By Yolande Korsten
Working out is a moving meditation. It is the largest chunk of dedicated ‘me’ time that most of us have available to ourselves all day. So why, oh why is it so difficult to drag yourself to the gym?
Hmmm … let’s explore this phenomenon.
Rewind the clock to the third week of January. Your new year’s resolution to get into shape has survived the post-party hangover. You went so far as to actually become a member at the local gym. You’ve bought the new gym towel and you’ve had your body fat measured. The results were shocking, but what did you expect … just more fuel for the motivational fire.
Every morning (or evening) you dutifully haul your behind to the gym, working up a sweat on the circuit or in the spinning class and you walk out of there feeling great. You measure your portions, drink your shakes and avoid the temptation of the Chocolate Gateau at your weekly coffee date with your best mate. In short – it’s going brilliantly. And it goes really well in week two and three. It even lasts well into week five.
Come week six, you’ve had a lousy day at the office – your hard drive crashed, you’ve lost everything and the IT support guy will only get to you sometime next week. You’ve got the worst case of PMS blues you’ve had in years. Oops – the workout today will have to wait – you just can’t face that too.
And tomorrow, the workout gets shunted again because your best friend’s called, she’s getting a divorce and you need to be the shoulder to cry on – after you’ve popped into the local bakery to get some really decadent chocolate croissants on the way over to her place. Feeling a little guilty, you promise yourself that you’ll get to the gym next week Monday – this week’s over and done with and it’s better to start fresh.
Next week Monday rolls around and this week is worse than the last … so you’ll get to the gym next week … You can see the cycle by now.
So what happened?
It was Einstein who said that it takes a lot of energy to get a stationary body moving. And in the beginning, you invested that energy to get your body moving. You were fired up and raring to go. It was fun and exciting because it was something new. But just like gravity will eventually bring everything back down to earth, the reality of expending all that energy on a daily basis can wear you down and bring you back down to earth with a bump. The alternative is that something or someone else brings you to an abrupt standstill. And you just can’t quite seem to work up the energy needed to get yourself moving again.
Don’t feel despondent – we all have those days. There is a way to get over this little hurdle.
“Little hurdle? Little?!? It’s a huge problem!” – is usually the first reaction I get to that statement. “I’ve fallen off the bus, I’ve blown it” is a close second. Here’s the secret – you’ve only stumbled; it’s only a minor setback.
You will only ever really fail if you allow this to derail you entirely.
And you are the only one that can make that choice. Money is very rarely enough of a motivator to get you moving again. Yes, the fact that you’re paying for your gym membership and you’re wasting money if you’re not using it can help to keep the momentum going if and only if you’re already in motion. The same goes for any ‘rewards’ that you’ve put in place e.g. “If I lose 20 lbs, I’ll treat myself to a full day at the luxury spa”. The rewards are the icing on the cake, a little extra incentive when you’re in the swing of things.
The most difficult part of getting back on track is showing up. Not the work-out. Simply getting in your car, driving to the gym and showing up. If you manage to get that done, you’re more than half way there. You’ve started the ball rolling … and every day you just show up is another day you add a little more energy. Before you know it you’re back on track.
Simple, isn’t it?
Beware though – simple does not always equal easy. It will still require some discipline from your side. You will still need to exercise will power. Nothing happens by magic. If it did, you wouldn’t appreciate it half as much!
So what does this have to do with Zen? Zen is at its core the art of meditation – becoming profoundly still within yourself and just being. The pace of today’s hectic lifestyle does not allow for much time to fall still without scheduling it in your diary. (And if you do, how many of us have the discipline to actually keep that ‘me’ time sacred?) So, being the fantastic females that we are, we can multi-task.
Your workout becomes your moving meditation – the time where it’s just you, your body and your inner being.
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