Our prescription for fitness replaces torture with fun. It takes out all the negative elements of life – the competition, the comparison, the focus on fighting – while supporting all the positive ones such as releasing tension and providing a sense of freshness, awareness and well-being. It’s that same approach – of eliminating the negative elements while accentuating the positive ones – that is the foundation of our idea of Creative Fitness.
It’s an approach to an active lifestyle very similar to that of a child. A child doesn’t need a fitness studio. He is simply fit through his ongoing discovery of his body, its strengths and its limitation; through his being alive and spontaneous; through his attitude of wonder and curiosity; through his innocent mind and natural breathing.
“What I began asking myself was, ‘Is it possible for us to stay fit by learning from children, by reclaiming a state we once knew rather than inventing all kinds of artificial devices which often feel, look and smell like an S & M club? And which can often cost an arm and a leg to join.’”
With that question in mind we developed some ideas to make fitness a natural and simple process that allows us to maintain our independence of any rules, regulations or schedules, that is cost effective and, above all, fun!
SEVEN STEPS FOR CREATIVE FITNESS
#1. Love Your Body
Loving and respecting your body is the foundation for inner and outer fitness. Too often, in the nature of competition and personal success, we have tortured the body. Yet we have been given it as a home to live in, and only through caring for it can we have a healthy relationship to life and to fitness.
We need to put aside our own and others’ ideas of how the body should be and learn to accept it as it is.
Sometimes, just sitting for a few moments with your eyes closed and listening to your body’s needs can create miracles. Have you ever asked your body, “What kind of exercises would you like to do?” “What do you need to eat to stay healthy?”
#2. Take a Deep Breath
Deep breathing is the secret of all fitness. It cleans, nourishes and revitalizes the body, clears the mind, opens up sensitivity and brings the whole being into an inner balance and harmony.
When the diaphragm is properly stimulated through breathing, all the inner organs and other structures are oxygenated by its rhythmic contractions. In this way it prevents all kinds of diseases related to digestion, and back pain, stomach cramps and heart attacks.
A moment of deep breathing is refreshing, and allowing a deep out-breath is particularly good for stress release. With the breath we can balance our emotions and maintain a relaxed state of mind.
#3. Tune in to Your Emotional Intelligence
We are often driven by our emotions and unnecessarily fight with them. Repressing them cuts us off from important energy resources as well as our sensitivity, intuition and feelings for ourselves and others.
Stress provokes our hidden emotions and these little devils pop up in fitness training or athletic performance, interfering with our play. If we don’t know how to deal with them this might even result in hurting our or another’s body.
We need to learn to accept instead of fighting with feelings. When they overwhelm or dictate our performance we need to release them with methods like active meditations. Then gradually we are more able to watch them and utilize the energy they may have been devouring.
#4. Be Flexible
The best body is a flexible body, balanced in its rhythm of activity and passivity or – as the Chinese medical system puts it – in its yin and yang energies. Somehow we tend to forget that each activity naturally leads to, and needs, a period of relaxation after it.
If we add more stress by extensive fitness training without the proper relaxation training following it, we are on the road to self-destruction.
#5. Be Friends, Not Competitors
Enjoy your being a woman, a man or a child in nature. You don’t need to be different; you don’t need to be somebody else.
The conditioning that men are more powerful than women has been hammered into us for centuries. It ignores the tremendous potential of the female to bring love, sensitivity and relaxation into all aspects of our lives. If fitness training stays dominated by the male-mind and the over-activity mode, it is simply dangerous. It needs the female quality of relaxation and meditation in order to bring us well-being and joyfulness. It needs to acknowledge the female qualities if it is to keep us healthy and grounded.
#6. Laugh Your Way to Fitness
This is an attitude in life and working-out where we move from seriousness to playfulness.
Children laugh three hundred times a day, a normal adult about forty times and a depressive one six times. This may well explain why children are, initially anyway, so healthy and happy.
Laughter strengthens the immune system by raising the level of its immunoglobin A, absorbing the stress hormone, cortisol, and involving more muscles than any other physical activity. So laughter provides the best possible work-out!
#7. Be Total
The ability to be total and aware in each moment of life brings a new quality into whatever you do in your fitness training, transforming it into an act of playfulness and meditation.
Then without getting into tension in the body, thoughts in the mind or emotions in the heart, we are no longer distracted from a deep inner peacefulness.