5 Questions: Kecia McCracken of SparkFit
For SparkFit co-founder and fitness instructor Kecia McCracken, wellness is all about the big picture.
How would you define a healthy lifestyle? I define a healthy lifestyle by having a life in which you are flourishing and satisfied. This requires engagement in life as a continuously evolving process rather than aiming for a fixed endpoint. Taking care of our physical bodies by regular exercise and a nourishing diet is foundational, but alone, it isn’t enough. Some aspects of a healthy lifestyle for me include doing purposeful and creative work, having meaningful and supportive relationships with others, spending time in nature, deepening a contemplative spiritual practice and resting.
In your daily grind, how would you describe your approach to setting wellness priorities? My priority is to pay attention to my internal disposition so I can make healthy choices from a place of peace. I aim for maintaining balance in my life, which comes from being stable and joyful within myself. I think how we do something is just as important as what we do. Even if I am doing something healthy or meaningful, but I am internally frazzled, I have moved away from peace and lost connection to myself. Then, I have an opportunity to inquire within, make an intelligent adjustment and move toward balance once again.
Your gym places importance on mental health management. Why is that necessary? As humans, we are multidimensional beings and can’t separate one part of ourselves from another. Our minds are powerful, and we go through much of our lives on autopilot, often unaware of the unexamined thoughts and beliefs creating emotional suffering. When we become aware of our thought patterns and emotional responses, we can create some space within ourselves to have a different experience. At SparkFit, we use mindful movement of the body as a tool for transforming the mind. This happens by focusing our attention on linking movement to our breath. This stabilizes and calms the mind, helps us to remain in the moment and frees us to have an experience of ourselves that is deeper and more connected.
What is an impactful change you’ve made that helped you find balance in life? The most impactful change I have personally made to find balance is to not take everything too seriously so I can truly enjoy my life. It’s a value of mine to eat fresh food that is mostly local. I love to cook nutritious meals for my family and friends. Sometimes, though, I just like to go have pizza and beer with friends, and I really enjoy it! The next day, I go back to eating fresh and that keeps everything balanced. I am still eating with intention while not denying myself simple pleasures or enslaving myself to rigid concepts about what is and isn’t “healthy.”
What piece of advice has been most helpful in that journey? That everything can be medicine or poison, depending on our relationship with it.
The workout you always feel best after: A kettlebell circuit workout followed by yoga
The last great book you read: “The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion: A Modern Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras”
Your favorite way to relax and de-stress: Taking a long walk on a beautiful day, listening to the birds and enjoying the breeze