Spiritual Exercise is defined by the practice. There are physical spiritual exercises such as Yoga and Martial Arts. There are also mental stimulated exercises that are spiritual in nature. Some practices combine both the physical and mental as a spiritual exercise.
In my research of what spiritual exercise is, I see that it is any activity done on a steady or regular basis that connects you to a spiritual energy within and a larger force outside of your self. Any thing one does with a spiritual intent as their normal habits can be considered a type of spiritual exercise.
Some spiritual exercises involve chanting or sing mantras for a specific amount of times per day. Mantras are sounds usually from sacred texts that are used to evoke certain spiritual energy and focus. It is a form of chanting. Chanting and prayer are also spiritual exercises that many people use on a daily basis. The idea of chanting and prayer flows through many, millions of religions through out the world.
Another type of spiritual exercise is meditation. It can be done in different ways and in different body positions. The main purpose of meditation a form of spiritual exercises is to loose the idea of self and concentrate on absolutely nothing. It is harder to do than it sounds. People take classes to learn this type of spiritual exercise.
Yoga is also another ancient type of spiritual exercises that was founded in India centuries ago. Yoga means “unity” and “harmony”. It unifies its practitioners with universal consciousness and gives us harmony within ourselves and in relation to the world. As spiritual exercises Yoga harmonizes one’s life, awakens latent capabilities and unites one with cosmic consciousness.
There are different paths of Yoga. Hatha Yoga uses spiritual exercises like breathing, body poses and relaxation techniques. Ashtang/Rajayoga is a more physical spiritual exercise system of Yoga. It focuses on strong flowing movements like pushups. These spiritual exercises include mediation, visualizations, affirmations, attentiveness and self-awareness.
It is not recommended for people with back problems. Bhakti yoga is devotional spiritual exercises that yoga practitioners do. Everyone is said to benefit from these types of spiritual exercises. They are about devotion and love.
Another form of practice connected to spiritual exercises is Martial Arts. Many martial art practices especially those in Asia are connected to the forces of nature. A lot of the spiritual exercises in Chinese Martial arts come from the religious practice of Taoism. The spiritual exercises practiced in martial arts is to stimulate ones Qi or life force that moves through out our body and keep our shen or spiritual essence in harmony. Just as harmony prevails in nature, when we are in harmony we are balanced in nature as well.
Martial Arts also involve the spiritual exercise of not fearing death but being in harmony with it because the Martial arts is of preservation of the physical body. This is particularly true of the Buddhist derived martial art practices.