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Rethinking Fitness as a Spiritual Practice

To keep the body in good health is a duty. Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
– Buddha

Dualism, man! It’s no surprise — western culture and western religions are heavily influenced by the views of Plato and other Greek philosophers. In Greek literature, and in today’s approach to life, we’re told our physical experiences and our spiritual experiences are two separate things. The Greeks taught us that there’s a physical, visible world and an invisible, spiritual world.

This view is extremely prevalent not just in how we view the world, but also how we view ourselves. On one hand, we have our soul and whatever spiritual practices we follow. Church! Temples! Meditation! Mantras!

And on the other hand, we’ve got our physical body. Crossfit! Cardio! Burgers! Wine! Sex! All those “worldly” things.

But this isn’t the only way to look at this!

What if there was NO duality? Instead of disconnecting our physical and spiritual identity, what if we bring them together as a unified whole?

See, our health is intricately linked with the morals that we follow. I’m not talking about morals as in “Thou shalt do such-and-such.” What I mean is that the way we think and feel, the way we make choices, the way we live our lives — these are all choices of the HEART that bubble up and manifest in our BODY.

If we view ourselves as spiritual beings having a profoundly powerful physical experience within our eternal journey, then our physical body becomes just one of the many, many helpful ways that the universe can signal to us when the spiritual choices we’ve made are in balance or perhaps out of balance.

In the Greek and western view, salvation becomes the moment that we free our soul and are liberated from the “weaknesses,” defects and limitations of our human body. This is terribly limiting, don’t you think? With an alternative view, salvation is a chance for us to heal the relationship between our body and soul because the two are really one.

The cool thing? Just as with any relationship, this connection goes both ways! By nurturing, loving and caring for our physical body, we create the space for our spirit to fully express itself and to grow into its potential. Our body is not just a manifestation of what’s going on inside of us but also a way for our soul to interact with the physical world, enact change, express love and make history. As we strengthen our body, we empower our soul and mind to do its divine mission.

Devotional questions for today:

  • If my body is a reflection of my spirit, what can I do today to care for my body that honours the value and power in my heart?
  • Are there any areas of tightness, stiffness or pain in my body that’s pointing to lifestyle choices that are hampering my divine potential?
  • What can I do physically to raise my energy levels, and thereby raise my spiritual vibration?
  • Am I loving my body in a way that honours it as the temple of the spirit?

It could be as simple as cutting back on sugar, going for an extra walk in the afternoon or heading to bed earlier. These little physical steps that care for our physical health open our heart and connects deep down into whatever spiritual practices and evolutions we’re pursuing.

Your bodies are temples of the spirit.
– 1 Corinthians 6:19

author: Josh Duvauchelle

Josh is a health coach and certified personal trainer with a nutrition certificate from Cornell. By loving yourself and caring for your physical health, you create a sacred space to manifest your highest, happiest divine self.