Do you seek quick-and-easy gratification or long-term growth?
People searching for inner peace – or just a break from their hectic schedules – may reach for many different solutions. Unfortunately, not all of them are healthy!
Instead of giving in to the temptation of a chocolate shake or cold beer at the end of a trying day, consider the ways routine martial arts practice can benefit your spirit, as well as your body. Regularly practicing aikido can reduce stress and promote positive overall health by training your body while also calming your mind and feeding your soul.
1) Train Your Body
Most of us know that exercise is good for us, but few know just how beneficial it can be, not only for our waistlines but for our sense of well-being, too.
All forms of martial arts training involve intensive exercise. Aikido, in particular, incorporates various stretching and cardio techniques, two forms of exercise that are proven to make your body work more efficiently.
Aikido helps restore balance and eliminate toxins by stretching just about every muscle group in your body. The simple act of stretching increases flexibility and gives you a guard against that tense feeling, the by-product of a stressful life.
Cardio, a staple in any exercise program, gets your heart-rate up and increases your oxygen intake, sending more blood to your brain. It also produces mood-elevating endorphins that give us more energy and dispel gloom caused by stress.
As you continue your Aikido practice, you may notice other health benefits as well. Your posture may improve, for example. Your muscles will strengthen and you may experience fewer aches and pains that come along with a sedentary job. Overall, you’ll improve your stamina, flexibility, and resilience.
2) Calm Your Mind
As your body becomes stronger, your mind becomes calmer. Aikido can do this for you, too!
After all, the practice first started to become well-known in the mind-expanding 60s and 70s, when many people began to consider meditation and other life practices that would give them respite from the daily grind. Today aikido provides a contrast to the materialistic, winner-takes-all attitude we often find in our society.
Instead of offering you quick fixes, aikido teaches you how calm, controlled movements can lead to improved coordination and alertness. The practice of this martial art, with its tradition of direct teacher-to-student instruction, also gives you opportunities for real connection.
How does this help your overtaxed brain? First of all, martial arts teaches breathing regulation and meditation — techniques that help you react calmly to stress. Aikido gives you tools to respond to stress in a measured, healthy way so that you aren’t always driven to react, react, react. Through Aikido, you learn the importance of being present. Your concentration improves, as well as your self-awareness and confidence.
3) Feed Your Soul
There are no quick-turnarounds in Aikido, no instant prizes, no trophies. However, there are greater feelings of interconnectedness and harmony. A sense of discipline and a calm mind are more beneficial to you over time than any easy victory or short-term treat. If you’re like many people out there today, you have an unnamed longing for the type of grounding, holistic connection that aikido can offer.
If you’d like to learn more about how the mindful practice of aikido can feed your soul, reach out to us! We’d like to mentor you in that discipline that leads to confidence-under-stress and positive overall health.