What is working IN?
It could be construed as the opposite of working OUT. I believe that there are benefits to both. However, when you are having health challenges; working out a lot may not be the best idea for recovery. We get trapped into this mindset often in this country that more is better. Bigger muscles, tighter stomachs, whatever. We have associated HEALTH with FITNESS. While these two are related, they are not equivalent. There are several people who appear fit who are not healthy inside. Likewise, there are those who appear overweight who are doing ok. So what’s the deal here?
Working IN includes exercises such as deep breathing, qigong, tai-chi, pranayama, some forms of light yoga, meditation, prayer, light stretching, or meditative walking. As a country, we don’t do this stuff much. We are more focused on P90-X, crossfit, and very intense programs attempting to BURN fat quickly or build muscle quickly. I don’t have anything against trying to accomplish fitness goals. I do however, believe that people should focus on the basics first to achieve HEALTH in which to build a good physique and stamina. Your external health needs to come from your internal health. It just does not work the other way around. So what are the benefits of working IN?
1. INCREASED ENERGY: Increased energy and stamina in several areas. You increase oxygen massively throughout your body; primarily by using your lungs. You circulate life-energy around the system without expending it. This is a cultivation practice. You are literally “cultivating” or drawing in energy from your surroundings. Over time, you will be able to sense the best times and places to do this stuff. Nature is usually the absolute best place. However, just being near some fresh air is very good as well.
2. AWARENESS: When we are being still or moving very slowly we often become aware of subtle things in our bodies, minds, and spirits that we were not aware of before. Maybe it’s an ache in your knee that you keep ignoring. Maybe an issue comes up about a relationship that isn’t quite resolved with you. Maybe you have an epiphany over something that you are doing in your own life that is thwarting your goals on a deep level. Whatever it is; these practices seem to calm and open the mind. They allow realizations to occur very frequently. This benefit can not be overlooked.
3. RELAXATION: All of these practices deeply relax us. They help us let go of our tensions that we pick up in life. They help to start or end our day with a sense of peace and tranquillity. They help us to be happier, calmer people; which in turn, helps our careers, relationships, and lives. It is amazing the sense of relaxation you get after a good session of working in.
There are probably many other benefits to working in. It is an important part in all cultures dealing with longevity. Exercise is important. I still get sucked into the exercise trap from time to time. I am a very YANG oriented person and always wanting to go go go exercise or whatever. This often gets me into trouble from over-training, pushing too hard, etc. I have learned to balance out with more working in. I have built my exercise around working in FIRST. If i find I am skipping it, I don’t work OUT until i get back to the basics. So yea; good sleep, good nutrition, deep breathing clean air, walking, mild exercise. These are the foundations. If you have an extreme fitness goal such as sports or competition; you will need to work out. Just focus on the basics first. They will only help your performance in the long run. How do YOU work in?