The Study of Kinesiology and Ignatian Spirituality: Parallels Through Exercise
Spirituality relates to an internal movement towards the sacred, while kinesiology is the science of physical human movement. Strong, user-friendly communication between spiritual directors and retreatants is important to the development of an individualized productive retreat experience. To better facilitate guidance, it is helpful for directors to understand the parallels between spiritual exercises and the expertise of retreatants and for retreatants to understand comparisons between their professional and spiritual lives. The physical activity of St. Ignatius during his pilgrimage across Spain exemplifies the similarities between Ignatian spirituality and the science of human movement. Comparisons between Ignatian spirituality and kinesiology include the need for practice of specific exercises, the underlying structure of the Ignatian spiritual exercises compared to a periodized physical exercise program, and the discernment or analysis of movements involved in both fields. Knowledge of the overlap between kinesiology and spirituality may result in retreatants familiar with the science of human movement and exercise developing a better understanding of their spiritual selves and ultimately a closer relationship to God.