Now who would put the words gym and soul together? I know I certainly never would… that was until last week.
Last week was the first time I have been to a gym to do weight training in over 20 years. I have been exercising regularly over the past couple of years; cardio, walking, hand weights, stretching, connective tissue exercises, but I hadn’t yet ventured to the gym. The idea of a trip to the gym always seemed ‘a bit too hard’. Not being sure of where to go or what to do, going to the gym went on the ‘some day’ list.
I have been staying with some friends who offered to assist me to get friendly once again with the ins and outs of the gym. I eagerly took up the offer – my ‘some day’ had finally arrived.
I trained regularly at the gym when I was a student at University, doing weights and classes 4 – 5 times a week. At the time I wasn’t aware, but the main focus of going to the gym was to improve my body image and to offer myself relief from feeling the depths of disregard I was living in. Working hard at the gym offered me an opportunity to numb out even more so as not to feel the underlying stress and sadness that was really there in my body that I was choosing to ignore. The gym gave me a momentary high and a relief from feeling where I really was at.
I was a heavy drinker and my diet, well, that was something to be sneezed at. It consisted of fatty foods from the University cafeteria with minimal vegetables apart from lots of potatoes. So to keep me in shape I would spend hours pumping iron, increasing my cardio levels striving for the perfect figure, to feel good about myself, to bury my lack of self-worth and to not feel the pain of how I was living at the time, which included late nights of partying with copious amounts of alcohol, long hours working in pubs and restaurants as well as studying full-time.
I didn’t like myself very much although I would never have admitted it at the time. Going to the gym was a way of pushing my body hard so I wouldn’t have to feel the hurt of the un-dealt with issues that I was still carrying from my childhood.
Fast forward twenty years, I am now, thanks to Universal Medicine and The Way of The Livingness, living my life where I take good care of myself. I go to bed early, I rest when I need to, I eat in a way that supports my body and I no longer drink alcohol, eat sugar or have caffeine. I work on dealing with my issues when they arise rather than burying them and I am open in my relationships. Generally I feel pretty awesome, a far cry from how I felt back in those University days.
I have recently had an inclination that there was more I could be doing to support my body. I had been feeling that I had developed a certain level of connection of my mind being with my body (conscious presence) in my exercise and daily activities, however, at times there was still a sense of this sometimes being a bit soft in my body. I had a sense that weight training may support me in this next stage of development but what I didn’t realise is just HOW supportive this was going to be.
So last week, as I sat on the weights machine for the first time in 20 years, the thought dropped in, “the body is the vehicle to house the soul” and in every ounce of my being I felt that my purpose for being there at the gym was to strengthen my body, knowing full well that my body is not the end result but is a means to access the soul.
There are certain qualities that I have been focusing on over several years such as being gentle and tender, but what I feel has been missing is the power and the strength. My first session at the gym revealed to me the opportunity to deeply connect with feeling the physicality of my body with the machine weights. I connected with my body through feeling every muscle that I worked, choosing to lift them in a way that honored the whole of my body, all the while being aware of breathing gently.
I enjoyed working my muscles, feeling their strength, feeling which muscles lengthened and which ones contracted.
It felt super joyful and powerful to claim my body, not because I wanted to look better but because my purpose was to build a body that has the strength to hold the light of the soul and the light that I innately am. If the soul is love, truth, harmony, stillness and joy – which it is – it cannot reside in a body that does not reflect these qualities.
So it became apparent to me on that day last week at the gym, that we can use the body in two different ways.
We can use the body as a means to give us temporary relief, to make us feel better for a short time to relieve the pain and hurt of what may be undercurrent in our lives most of the time OR we can work with the body to build a body of love, a body that is strong, gentle, tender, precious and powerful, with no holding back so that we can express fully who we are.
My trip to the gym confirmed the latter.
I am now planning to incorporate the gym as part of my weekly routine as a way to deepen my connection with my body in a way that I have been missing, which is building strength so that I can express more fully the inner strength that innately resides within me and equally within us all.
The body is the vehicle to house the soul.
This article is inspired by Serge Benhayon and the work of Universal Medicine.
By Donna Gianniotis, Yoga/Meditation, Esoteric Therapies Practitioner, Sydney, Australia
Can We Access The Divine Through the Body?
Vitality versus Fitness
Exercise and My Body
“we can work with the body to build a body of love, a body that is strong, gentle, tender, precious and powerful, with no holding back so that we can express fully who we are.” Exercising to support a physical body that is Soul fit.
Everything that we either do, say or think is either in alignment with our spirit or it’s in alignment with our soul. And so going to the gym falls into one of those two categories. I feel that most of the time that I’m at the gym I am aligned to my soul, my eyes are shut and my focus is on connecting to my body, I am aware that I am a vehicle through which Heaven can come through and so I am very conscious of this in my interactions with others and when I walk through the gym and use the equipment. There are times when I am aware that my alignment has wavered, e.g. if I find myself glancing down at the muscles in my arms to see how they’re looking or if I’m tempted to judge another and then I pull myself up immediately as I am simply not prepared to be aligned to my spirit anymore and I know that it is my movements that dictate my alignment.
I have a friend who uses the gym as a way to check out and the harder they pushed themselves the greater the relief but it is only short lived. They cannot see or understand that they are a lovely person just as they are. Instead they feel that there is something wrong with them and that by exercising they can some how feel better about themselves. Where do we get these ideas and negative thoughts from?
Amazing our bodies are, and being present with what we are doing is super important especially when pumping iron. As you have shared Donna, a focus on the way we breath is paramount and has an important-ness as we lengthen and shorten our muscles, so the way we breath in and out is dependent on which part is the strengthening and thus needs more oxygen so we breath in. The Soul is very simple and practical in its application of exercising, thus having a body that it can serve in should always be at the fore-front of our Livingness.
The intention or purpose of why we choose to do something makes a huge difference, is it to check out or to deepen our love, ‘We can use the body as a means to give us temporary relief, to make us feel better for a short time to relieve the pain and hurt of what may be undercurrent in our lives most of the time OR we can work with the body to build a body of love, a body that is strong, gentle, tender, precious and powerful, with no holding back so that we can express fully who we are.’
Having been doing an additional much more physical job these last few weeks I can feel how my body feels stronger and more able to cope with life and how supportive regular weight bearing exercise would be. My relatively limited experience of being in a gym is me pushing myself to get it over with as soon as possible and sending my heart rate up to unhealthy levels. Great to hear how you have re-imprinted your experience and that if we stay connected to our bodies we can feel what is needed.
I am back at the gym after a while away and I am loving it. I feel that the strength we build in our physical body also impacts our mental and emotional bodies too and I find it really shows me how steady I am and I get to appreciate myself and how my movements now are so much more careful and graceful than they have been in the past. Our consistent care for ourselves on a daily basis with attention on our breath and our movements builds a steadiness and a stillness in the body that is very lovely to feel.
I love it when we start to be honest with ourselves and bring more understanding to our lives, ‘ Working hard at the gym offered me an opportunity to numb out even more so as not to feel the underlying stress and sadness that was really there in my body that I was choosing to ignore. The gym gave me a momentary high and a relief from feeling where I really was at.’
“the body is the vehicle to house the soul” a realisation of the responsibility we have to nurture the precious vehicle that move in to offer a window for the Soul to work through our body.
‘The body is the vehicle to house the soul.’ I loved what you shared Donna, especially this first sentence, I have been feeling of sometime to do strengthen exercise, my body is quite underweight so I feel I need to get some support in learning to strengthen my body to be fit to en- house my soul, thank you.
I’ve read this before but never put the 2 together. The Soul cannot work through a body that is not strong enough for its daily life requirements. But it makes sense being if we ache from work for example theres a higher propensity to check out and be absent in our minds. But if we are fit for life and work isn’t a drain we stay more present.
Some days when I feel really tired there is a tendency to not want to do much or stay in bed for a bit longer etc. When I give in to this I feel tired and more drained and the cycle continues. However, when I do get up and change my movements and don’t walk with the heaviness but move with purpose then this shifts and there is a lightness.
Interesting to observe our relationship with exercise and how it reflects our relationship with other areas of our lives, too: are we using exercise (or anything else) to check out and seek relief from what we don’t want to feel, or to connect more to what is there to feel?