Monks and Exercise

A place to discuss health and fitness, healthy diets. A fit body makes for a fit mind.
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Viscid
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Monks and Exercise

Postby Viscid » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:42 pm

I'm curious-- do monasteries ever encourage their monks to exercise, or do monks ever take the initiative to exercise? Would this be discouraged considering they'd likely eat more?

Do prostrations count as exercise?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Goofaholix
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Re: Monks and Exercise

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:20 pm

Viscid wrote:I'm curious-- do monasteries ever encourage their monks to exercise, or do monks ever take the initiative to exercise? Would this be discouraged considering they'd likely eat more?

Do prostrations count as exercise?


At the monastery where I ordained we walked down the mountain 5km each morning to go on Pindhabhat in the village below... lookshury.

At Wat pah nanachat the Pindhabhats are usually about an hour long.

Thai forest monks can walk for long distances when on Tudong.

Many Burmese monks spend a considerable portion of the day doing walking meditation.

A lot of monks do yoga.

It's not all about just sitting on your butt.
"Right effort is effort with wisdom. Because where there is wisdom, there is interest. The desire to know something is wisdom at work. Being mindful is not difficult. But it’s difficult to be continuously aware. For that you need right effort. But it does not require a great deal of energy. It’s relaxed perseverance in reminding yourself to be aware. When you are aware, wisdom unfolds naturally, and there is still more interest." - Sayadaw U Tejaniya

meindzai
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Re: Monks and Exercise

Postby meindzai » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:15 pm

I've observed the same as Goofaholix at the monastery's that I've visited - lots of walking and maybe yoga. I would also mention that at least these days monks will often engage in a fair amount of labor which can be physically demanding.

Teacher Gil Fronsdal believes that if the Buddha knew what kind of sedentary lifestyles we led nowadays we might have had a ninefold path including "right exercise." I have to say I agree with him on that.

-M

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clw_uk
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Re: Monks and Exercise

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:07 pm

meindzai wrote:I've observed the same as Goofaholix at the monastery's that I've visited - lots of walking and maybe yoga. I would also mention that at least these days monks will often engage in a fair amount of labor which can be physically demanding.

Teacher Gil Fronsdal believes that if the Buddha knew what kind of sedentary lifestyles we led nowadays we might have had a ninefold path including "right exercise." I have to say I agree with him on that.

-M



Thats an interesting thought


I have noticed that when I work out it helps improve my generally mindfulness and meditation practice
Lost to a world in which I crave no part,
I sit alone and listen to my heart,
Pleased with my little corner of the earth,
Glad that I came--not sorry to depart
Richard Le Gallienne

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Viscid
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Re: Monks and Exercise

Postby Viscid » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:20 pm

clw_uk wrote:I have noticed that when I work out it helps improve my generally mindfulness and meditation practice


Yeah, I find it really helps to keep you attentive and alert during sits, and stops your mind from monkeying about too much. In fact, I do physical exercise for mental health almost more than I do it for physical health: helps with mood, self-confidence and tiredness.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

meindzai
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Re: Monks and Exercise

Postby meindzai » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:51 pm

Viscid wrote:
clw_uk wrote:I have noticed that when I work out it helps improve my generally mindfulness and meditation practice


Yeah, I find it really helps to keep you attentive and alert during sits, and stops your mind from monkeying about too much. In fact, I do physical exercise for mental health almost more than I do it for physical health: helps with mood, self-confidence and tiredness.


Yeah. This is pretty much the whole basis for yoga as far as I can tell, a point which has been lost in the more jock-like modern presentations.

-M


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