I know this about myself…or rather I have become aware –and realized this about myself: I tend to get bored easily. Or actually to be more accurate, if something is not intellectually stimulating…and doesn’t have perhaps a larger application, philosophy even on life, then it is not as intriguing to me, and hence I will lose interest.
Now, I do not approach every hobby etc, with this in mind, calculating if it has a “greater application on life”– but in retrospect (20/20 vision and all 🙂 this is more of a recent realization about myself, in this case, regarding “exercise.”
So I used to do quite a bit of spin class and SPX pilates–very challenging classes that give a dripping sweat–sometimes want to throw-up–type of hard work-out. And these classes are great and lots of people benefit from this and love it. However for me, after about a year of this, I noticed myself mentally starting to check-out…maybe it was just the pattern…it was the same classes over and over (to be fair, the instructors always did a great job mixing it up with different moves etc–but it was overall the same). I would start to question myself why am I not as into it anymore? I slowly started regarding attending class as a “have to” and did not find, for lack of a better description, a sense of fulfillment.
As a result, I recently stopped–and started up yoga as well as martial arts (kung fu blend of shaolin kempo, tai chi (combative version) and wing chun). Just in this past month, after each martial arts class, I am consistently blown away–amazed–at the amount of nuance, complexity, philosophy that I learn, from not just body movements—but connecting that movement with your mind and with an overall philosophy (i.e. center line in terms of wing chun, or outward energy with tai chi). I feel excited by how much I have to learn–by the infinite ongoing learning/honing of the mind, body and spirit (cliche trio, but I see why its so often used!). I also feel an immense sense of satisfaction, a deeper fulfillment from learning while at the same time getting some exercise.
With yoga—to be honest–I used to be skeptical about it. I had the narrow-minded mentality that “ahh yoga –how do you get a workout from that?” (I see now in retrospect that I had this very one-dimensional perspective about what it means to exercise—that it has to be this sweat dripping, bicep curling, squat and lunge-to death work out in order for it to qualify as a “good workout.”) But now, in another fashion, it is somewhat similar to martial arts, by combining your mental focus, body, and this ties into a larger philosophy on life.
Overall I think martial arts and yoga represent a more holistic approach to exercise than I have experienced previously, which I am thoroughly enjoying. After just a month of this, I feel the most healthy and happily-fulfilled about myself than I can remember. This experience (and it is an ongoing one!) has completely shifted my perspective on what it means to exercise–it can be so much more than that–its not just for your muscles, its for your overall being…spiritually and intellectually. Cheers!