Relaxed Is The New Fit

I’m all for a thirst for knowledge, but our fitness-industrial complex has it all wrong. Current fitness “wisdom” says we have to outsmart our bodies to be well. It believes not only that external knowledge is power, but that it is the mightiest power. It holds that having more information about how the separate parts of you work more than compensates for lack of information about how they are all connected. Especially when you move. It insists that research which focuses on an idealized construct separate from our living, breathing hearts in real time, is more important than how and what we feel in the moment.

But you can’t be a great race car driver by locking yourself up with books and closely studying car engines. If you want to make it around the track alive, much less in front, you’ll need a deep understanding of how those parts work together in motion, going fast, and with you in the driver’s seat.

Though I’m not proposing auto racing as a metaphor for getting fit, I am proposing that you put yourself in the driver’s seat. That you learn to understand your body’s sensations and read its signals. That you embrace exactly where you are each day, in each moment.

My promise to you is that once you can do this, you will progress because of where you are, not in spite of it. You’ll amaze yourself at how naturally you ease yourself into strength and wellness, feeling ready for what your life calls for at any given moment.


Your body has more potential to progress to its best with this approach than any other. A big statement, yes, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes. We take it step by step. Whether you’re 18 or 85 or somewhere in between, you’ll be able sit down as you are and immediately begin to work deeply, building an easy, resilient, agile strength in your body. Those of us struggling with fatigue issues can stop with feeling better that day and even better over time. Those of us with more energy will be able to take what we’ve learned and immediately apply it to our daily activities, running, walking, dancing, doing yoga or martial arts, or even household chores without feeling like we’re pushing or dragging ourselves through it.

Are you in? Here’s a brief treat. Someone who inspired me so much when I was in China that he brought me to tears. Not only is his Taiji beautiful, stunning really, but look at how he works with his body. Look for the dialogue he has with it, feels for, and moves along. The next morning I saw him in one of the practice courtyards at Chen Xiaoxing’s school and found out he’s an instructor.

Copyright © 2013 Karen Engler

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