Set Your Mind and Body in Motion with Internal Exercise
For you to receive nourishment, to grow, and to prolong your life, there are two critical things that you need to do. The first critical thing you need to do is to consume food and water. That’s basic, right?
The second thing you need to do is to set your mind and body in motion. So when you set your mind in motion, that’s called thinking.
When you set your body in motion, there are a few ways to describe that.
- One is that you are voluntarily moving your external limbs.
- Then, your internal organs are moving on an involuntary basis to bring your body to life.
- The third type of body motion is breathing. Simply notice and observe your breathing.
If these two conditions are not met – if you don’t have consumption of food and water, and if your mind and body are not set in motion, then your life will cease to exist.
Without the consumption of nutrients, life can end in a matter of days… if you’re lucky in a few weeks. Without proper consumption of nutrients, your life will shorten.
Without motion, your body will atrophy. Without proper motion, your body will weaken over time.
With that being said, let’s talk about the different types of exercises you can do, the philosophy and method behind these exercises, and how they can affect your thinking, breathing, and movement.
There are two types of exercises that help you to heal and energize your body. One is external, and the other is internal.
You need both because they are keys to having a youthful life, to combat and have a certain level of immunity against disease. Both are needed to promote your health because both help you to get in touch with your body. Both can clear any blockages that you have along the way.
Internal and External Exercise
Let’s start by talking about external exercise. External exercises emphasize your external figure and appearance. They consist of sports, martial arts, bodybuilding, aerobic dancing, and other forms… dare I say, hatha yoga.
Secondly, there are internal exercises. They emphasize the health of your internal organs and they consist of meditation, breathwork, Tai Chi, Chi gong.
There are certain qualities to both. I want to say that internal exercises help you to decelerate your movements. They have a certain smoothness about the movements. There’s a quality of quietness that exists when you’re doing internal exercises. And there’s a level of precision about the movements you make.
Most importantly, internal exercises show the quality of naturalness to your body. With external exercises, there is a certain degree of stress, pain, strain, and contortion involved in your body’s movements. With external exercises, you can deplete the body’s energy.
Depleting your energy and not giving yourself rest can lead to an impairment of the body’s ability to fight off viruses and other disease-causing agents. With external exercises, they can lead to premature aging and fatigue, according to Eastern philosophy such as Taoism.
Keep in mind that a muscular body can’t protect you or does not protect you from a disease-causing agent.
By contrast, internal exercises lead to healthy organs, which can and does protect you from disease-causing agents. The emphasis is to do motions that are natural to the body, natural to the inclinations and structure of your body.
Key differences between External and Internal exercises
- Flow Training
External exercises use muscular contraction. The focus of external exercises is to build muscle. The focus of the internal exercises is to go with the flow to make sure that your Chi is flowing properly.
According to Taoist belief, muscular contraction produces tension, which impedes the flow of Chi. Internal exercises are made to be effortless so that you can relax, have no resistance, and this allows your muscles to loosen up, thereby increasing your flexibility.
- Strength Training
Remember. External exercises strengthen your muscles. Internal exercises strengthen your internal organs.
With the addition of internal exercises, you have a balance between outward strength and inward strength. Then you have your heart and lungs. When you do external exercises, you strengthen your heart and lungs. This is science-based.
Slower and deeper breathing internal exercises, combined with energy motions of your body, bring much more oxygen into your tissues. You strengthen your heart and lungs that way too.
- Mind-Body Training
The mind-body connection. Ofcourse, when you do external exercises, there is some level of coordination between your mind and body in order for you to hit a ball and dance the two-step. With internal exercises, you’re enhancing that mind-body connection through the flow of Chi.
The emphasis with internal exercise is on your spinal nerve flow. Your spine is the main trunk by which energy is distributed through your body to its parts. The spinal nerve flow is very critical to your health. Its importance is in increasing your circulation.
External exercises increase your circulation by pumping your heart faster and harder Internal exercises increase your circulation through the expansion and contraction of your blood vessels. You want to make sure there’s a certain level of elasticity with your blood vessels.
- Effortless Training
With external exercises, you are prone to have accidental injuries because you’re often told to go 110%. When the mantra is “No pain, no gain” that could lead to serious injury.
With internal exercises, the emphasis is on not using all of your effort, but only 80% of it to strengthen your joints and ligaments. Visualize your body as a chain of links. Your Chain is as Strong as Your Weakest Link. So strengthen your joints.
- Training To Relax
Next, consider that tension slows down your healing. When you incorporate a certain amount of resistance in your workout, that level of tension is going to prevent you from healing.
With internal exercises, you can relax. The relaxation response is going to accelerate healing in your body.
- Emotional Regulation
Finally, you don’t want to neglect your emotions. For the most part, external exercises don’t really create space for your emotions. With internal exercises, you have the ability to balance your emotions so that you can turn your negative and destructive thoughts into positive ways to promote your health and wellbeing.
So how do you do a simple internal exercise?
Well, first let’s settle down. Exhale. Relax into your feet. Follow with each breath in the video:
- Close your eyes and observe your breathing. Breathe in through your nostrils and observe how the intake of your breath tickles the lining of your nostrils.
- Then with each breath, go down into your body. Observe how the next breath goes down to your throat.
- Then observe how the next breath goes down into your chest and lungs. Feel the air touching the membrane of your lungs.
- With your next breath, continue down to your solar plexus. Breathe into your solar plexus. Feel how that air is expanding and contracting in that area.
- Then, work your way down to your abdomen. Feel how your breath is creating waves in your body.
- And then go all the way down to your belly. Breathe into your belly.
- Be here for a moment and feel the changes that are happening with each breath. Feel how the air is tickling every part of your body as you work your way down.
- Then afterwards, start to focus on sinking your breath even further. Down through your legs, into your knees.
- From there, go down into your ankles.
- Finally go all the way, taking your breath down to your feet.
This internal exercise is really called breathwork. It’s a great way to cultivate energy flow in your body.
What if you can achieve a happy, healthy, and long life through proper mental and physical movements? To prevent and even correct all ailments in your body, possibly reversing the aging process and improving all functions of your body?
I invite you to do this internal exercise on a regular basis.
In the meantime, go check out my breathing video. Explore the different ways that you can use breathwork as an internal exercise to help you properly move your body in ways that will complement the external exercises you’re already doing in your life.