Mary's Fitness Philosophy
Fitness is about self-love, self-compassion, and self-empowerment. This observation arises from a life time of experimentation and daily assessment and the action of doing. A high level of fitness takes conscious effort, but I have found that there is a fine balance of figuring out the small steps needed. I recently asked a potential client why he doesn’t exercise regularly and he said because it would seem like work. I thought he actually might like it if it seemed like a game or an activity he could do with a friend or loved one. So the question becomes what makes fitness doable? A change of mindset is in order.
When I think about now why enjoy physical fitness it is all about how it makes me feel. The research is out there that shows how exercises increases the endorphins, thus making one feel happy, but there are so many other components. A healthy heart and strong body contribute to our quality of life in so much that we could move freely in our day to day existence with less difficulty as we age than if we did not, or perhaps because we have a lighter step from the pure joy of movement. Research has shown that exercise increases our longevity as well, protects from obesity, increases our circulation, and keeps us looking young.
Exercise too is the great stress reliever and increases energy and cell production and regeneration. Exercise, done with awareness and conscious breathing, also helps us feel more focused, relaxed, sleep better, leading to an improved overall lifestyle. Our mind becomes steady. Similar to meditation, clarity and intuition are heightened.
Our stronger, fitter body also gives us a sense of feeling good about the way we look. That positive self-image projects out to others. We are able to transform negative feelings and emotions to positive ones through exercise. Our joy spreads. We feel light, and the world feels like a happier, more welcoming place.
It’s also a journey into the self, where a person can begin to discover the body’s potential in a whole new way. We find our edge. Our edge keeps changing. A competitive person might find this enjoyable insomuch that exercise pushes one to his or her limits and perhaps even freeing as one experiences new possibilities and potential in oneself. A new level of self-appreciation and compassion may take over. We also learn to also express ourselves differently as we transform and perhaps even realize we are unlimited in our potential.
My focus for most people (unless recovering from injury) is to capitalize on one’s effort by doing things that “trick” the body, increase the metabolism, and lengthen the muscles. In addition, my yoga training is behind a lot of my approach. Doing an internal check of myself, of my clients to see what the body needs on any given day. This is how I approach a fitness session. An intuitive and compassionate trainer knows the client. If rest is needed, the client should rest. However, if the client is suffering from too much inertia, in Ayurveda an excess of “kapha” energy, then that client needs to be pushed. My favorite way to approach exercise, and most things in life, is to take small steps that are convenient and can be done on a day to day basis. Exercise can be fun and sometimes not. It is a lifestyle. Once a commitment is made, the effort you put in is what you get out.
When training people, I often hear “I can’t do this. This is too hard.” Sometimes, I know when I need to listen to a student is highly in-tune with his or herself. However, I still tell them to tell themselves, “Yes, I can.” They may not be able to do it that day, but they will, and often if it is something new, their mind tells them they can’t. As a coach, I help them think that they can. I support them in their positive thinking. Sometimes visualization is needed, but often times it is a quick correction of thought. This training becomes part of the reprogramming that must place to help another realize his or her potential, a reformatting of the neurotransmitters of the brain.
Not because we feel must do more or be more. In fact during the process, compassion becomes equated with strength. The combination of working hard and letting go is the dance toward self-realization. One must be humble to be truth. Emptying oneself takes courage. I have learned that in weakness there is strength. Getting out of one’s own way is the first step. Effort and determination are the next. "Strengthen the Body, Steady the Mind, Free the Spirit" is my personal affirmation. This is a message of transformation. This is the message I want to share. Everyone can do it, if they decide. And it can be joyous and fun!