Why we Move
Think of exercise as a full body cleaning. The crap you can not get rid of through digestion can be loosened & moved out when you move your body!!!
Exercise = waste pump. Conscious movement clears waste from the lymph & sweat glands. Conscious breath oxygenates blood, and therefore, every organ. Your body’s efficiency increases as you intensify exercise (up to a point).
Today, the vast majority of people exercise for a toned look. Visual cues (looking good) are an ok way into exercise, however, many people get carried away and forsake balanced health for aesthetics.
For example, many people consume a lot more animal protein to gain muscle. According to Ayurveda, an uptick in protein has to be managed with digestion to see if you’re actually making use of the protein (e.g. check your stools for inconsistent bowel movements). After visiting countless colon hydrotherapists around the country, I learned that many of their body builder clients overloaded with so much protein that their colon got clogged. Massive amounts of protein require a lot of output which is why intense training like crossfit works for some, especially Pittas and Kaphas. Crossfit would be too taxing on a Vata body unless the progression is steady.
Ayurveda (a system of balance) recommends gently dialing up protein intake based on steadily more physical output (exercise). This way the body eases into digesting more, like revving an engine. While 6-pack or 8-pack abs are a pleasing aesthetic, there’s no indication in Ayurveda that it’s healthier. Six pack abs only imply that there’s very little body fat in that area. Health depends on where waste is stored. People have unique compositions that store waste in different combinations so it’s better to work on the whole body.
For others, there’s a tendency to do too much cardio– running on an elliptical like a mad woman for 1 hour, hoping to loose a pound. In Ayurveda, you only need to do enough cardio to get the heart, blood, and lymph moving (usually 15 minutes) after which most practices require steadiness, strength building, flexibility, and balance. Over doing cardio for Vata bodies will deplete their energy because their joints aren’t lubricated enough. A Kapha can handle a lot more -e.g. a marathon etc – and a Pitta is somewhere in between.
The quintessential Ayurvedic exercise is slow to moderate paced Hatha Yoga, however, steady modern-day weight training can also work. Yoga has stretching built into it – score! If you just do weights, it’s imperative you stretch before or you might painfully injure a muscle.
Yeah Yeah Yeah, I Still Hate Exercise
It’s something deep-seated. Either you’re tied to the physical results and don’t know how to get them or you think you can skate by because you feel healthy-ish. If you’re not reaching your physical goals, start with your mental and emotional goals. Experience what it’s like to have more energy and clarity, and then your physique will start complying. If you think you don’t need to exercise, test your morning flexibility like so:
Side Stretch Right
Side Stretch Left
If there are any creaks in bones, stiffness, or pain, you’re ignoring your body’s signs. If you’re still blocked about exercise, don’t force it. Focus on light stretching and running errands by foot/walking around the house or neighborhood. You want your mind to welcome more movement not shun it.
More to come about exercise. This post will get you started if you’re not currently exercising or give you some perspective if you already have exercise down.