From: Howie Jacobson <>
Subject: Mindblowing conversation about fitness, strength, and spiritual growth

If you listen to only one Plant Yourself Podcast episode this year, I think this one might be my recommendation:

Philip Shepherd, whom I know (and have interviewed) as a teacher of embodiment and spiritual integration, recently wrote a book about working out with weights, of all things.

The incongruity of it really struck me. I couldn't think of two domains with less in common than Gold's Gym and a Buddhist monastery, which is where my mind goes when I think of working out and getting in touch with my essence, respectively.

But Philip hasn't disappointed me yet, so perhaps there was something of value in his book, cowritten with fitness trainer Andrei Yakovenko. With that hope in mind, I bought Deep Fitness and was immediately glad that I did. Because it immediately convinced me that lifting weights can be a huge part of personal and collective healing.

From Philip's perspective, the loss of embodiment is at the core of every human problem, from racism to environmental destruction to political discord to inter- and intrapersonal suffering. We can't treat the world, or each other, any better than we treat our own bodies.

It's only through embodiment that we can heal our traumas and create a society in which all belong and are cared for.

So what's the connection between embodiment and working out?

According to Philip, fitness can be the perfect place to practice, experience, and refine embodiment. In an industry that lionizes domination of the body by the mind, he offers an alternate vision: experiencing physical challenges as a body, without the internal struggle that comes from forcing the body to bend to the mind's will.

Not just for spiritual enlightenment; Philip points out that weight training is a huge missing piece in maintaining health as we age, with sarcopenia (muscle loss) underpinning just about every chronic disease and loss of vigor.

So here's a link to our conversation:

Enjoy, and please let me know what you think.