Sunday, August 26, 2012

The problem with QiGong, Tai-chi, yoga, (hyper)stretching.

Some exercise modalities focus on the relaxation phase of "movement," while others focus on the contraction (impact) end of it -- but the real value and power of movement, is the ability to move from fullest contraction, to fullest relaxation -- and not simply relaxation to hyperstretching, or contraction to isometric contraction (without intermittent relaxation).

The thing I've observed in your movement practices and routines, is the lack of dynamic or robust muscular contraction -- which may be a deliberate avoidance on your part -- as the parameters of movement of QiGong or some types of tai-chi.  That's why in the discussion of tai-chi, it is usually pointed out, that there are two types of  it -- one being the constant slow movement that avoids the extreme ranges of movement (contraction or full relaxation) but always maintains a constant low-level tension, and the dynamic form of tai-chi that includes a dynamic contraction characterized by acceleration and deceleration of movement.

This is important because not only does a full range of movement produce a dynamic robust) contraction, but that contraction also produces a compression within an enclosed volume (which is the tissues), that moves fluids from the high pressure area created by muscular contraction at the extremities -- towards the heart and filtering organs of the body at the center -- which reduces the buildup of such toxins as calcium buildup in those areas of poorest circulation -- which the Achilles tendon and feet are famous for.

Although my father had practiced slow movement tai-chi all his life, that did not confer on him immunity -- from the deterioration at the extremities, most notably his head and brain -- and so one of the most important movements I realized, was that the extreme range of movement of the head, automatically produced that contraction -- but he never moved his head anymore, and why I realized it was a priority to maintain that range of movement, and was so gratified at recently seeing a 101 year old woman who basically had minimal neck muscle development, show shocking muscular development in just a week of practice -- obviously.

Every time I show you my movements, and watch you copy them, I notice that you do not push on through the extremes of the range of movement in the fully contacted position, nor do you go to full relaxation -- but maintain the constant tension of slow-movement tai-chi and qi-gong, which I find exhausting to do because it requires that constant tension -- that many are not aware of.  To me, it is similar to the constant tension of carpel tunnel syndrome -- which creates its own problems, which sounds like the problem you are having in your foot from that constant position maintained in driving -- just like a person can experience, operating a computer too.  It damages the nerves with an unvarying constant tension -- that one is not aware of.

The full relaxation would obviously not be holding any pose or position but complete collapse into relaxation, before attaining the fullest, complete range of contraction -- which is what I do.  I completely relax, after hitting the peak contraction -- and so am only concerned with two points of the movement, rather than the 99% of the movement most people are.  I don't care how one moves from point 1 to point 2 and back -- but that is what many traditional forms of "movement" are preoccupied with -- notably slow-form tai-chi and qigong -- as far as I can tell.

And because people do not achieve this fullest, robust contraction -- the tissues are not flushed completely, causing this buildup of calcium deposits and other toxins to remain in the tissues (extremities), and the body to further retain fluids (water) to dilute its effects, which is the bloated (swelling) look of edema and gout.  It doesn't matter that one has a lot of activity in the midrange of movement -- because those extremes of peak muscular contractions are never attained -- which is the maximum compression of the tissues as the objective of the movement that flushes and optimizes the circulation process not limited to the blood but all the fluids, gases, solids, etc.

So, many people who are quite active, also don't achieve the sleek look of those whose movements cause these powerful and stimulative compressions of their body to shape their body in the way they would like to -- which would make a lot of sense as the direct objective or one's movement practices.  That is what I design to do -- directly and explicitly.

What I would suggest for you to do is to do two movements while lying in bed -- which are the two variations of the straight arm pullover, in one version starting with the arms behind the head, and moving forward to the other extreme down towards your hips, using head, hands and feet movement in one direction for 50 repetitions and then 50 repetitions in the other -- aiming for those complete, powerful, dynamic  contractions you deliberately avoid and eschew -- while placing no weight on your knees and other parts of your body that cause you great pain bearing weight.

As you bend your wrist with your hands closed, you open your hands as you bend (rotate) your hand -- which counteracts the contraction that would be achieved if your hand was tightly closed, and contracted even further with the bending of your wrist.  Observe this in yourself and movement. You do not allow movement to continue in the direction of further (extreme) contraction -- but offset it in some other movement -- like the opening of the hand as you bend at the wrist, or bend at the knees, rather than moving further at the foot -- giving the illusion of movement, but not moving at the axis of rotation that is meaningful to do so.

There's a very direct and powerful physiological reason as to what is happening in the body with movements that are self-evident in this way.  That is what I think you need to practice on -- and those movements, correct the problems of the lack of proper (full-range) movement. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Making Exerrcise (Movement) Possible

When one works with the most senior/disabled populations, what is obvious, is that one has to create a way of making exercise and movements possible -- and not merely harder, more difficult and painful -- because they simply can't do them, and any encouragement to do so, is practically a death warrant.

That became obvious to me when a 101 year person asked me to take them on a walk of the grounds where she lived because despite living there for a while, and having many visitors, nobody had ever had the time to take her on that tour -- because it was fairly problematical to do so, since she was effectiveely blind (macular degeneration), and had recent hip surgery, requiring her to use a walker with wheels -- which was poorly adjusted so that all she could do was push it forward, and not down to support her weight -- which obviously negated the use of that walker as an aid.  

And in fact, the first thing that happened when we broke into the clear of the cars parked obstructing the sidewalk, is that the walker shot forward, with her holding on -- as she was not able to brake it, her grip strength was so diminished.  Fortunately, since I remained vigilant and attentive in providing an umbrella shade on a hot day for that excursion, I was in an excellent position to catch her as she fell forward hanging on dearly to her walker -- gracefully I might add, so that it seemed a choreographed move -- rather than the extremely perilous one it could have been otherwise.

So unlike everybody else, I advised her not to take daily walks out of either of her doors, as probably the most dangerous thing she could do that put her imminently in jeopardy, with every such incident, a life-threatening event.  Instead, I suggested she remain in the comfort of her own apartment -- which was organized for maximum effectiveness, safety and comfort -- and move her head, hands and feet as her primary exercise -- to strengthen those notable weaknesses, before even attempting a walk outside -- which she recognized as the only advice she received, that made totally good sense for a person in her condition and disabilities.

I noted that the movements at the head, hands and feet, could be done standing, seated, and even lying if she chose -- ensuring maximum safety to exercise.  This is a consideration given scant attention -- if any, by most exercisers, in deciding to jog at night with headphones blocking out all further information on potential hazardous conditions -- which of course, placed them in imminent danger that negated any health benefits they could receive in extending their life and well-being.

This is done unthinkingly in many ways -- as people decide to run marathons on the hottest day of the year, take foolhardy risks just to prove they are invulnerable, fight unnecessarily, etc.  That is mainly what most conditioning activities are about -- rather than strengthening the weak; they merely eliminate the weak from their population samples -- until they arrive at the one in ten, or one in hundred, that will confirm their belief, that that is the only course for everyone -- despite failing everyone else.

That is not "scientific" -- but merely the imposition of brute force on reality and outcomes so that nothing else is possible.  But now we live in an age and technology that makes almost everything possible -- if we can only effectively access the solutions -- that someone, somewhere, has dedicated their time, energy and focus, to discovering -- usually for their own benefit first, but to the benefit of all, eventually.

That is the powerful motivation for discoveries -- and not as many MBAs would believe, that people just sit around thinking how they can make money, and then go about figuring out ways to do so -- as though that was an intelligent way of doing anything.  The great discoveries are made, because one's very life is at stake in the matter -- and not just because they want to be "rich and famous when they grow up" -- although they haven't figured out what they want to do otherwise.

Such people come up with all kinds of worthless ideas -- and inventions, because they don't know what is meaningful and valuable to do.  Those people also think that just burning as many calories as possible, will inevitably result in something worthwhile -- while not realizing, that the greatest calamities and catastrophes of civilization and human experience, are due to this wanton expenditures of brute force and wastefulness.   That is the measure of a society that regards the consumption of resources, as a measure of its worth -- instead of the more insightful reflection, that those resources must first be created, invented and realized -- and not merely destroyed, as the intelligent human action.

That is the manifestation of human intelligence one wishes to embody -- as one does so in actual practice (conditioning).  It is not just physical conditioningtotal conditioning, and total responsiveness -- and not the fragmented and partial response to any challenge, while tying one's hands behind one's back -- in handicapping oneself in any other manner as is so ofteen the case, in limiting that responsiveness by some arbitrary conditions.  It might be that one cannot use advanced technology in accomplishing that task -- but must conform to strict guidelines of performance eliminating all the possibilities but the narrow, predetermined expectations as the only thing allowable. obviously -- but

So when people arre given no choice, no other options but to ensure their own deterioration and death, they are within their rights, to seeks out alternative realities and outcomes. including, getting unimaginably and unpredictably better.  Not everyone will welcome such liberation and freedom; many will prefer to remain behind the bars because that's all they know and think possible -- as integral to their conditioning.  They have their lives (and deaths) planned by such scenarios and preconceptions of how life has to be -- because all the experts say the same thing, taught by the same schools and teachers.

They've even been conditioned (brainwashed) to believe that no truth can be learned or discovered except from those duly-certified and qualified -- rather than the greater truth that all people are capable of discovering the truths for themselves, and that no monopoly or trade association owns that exclusive right -- that they would like everybody else to believe.   The truth is beyond the control of any one special interest group -- no matter how powerful and influential they have become, even with the consent of the governed.

That ultimately, is the supreme exercise of freedom and movement.

Monday, August 13, 2012

How Much Exercise is Enough?

You SHOULD exercise everyday -- but not so hard and so much that you have to spend one or two days recovering from that workout, and then by exercising (moving) everyday, one never falls out of the daily warmup routine -- rather than as many people do, overdo it for a brief period of time in their lives, taking long periods off to recover (often from an injury or illness), and then resuming once a year, and then abandoning it for more rest and recovery, etc.  
That's like the yoyo dieting that also is a proven failure.  You've got to get people doing the right thing, everyday -- without fail for the rest of their lives so they're never out of shape and condition for living their regular lives all the time, every single day.

They're not going to be 20 forever, and neither should that be the ideal -- for a person of 60, 80, 100, etc,, as these naive medical professionals (freelance writers) and exercise instructors think is the ideal.  People are fit at 20, 40, 80, etc., and not that every 80 year old has to maintain their 20 year form as the only standard. 

Adult gorillas and bears don't climb trees anymore, not because they can't -- but because they realize the dangers -- including falling, which is a reason mature people shouldn't climb the roofs of their houses anymore either.

Conditioning for life is not something extraordinary apart from actual life -- but the preparations one invariably need to do to perform their best, and so is like a warmup -- for what it is they actually do, whether that is pole vaulting or accounting -- they're exercising to get into the best condition they can be for their best efforts.

So there has to be that kind of connection for one to have exercise (conditioning) as an integral part of their lives -- instead of the brain surgery these "certified" fitness instructors think they need to be doing to override anyone's better sense and sensibilities, which obviously will be counterproductive to living the best life and exercising their own faculties not to be overridden by those  whose entire expertise is from reading "fitness" publications.