A few months back I started attending The Feast, a faith community that conducts worship in malls, movie houses, function rooms and civic centers. Initially I did not know it was a Catholic group – it may well be Christian, Protestant or any other religion because what mattered to me was that every session gave me the same feeling of achievement and solidarity as finishing a race or a workout.
Fitness was not part of my childhood, I got into it when I started employment and could afford a gym membership. Initially it was just to lose weight then I discovered that sweating releases so much negativity from my body including the tequila I drank from “bar hopping” the night before. Working out has since been my cure for lethargy, insecurities and even heartbreak!
Fast forward to decades later when challenges have gotten beyond me and taking control of my body is no longer enough of a solution. It was then that I found myself in a ballroom full of strangers surrendering their troubles in prayer.
We get into the fitness lifestyle with the goal of becoming healthier and stronger then we gravitate towards people with similar interests. We join communities, religious or otherwise, because we want to become better at something and it certainly helps to be among like-minded people for support.
It’s amazing how passages in the Bible acknowledge physical wellbeing as supplementary to spiritual health, that man must “feed the body” and “take a walk”. While I don’t know the book well enough to cite specific examples, I take to the words of the speakers to be true from personal experiences.
I started running when I felt stunted in my career. During a most difficult period as a mother, I took up the challenge of running my first marathon and finishing it made me feel that anything is possible… especially because I had to drive and attend the annual production of my kids afterwards (hahaha!)
I have tried Dragonboat Rowing, OCR, Circuit Training, HIIT, Plana Forma, Yoga and other fitness activities. Like worship, the process can be painful (might even make you cry) and requires self-assessment of how much of yourself you are willing to give. I have discontinued most of these workouts perhaps to be revived in the future.
I’m still choosing which sub-group or project of The Feast to engage in. For now I am just a regular attendee and that is ok.
I don’t run regularly anymore. Some races or workouts I do for research as event organizer, but Wednesday morning is for yoga while other matters simply have to wait. Whether ashtanga or vinyasa, yoga aligns my systems in a way that I can move, think and even poop better. It is because of the chaturangas that I am finally able to do push ups.
I have learned from worship that when you’re depressed to “feel your feelings but don’t follow them because they are never logical”. Sunday mornings are for “following my faith”, because I am new to this practice I need to do it consistently until I am strong enough to break my limits.
Gospel literally means “good news”.
In the same way as sharing with families and friends the delicious “salted egg brazo de mercedes” that they need to brave Ortigas traffic for as “it can change their lives” – I also drag people to try fitness activities until they find something that suits them. I am happy to have made my husband and sister-in-law join me regularly in weekly yoga. Tried Pound last May as a get together workout with friends I only see every December. I also smuggled my sister from her sleeping baby to do Hi-lo Cardio because she loves to dance and was in dire need of some alone time.
To you I share my newfound joy in worship. It has not made me holier in the same way that working out at least once a week has not eliminated my cellulite or given me abs. But working out both my faith and fitness is making me healthier and stronger than I have ever been.