The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Health Versus Fitness: Return to the Source with Hindu Pushups

Health and Fitness are not the same thing.  Fitness is the ability to perform to some pre-set standard within some particular context.  It comprises elements of flexibility, stength, endurance, power, strength-endurance (yea, Clubbells and kettlebells!), and other factors.  Health has to do with the absence of disease, the sense of well-being, the integrity of joints, organ systems, eliminative capacity, and probably proprioceptive sense.  Health expanded leads to fitness.  Fitness expanded often leads to burnout.
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The Hindu Pushup is a simply awesome free-hand exercise, possibly the best freehand fitness exercise in the world.  But it is a PART of what is possibly the greatest overall health/fitness freehand exercise known to man: the sun salutation.  Look it up on the web.  We'll eventually post instructions on it--it flat rocks.  Do ten of these every morning and night, and watch the body firm up and the pounds "melt off" (this will be due to increased metabolism, and a normalized appetite--the caloric expenditure per se isn't overwhelming).  Do five of them during your 5MM breaks (incorporating Be Breathed, of course) and watch your energy skyrocket.  But here is a way to use them for fitness:
Perform sun Salutation ladders, emphasizing the Hindu Pushup section.  That is, do one SS.  Then take one breath.  Do another SS, but this time do 2 Hindu Pushups in the middle before you stand.  Then take two breaths.  Do another SS, with 3 Hindu Pushups in the middle.  Three breaths.  And so on.  Too easy?  Only give yourself one breath between steps. 
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The total spinal flexion afforded by the Sun Salutation is fabulous.  Go to any yoga school, and ask for a demonstration or a mini-lesson.  The pointers they'll offer go way beyond what y ou can get on a web site, or in a video.  The hands-on approach is the best way to learn.  Iyengar style yoga is probably best on structure.  Ashtanga is best on motion.  Bikram is probably the best remedial yoga (I've never seen a style that so efficiently works both unfit and fit people in the same class!) but you'd need to actually take the class, and come to think of it, they don't do sun Salutations, so fagettaboutit.  Try Iyengar.  Or look it up on the web, and get to work.  If you can make it up to ten and back down  with only one breath between each rep, you are in damned fine shape!

Steve

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