In the last post I wrote about the satisfying and pleasurable idea of umami
I thought I would dedicate a few words now to some ideas on how to increase your chances of umami with your exercise. After all, if exercise can bring about the sensation of umami more often you’ll gain far more pleasure from your workout and be much more motivated to do it.
#1- Umami takes time to develop
It’s almost impossible to experience umami from a new sensation. Instead it comes about from a pleasurable action that you’re very familiar with such as eating your favorite food or drinking with an old friend.
It’s for this reason that it’s important that you have exercises and methods of training that you maintain for long periods of time. It’s essential that your senses feel relaxed and at home within the activity and that can only happen with exercise that becomes second nature to you.
#2- Become a connoisseur
Deep understanding of an exercise is extremely important. The more detail you can experience during a movement the more your senses will be flooded with the experience.
Like a lover of fine wine, when you develop your ability to sense the smallest details of an exercise the more you can appreciate it and what it means to your body.
#3- Breath and let Energy Flow
Excessive tension can block the flow of energy and the sensation of the activity. If you tense up everything while doing push ups you’re restricting the sensation from the exercise.
If you keep your breathing flowing, even if it’s fast or labored breathing, you can keep the sensation and satisfaction of the exercise high.
#4- Don’t fight the pain and discomfort
I once had a chi-gung instructor tell me that I should “chew” the pain while holding a difficult posture. He didn’t want me to fight it or attempt to block it out. Instead he wanted me to bathe in the sensation and savor it.
The same sort of idea comes from spicy food or hard drink. To the new comer, the experience may feel abrasive but for the experienced, that same harsh sensation is what they immerse themselves in.
Exercise is quite often not a relaxing experience. By making peace, or even embracing the discomfort, we can grow a taste for it and learn that it’s actually reflective of our own fitness. As I always say, you can interpret your effort as the sensation of stress or the sensation of strength. Turn the corner in your mind and pain can become pleasure.