The Spirituality of Fitness


by Janice Lennard

I am convinced that there is a direct parallelism between spirituality and fitness. Indeed, the foundation and centeredness achieved through regularly practiced physical activity is attributed to the interlacing of spirituality throughout the entire experience of exercise.

The commonalities of spirituality and fitness include, but are not limited to:

Discipline, Commitment, Focus, Mindset, Lifestyle and The ability to say “no.”

The aforementioned list most certainly has room for improvement and modification, but don’t we also have room for improvement and modification? After all, our bodies are constantly changing, and we modify our actions and behaviors to accommodate the continuous  changes we experience throughout our lives. It is through disciplined exercise and a spiritual mindset that change is embraced rather than feared.

Now when I speak of “change,” I am not referring to finite goal of losing ten pounds, or achieving a smaller dress size. Rather, I am speaking about the betterment of one’s overall self. There is centeredness and oneness that results from the inclusion of spirituality during exercise. This intimate combination becomes the woven threads of our human fabric. My ultimate goal is to infuse the intangible ingredients that create my unique “recipe of self.” The intangible ingredients that I focus on are goodness, kindness, and gentleness. These exact ingredients create strength melded with fluidity.

The next time you find yourself participating in a fitness activity, I challenge you to bring your body AND your mind to the activity. Please do not count the minutes- MAKE THE MINUTES COUNT! We must always keep in mind that is not “what we do” but “how we do it.” Let us make good choices, and say “no” to the bad choices. Our lifestyle, mindset, and focus will reveal our commitment and serenity. Unshaken and solid, yet fluid at the same time, we must let our actions speak louder than our words.

Born in 1942 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Janice has been involved with ballet, yoga and pilates through study, practice, and instruction for over 65 years. Her early immersion in artistic expression through dance probably explains her ability to project an aura of positioning perfection, fulfillment of purpose, and sheer fun for the observer of her beautifully  synchronized motion.