The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Breathing, Motion, and Alignment

This, in short form, is the physical core of the Lifewriting system. Also the Five Minute Miracle.  Remember, I promised I would do my best to give it all away for free, right? The reason that something like the 5MM is possible is that it is designed to re-pattern the way your mind and body relate.  In other words, it's not about doing X amount of exercise in the morning.  It's about moving differently all day long, the concept Coach Sonnon refers to as "Perpetual Exercise."  In order to understand how this is possible, we first have to examine another core concept.
Any physical technique is composed of three parts: Breathing, Motion, and Alignment.  For the sake of illustration, consider them mind, muscle, and bone.  The interesting thing is that each of them is created by the interaction of the other two.  Breathing is created by muscular contraction and a change in the relative position of rib-cage and hip bones.  Motion is created by the interaction of breath and posture.  And posture is created by proper motion and breathing.  These are not exact descriptions: no profound process can be put exactly into words.  However, if you can read between the lines,  you'll get it.  Better still, practise, and you will understand.  All profound movement systems: Tai chi, Yoga, etc., understand this, but they express it differently.  This is just a little difficult to understand without viewing.  If you see me at a convention, please ask and I will demonstrate.  Or go to and look up Coach Sonnon's "Be Breathed" tape.  Or do google searches for Yoga or Tai chi breathing.  Or buy the 5MM.  I will try to answer questions to make this moving aspect clearer in the future, but in all honesty, it is very difficult to describe a dynamic movement in words--the chances of performing it wrong are massive.  Even when I demonstrate to knowledgeable movement artists, they usually do it wrong at first.  Sigh.  Please, don't think this is a come-on, and turn yourself off to a MASSIVELY valuable technique that could add years to your life.  We'll try to post more free video clips later.
Now then, once you understand that each technique (walking, swimming, clubbell swinging, kettlebell lifting, whatever) has a unique BMA signature, you're ready for a second piece of data: stress tends to "dis-integrate" this structure.  When under stress, your breathing will grow shallow, your muscles tighten, your posture degrade.  In other words, as you grow more sensitive to your body, if you check in with your BMA for a few seconds every couple of hours, you can feel whether or not you are having an inappropriate reaction to stress.  If you learn to stay balanced while under stress, you will automatically grow stronger and more competant--it is the way the human psyche is designed.  If you are thrown off kilter, the stress will rip you apart.  In life, they pay you for how much stress you can take.  Learn to handle it right, and you will evolve toward your goal rather smoothly.
So, in short form, this is why I am insistent upon the body being included in  your overall growth plans.  Try to leave it behind, and your career will dead-end.  How much time does it take?  I'd say a minimum of 15 minutes a day: but you can BEGIN with only 5 minutes a day.  To use it, take a pause multiple times a day: say, every three hours.  9, 12, 3, 6, 9.  Just breathe for sixty seconds, using a technique from Yoga, Tai Chi, or the 5MM.  Notice the interaction of mind, muscle, and posture.  Then after 60 seconds, get on with your life.
Get it?  I just gave away the 5MM secret: it's not five minutes all at one time, it's five minutes in one minute increments, spread throughout the day, the technique called "Neurosynaptic facilitation" by Pavel Tsatsouline.  It is the most powerful means of developing the mind-body connection in the world. 
Use it.

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