used to the stillness and want to go back to its regular mode of speediness and entertainment. When you give time and love this reaction, you can go far into gentleness and will enjoy it as well.
4. Keep it in Balance
Balance is the key, both in meditation and exercise. You need to apply this both to physical and mental element of working out and meditation. Learn how to make a good meditation posture which is not too tight and not too lose. You can be upright and dignified, but stay relax and try enjoy it at your best. By learning, you will enjoy this and get used to with best meditation position and will get higher level of engagement and intensity. The same goes to exercise, make your working out fully engage so you can get the best benefit.
5. Meditation and Exercise are Complate each other
Both are complementary activities. By meditation, you get healthy mind to nurture a healthy body, while healthy body creates the balance and alignment to support a healthy mind. Indeed, despited the similarities, you have to not that they are not the same. Sakyong Mipham said, “The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.”
Meditation approachment can definitely be applied to exercise, but there’s not replacement for sitting silently on a cushion engaging in practice of meditation.