Spiritual Enlightenment Through Physical Culture

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"Foster and polish the warrior spirit while serving in the world; illuminate the path according to your inner light." --Morihei Ueshiba

I recieved an email asking how I integrated spirituality into my health and wellness profession. This post flowed very easily from that excellent question.

I was introduced to true physical culture at 17 in the form of martial arts. My instructor was in his 40's and could barely speak English. There was not a shred of western culture or mindset present once inside the doors of his dojo. In a matter of fact way, the philosophy of the body as a temple, self defense as a means of decompressing violence, commitment to cultivating the mind, and working through life from a base of harmonious integration was always in the air as we trained our bodies. Every training session started with 15 minutes of sitting meditation, followed by another 15 minutes of form movement gradually increasing to full speed movements. Training was completely engaging of our total physical and mental self as we practiced refining our strikes, kicks, attacking and evasive movement, defending techniques, interspersed with fitness exercises for strength and athletic explosiveness for 90 minutes, 6 days per week. We trained without acting the fool, showing emotion or taking a fraction of our focus and concentration off our actions. This was my introduction to physical culture and spirituality. For 10 years I floated in and out my practice, at times getting as far away from a spiritual base as one could. After enough futile effort at living a selfish, unhealthy, external based life I returned to my base and have never swayed. The paths to self realization are many and varied, one certainly does not have to be an athlete or practice a martial art to find enlightenment. One must, though, take care to do all within one's ability and means to illuminate their personal health and energy.

"Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with...
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