Archive for the 'Spiritual Keep-Fit' Category
Donât Run before you can Walk
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and are relatively unfit for your age, it is best to take things gradually at first. I consider physical health inseparable from spiritual health, but it is easy to overdo both in an initial surge of enthusiasm.If you have followed my first two instalments, you will hopefully be taking care of both your sleeping habits and also your eating patterns and intake. If youâre new to the site, I recommend looking at my previous Almanack entries before continuing, so go to the Spiritual Keep-Fit category on the Almanack side-bar to catch-up if itâs your first visit.
Before taking up jogging (and buying all the gear etc!) it is best to spend at least a week, preferably a month just walking. Walking in itself is an evolved activity that we have progressed to in our development, both from childhood and also as a species as we have evolved from the animal âall foursâ posture. However if your lifestyle up to now has involved minimum walking, other than to get from âaâ to âbâ - usually in a rush, or of necessity whilst shopping and being loaded down with bags - some careful correction to the way you walk should be undertaken before the activity of running is even considered.
Prepare for a walk by first choosing a location which will allow you to stride out naturally for around half and hour, without encountering any potholes or uneven surfaces. Avoid crowded places and any potential obstacles which will interrupt the rhythmic pace of walking you hope to achieve. It is best to steer away from shopping malls, busy pavements and routes where you will have to spend some time waiting at traffic lights, dodging cars and lorries etc. Choose a location where you will be able to walk at a steady pace whilst paying little or no attention to your surroundings.
The Meditation of âPaceâ
Once you have chosen your walking-location, prepare by having a light snack at least one hour before and by a moderate liquid intake (donât swamp your system with water - you may dilute the essential electrolyte balance of your bodyâs metabolism)
Choose your clothing carefully so that it is ideal for your location, in the UK at present, we have some ideal Autumn walking weather.
Shoes are the most important consideration. I find âtrainersâ too bulky and insulating for proper foot awareness. Trainers also do nothing to increase foot awareness and sensitivity; the legs and feet have natural shock-absorbing properties which are not helped by the over-cushioned soles and wrap-around padding on the modern trainer. In my opinion a simple inexpensive shoe is the best, with a sole thin enough for the walker to feel the ground a little and a general construction light and simple enough to allow the foot to flex and articulate whilst walking.
I try to avoid nylon. Nylon holds sweat and interrupts the natural release of body waste-matter into the atmosphere. It is much better although perhaps less fashionable, to âkit-outâ in natural fabrics; a cotton top and loose cotton trousers are much more favourable for the body. Nylon also allows an electrical static build-up which also is a negative factor in bodily well-being. Judge how much clothing will be needed for a purposeful walk - too little clothing and you may become chilled and tense - too much clothing and you may overheat.
The Rate of Pulse
Walk casually to your âwalking patchâ (I use the park at the bottom of my street) and then pause and check your pulse. Start walking at your rate of pulse and continue with loose easy strides for fifteen minutes. Allow your breathing to naturally flow; donât over-breath or breath too high in your chest; think of your lungs as bellows. Breath in through your nose and out through both nose and mouth.
Meditate on the rhythm of your walking and of your breath. Become aware of the ground; each step should travel easily from your heel to your toes - feet parallel or very slightly turned out - your body weight should fall along and slightly to the outside of your feet. Become aware of evenness or otherwise in your body carriage. Do you walk with a stress on your right foot or your left? Most people have a main propulsion or driving foot - try to even out the take-off between both feet.
After fifteen minutes, start to consider your whole body carriage. Are your shoulders tense? - lower them. Is your lower back curved (lordosis) or your upper back curved (scoliosis?) Try to gain an easy posture. Pull up from the back of your neck and keep your chin slightly down.
Continue walking in a natural way for the remainder of your first half-hour session - concentrate on the feel of your body and enjoy itâs natural sensation.
When you return home, shower and lie naked on your bed with the room cool but not cold.
Let your mind be stillâŚ.
âtill the next time
Have you ever seen a fit Medium?
I remember Mark Brandist, a spiritual medium, reducing the congregation to hysterics with his impression of a clairvoyant, staggering up to the altar in order to give messages from beyond - a beyond which seemed very imminent considering the fitness level of the fictitious? Medium.
The fact is that I have not seen too many people at church glowing with good health; no avid body-builders or gymnasts; no one really sexy or fit in all senses of the word.
It does seem to be a trend or factor, that a spiritual focus in life, often goes side-by-side with a physical neglect. Maybe it has something to do with the religious discomfort with the carnal side of existence.
Thereâs another factor - The exercises that comprise a journey into meditation more often than not, involve the drawing away of awareness from the extremities of the body, towards the upper chest and the head.
But you can involve the whole body in the meditative process and itâs about time that the natural distaste for the flesh and carnality was removed from modern religious practice. This dictat seems not to have been present in the old religions where the physical was seen in natural relationship to the whole cycle of life; from the planting of the seed, to the harvest and finally to the stillness of Winter.
|japanese translation click characters below and wait for one minute|
First Steps to Fitness
Christina used to call sleep Ă˘âŹĹThe Master RestorerĂ˘âŹâ and so it is. It seems that a lot of people, especially professionals of one sort or another, do not get enough shut-eye. Sleep gives the body a chance to rest, repair and recover. Most people know what they should be getting in terms of sleep-state, no matter if its 7 to 9 hours and although many people can get by on less, (3 to 5 hours!) itâs not good deal - either for the body or the mind.
So the first step is to sort out your sleeping pattern. Try to get enough sleep so that you are able to wake up naturally, without the aid of an alarm clock.
a) Just before going to sleep, ask your body to wake when it has rested enough; not before or after.
b) If you are sleeping too little or too much - identify the problem(s) - and solve them.
I know that the above is easier said than done; sometimes the problem is self-perpetuating; for example a lack of sleep has caused fears and worries to creep in and those worries themselves cause further lack of sleep and so on. You then find yourself in a downward spiral which must be halted for the sake of physical and mental health.
c) If you find you are sleeping too much, consider what you may be trying to avoid or hide from. Debts, career problems and emotional trauma are often the cause for sleep becoming an emotional refuge - get up and confront your problems. (theyâll only grow bigger if you donât).
d) I find I can get to sleep easily if I think and visualize about my favourite hobby. Try to focus your mind on the areas of life that please you. Whatever you do, donât focus on your problems - theyâll keep you awake and set you off on the spiral as you hide from them in sleep the following dayâŚand so on.
e) Donât eat or drink too much before going to bed. Sleep in pure cotton sheets in a bed which you can stretch out in - and sleep naked. (ok - if you need your favourite nighty,or pair of jim-jams so be it) but sleeping relaxed and naked in a cool, well-ventilated room takes some beating.
f) Keep a notebook and pencil beside your bed. Sleep will become an adventure. Jot down your dreams and visions as soon as you awake. Catch them as they dissolve.
Enjoy the moment between waking and sleeping. Here at the gateway you will encounter beings and spirits which are just as real in their own terms as your colleagues are at work. Look forward to returning to that gateway every night and donât forget to write down your experiences and descriptions of the people you will meet. I can remember one guardian who appeared, just as I was drifting off. Suddenly this wonderful woman appeared looking down at me, as if she was leaning over a balcony. I have never seen such a beautiful face, smiling and glowing. Try as I might, I cannot recall her face exactly - but it was wonderful and the memory of it has made me look forward to the gateway ever since.
Two Hunky Men
Be content with who you are and the age you are.
Society places such an emphasis on youth. Take a look at Eric Kunze - The Man in the USA production of Whistle Down the Windâ and my dear friend Michael G Jones (Jacob in the UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and ask yourself who is the most attractive. They are both great guys and a pleasure to work with.
till the next time