Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical Center, and author of the 1975 bestseller, “The Relaxation Response”, has held four workshops on aerobic prayer for clergy, based on his research study which found that exercisers who chanted to themselves had a lower heart rate and 11% more power.
Originally participants were suggested phrases such as “No.1” and “Relax”, but over three years, 80% chose a simple prayer such as “The Lord is my shepherd” and “Shalom”.
-from USA Weekend, October 27-29, 1989, page 23
Today, Empatharian has the exercise, the prayers, and only needs the aerobics added. As it is spiritual, not religious, it appeals to all people, and is understood by people of many languages, on a subliminal and a conscious level. We are looking actively for choreographers to create aerobic footwork and help us to put the 30 minutes 4 times a week to maximum effect!
Older or handicapped people can do it from a seated position, especially to start. It can be done while walking, or standing, but it’s great fun moved around and danced.
The third dimension that Empatharian has beyond the prayer and exercise is the emotional expression of the movement itself, which strengthens all the other parts of the body and the depth the exercise is working.
When we develop doing small groups and pairs that do back and forth conversation, the potential for abstract thought, assimilating ideas, and synthesizing philosophies is hugely improved in people.
And it’s a fun game that helps people learn about their values, other people’s values, philosophies. When you don’t have the problem of different words for “God” for example, and the gesture is the same for all those concepts, and the same as inner joy and wisdom, then things become interesting.
Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist all contrast and compare, and find the similarities beyond words that tie us together as a humanity.