The Skinny on Integral Fitness

This blog centers around the lessons I’ve learned during my cultivation of Integral Fitness over the past 10 years or so. When most people think of fitness they think of things like exercise and diet … things geared toward bringing one or another isolated aspect of the human body into a healthy state. Integral Fitness, however, understands that the mind and body are inseparably linked, that nothing is truly isolated, and that all aspects of the human being must be brought into a healthy state in order for fitness to be complete and sustainable.

I am certainly not the first person to explore these ideas. Patanjali laid out what could be considered the first Integral Fitness manual in his yoga sutras almost 2000 years ago. More recent champions include Integral Transformative Practice pioneers George Leonard and Michael Murphy, and of course, the badass bodhisattva himself, integral philosopher Ken Wilber. That said, I feel this information is still on the fringe, and I hope this website will help bring this perspective and the techniques that accompany it more into the mainstream.

The Integral (All-Quadrant) Approach

The integral approach to human development seeks to maximize your potential by expanding your awareness across the entire spectrum of human existence. We do this by taking into account the fact that you exist within three fundamental matrices (also called quadrants in integral theory):

  1. Nature – the vast physical matrix we commonly refer to as our environment. This is generally an objective space governed by clearly defined “laws of nature.”
  2. Culture – the vast interpersonal matrix within which we interact with other sentient beings. This is generally an inter-subjective space that requires at least a basic level of mutual understanding to exist.
  3. Self – the vast and imminently esoteric matrix within which we experience life from moment to moment. This is generally a deeply personal, highly subjective space that exists only in direct experience.
Three Matrices of Human Existence Three Aspects of a Human Being The Big Three of Socrates
Nature Body the True
Culture Mind the Good
Self Spirit the Beautiful
Table 1

If we take this a step further, we see that there are also three aspects of the human being – Mind, Body, and Spirit – that can be exercised in Nature, Culture, and Self. These are roughly analogous to Socrates’ the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, as in Table 1.

For example, Nature is objective. It can for the most part be neatly observed and categorized based on the scientific method. So can the Body aspect of the human organism. It-language is used when expressing this matrix, and for any claim to be valid here, it is ultimately subject to what is True in an objectively verifiable way. The same cannot be said for the Mind, which is roughly analogous to the Culture matrix. It is inter-subjective and expressed in We-language. For us to have a conversation or share in some cultural activity there must be a mutual understanding – of the structure of language, of the rules of the game, etc. These things are valid when they are considered generally Good – sufficient for personal expression, or fair for a competitive game. Finally, the Self is the realm of internal experience and personal expression, of I-language. This is where Spirit manifests itself in art and ecstatic experience. Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, this personal place is valid based only on what is Beautiful to the individual.

BrickhouseBodymind.com

With all this in mind, BrickhouseBodymind.com is a blog about developing Integral Fitness. As such, my guest writers and I will post articles and encourage discussion about everything from physical conditioning and nutrition to meditation techniques and enlightened sexuality. The articles here are organized according to what Aspect of the human being they relate to – itBODYnature, weMINDculture, or iSPIRITself – and are also separated into a number of different Mechanisms of Transformation. I sincerely hope the information on this website helps you integrate mind, body, and spirit for ongoing personal transformation.

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