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 AYPsite.org Forum
 Asanas - Postures and Physical Culture
 Physical exercise, central nervous system and yoga
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Domos

30 Posts

Posted - Jan 16 2017 :  4:58:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hi everyone

I have a question for those of you that have done physical exercise while keeping up a daily spiritual practice.


I have came across this AYP lesson, http://www.aypsite.org/80.html

quote:
By the way, there is no rule that says a body builder or any other kind of athlete cannot become a yogi or yogini. There is nothing that says one can't do both if so inclined. It is just a question of what one's interests are. I believe in free choice and in each taking personal responsibility for their life. I try to keep that idea out in front in all these lessons.


First of all, I wanna say that an athlete or body builder has to do intense physical exercise. There's no way around it. Now have in mind that I'm not a body-builder, an athlete nor anything like that , even though I might speak of intense exercise but let's use this example that Yogani has written.

On my experience, regarding physical fitness/exercise and yoga-spiritual-practice is the following:

If I do light-exercises, being light-weightlifting, light cardio, or light-asana session, there's no issue. Actually a light-asana session even makes me more energetically-aware and prana-aware, which is great and improves my spiritual pratice, specially if I practice right after.

But if I do heavy-weightlifting, tough cardio, or intense Asana practice, then I feel like this sort of affects (sometimes) my spiritual practice, the evening session. How?

Imaginary scenario(example):
Let's suppose I do my morning sadhana (7:30AM->8:30AM), then sometime during the afternoon (5:00PM->6:30PM) I do my physical exercise, let's suppose, some intense weight lifting session (like ex: barbell squats, overhead barbell presses, pull-ups and bicep dumbbell curls).
Then, afterwards, I am very very hungry, so I have to eat (7:30PM->8:00PM) kinda "heavily" (brown rice, cheese, vegetables, nuts and fruits).

Then, as we are not supposed to practice with a full belly, I wait at least 2-3 hours before starting my practice, which would make me, in this example, have my evening practice @ 10:30PM->11:30PM. Then off to sleep at 12:00AM.

In this example, there was a high chance that the practice @ 10:30PM would not go as "smooth" as the morning practice, because my body was tired, plus I just had a medium-big sized meal 2-3 hours ago to replenish, and above all, my central nervous system could be tired from the intense physical exercise (http://www.livestrong.com/article/3...ing-weights/); the more intense the exercise, the more your nervous system has to adapt and fire off new neurons to make your body-mind able to sustain that kind of intense effort.

Now, I don't want anything in my daily life to have a negative effect on my spiritual practices, but I also enjoy lifting and doing some intense physical exercise (2-3 times week). This body-mind feels good, very healthy and in shape doing it.

Lately, I've been enjoying more and more asanas, as they are not so stressful to the joints/body/central nervous system, and actually you feel super energized after them, not tired! I wanna have the nervous system super-open and totally focused on spiritually advancing, instead of wasting energy on any bodily-matter.

Yet being sitted during the practices and mostly the rest of the day, makes me want to stretch this body (asanas), keep its muscles, mass and bodyfat levels in good condition (weight lifting) and also great heart-lungs (light paced-cardio).

In Yogani's book on Asanas, it gives an example of a "yoga-friendly routine of muscle toning calisthenics and aerobic (cardiovascular) development", I've seen it, it's great, but for me personally, it's just way too easy (been doing active sports for a very long time).

Any suggestions on how to solve this little problem are welcomed!

jusmail

India
490 Posts

Posted - Jan 16 2017 :  7:50:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
In the evening at 5 or so, do your spiritual practice, rest for 5 or 10 minutes, then go do your high intensity exercise. After that, you can have your supper. In fact, activity after meditation is a good thing.
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BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1628 Posts

Posted - Jan 17 2017 :  06:43:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Domos

Yes, I find taking relatively intense physical exercise does impact on my practice. In my case, a good session at the gym gives kundalini a bit of a kick, which means I need to lighten my practice after the exercise.

It's a balancing act. It is important to keep fit, so I'm reconciled with the compromise. It certainly does not stop progress, so all is well.

Good luck finding your own balance.
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Omsat

Belgium
267 Posts

Posted - Jan 17 2017 :  12:03:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Domos

Hi everyone

I have a question for those of you that have done physical exercise while keeping up a daily spiritual practice.


If I do light-exercises, being light-weightlifting, light cardio, or light-asana session, there's no issue. Actually a light-asana session even makes me more energetically-aware and prana-aware, which is great and improves my spiritual pratice, specially if I practice right after.

But if I do heavy-weightlifting, tough cardio, or intense Asana practice, then I feel like this sort of affects (sometimes) my spiritual practice, the evening session. How?

Any suggestions on how to solve this little problem are welcomed!




Hi Domos,

Excellent advice from jusmail and BlueRainCoat.

I have noticed similar effects as you describe from different kinds of exercises on practice.

The reason why you feel this difference between the lighter exercises and the intenser ones, is because the former are keeping your sytem more in balance than the latter. With the intense fitness, you drive your body into excessive physicality and strongly energize the lower chakras. Usually, intense activity stimulates mostly the first chakra (when it's very robust) and third chakra (when you use willpower and heat up your system).

The effect of physical exercise can be very grounding, so it's good to do after practice as jusmail suggested.

As Blue mentioned, in the end, all is about balance indeed. So what is intense or not, depends on your past habits and your current state of fitness and stilness. If you can maintain stillness and peace while you're going into physical intensity, that would help maintain the balance.

It's not a trivial thing to simulataneously foster physical and spiritual prowess, but very inspiring to see it in those few that have.




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sunyata

USA
1457 Posts

Posted - Jan 17 2017 :  12:35:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Domos,

Good advice from others already.

quote:
Lately, I've been enjoying more and more asanas, as they are not so stressful to the joints/body/central nervous system, and actually you feel super energized after them, not tired! I wanna have the nervous system super-open and totally focused on spiritually advancing, instead of wasting energy on any bodily-matter.


Agree. Kill two birds with one stone- Ecstatic Bliss and Physical Fitness.

You'll be working up a sweat with Level II & Level III yoga classes. Fluidity with developing strength.

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lalow33

USA
966 Posts

Posted - Jan 17 2017 :  1:04:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm back to enjoying bodily matters. It's not wrong to do what you like. If you can't do what you are drawn to because of something spiritual, I don't know. It seems wrong. Yogani says follow your inclinations.
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Dogboy

USA
1794 Posts

Posted - Jan 17 2017 :  7:50:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm in my fifties, so from here on out its all about developing the best body (vessal) possible inside out. I'm aiming for 100 so not much margin of error . For cardio I walk briskly, with thought and purpose, or bounce on a mini trampoline.Ecstatic conductivity is spurred by asanas, so samadhi seems always available. I have an adult sized play structure in my backyard that I use more than my kid for connective tissue stretching; do warrior poses on the balance beam. Not to mention you can always use your body weight for strength training. AYP has fostered and cemented in me the idea of living yoga.

Edited by - Dogboy on Jan 17 2017 7:51:59 PM
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kensbikes100

USA
171 Posts

Posted - Feb 13 2017 :  12:28:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by sunyata

Hi Domos,

Good advice from others already.

quote:
Lately, I've been enjoying more and more asanas, as they are not so stressful to the joints/body/central nervous system, and actually you feel super energized after them, not tired! I wanna have the nervous system super-open and totally focused on spiritually advancing, instead of wasting energy on any bodily-matter.


Agree. Kill two birds with one stone- Ecstatic Bliss and Physical Fitness.

You'll be working up a sweat with Level II & Level III yoga classes. Fluidity with developing strength.





I can agree with this last statement, my Iyengar class is II and III together, and it can be quit aerobic though we focus more on asana than on vinyasa. But all the internal work to achieve each pose, the long hold times, the fine points and internal actions while in the pose, add up to building strength with flexibility, some aerobic work, and a tiring morning! did that twice this weekend.

But I can see Domos' point as well: Several of us have work heart rate monitors in class, and the heart rate elevation does not approach the levels found in road cycling, even at a touring pace. That gets close to anaerobic levels, in fact the challenge is not to go anaerobic, for long-distance training. So asana is not a substitute for even endurance-intensity workouts. He also makes the point that athletics can be a very enjoyable part of life.

My asana practice (and Ithink pranayama and DM has a role here, too) does improve balance, posture, using the body efficiently, agility, finding and maintaining comfortable positioning, and efficient use of the body. And internal awareness improves safe movement in all activities, even just working at my computer at my job, or getting up to conduct a training, a workshop, or a design review.

Overall, I would not want to give up singing, music, asana, cycling, learning science, engineering improved automotive safety, or other interests in favor of singular focus in spirituality. For me all of these are parts of my balance.
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sunyata

USA
1457 Posts

Posted - Feb 13 2017 :  10:02:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by kensbikes100
Overall, I would not want to give up singing, music, asana, cycling, learning science, engineering improved automotive safety, or other interests in favor of singular focus in spirituality. For me all of these are parts of my balance.



Well said. Life becomes a spiritual practice- merging of flesh with spirit.
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kensbikes100

USA
171 Posts

Posted - Feb 14 2017 :  06:15:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
oops, I should have edited before posting!
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