Monday, December 31, 2007

Thomas Hanna in Somatic Body Mind Spirit Integration


Our muscles develop learned habits. Repeated muscle movements—ranging over a period of time—are the simplest form of body learning. However, very subtle but poor movement habits also affect muscle tone. If a muscle completely relaxes after a movement it has a tonus of zero. If, however, a muscle does not completely relax after its movement, the tonus can climb to 10, 20, 30 or even 40 percent. Thomas Hanna writes in his book Somatics, “If the tonus is 10 percent, the muscle will always feel tired and firm. If the tonus is 20 percent, the muscle will feel tired, very firm and sore. If the tonus is 40 percent, the muscle will feel tired, hard and quite painful.” Stretching exercises soften muscle tonus, relaxing hard muscles and allowing them to rest.

The most common connective tissues are our tendons and ligaments. Each muscle has microscopic strands of connective tissue running through it. Every muscle also has an envelope of connective tissue surrounding it called fascia. When your feel like your muscles are all knotted up, it’s actually the fascia surrounding the muscles that have gotten stuck together.

The connective tissues are made up of collagen, which strengthens them, and elastin, which gives them elasticity. The “tanning” process is due to dehydration of the connective tissue, resulting in less elastin and more collagen. But flexibility does not rely on the elastin-to-collagen ratio in the connective tissues alone.

Muscle health also depends on its symbiosis with our nerve reflexes. It is our nerve reflexes that control the ability to move and stretch. Over time, however, our nerves contract, establishing a length for each muscle based on how much we move daily. This is called a muscle’s “stretch reflex.” If we try to move past this stretch reflex point, the nerves revolt and cause a muscle spasm. We feel their pain.


Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body

Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your

Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a

Sensational Life" available at

http://www.throughyourbody.com.

Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your

Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book

and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body

1103 Peveto St.

Houston, TX 77019

713-942-0923

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Muscle tonus in Somatic Body Mind Spirit Integration

Over the years, I have seen how stretching complements the massage and bodywork I offer to clients and receive myself. The effects on the muscles and connective tissues are dramatic. I know my own posture has improved, and I feel more graceful as I move through space. Thanks to the yoga asanas, which mean “steady pose,” I know I’m more flexible.

But flexibility represents much more than just stretching the muscles or connective tissues. Flexibility may sound superficial (“Does it really matter if I can’t touch my toes?”), but being limber actually retards aging. An article in a recent Yoga Journal explained that

Even if you’re active, your body will dehydrate and stiffen with age. By the time you become an adult, your tissues have lost about 15 percent of their moisture content, becoming less supple and more prone to injury. This normal aging of tissue is distressingly similar to the process that turns animal hides into leather. Unless we stretch, we dry up and tan.

Good stretching affects three different parts of our bodies: the nerves, the muscle fibers and the connective tissues. The muscles must be able to fully stretch, to contract and to rest. These seemingly simple tasks allow us to stand upright, to move, to work, and to play. Returning to full rest after a movement reflects muscle tone or tonus. To achieve tone, muscles rely on the feedback system of our nerves and their own natural elasticity. Accidental injuries, bone fractures or surgery interfere with the interplay of the nerves and tone of the muscles.

Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body

Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your

Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a

Sensational Life" available at

http://www.throughyourbody.com.

Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your

Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book

and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/


Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body

1103 Peveto St.

Houston, TX 77019

713-942-0923

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Yoga Buzz in Somatic Body Mind Spirit Integration



America is abuzz about yoga. The poses known as Sun Salutations are a staple now on American TV. Statistics from The New York Times estimate that as many as 12 million Americans do yoga. Forty percent of American health and fitness centers offer hatha yoga, with more facilities added all the time. A recent search on Amazon.com pulls up more than 1,350 yoga book titles.

Celebrity interest in yoga definitely fuels the hype. In the 1960s, the Beatles sparked interest in yoga by traveling to India to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. During the 1970s, actors Jeff Bridges, Ruth Buzzi and Tom Smothers posed for photographs in Bikram Choudhury’s book, Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class. In the 1980s musician Sting and David Duchovny of The X-Files both became devotees, and Ali MacGraw released her own yoga video. Recent converts include Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow.

And of course, in the 1990s, the one-time Material Girl herself, Madonna, got serious about her daily yoga practice. Her CD Ray of Light was deeply inspired by her exploration of yoga; she even studied Sanskrit and chanting. And in the film The Next Best Thing Madonna played an Ashtanga yoga teacher. (Ashtanga is an advanced style of yoga requiring more strength and endurance than the better-known hatha yoga.)

But aside from the hype and the heavy breathing, Westerners find yoga one of the most accessible and useful of the Eastern disciplines. Yoga translated from the Sanskrit means “union” or to “yoke together”: a discipline, according to Kenneth Davis in his book Don’t Know Much About Mythology, “designed to link the physical body and mind with the unconscious soul.” In India, there are eight schools, or limbs, of the yoga path that attract different personalities and spiritual temperaments, as follows:

· Raja (“royal”) to control the intellect

· Hatha to master the body

· Kriya for spiritual action

· Karma for selfless action

· Bhakti for heartfelt devotion

· Jnana to promote knowledge or wisdom

· Tantra to enhance sexual ritual

· Mantra for the sacred sounds

· Kundalini to understand the subtle energy of the chakras.

Each school has its own teachings and sacred texts, accumulated over the centuries, from which to study.



Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body

Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your

Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a

Sensational Life" available at

http://www.throughyourbody.com.

Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your

Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book

and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body

1103 Peveto St.

Houston, TX 77019

713-942-0923

Friday, December 28, 2007

Yoga in Body Mind Spirit (Somatic) Integration

Yoga Down


How do I know this is true? I look inside myself and see.

Tao Te Ching, verse 21 (Mitchell)

HOUSTON, Summer 2000: "Downward-facing dog," called out Kay Wescott, my yoga teacher. Like a dog doing a lazy wake-up stretch, she stood on all fours and stretched out her arms and chest, her body a sinuous upside-down “V.”

I did my best to follow suit, spreading my fingers wide and pressing my butt into the air. (I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself in a moment of cheap humor, then I remembered this was an ancient spiritual tradition.) My spine elongated and I pressed my heels down toward the floor to stretch out my hamstrings. I was breathing harder now and the sweat began to drip from my face and pool between my hands. Breathe, I thought. As one part of my mind calmed with the meditative focus and the exertions of my body, another not-so-quiet voice at the back of my mind whined, "How long can this go on?"

“Crescent moon,” called Kay. My mind was momentarily relieved to let go of that down dog. I brought my right foot between my hands into a "runner’s lunge" and relaxed my left leg to the floor, pressing my hips forward. My groin muscles stretched easily. I calmly brought my hands to my heart in prayer position--breathe, I remembered. Feeling balanced and with my hands clasped together, I reached toward the ceiling. “Arch those chests forward,” urged Kay. I gently curved my back into the beautiful sliver of a crescent moon. (Okay, it’s been awhile since I’ve been a sliver of anything, but I could imagine.) I noticed in the mirror that my moon, beautiful as it was, tilted just a little. “Okay yoga monsters, back into down dog,” cheered Kay. And so it went through the hour: stretching, pressing, breathing, thrusting, holding, and focusing. Calm mind. Whining mind. Vain mind. Humble mind.

Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body

Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your

Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a

Sensational Life" available at

http://www.throughyourbody.com.

Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your

Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book

and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/


Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body

1103 Peveto St.

Houston, TX 77019

713-942-0923

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Five Tibetans #5 in Somatic Body Mind Spirit Integration




Tibetan Five

Lie facedown with your hands, palms down, resting by your chest. Lift into a push up, walk your feet forward and roll up on the balls of your feet. Your body makes an upside-down V. Stretch your arms and legs long.

Breathing in, glide your chest toward the floor with your body between your arms. Your legs are parallel along the ground and your chest is thrust forward.

Breathing out, reverse the movement into your beginning position.

Repeat twenty-one times, back and forth.

Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body

Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your

Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a

Sensational Life" available at

http://www.throughyourbody.com.

Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your

Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book

and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body

1103 Peveto St.

Houston, TX 77019

713-942-0923

Monday, December 24, 2007

Five Tibetans #4 in Somatic Body Mind Spirit Integration







Five Tibetans #4

Sit on the floor, back straight and legs outstretched, with your feet together. Place your hands palm down, by your hips.

Breathing in, tighten your abdominal muscles and glutes as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Your chin points toward the sky. Your torso forms a table above the ground.

Breathing out, relax the hips and return to sitting position.

Repeat twenty-one times.



Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body

Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your

Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a

Sensational Life" available at

http://www.throughyourbody.com.


Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your

Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book

and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/


Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body

1103 Peveto St.

Houston, TX 77019

713-942-0923

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Five Tibetans #3 in Body Mind Spirit Integration





Five Tibetans # Three

Kneel with your palms gently holding the backs of your thighs.

Breathing in, drop your chin toward your chest.

Breathe out and thrust your chest forward as you lift your chin toward the ceiling.

Repeat twenty-one times.

Tip:
I keep my throat strong and the back of my neck soft by pointing my chin to the sky. This gives me a sense of a long throat. This emphasis on “strong throat, soft neck” keeps the vertebrae of my neck from pinching any nerves.

Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body

Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your

Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a

Sensational Life" available at

http://www.throughyourbody.com.

Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your

Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book

and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body

1103 Peveto St.

Houston, TX 77019

713-942-0923

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Five Tibetans #2 in Body Mind Spirit Integration




Tibetan Two

Lie flat on your back.

Breathe in deeply as you roll your chin to your chest and lift your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor.

Breathe out as you return to lying flat.

Repeat twenty-one times.

=====================================

Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body

Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your

Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a

Sensational Life" available at

http://www.throughyourbody.com.

Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your

Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book

and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body

1103 Peveto St.

Houston, TX 77019

713-942-0923

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tibetan One in Body Mind Spirit (Somatic) Integration

Tibetan One

I call this the “dervish,” because one spins like Sufi whirling dervishes. Stand with arms outstretched. Find a landmark in the room on which to focus. As you spin past the landmark you can count off the reps. To honor the dervishes, spin counter-clockwise, with one palm turned up toward heaven and the other turned down toward the earth.

Spin around twenty-one times.

Tip: You are likely to feel quite dizzy. Holding a finger in front of your eyes focuses your attention and, ideally, keeps you from falling down.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chakras, Energy Flow, The Five Tibetans in Body Mind Spirit (Somatic) Integration


The Five Tibetans in Somatic Body Mind Spirit Integartion

Whereas a human’s gross anatomy refers to the parts we see and use—our limbs, organs, skeleton, muscles—the subtle anatomy deals with the energy centers that connect the body with the higher essential intelligences. Three distinct examples of the way different parts of the world look at the subtle anatomy include the Hindu belief in the seven chakras; the acupuncture meridian system from the Chinese; and the halo effect that’s called the auric field, which is from the Western understanding of energy.

What these three examples have in common is the belief in a spark of divine energy that animates all that is physical about us. This is the level of the soul. It is the level of the spirit. In Eastern theories of medicine, when the subtle energy channels are open and flowing fully, we radiate health.

According to the ancient yoga texts, the seven chakras are lined up in front of the spine, with the first being found at the tip of the tailbone and the seventh at the top of the skull (see Chapter Four). Indian belief teaches that the chakras correspond to the major nerves, glands and tissues through out the body. Each chakra, which means “wheel” or “wheel of spinning light” in Sanskrit, spins on an axis. Increasing the spin of a chakra increases the amount of energy that flows to the associated nerves, glands and organs connected to the chakra. The slower the rate of spin, the less energy flow to the same tissues. With a decreased energy flow the passageways become stagnant or blocked, and the related organs and glands lose their vitality, causing illness and aging.

The Five Tibetans appear to be incredibly successful at increasing the spin of the chakras and thereby the amount of energy that flows through the subtlest layer of consciousness. Practitioners suggest the following conditions to prepare for the Five Tibetans:

· Wear loose clothing
· Choose a room that lets in fresh air or work outdoors
· Use a pad of some sort for comfort
· Consult with a medical doctor or health-care practitioner if you are pregnant or have a chronic injury that is painful during exercise.

Each one of the Five Tibetans is a vigorous exercise. They are done quite fast, unlike many of the hatha yoga movements they resemble, and are repeated twenty-one times, thus becoming an aerobic yoga. Beginners are asked to do seven repetitions (reps) of each exercise. When the student grows stronger, the repetitions increase to fourteen each. Finally, increase each exercise to the full twenty-one reps, the recommended total amount for each exercise (doing more reps does not seem to increase the benefits of the daily practice).

Synchronizing the breath with the physical movements is the key to these exercises. It is the breath that oxygenates the blood and tissues and clears the mind. I focus on my breathing, allowing the inhale and the exhale of my breath to lead the movements. The effects are quite noticeable.


There is some conflicting advice on how to spin in the first Tibetan. In Kelder’s original text he recommends spinning clockwise like the Sufi whirling dervishes. However, this is a contradiction, because the Sufi dervishes spin counterclockwise, and that feels natural to me. So that’s how I am explaining the exercise here.
Alan Davidson is the author of the Free report "Body Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a
Sensational Life" available at http://www.throughyourbody.com.

Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Five Tibetans in Body Mind Spirit Integration

The Five Tibetans

Every man desires to live. But no man would be old.
Jonathan Swift


The origins of the Five Tibetans are shrouded in romance and legend. As the story goes, a British army colonel learned these exercises from Tibetan monks in an isolated Himalayan monastery. The monks were reported to have found the secrets to a “fountain of youth.” The colonel searched for years to find this reclusive sect of monks, and when he reached the monastery, protected by the high mountains and the rough terrain, he was amazed at the health, vitality, and age of the monks. They assured him that the only secrets to their long life were the five yoga exercises, a simple diet, and religious observances.

Returning to Britain, the colonel taught the exercises to Peter Kelder, who published them in a book entitled Ancient Secrets of the Fountain of Youth in 1939. Kelder originally called the exercises “the five rites of rejuvenation.” Today they are simply known around the world as the Five Tibetans.

The benefits reported by those who practice the Tibetans are increased vitality, flexibility and mental clarity. There are also many fantastical claims regarding the benefits of these simple exercises. Testimonials included in the introduction to Kelder’s book cite “curing hair loss, memory failure, wrinkles, insomnia, eczema, obesity, arthritis, sinus, pain and fatigue.” Many of these claims are not conclusively documented (or approved by the FDA), but the exercises take a mere ten to twenty minutes a day to do. Their great benefits, compared to the small investment of time and effort, are well worth it.

The Tibetans work on all the essential levels of intelligence. They strengthen the muscles as well as increase flexibility. They enhance breathing and clear the mind. A daily practice requires sheer will. And practitioners report that the exercises are excellent at moving subtle energy through the body.



Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Friday, December 14, 2007

Flexibility in Body Mind Spirit Integration

Flexibility

Men are born soft and supple . . .
plants are born tender and pliant . . .
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.
Tao Te Ching, verse 76 (Mitchell)


PETALUMA, California, March 1994: That very first morning at the Lomi School we sat in meditation for an hour. The technique was simple: turn your attention to your body, to the actual sensations of sitting on the mats, your clothing against your skin, your breath moving in and out of your chest. Your body always happens in the now, in the present moment. When you notice yourself thinking, gently bring your attention back to any sensation in your body. Damn! That was simple. I’d been studying meditations for ten years, and no one had explained sitting meditation so plainly.

But simple doesn’t always mean easy. For the next hour my uncomfortable body and my restless mind joined forces. I continually reeled my wandering mind back to the sensations of my body--which by then hurt. Sitting on the floor tortured my lazy and out-of-shape body. I ached for the ringing bell to signal the end of the meditation. With very slow movements I stretched my body. That eased the pain. My mind began to focus on my breath, and I finally relaxed. Yet I was grateful when the bell rang.

Next was stretching. Robert Hall introduced us to the “Five Tibetans,” which are a series of yoga postures done very quickly. They build strength and flexibility as they move energy throughout the body. “They are the most effective and work the fastest,” Robert said. Woven through the Five Tibetans were other hatha yoga stretches. Robert was sixty years old and amazingly flexible—zipping through the Tibetans with zeal. He cautioned us to “respect the limits of our own bodies and not overdo it. You’ll regret it tomorrow.”

I continually paused to rest as the class moved through the yoga movements. “Shoulder stand,” Robert called out. I watched helplessly as everyone else in the room gracefully rolled up on their shoulders, feet pointing to the ceiling. I couldn’t begin to do it. “The Plow,” I heard next. Twenty-two sets of feet dropped slowly over their heads toward the floor. I studied the room, half embarrassed and half in awe. I knew I wasn’t in Texas anymore.

As I explained above, the exercises known as the Five Tibetans are a series of yoga moves performed quickly in order to create strength and flexibility and allow energy to flow through the body. Mastering these postures, as well as learning how they developed, will illustrate the benefits of making your body more limber.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Walking Lunges in Body Mind Spirit Integration

Walking Lunges


Stand with your feet hip-width apart and relax your body, beginning with feet then ankles, legs, knees, hips, pelvis, belly, back, shoulders, jaws, eyes and scalp. Your hands rest at your sides.
.
Inhaling slowly, take a giant step forward with your right foot. Carefully lower your left knee toward the floor until it is hovering a few inches above the ground. Your torso is balanced and aligned above your hips with your arms relaxed at your sides. Pause and breathe.

Breathing out, slowly push off with the ball of your left foot, bringing your left foot forward even with your right. Pause and breathe.

Inhaling slowly, take a giant step forward with your left foot. Carefully lower your right knee toward the floor until it is hovering a few inches above the ground. Your torso is balanced and aligned above your hips with your arms relaxed at your sides. Pause and breathe.

Breathing out, slowly push off with the ball of your right foot, bringing your right foot forward even with the left. Pause and breathe.

Repeat alternating legs for twenty strides. (I turn around and lunge to my starting place.)

Tip: Keep the calf of your front foot perpendicular to the floor so as not to put extra stress on your knee.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hindu Squats in Body Mind Spirit Integration

Hindu Squats

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Relax your body with your hands resting along the sides of your thighs.

Breathing in slowly, bend your knees and carefully drop your hips toward the floor. As soon as your thighs are parallel to the floor, roll up onto your toes, balancing on the balls of your feet. Be sure to keep your back straight. With a spring-loaded motion raise your arms up to chest height with your hands pointing out in front of you. Pause.

Breathing out slowly, return to standing with your arms resting at your sides. Repeat twenty times.

Tip: Don’t lean forward excessively; this places stress on your lower back and knees. As you are dropping into the squat imagine you are sitting into a chair, pointing your hips backward and down.



Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Abdominal Exercises in Body Mind Spirit Integration


Ins and Outs

Sit with your body tilted back at a forty-five-degree angle. Your legs are lifted up with the knees bent, arms and hands pointing forward for balance. Tighten your abs and glutes for support. Pause and breathe.


Breathe in slowly as you lean farther back, increasing the angle to about sixty degrees. Your legs piston out with a spring-loaded motion. Pause.

Breathing out, slowly return to your starting position. Pause.

Repeat twenty times.


To Modify: Rest your hands, palms down, on the deck for balance.

Tip: Perform with slow, fluid movements. Rapid, jerky motion stresses the lower back.
Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
www.ThroughYourBody.com
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bicycle Abs in Body Mind Spirit Integration


Bicycle Abs


Lie on your back with your fingers interlaced behind your neck or head. Your knees are bent with the thighs forming a ninety-degree angle to your body.


Breathing in slowly, the right elbow compresses toward the left knee, lifting the torso slightly. With a piston-like motion your right leg extends parallel to the floor. Your heel is fully extended with the toes pointing away.

Breathing out slowly, return to your starting position.

Now the other side: breathing in slowly, your left elbow compresses toward the right knee, lifting the torso slightly. With a piston-like motion your left leg extends parallel to the floor. Your heel is fully extended with the toes pointing away. Repeat twenty times.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bench Dips in Body Mind Spirit Integration


Bench Dips


Sit on the edge of a sturdy bench as your hands rest by your sides. Grasp the bench firmly, extending your legs fully with the toes pointing toward the ceiling (keep them active during the exercise).

Taking a deep breath, lift your hips off the chair as you slightly bend your arms. Feel the sensation of your weight being supported on the heels of your hands. Pause.

Breathing in slowly, bend your arms until the elbows are in line with your shoulders. This drops the hips below the bench. Pause.


Breathing out, slowly push yourself back up. Pause.

Repeat twenty times.


To Modify: You can bring one foot or both feet flat to the ground. This lightens your weight to give extra support.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Diamond Push-ups in Body Mind Spirit Integration

Diamond Push-Ups

1. Your thumbs and index fingers touch to form a diamond as your hands rest under your chest.


2. Tighten your muscles. The head,
back, glutes, legs and ankles form an
even plank. Breathing in, slowly
extend your arms, lifting your body up.
Finish breathing in (inhalation) and
pause just before your elbows lock.

3. Slowly breathe out and lower your
body, maintaining your even plank.
Your chest hovers four to five inches
above the ground (the thickness of
a water bottle) as you finish breathing out (exhalation).

4. Repeat ten times.


To Modify: Drop your knees to the deck. You can also push up on an incline, placing your hands on a table or bench. This extra angle allows for greater ease and range of motion as you use your strength for the regular push-up. You can even press against a wall in a push away.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Friday, December 7, 2007

Push-Ups in Body Mind Spirit Integration


Some ways of working with our bodies . . . can be taught so that a person can develop his or her sensitivity to experiences of toning, stretching, and vigorous effort, coming to a fuller knowledge and appreciation of oneself.

Unknown




Push-Ups

Lie facedown on the ground and curl your toes up so that you rest on the balls of your feet. Rest your hands alongside your chest, palms down.

Tighten your muscles. Your head, back, glutes, legs and ankles form an even plank. Breathe in slowly, straighten your arms and lift your body up. Finish inhaling and pause just before your elbows lock.

Slowly breathe out and lower your body, maintaining your even plank. Your chest hovers four to five inches above the ground (the thickness of a water bottle) as you finish breathing out (exhalation). Repeat ten times.

To Modify: Drop your knees to the deck. You can also push up on an incline, placing your hands on a table or bench. The angle allows for greater ease and range of motion as you use your strength for the push up. You can even press against a wall; this is called a push away.
Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
www.ThroughYourBody.com
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Super-Slow Training in Body Mind Spirit Integration


Recently, Ken Hutchins, a former trainer for Nautilus exercise equipment, revived interest in super-slow training. Back in the 1970s, Hutchins worked with elderly women in an osteoporosis clinical study. Osteoporosis is also known as brittle-bone disease. He felt that the traditional speeds of lifting were too fast for such frail patients. So Hutchins used his slower lifting speeds with great results. Encouraged by the progress of the women, Hutchins began using super-slow training with people of all ages and abilities.

On the next few pages I cover some of the exercises, listed below, that exemplify conscious calisthenics, but this principal can be applied to almost any fitness program:

· Push-Ups
· Diamond Push-Ups
· Bench Dips
· Bicycle
· Ins and Outs
· Hindu Squats
· Walking Lunges.

The key is to feel your body as you move slowly. Most phys-ed exercises are slammed out in a hurry. People rely on speed’s momentum to carry them through the exercise, where the end result is more important than the journey. Conscious calisthenics emphasize just the opposite. By slowing down your movements and focusing your attention on breathing, you strengthen your muscles safely and with less pain. The ultimate benefit from conscious calisthenics is the experience of shaping your body and your life in a radical new way.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Conscious Calisthenics in Body Mind Spirit Integration


My twist is to combine the trainer Alvin Reuben’s slow, conscious movements with traditional calisthenics. It takes more strength and control to do these calisthenics meditatively than to rush through them. The key is to slow down and use your breath as a guide. Match your movements to slow inhalations and exhalations. Breathe in to a slow count of four, and breathe out to a slow count of four. As you gain strength, you can slow down even more--inhale and exhale to counts of six or eight or ten as you move. Whether you are working out in the gym or the great outdoors, consciously slowing down your breathing transforms your exercises into meditations.

Conscious calisthenics becomes an ideal form of weight training. The difference between somatic exercise and other training methods is the attention given to the raw experiences of our body as we exercise. It is also far safer than weight lifting, which too often relies on rapid and jerky movements which stress the body and can result in muscle strain and pain. Acute attention to proper body mechanics and super-slow movement through somatic exercise almost totally remove the risk of injury. This approach also increases the actual load, and thereby build-up, of the muscles being worked.

Super-slow weight training isn't anything new. Bob Hoffman, founder of the York Barbell Company, sold weightlifting courses as early as 1927 that involved very slow training speeds: reps with a ten-second positive and a ten-second negative. He also urged close attention to the beginning changes of each repetition.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weight Training in Body Mind Spirit Integration



Weight training is done to build bigger and stronger muscles. In a gym, with proper weight machines, you can easily isolate the muscles you are training and adjust the weight of the exercise. With calisthenics you are limited to the weight of your body, for better or worse. Once you reach peak performance with calisthenics you can’t gain extra strength without going to a gym. But most folks aren’t even strong enough to lift or pull their own body weight. A regular push-up requires your arms to raise and lower two-thirds of that amount. Use alternative exercises to build the muscles strong enough to support the body’s full weight.

A great way to gauge your muscle fitness is the “day-after effect.” And what is that? Knowing your body intimately is one of the goals of a somatic life. We’ve all felt soreness the day after engaging in some intense work or exercise. That soreness is usually attributed to lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Lactic acid occurs naturally as a chemical by-product of muscle exertion. Once the lactic acid builds up to the point of pain, it takes the muscle tissues a few days to flush out the excess acid. Since the day-after effect is an internal gauge, you don’t need an expert or gadgets to measure your muscle fitness. But the day-after effect may be more than just the burn you feel after doing too many push-ups. More importantly, it serves as a guide to how hard you can push your body.

Product information for the HoloBarre, a super-strong metal bar that attaches in a doorway and adjusts within a track to accommodate different exercises, refers to the day-after effect as the “delayed onset of muscle soreness,” or DOMS. DOMS is described as the actual increase of motor neurons (nerves) due to vigorous movement. Out-of-shape people, or even athletes after several weeks of lazing around, lose important neurological control of the muscles. With inactivity the motor neuron functions decline. The day-after ache of the muscles is actually the muscle fibers increasing their neurological activity. “Even under very mild stress, muscle damage occurs, separating the fibers and damaging the cell membrane.”


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Weight Training and Aerobics in Body Mind Spirit Integration


Compare calisthenics to the two most popular forms of exercise: weight training and aerobics. Aerobic exercises are running, biking, brisk walking and swimming. According to Yoga Journal, aerobic exercise is anything that raises your heart rate to at least 55 percent of its maximum (the highest rate you can maintain during all-out effort is generally estimated at 220 minus your age). Calisthenics aren’t usually done fast enough and long enough to have a full aerobic effect, although some of the SEAL PT instructors deliver an intense combo of running and phys-ed drills; I often feel I’ve gotten my aerobic workout. Conscious calisthenics, with their focus on slow breath and movements, do not qualify as an aerobic exercise.

Weight training is done to build bigger and stronger muscles. In a gym, with proper weight machines, you can easily isolate the muscles you are training and adjust the weight of the exercise. With calisthenics you are limited to the weight of your body, for better or worse. Once you reach peak performance with calisthenics you can’t gain extra strength without going to a gym. But most folks aren’t even strong enough to lift or pull their own body weight. A regular push-up requires your arms to raise and lower two-thirds of that amount. Use alternative exercises to build the muscles strong enough to support the body’s full weight.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Conscious Calisthenics in Body Mind Spirit


A bench press is little more than an upside-down
push-up . . . and a lot less convenient.
Kristofer Hogg


My years in the gym and as a massage therapist have taught me the importance of strong healthy muscles, and I knew I wanted to include “working out” in Body Brilliance. SEAL PT showed me that any park in the world is a potential gym; picnic tables, bleachers, jogging trails and sandy volleyball courts can all be used to strengthen muscles and stamina.

“Calisthenics” comes from the Greek words kallos for beauty and thenos for strength. These healthful exercises are designed to create muscle fitness, which includes muscular strength, gracefulness, and physical well being. Calisthenics, as they are taught in traditional physical education classes, can be boring and usually have a bad rap. I am amazed that I enjoy the SEAL PT workouts so much—that I’m paying good money to enjoy what I avoided (what I considered pure hell, actually) in high school.

Muscle fitness refers to both muscle strength (how heavy an object you can lift) and muscle endurance (how long can you lift it). Keeping our muscle strength is important for good health. Every pound of muscle we have burns thirty-five to fifty calories a day. And as we age most of us lose one pound of muscle mass a year. This weakening of the muscles leads to the loss of normal strength, balance, and coordination.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Friday, November 30, 2007

Body-Mind-Spirit-Houston


I had never worked as hard in my life as I did in the SEAL PT Navigator program. But I liked the challenge and felt slow, often achingly slow, progress. I was getting stronger and my stamina improved. Marlene said it took about six weeks for the body to acclimate to the intensity of the workouts.

As I jogged along through Memorial Park that July morning, I recalled how it had taken every ounce of energy I could muster to conquer that platform and hand trolley ten years earlier. Now here I was, enrolled in a Navy SEAL workout program, and I was actually enjoying it. Even calisthenics, the bane of high school gym classes, had become an invaluable part of the development of my physical IQ. As the slogan said, I’d “come a long way, baby.” And all these efforts provided the added benefit of mending my aching back. I smiled to myself as I contemplated this amazing turn of events.


Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Back Strength in Body Mind Spirit Integration


My friends Gibbie and Marlene are SEAL PT Lifers. They met at SEAL PT and later married. I had always blown off the whole boot-camp-and-exercise-at-5:30-in-the-morning thing. When Marlene was ready to return to SEAL PT after Emily, their daughter, was born, she opted to start with the Navigators, which met at a more civilized 6:30 am. I was intrigued as Marlene described the easier pace and lighter attitude. I wasn’t sure I could even handle Navigators with my back, but knew I wanted to try something different. So there I was, my clothes plastered to my body on a hot-and-humid July morning.

I was shocked that I liked SEAL PT. But most surprising was my back. I was very careful with the exercises; I did as many reps as I could and would rest or modify the movement when my back started to hurt. The overall calisthenics strengthened my back, which in turn greatly reduced the pain.

Ironically, strengthening my abdominal muscles--my bid to strengthen my back--had over-developed my hip flexor muscles. Your abdominals, or abs, are the four layers of muscle that span your sides and belly, from the lower rib cage to the hip and pubic bones. Strong abs are important for good back support and good breathing. (The more toned and supple your ab muscles, the deeper your breath exhalation, which in turn gives you a fuller inhalation. This simple improvement in breathing alone yields a dramatic improvement in vitality).

The hip flexors are the muscles that raise the thigh up toward the belly. Some of the hip flexors attach to the back along the lumbar spine. My overly strong hip flexor muscles had actually strained and pulled the lower vertebrae out of alignment, and this miscalculation had caused much of my back pain. The remedy was to focus on strengthening the back muscles themselves and ab exercises that counter-strengthened the hip extensors: the muscles that lift your thigh backward and up.




Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Monday, November 26, 2007

Weight Training in Body Mind Spirit Integration


One morning a few months later, Alexander and I were out walking, and I heard the Voice in the back of my mind again. This time it said, “Ask Gary to work out with you. Get a trainer.”

It was no surprise to me when Gary Archer, my old friend, said, “Great idea.” In a few weeks I joined the Downtown YMCA, and Gary and I had a trainer and a regular workout program. Our trainer, Mary Hodge, was a nationally ranked mountain biker. After a few months of working with her I dusted off my bicycle and started riding.

As I began to see pleasing changes in my body, that positive reinforcement led me to maintain an exercise regimen. My program has ebbed and flowed along with my weight, but I keep coming back to exercising my body.

Eventually I changed trainers and gyms. Alvin Reuben, my new trainer, is a massive, handsome black man and a former pro football player. I wanted the results I saw in his body and the clients he trained. He also worked carefully with my back injury, a chronic condition I had suffered with for years. Alvin’s method of training requires the mind to perform the exercise, slowly and carefully, and let the body build its strength naturally. Master the movement and you carefully build the body. With Alvin’s technique, weight lifting became a meditation. Every exercise began with my body relaxed. I would use light weights and attentive focus and breathing through each movement. Under Alvin’s firm gaze he would stop me if I lost control of the exercise, or if I sped up to use momentum rather than my strength. Using Alvin’s technique in the gym turned working out into a spiritual practice.

Through those years I lived with a compressed spinal disc in my back, a chronic pain that would sometimes flair up with excruciating spasms. For the most part I just lived with the discomfort, but after a long bout of chronic pain I took a few months off from the gym to nurse my back. Not surprisingly my weight began to rise without regular exercise.


Be Brilliant.
Love your way, ad
Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Whisper: Body Mind and Spirit


In December 1997, I went to visit my good friends Creighton Edwards and Michael Fife at their home. Both are regular massage clients. Creighton is an internationally respected surgeon. Once after an angioplasty he asked me to come to the hospital to deliver some aromatherapy oils for his sutures and give him a reflexology foot massage. I wasn’t about to miss a surgeon asking for natural treatments in addition to his hospital care.

As I was leaving he asked me to come to his house to give him a massage, noting that he wouldn’t be able to drive for a few weeks. When he felt a bit better I went to their home. As I said my hellos I met their three dogs: Willie, Waylon, and Hank. Hank was a half-greyhound mix.

Later, as I was winding up the massage with Creighton, I was holding his feet, feeling the energy move through me and nurturing his body. Suddenly the Voice that I sometimes hear at the back of my mind said to me, “Adopt a greyhound.” This came as quite a surprise to me. I hadn’t had a dog since the seventh grade. I considered myself a cat person, although my last cat, Charlie, had disappeared.

The more I researched greyhounds the more I thought I could live with a dog like that. They are beautiful, they are quiet, and they are loyal and affectionate. And they need to be walked regularly—not just let out into the yard but actual exercise. Greyhounds are athletes, after all. I also knew to trust my Voice.

Two weeks later, just a few a days before Christmas, I brought home a handsome greyhound We started exploring the old Montrose neighborhood, walking from Miramar Street to Hermann Park, or we’d cut across to North and South Boulevards. Every day we explored new routes. I loved being out in the cold of winter. Alexander, a handsome fawn color, looked smart in his black jacket, collar, and leash.




Be Brilliant.
Love your way, ad
Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seal PT Body Camp in Body Mind Spirit Integration


There are two levels of entry: Boot Camp and Body Camp. Boot Camp is a two-week intensive, some might say exhaustive, mental and fitness training program. After finishing Boot Camp graduates may choose to continue in the ongoing “Lifers” program. The “Lifers” workout at 5:30 AM is intense (I would say grueling) and doesn’t leave time or energy for socializing.

Body Camp is billed as a four-week workout for those too injured or out of shape to complete Boot Camp. Body Camp graduates can join the “Navigators,” designed as an ongoing, easier program. I opted for the Body Camp, and It was hard work. And to my surprise, I liked it.

What a turnaround. I took two years of Air Force ROTC in high school so I could skip the required phys-ed classes, partly because I felt embarrassed about my body and partially because I hated the exercises. As a kid I did like to hike and ride horses when we lived in the country, but overall I was lazy. I would just as soon watch TV or read as to exercise. After years of neglecting my body I was disgusted with it. When I reached a weight of 320-plus pounds, when climbing a flight of stairs left me winded, I realized that if I was ever to be fit and trim (which I’d always dreamed of) exercise would have to become my friend.


Be Brilliant.


Love your way, ad


Alan Davidson, founder of
http://www.throughyourbody.com/
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)

http://bodybrilliancebook.com/bbb_movie/

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923