Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Self-Awareness and Fitness

Let me first state that these are my opinions that are based on my experiences and application.  So, at the risk of sounding a little weird to some of you, I feel it's necessary for me to discuss the subject of  self-awareness and how it can make a positive impact on your long term fitness goals and overall well-being.  I hope to maybe help someone achieve their fitness goals and maybe eventually turn the proverbial "Third Eye" inward. 

He who knows others is learned;
He who knows himself is wise.
~Lao-tzu, Tao te Ching

Getting fit should be and is a goals that many of us strife for and some achieve.  The amount of information published and available can be so overwhelming and confusing that it may even sap your energy and desire to continue the journey.  Many fitness goals start off as long term goals, but after awhile become short term sporadic goals for various reasons and before you know it, time has gone by, making it even harder to start up again.  One of the many factors that many routines or trainers fail to incorporate or take into account is the need for self-awareness and that true long term fitness requires a certain level of body and soul alignment.

The human body is very powerful, capable and can adapt very quickly.  We don't even fully understand or comprehend the human body's potential capabilities, but what we can do is assume and believe in its potential.

In addition to other potential positive impacts to your life, self-awareness will help you not only better understand yourself, it will help you understand others.  Understanding others may save you from harm or maybe even prevent you from getting involved with the wrong kind of person by feeling the negative energy, much like animals do.  You can also achieve a high level of discipline and pretty much kick any bad habit you want and for those that fear being alone, consider it a non-issue.

From a fitness perspective, self-awareness impacts your fitness goals by establishing a communication pathway between you and the body (organs, cells, arteries, muscles, etc...), a good understanding of the human anatomy helps.  Because the body can't speak it communicates by visual interpretation by accessing memories and emotions stored in your brain.  Most people have weird dreams when they are sick, or pain in a certain part of the body.  Ever notice the dreams you have when you need to use the bathroom?  Maybe a situation that irritates or aggravates you, that always gets me up, anyway I digress and I hope you get my point.

Some basic methods of achieving self-awareness are:
  • Try asking yourself (silently of course) and truly figuring out why you feel a certain way sometimes.  What and why certain things or situations make you angry, sad or happy and why you make certain statements.  Don't be afraid to discover that maybe you may not be so nice, that's OK, that is what you want.  It's better to see, know and face the ugly part of you than to turn your back on it while it destroys you.  The good part is always easier to look at.  After all if a plant grows better when you talk to it, why can't the body react when you apply a similar concept or why does everyday stress have a negative impact on your body?  Use this double-edged sword towards your advantage and make it positive.
  • Try to pay attention to you body while working out, picture the muscles involved, it is important you visualize the part of the body you are exercising and shaping.  Have a picture in your mind of what your end state is.  Therefore it is crucial you respect your body when exercising, that is why I recommend working out alone.   
 Self-Awareness works hand in hand with the visualization element of the Stress Free Fitness philosophy and is a crucial part of long term fitness and overall well-being.

Whereas the average individuals "often have not the slightest idea of what they are, of what they want, of what their own opinions are," self-actualizing individuals have "superior awareness of their own impulses, desires, opinions, and subjective reactions in general.
~Abraham Maslow

What say you?

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