If you want to think clearly in the long run, you need exercise, both physical and spiritual, as much as you need vintage recovery, and electro-chemically balanced nutrition.
What do we mean when we say immaterial? We’re talking about behaviors, rather than oxidized foods and drugs, which nourish brain cells and the mind, and are important to brain cell, intellectual and emotional development. As with vintage recovery, immaterial enrichments such as sleep, exercise, meditation, prayer, Kung fu, and yoga help learning, memory, mood and performance by limbering up brain cell reorganization and networking.
Here’s Why These Practices Help
Enormous amounts of energy and information flow through more than 100-trillion synaptic connections within the brain and mind.
Like inner city emergency rooms, police precincts, financial trading floors, and FBI field offices, the brain/mind is a busy place relative to the rest of the body. In the pursuit of accomplishment and happiness, it constantly juggles thoughts-about the potential for reward vs. risk, self-preservations, knowledge, integrity and judgement, to name just a few.
Like the heart and lungs, the brain works automatically. Unlike those organs, however, it also has a “manual override.” In other words, an individual can choose to undertake the recovery-lifestyle that that reprograms brain cells for maximum efficiency.
One of a smorgasbord of “immaterial” ways to nurture the mind, body and spirit is to ponder the wonders and promises of spiritual exercises that tap the muscle-stretching and mind interface.
Muscle-Stretching and the Mind
Muscle-stretching is also an exercise form that has been linked with improved recovery-oriented mind function.
Pilates, originating in the twentieth century and a relatively new kid on the mind-wellness & fitness block, involves smooth and steady muscle movements somewhat reminiscent of Kung fu katas or form dances. It’s a body-conditioning method thought shown to improve flexibility and tone, and to contribute to a leaner and longer physique.
In addition to its use in healthy individuals, this potentially mind-nurturing wellness form is ideal for people suffering from arthritis or muscle weakness, when physician-approved and supervised by a training instructor or physical therapist. You don’t need expensive equipment to do Pilates, which can be done almost anywhere in as little as 15 minutes.
And Now Yoga
Yoga, which means “join,” is a Hindu series of exercises intended to promote tranquility and insight, with heavier emphasis on the spiritual component than Pilates. It’s an ancient practice that traditionally begins with a series of warm-up poses called “Sun Salutations.”
Once completed, the practitioner in recovery initiates joining mind, body and soul through a system of controlled breathing (repetitive prompts are also the gateway to self-hypnosis or hypnosis), meditation, specific postures and sounds. Chinese Buddhist Shaolin monks also used an essentially identical “yoga” practice thousands of years BC. And up until the present day just as occurs in the Hindi lifestyle popularly portrayed by Mahatma Gandhi.
Yoga sessions can last more than an hour, but with improved body flexibility and overall sense of well-being that come with regular practice can be well worth the extra time. One of our associates, Dr. Alexa, attributes much of her calmness and mind-clarity in the emergency room, neurology intensive care unit and frequent neurological emergencies elsewhere, to her frequent yoga practices.
In addition to adequate sleep, one or more immaterial enrichments can make for a calmer body and brighter mind.
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