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The Secret Ingredient for Strength and Happiness

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Find out how do Gratitude and Faith Connect to Fitness

By Cheryl Coppa

By Cheryl Coppa The “Plankful” challenge in our Facebook community was designed this month around Gratitude Challenges and different plank challenges. November is National Gratitude Month and we chose to focus on practicing gratitude a bit more, however, the practice of Gratitude is something we keep going all year round in our community. What we think about, we attract. What we talk about, we attract. So, why not make sure to think, recall, reflect, and speak of your joys and desires? Shining more light on what we already have going for us. Fitness won't seem like a chore anymore if you make this shift and be motivated by gratitude We forget to just stop and be grateful and appreciate where we are today. What we have survived in our lives already, the good that has happened, and we still have the opportunity for change. If you can make this shift and be fueled by gratitude, it will change your whole vision and attitude toward health and fitness! It will no longer seem like a chore. There are ongoing studies on how this shift of gratitude positively affects just about every aspect of our lives. Improved sleep, improved relationships, improved self-esteem, and a stronger immune system just to name a few. I’m not saying gratitude is the fix-all, but it certainly IS going to attract more strength and more happiness in your life. Takes practice and reminding, this is why we have the weekly gratitude challenge in our Facebook community. How do Gratitude and Faith Connect to Fitness? This can also fold into whatever higher force you believe in. Whether it be God, Allah, Hashem, or the Universe, or maybe you are a free spirit? We all believe we are part of something bigger. So what greater way to praise, use, pay, and show respect for the body we have been given? I did some research and chatted up a few of our members and here is what I found when connecting gratitude, faith, and fitness.

Christianity - Scripture tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are made in His image. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20~ “Or do you now know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.“ ~ Proverbs 31:17; “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.“ When you exercise your daily life is easier. Taking care of your kids, lifting /carrying groceries. Prepare your body to take on life. You can even make your workouts virtuous. From PriestFIt, Fr. Rooney, said “You can't give what you don’t have. To make a true self-gift to the church, we need to be healthy in body and soul.” In an interview with Dr. Thoennes, he says “Christians should absolutely take fitness seriously because our bodies are these incredible gifts that are masterfully designed. And we have embodied souls. And to realize that the two work together. The body has an effect on your soul, if we don't take care of ourselves physically, it can have effects on us spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. “For in Him we live and move and have our being “ Acts 17:28 We live and we move and we exist because of Him, the privilege of this body. Let us move in whatever way is right for our bodies. “I exercise to glorify God, in my body, and in one way, among many, is putting it to work. Not working for salvation, but working out my salvation. God made our bodies. They are His idea. And it pleases him when we put them to work in service of him. And when my muscles and lungs are in good shape, I'm better prepared to glorify Him in my body, not just while exercising, but in all of life.“ - Pastor David Mathis. “Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20. God wants our gratitude because He wants our continuing friendship, which enables Him to lavish us with additional gifts.

Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, non-injury, in thought, word, and deed. Hinduism strives to achieve balance throughout their lives using self-control, meditation, yoga, and a clean diet. “To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” - Johannes A Gaertner “ Gratitude is our most direct line to God and the angels. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. The more we seek gratitude, the more reason the angels will give us gratitude and joy to exist in our lives.” - Terry Lynn Taylor.

Judaism - Traditional Jewish thought suggests that we must keep our bodies well for the sake of spiritual pursuits and in order to fulfill mitzvot commandments. The Torah directives “And you shall take very good care of your bodies“ and “You shall walk in His ways” are understood by many of the sages as charges to stay healthy and be physically fit. Having a healthy and fit body is what God wants, Maimonides, the great 12th-century rabbi, philosopher, and physician, declared “one is obligated to refrain from all things that impair the body and adopt those elements that strengthen it.“ “How strange we are in the world, and how presumptuous our doings! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of your unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great” - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, 20th-century philosopher, theologian, and activist.

Islam - The Prophet Mohammad said, “Strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good. Adhere to that which is beneficial for you. ”The believer who is physically stronger is better because they are more active and energetic in the performance of worship and taking care of the needs of others. A strong body means a useful body that can be used in the service of Allah and His creation. “I would say that exercise is a form of worship since Islam speaks about the importance of preserving our health and not doing or ingesting toxic things in our bodies. Our health is a gift from God, and our bodies aren’t ours to destroy by smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating, laziness, etc. Showing our gratitude to God for our health is by practicing healthy habits including foods, exercise, good manners & good speech“ - Ola Ka Ola member “If you are grateful, I will give you more.” (Quran 14:7)

Secular or Non-Religious often believe humans are not the center of the universe, but part of it. A way you can be “spiritually fit” without any religious belief would be to focus on the mind and body connection and what you put out is what you get back. Recognizing that our bodies are amazing machines. Our bodies are our healers, self-sufficient when they are healthy and strong and capable of amazing things. The more you care for your body, the more you will get out of it. One life, one body, what are you going to do with it? The more we show up for ourselves the easier it gets. "Gratitude is not a transaction that is completed through tokens of “thankfulness". Gratitude is never-ending. A daily ritual that inspires us to action“. - Tyler Owen (Humanist)

In Ola Ka Ola we have so many different cultural and religious backgrounds, yet we come together through fitness. worldwide of WOMEN empowering WOMEN

I have really enjoyed talking to women in our community about their beliefs. We are a diverse community, worldwide of WOMEN empowering WOMEN! We all have so much going on, so many different cultural and religious backgrounds, yet we come together through fitness. It speaks volumes about the power and healing that comes from movement. It’s no wonder as our bodies were designed to move and amazing things happen when we move them. Besides the physical changes, our attitude towards self changes, creativity increases, our physical health improves, and we open doors to new possibilities. So this brings me back to the secret ingredient - GRATITUDE, sprinkle it in with your beliefs, and fold in movement. . We no longer have a chore or a dreaded task, but rather a worship, a prayer, a praise, a service, a celebration, a work of art, a masterpiece for this vessel in which we live. As it is officially the holiday season for many, it seems like a perfect time to make this shift in our thought and attitude toward health and fitness. I’m grateful for this special place we have that is uniquely and specifically set aside for women. We have the opportunity to support and work on our bodies in the privacy of our own homes and we do it with the smallest time commitments. We do it in a way that fuels our lives. We have the guidance of other women, we have the constant support of all the women in this community. I speak for all the Ola Ka Ola women when I say Happy Thanksgiving and our gift to you if you are not a member yet or want to share this gift with friends and family is our Biggest Sale of the year. Happy Thanksgiving Yours always, Cheryl


About Cheryl Coppa

A certified Core Confidence Specialist (Core and Pelvic Floor retraining)

A certified Personal Trainer specializing in women's fitness over 40

Low-Pressure Fitness / Hypopressive certified by creator Dr. Tamara Rial

Pre/postnatal corrective exercise specialist Instructor of the Pelvic Floor Health program, Ola Ka Ola

40 years young, wife & mother of 3

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