I’m sharing something a wee bit different today, a book review! I suppose I need a disclaimer, this is not a paid ad and I’ve not been compensated for reviewing this book. I do know the author and he is one of the dearest humans in the Universe to me. That said, if his book was crap, I would not tell other people to read it. I’d tell him I was proud of him for finishing and I couldn’t wait to see how his writing improved with his next effort. But, lucky for you and I, this book is wonderful!
The 21st Century Body is a fitness book for the spiritually minded AND a spiritual book for the fitness focused. I told Ryan that I would buy a copy and he started talking about how he hoped to spiritually reach people who generally read fitness books but that he hoped spiritual people got something out of the fitness aspects of it. I’d read the draft manuscript and was caught off guard for a moment. “Fitness book”? I’d read it and adored it but didn’t think of it as a fitness book. I kept that to myself.
During the writing process, whenever I’d encouraged him to keep going he had laughed me off and said my opinion was biased. When he started talking about his “fitness book” the other day I was dumbstruck, had I really been so biased that I’d entirely missed that it was a fitness book?! Now, I HAD to reread it with a much more critical view.
My copy came Saturday and I was thrilled. It honestly felt like my best friend had a baby. I carried it with me to a party and showed my friends its beautiful glossy cover and the neatly organized table of contents and flipped to some of my favorite lines and quotes.
“The 21st century body is conscious.”
The first time I read that in draft form, I got goosebumps. This book felt magical. Seeing it in print on Saturday was luminous, as if the words glowed up from the pages. (Alright, I am a bit biased, but that is a great line.)
I have been on a long path towards wellness. As an adult I’ve dieted and exercised, ran races, trained in martial arts, boxed, lifted weights, and played sports all in an effort to feel at peace with my physical body. I’ve also quit all those things, gone back to them, and quit again out of frustration. I’ve long felt at war with my physical form.
So, I took time off from that war. I became a conscientious objector to torturing myself with counting calories and early morning or twice daily cardio. I kept up my now 20+ year yoga practice and let that lead me to becoming YTT-200 certified. But, even with that, I reached points of failure. I sustained some injuries last summer that derailed my daily yoga practice for the first time in 4 years. And, I gained 10+ pounds. But, I wasn’t at war with myself about it. Maybe in part because I read this book in it’s almost complete stage.
My journey towards consciousness (or enlightenment, peace, total wellness, or whatever you want to call it) is pretty well detailed in my blog so I won’t go too far into it right now except to say, I realized I have been extremely physically healthy at times but mentally and spiritually sick and I have been, recently, mentally and spiritually healthy, but physically unwell. Yoga is one path to the union of those layers of ourselves, by definition. What Ryan has written about is the same union undertaken by whichever path you chose, but he chooses and details weight lifting and lets the reader choose whatever path feels right for themselves.
I really like this bit of paragraph in Chapter 10: Being In The Gym:
“…In the gym as we are training and also teaching, the condition of our souls (souls defined here as the moment-to-moment relationship we have with our innermost being) is on display to others, and our personal development becomes an important concern. The quality of our internal lives is apparent to the exterior world – the condition of our souls is transparent.”
This of course makes me reflect upon my own body. Is the condition of my soul apparent? How much am I showing the world that I don’t even realize? What do I want to show? What is possible to show and share and teach the world with the condition of my physical body? As James Allen said, “as a man thinks, so he shall be. As he continues to think, so he remains.” Our outer forms are a physical manifestation of or inner world. One is not in harmony without the other.
One of the things I love most about The 21st Century Body is Ryan’s encyclopedic knowledge and use of his source material. Because I know him, I can tell you that he didn’t sit down and look up each and every quote that went into the book just to make them fit. The quotes and references he uses are a part of his make up. They are things he’s studied and integrated into his being and what we get because of that is wisdom from dozens of teachers, organized and compiled in a comprehensive guide to total betterment.
I do think The 21st Century Body is best suited to the Introverted Intuitive (INFP, INFJ, INTP, INTJ) types. Those of us who already inhabit our minds a good bit can tend to get stuck there. We are natural seekers and not only do we seek to understand our place in the world, the universe, but also our right place within our selves. That right place becomes warriorship for ourselves, rather than being at war with ourselves. We are at war, surely, against all the bad habits, bad attitudes, and everything that pulls you out of conscious soulful Being. The 21st Century Body is a guide to focusing all that the Spirit has given us, right now, to being our best for ourselves and for the world.
Ryan’s story and the others he shares, are an inspiration and a testament to the power of combining your focus and desire to seek your best self with dedicated effort to physical wellness. “The 21st century body is conscious.” It is time we all started to wake up to that truth and fully inhabit ourselves.
The 21st Century Body is available in print and kindle on Amazon.
If you read the book come back and leave me a comment telling me what you think. What is your favorite chapter? Why? How do you connect with your body and what brings your being most into focus? What puts you into a flow state? (It’s ice skating for me!)
Thanks for reading!
Love life and live it!💖