Are You Doing Your Daily Inner Workout?
Take your workout routine to another level.
For decades, the fitness focus has predominantly fallen upon the notion of the physical workout. Each session strengthens the muscles and conditions the body. Cumulatively, this contributes to physical health. With variety reflecting personal preferences and bodily needs, curated fitness regimes can be as unique as the bodies they serve. But the true benefits of working out also support mind, body, and spirit. It’s about time that convention acknowledges “nature’s antidepressant” as such. Physical fitness isn’t just about the body; it also benefits emotional and mental health. It can even facilitate feelings of spiritual connectedness.
Building a self-care toolkit
Taylor Elyse Morrison first founded Inner Workout as an answer to the question of how to help people build a self-care skillset. This requires attunement to layers of being that go beyond the strictly physical. It thus takes the concept of a physical workout and translates it into a dialogue that also addresses inner work. Described as a self-care support system, the platform focuses users on broadening their self-care skill sets. It connects users with external partners and experts and discovers products to help them rē•claim their centrality in orchestrating their own well-being.
Morrison sees wellness as ever-changing, much like the world around us. “I don’t believe in [a] one-size-fits-all approaches to wellness because they often bypass the most critical component of being well: being present to your needs at the moment,” she says. The program’s name sought to invoke a practice that focused on looking inward, working on the abstract dimensions of the self in addition to the physical. It first began as a mat-based practice rooted in the Five Dimensions of Wellbeing, all based on yogic philosophy.
The translation from a physical to inner workout
While physical workouts are undeniably effective means of integrating wellness into everyday life, the question was how to broaden this everyday notion of hands-on wellness to also facilitate optimal emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness, too. This requires taking an individualized approach to all facets of health — including the inner work — because each person’s preferred methods of accessing these dimensions of being can and should be varied to suit their preferences. Inner Workout, therefore, begins with a “Take Care Assessment” to measure your wellbeing across the five dimensions: physical, energetic, mental and emotional, wisdom, and bliss. This begins the process of orchestrating a hands-on approach to multi-dimensional wellness.
After assessing which areas you would like to target, the program introduces warm-ups. A physical warmth prepares the body for the intensive activity to come, ideally tapping into the same muscles that will be used. Inner Workout also offers a podcast, Inner Warmup, to initiate the internal warm-up as well via audio-journaling sessions and time for reflection. A mindful break in your day for meditation or journaling will actually allow you to declutter your thoughts and prepare yourself for the rest of your inner work, often serving to reduce stress on days when you are in the thick of deadlines, tasks, and projects.
What does an inner workout look like?
Just like our outer workouts — which are designed to help the body achieve new heights and to maintain (or improve) strength — the Inner Workouts are based on the same principle. Self-care practices try to strengthen mental and emotional health to avoid issues like burnout, essentially helping to cultivate a phenomenon known as resiliency. According to Morrison, each inner workout is defined differently for each person, though there are three factors that she attributes to an impactful inner workout — targeting areas that require improvement, doing so intentionally, and practicing the workout with self-love.
“That looks different for everyone and might even look different for you [from] day-to-day,” she says. “Your inner workout might be choosing to be present as you fold laundry, or it might be a stretch and foam roller session, or it might be telling someone something that’s been on your mind. That’s the beauty of doing the inner work — any task can become a practice.”
Your assessment comes in handy because it gives you personalized feedback and practice recommendations based on your results, helping you to optimally expand your energy towards those areas deemed deficient relative to the others. For instance, it might identify areas like harnessing your energy or getting to know your body’s unique preferences. One practice includes verbally affirming yourself the same way you would speak to a friend. It asks that you commit to sharing these words of encouragement with yourself every day for a week. Another might provide an exercise to choose a word to embody your month. From there, you’ll turn it into a mantra or affirmation to repeat all month long. Track the changes within you over the month and document them. This will help you visualize your progress and keep you encouraged.
The impact you can make on yourself
It’s normal to experience dwindling motivation day-to-day. But the fact is that investing in yourself — no matter how minutely — counts. As some say, the body is always listening in on your thoughts and efforts. Knowing your bodies better allows you to become more intentional in how you live your life. This includes the causes of physical reactions, emotions, and mental states.
“As someone who is actively doing this work, I can say that strengthening your inner self will change your life,” Morrison tells rē•spin. “When you have an intimate relationship with yourself, you’re able to notice when you’re headed towards burnout before you get there. You’re able to identify and express your needs. You’re able to work towards your own goals instead of everyone else’s definition of success.” Our society tends to emphasize results, focusing on physical appearance and health, and pushing mental and spiritual “fitness” to the wayside. This philosophy allows you to use the physical body as an entry point for putting a more expansive notion of wellness into practice.