Park Gym Mandala

Park Gym
Photo courtesy of Bodybuilding.com

So I recently discovered this amazing park gym in Boise, Idaho…

The Bodybuilding.com Park Gym at Ann Morrison Park is made up of 15 pieces of durable new fitness equipment installed on a 1,400-square-foot pad. Use of the equipment, which is accessible year round, is free to the public.

If you’re not sure how to use all of the pieces of equipment, you can follow the detailed, step-by-step instructions that are posted at the entrance. (Self Teacher Training note: you can also devise your own ways to use the equipment.) 

I’ve seen outdoor gyms before, but I really liked this one because it’s circular and because it’s designated for adults and children (14+). Why is this so awesome? Outdoor training season has officially started, so it’s probably a good time to discuss a common stereotype about adults using playgrounds. 

During the warm months I like to practice in parks and playgrounds. They’re great for Mind Body Parkour and exercising in nature does wonders for the spirit. Most of the adults are enjoying time with their children and my interactions with them are positive. But every once in a while I’ll encounter some resistance.

I could tell you stories…

There’s a fraction of the population that doesn’t support the idea of adults using playgrounds for exercise. I see this as being due in part to the a large number of Americans who’ve fallen prey to the Spectator Epidemic. Meaning, they tend to be passive observers about exercise which is a big problem in our culture. In this video of Chinese seniors, you’ll see that their culture is completely supportive of adults exercising in parks.

So I’m even more appreciative of parks that cater to adults who want to work out. When you consider that obesity rates in America are among the highest in the world, with two out of every three Americans being obese or overweight, it’s quite obvious that we have an exercise shortage in our country. According to Wikipedia:

Obesity has led to over 120,000 preventable deaths each year in the United States. An obese person in America is likely to incur $1,497 more in medical expenses annually. Approximately $190 billion is spent in added medical expenses per year within the United States. Obesity is a preventable condition that has been increasing within the United States. Health authorities anticipate no change to this vector.

What is needed in order to bring about this change is a shift to the public’s perception about integrating exercise with lifestyle. Television is the primary obstacle, as it breeds passivity and creates a mind-body disconnect. It also prevents many people from perceiving their homes as viable places for exercise.

A good starting point in beginning the process of lifestyle rehabilitation is to use your local park for routine exercise. It’s free and easy to access (for the most part). By doing this you’re helping yourself as well as helping to shift the collective consciousness.

Want to learn more about developing your own park gym routine? Book a FREE no-obligation consultation today.

Self Teacher Study – Mind Body Parkour

Swami Vivekananda Mind Body Parkour

So I’ve been meditating on this idea lately. It has to do with:

  1. Practicing ALL the time
  2. Perceiving the world as one big training ground

If you practice yoga for long enough it begins to weave its way into your everyday life, even in the most ordinary situations. You might find yourself stretching your calves in the airport or meditating while standing on line in the grocery store.

EVERY moment is an opportunity to practice.

Self-directed practice increases our personal power. It gives us a sense of autonomy and builds our inner strength. You can practice with other people but just like learning how to ride a bike, eventually you’ll want to take the training wheels off. Self-directed practice is something you can do anytime, anywhere. It’s kind of like the urban sport of free-running – Parkour:

Parkour is non-competitive. It may be performed on an obstacle course, but is usually practiced in a creative, and sometimes playful, reinterpretation or subversion of urban spaces.  Parkour involves seeing one’s environment in a new way, and imagining the potentialities for movement around it. – Wikipedia

I’ve been playing with how to merge the Parkour philosophy into my experience of the world. I’ve been exploring new ways of doing simple, every day tasks as well as looking for ways to improve upon pre-existing systems. For example, it’s possible to turn the act of washing dishes into a meditation exercise. Instead of going on auto-pilot I can use this opportunity to mindfully notice my posture, breath and train of thoughts. In addition to having one set time for my yoga practice I can also do little exercises throughout the day.

The possibilities are endless and it’s fun to play with customizing your own version of Mind Body Parkour.  

We can start by brainstorming for a minute. What do YOU need to do for yourself?

Do you want to: feel better, eat healthier, have more energy, laugh more, love more… ?

Now ask yourself what would it take to do all of these things.

And now ask what is it that keeps me from doing these things?

Fill in the blanks = I need ____________.   I would do  _____________ if I could.

Remember, every moment is an opportunity to practice. It just takes a little self-discipline, some creativity and a willingness to think outside of the box. Parkour takes exercise out of the gym and into the world. We can do the same thing with our personal practice.

Ready to make the world your playground? Book a FREE no-obligation consultation today: Book Now