Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stretching the Charles Atlas way!

Ok.....when most the 40+ers think yoga, there is a picture of and Hindu man with a turbin, a basket, a cobra and a flute. Only those who have experienced training in a martial art or tried a yoga "sampler" class will understand the power of meditative breathing and "chakra stretching". Many people I speak with about losing weight or lowering blood pressure using yoga alway come back and say, "I'm not flexible" or "I hate stretching". The stretching part is obviously only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to benefits of eastern medicine. Ayervedic medicine incorporates diet meditation, breathing and exercise/chakra stretching. Chinese medicine is less organized but also encompasses the same lifestyle of happiness, use of foods for healing, exercise/tai chi and spirituality. Most people don't get to the level of martial arts where touch is used to heal instead of harm/defend. (Mostly because today's dojo's are "blackbelt mills" but dont get me started!)

People who can afford personal trainers, usually have the benefit of the hired knowledge to get into the pre-exercise muscle-heating stage. Unfortunately, the average person will have to learn this from example and trust it is worth it to learn. Problem is that to initiate the flexibility routine is actually painful and frustrating. Probably takes about 2-3 months to become flexible, then if you are lucky one will feel the benefits return to the spirit as the chakras are stimulated. That is if you can afford learing from a certified teacher. The Saguil approach to accepting this as a key component in your fitness routine is that during the 20-30 minutes of breathing, imagery, stretching, the heart and brain are given more reward than the 30-60 minute endorphin release from weight training or cardio. No question the "bullet proof" effect of cardio on heart disease but I think of meditation, breathing and chakra positions as "bullet proofing" the mind and heart during the remaining 23 hours of a stressful day. I like what the folks in chicago have done with yoga..... (check them out)

I have called several places and the head instuctors usually will allow one free visit to experience what they teach. Give it a try! It will make for an injury free workout and a more rewarding fitness experience. (...may even be able to throw away a blood pressure pill in the process)

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