The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Proper structure of physical performance

Lifewriting uses the physical to ground our search for the spiritual, much as the Chakras start with survival and reach up to the sky.  The physical body allows us to sense material reality, and therefore should be cultivated if we are to reach our full potential, and preserved if we are to enjoy the fruits of our cultivation.
1) Begin with a safe emotional space.  Meditation is ideal for this--clearing out the mind and heart until you have found at least a single spark of clarity.  Once that has been reached:
2) Joint rotations.  Coach Sonnon's Warrior Wellness program is great for this, the refinement of "Elementary motor components"--small motions on which larger will be built.  Flexibility is automatically developed during this phase, as is alignment.  Yoga and Tai chi and the Five Tibetans have good effect here.
3) Cardio-Vascular and muscular endurance.  The ability of your body to process fatigue toxins.  Critical for energy.  Walking, swimming, jumping rope are wonderful.  An activity that you can perform for 20-30 minutes without stopping. The Five Minute Miracle will teach you proper breathing.
4) Strength and power.  Also known as progressive resistence exercise.  Clubbells, Kettlebells and traditional weight training.  A very nice series of freehand exercises can be found at Hindu Squat and Hindu pushup.  A superb combination.  I DON'T reccomend the wrestler's bridge, a component of Furey's system, but there are those who advise it highly.  Let the buyer beware.
5) Skill.  This is where the practise of some sport or discipline comes in.  Dancing, martial arts, yoga, etc.--it is good to refine the coordination.  Then, practise the skill under increasing levels of fatigue.  REMEMBER: it is in your ability to balance these three physiological aspects that athleticism and the emotional/intellectual arena intersect
6) Competition.  If you have progressed through the previous steps, it is good to place yourself in a crucible where your ability to refine breath, movement, and structure under pressure is challenged by a partner/opponent/context.  It is this level of refinement that begins to develop the intuition and strategic qualities, harnessing more of the mental aspects. It is in investing yourself in victory and dealing with failure that your spiritual qualities begin to evolve.
7) Teaching.  After you have completed all six levels, it is good to find students who can be helped through the earlier stages.  It is here, especially in giving help to young students, that you complete the circle, and are directly connecting to spirit.  The most important gift you can give them is the inner clarity you developed in step #1--which by this time is far more refined.
To progress through these steps, you will need every bit of strength you possess as a living, conscious being.  To master this cyclic process takes a lifetime.  To grasp its importance, and place your feet on the path, can happen in a moment. 

The Five Minute Miracle is one such "first step."  If you don't have a discipline to guide you, do yourself a favor and get it NOW.  It is never too late--on the other hand, life is short and precious. What are you waiting for?

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