The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Take A Day...

"Me and my friends get no respect.
What does Scooby-Doo that we neglect?
We be puttin' all our foes in check,
but me and my friends get no respect."

That, of course, is the immortal theme from "Jabberjaw," Hannah-Barbara's friendly shark cartoon. It is also evidence that, once again, Tananarive is out of town and I'm hanging out with Jason. Also that my brain is turning into puree of bat shit.


Coached Scott Sonnon yesterday. This guy, preparing for the U.S. Martial Arts Team's assault on Vegas later this year is doing three-a-day workouts, any one of which would kill a rhino. The only reason, and I mean the ONLY reason it's doable is that he is one of the world's experts on recovery, and has a world-class wellness team to monitor every physical sign of overtraining, as well as re-aligning all physical systems. And in addition, his beautiful, incredibly intuitive wife Jodie is on board with this. It is an inspiration to watch: athleticism carried to the level of spiritual expression. I've never been this close to the process before, although gurus like Sri Chinmoy certainly lived in that space.


THE 101 PROGRAM: Be Breathed

"Be Breathed" is the deceptively simple abdominal exercise series Coach Sonnon created. Together with the Flow State Performance Spiral, it forms the last major piece of the puzzle I've sought my entire life: first, how to free myself from the bondage of illusion. Second: how to communicate the truth I found to students and clients a hell of a lot faster than it took me. If you create challenging goals in all three arenas, your demons will go berserk, creating stress like you won't believe (actually that's wrong: you do believe it. That's why some of you will never try it.) If you then teach yourself a breath-centered stress reduction technique like "Be Breathed", and begin to apply it throughout your life (the Five Minute Miracle), you can manage your level of strain exquisitely. If you then begin to "load" your physical frame with more intense motion while maintaining your smooth thread of breath, you attain the ability to stay centered in the midst of stress that would kill the average person. And in life, they pay you for how much stress you can take without buckling.

The essence of the "Be Breathed" technique is to perform a sit-up motion, concentrating on exhaling the entire time. As the spine come perpendicular to the ground, allow the muscles to relax momentarily. The diaphragm will drop, and air pressure will create a shallow inhalation. Continue forward as if trying to touch your toes, again being smooth and non-stressful--and allowing the compression to squeeze air out. As you come back up, your spine will again pass the perpendicular. Relax at that moment, allowing the air in again. NO DELIBERATE INHALATIONS. As you lay back down, you are using your abs to control descent. As you lay flat, relax for an instant, allowing yourself a shallow breath. Raise your legs as far as you can , even taking them behind your head if you have that strength and flexibility. As you return them to the ground, continue to concentrate on the exhalation.

Rinse and repeat. Done in rhythm, slowly, this is one of the very best exercises in the world, teaching so much about the body-mind connection it is almost impossible to overestimate it. Turning the second "Tibetan" into a Be Breathed is a pretty smart idea, trust me. If you have weight or back issues, modify by just lifting the knees to squeeze the diaphragm. The point is to make NO CONSCIOUS DELIBERATE INHALATIONS during the entire cycle. Do this, and you have taken a vital step toward centering and self-mastery. Once you've learned this, you can incorporate this idea into all exercise, all motion. And the benefits go way, way beyond the "merely" physical, into the arena of intellect and spirit. That that, my friends, is serious magic.


"Take a day to heal from the lies you've told yourself and the ones that have been told to you" ~ Maya Angelou


So...what lies are you guys still recovering from?


Ethiopian_Infidel said...

"three-a-day workouts...he is one of the world's experts on recovery"

I'm extremely eager to learn Sonnon's recovery lore. Conventional wisdom holds workouts should be limited to 1 a day, every other day, minimum to facilitate healing and recovery. Science supports the every-other-day regimen, since the healing process requires removing and regenerating tissue damaged during exertion. During the replacement period, the body's susceptible to injury from otherwise trivial stresses. Think of the biological recovery process as the engineering equivalent of removing damaged supports prior reinforcement. During that window of vulnerability sans support, the structure can collapse from a whisper. I know this from painful personal experience. Several times I've let my zeal for exercise overwhelm wisdom, and have been reprimanded with injuries.

Yet people DO exercise without prolonged down time and don't suffer injury. Apart from Sonnon's herculean example, numerous people run and jog daily, including the President, offering proof of concept that one need NOT be out every other day. Please share with us those quick recovery secrets.

Steven Barnes said...

You need to go to, or friend Scott on Facebook. Get right into the stream and see.
The trick with workout volume is that it needs to be within recovery ability. So things like yoga, joint rotations, vibration techniques, chi gung, and Tai Chi all contain secrets that apply to recovery. Understanding the critical components, and learning how to judge when overtrained is a lifelong concern.