@health_detox: The No Carbs after 5PM Diet http://bit.ly/Nuwvht
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My research paper explains whether or not playing sports affects young children in their everyday life. The reason I chose this topic is because I am interested in finding out if sports helps children’s social development. The relevance of this topic is to see if there is an improvement in the overall development with children who participate in sports compared to children who do not and if there is a difference, than hopefully sports can be one solution to children who have low self-esteem and do not have many friends and may also help motivate kids to do better in school as well.Based on my research findings, I have found that there are many benefits of sports participation in children. Ultimately, the best reason for children to play sports is to have fun. One major problem our country faces today is childhood obesity. According to Becerra (2009), twenty percent of children in the U.S. are obese, which will increase their risk of many health problems when they reach adulthood. One way children can benefit from playing sports is that it is a fun way to exercise and stay healthy. Not only can sports help children to stay healthy and fit, but it also helps build their self-esteem by giving and receiving encouragement from their coaches and gaining respect from fellow teammates or peers. According to Metzl and Shookhoff (2002), when asked why they play sports, kids say it is to have fun, to improve their skills, to learn new skills, to be with friends, to make new friends, to succeed and win, or to be physically fit. Kids have few ways of getting the attention and respect they need. Metzl and Shookhoff (2002) state that, “what is unique about sports is that they offer kids an arena where they can earn attention and respect by exerting their natural abilities (pg.1). Sports also gives kids a chance to release all the stress they have on their minds. They can literally run off the tension that has been building up in their muscles. After releasing you stress when exercising, you can concentrate much better. Exercise improves kids’ academics as well. Research showing a link between fitness and academics is growing. Nixon (2008) mentions that “by acting as a mild stressor, exercise is an alternative way to spur many of the protective benefits associated with calorie restriction and the release of brain-building growth factors, said Carl Cotman, director of the Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia at the University of California in Irvine” (par.8). Kids who are more physically fit perform better academically. It is also beneficial for children to participate in sports because sports are a social activity. Team sports are done with other people, but even individual sports are done as a team, such as swimming, golf, and tennis. This leads athletes to develop relationships with teammates, making new friends, thus socially developing. Also being around another adult such as a coach, other than parents or any other blood relatives is another way of developing socially. Metzl and Shookhoff (2002) stated the following:“For young athletes of all ages, attention from interested adults is not only flattering but also helps them overcome shyness and develop poise when talking to relative strangers in social situations. The ability to feel comfortable in a variety of social circumstances will be progressively more valuable in a world of multiple cultures and decreasing numbers of supportive communities” (pg.5).Although there are many benefits to children participating in sports, there are negative effects as well. The coach of youth sports teams has the power to make the experience enjoyable or miserable for the young athlete. Some coaches are in it to win games and championships rather than emphasize learning and enjoyment. Some coaches will act warm and friendly to young players when they perform well but then act like they barely know the youngster when they go into a slump. This can ruin a young person’s attitude and make the experience painful. Also, sports are not risk-free. This is especially true for sports like football or wrestling that are full on contact sports. Injuries are bound to happen. Sometimes parents may also put too much pressure on the young athlete. A father might say something like “I expect you to get at least two hits tonight”, because he hopes to bring out a good performance. Others might indicate that the family name is on the line and issue a threat. “You better not do anything to embarrass me,” could be a parent’s last words before their child takes the field.I myself have been a competitive athlete for thirteen years of my life. I have experienced both the positive and the negative sides of participating in sports. I remember every morning right before school I would have ice skating practice. After I was finished, I felt invigorated and I felt a sense of relief. When I was in school, my mind felt wide awake and it felt very easy for me to concentrate, listen, and understand everything the teacher was saying, especially in math class. Being involved in sports, I matured fairly quickly compared some of my friends who did not do any type of sport. . I was meeting new people and making new friends every day through figure skating and martial arts. Most of the people on my martial arts team were much older than me and being surrounded by them almost every day was what also made me mature quicker and became more and more open as a person as I got older. I was lucky enough to not have parents who forced me to do sports. The main reason why I joined sports in the beginning was because it was fun. I began to feel a lot of pressure from my skating coach when she told me one day to lose weight. This was the first time I had experienced any kind of negativity from my sport. I also faced many injuries as well, but thankfully nothing too serious, although the longest time I had to sit out of training was six months. Facing that negativity from skating made it no longer enjoyable for me so eventually I quit. I am lucky to have a supportive coach and team in martial arts. I feel that being in sports has made me confident, and also made me stronger emotionally because of what I had faced in ice skating.I believe that playing sports definitely affects young children in their ever day life in positive and negative ways. In my opinion and from my personal experience, I feel that the negativity I endured from my coach was actually a good thing for me because it made me stronger as a person and made me grow up. Participating in sports is also a great way for children to start staying healthy and also help them perform better academically. Sports is a great way to relieve stress and for children to makes friends and develop socially and gain self-confidence as well. Although there are some downsides to children doing sports, I believe the good outweighs the bad.
Becerra, J. (2009). Children and Sports. CRS – Behavioral Health Advisor, 1. Retrieved from Health Source – Consumer Edition Database.
Metzl, J D. & Shookhoff, C (2002) Benefits of Youth Sports. In The Young Athlete: A Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide for Parents (Ch. 1, pg.1)
Written by Bruce Frantzis
Before we close the Tai Chi Mastery ProgramI want to share with you some of my perspectives on using tai chi as a martial art. I know many of you mainly practice tai chi for health, but many others want to know how to use tai chi as an effective martial art and for self-defense.I have seen a lot of comments about why we don’t see tai chi being used in MMA (mixed martial arts) and because it is not seen in that arena, it therefore must not be very effective. My own view is that tai chi can be as deadly as many other martial arts, in fact I would say it is better than most, but to be effective you have to go through the classical training progression, which few in the West undertake.One could ask, “In the age of guns and mechanised weapons what is the usefulness of learning a martial art like tai chi?” I think it is important to recognize that the art of tai chi gives you the abillity to be a master of different energies both in yourself and those around you. As you move toward mastery in tai chi you are at the same time moving toward mastering energy.How many times have people tried to suck your energy dry? How many times in life has negative energy been directed at you either directly or indirectly? Were you conscious of this at the time and were you able able to make a choice about the best action or did you take a negative energy hit? Tai chi gives you practical methods to work with day-to-day situations learning to flow and move with energy so you can choose how to best use your energy. Few martial arts do this. Tai chi also works on the principles of water, that of flowing with the line of least resistance.In my book, The <a class="zem_slink" title="The Power of Internal Martial Arts: Combat Secrets of Ba Gua, Tai Chi, and Hsing-I" href="http://www.amazon.com/Power-Internal-Martial-Arts-Secrets Continue reading
Bruce Lee’s Abs Workouts
Bruce Lee’s abdominal muscles were quite exceptional. They were very well defined, well developed, and very solid. Lee’s waist was very thin, with almost no fat at all. Bruce Lee followed some simple rules to ensure that his abs stayed in great shape. The main rules are:
- Diet is the most important thing when building abs. Learn how to eat in order to build muscle and keep off fat. A high protein and low carb approach is a great way to build muscle and lose fat.
- Losing fat is the second key. If you have a layer of fat over your abs you will never see them no matter how good they are.
- Work your abs like any other muscle. Add weight constantly so you don’t stagnate.
BRIDGE, CRAIG A.; JONES, MICHELLE A.; HITCHEN, PETER; SANCHEZ, XAVIER
(C) 2007 National Strength and Conditioning Association
Meditation is perhaps one of the more important parts of the Muay Thai Sangha system. It is something which we already do in everyday life allowing us to focus on the task at hand – but the depth of meditation is superficial. The events around us in the world soon rob us of our attention and our concentration is gone. The mind that wanders outside our own body is the source of all types of suffering. By deepening our meditation until our mind comes to a standstill we can unlock the potential and unused ability within. We maintain a balance of mindfulness and happiness for ourselves bringing contentment and direction to life in a way not possible through any other technique.
Meditation in one respect is like many other activities: sports, crafts and skills of all types. For all of these activities, you will never become skilled just by talking about it or reading about it. Like any skill, you gain expertise by doing it. Meditation will be of only limited use if you practice it on-and-off, so the key to success in meditation is the commitment to meditate once or twice a day. Like embarking on a new career with a new employer, if you turn up for work only when you feel like it, you are unlikely to go very far in your career.
Every student has the same difficulty in the first few months of practising meditation – therefore those of you who are interested to progress in meditation should follow the advice below.
The sitting posture which has been found to be the most conducive for meditation is the half-lotus position. Sit upright with your back and spine straight – crosslegged with your right leg over the left one. You can sit on a cushion or pillow to make your position more comfortable. Nothing should impede your breathing or circulation. Your hands should rest palms-up on your lap, and the tip of your right index finger should touch your left thumb. Feel as if you are one with the ground on which you sit. Feel that you could sit happily for as long as you like.
Softly close your eyes as if you were falling asleep. Relax every part of your body, beginning with the muscles of your face, then relax your face, neck shoulders, arms, chest, trunk, and legs. Make sure there are no signs of tension on your forehead or across your shoulders.
Close your eyes and stop thinking about the things of the world. Feel as if you are sitting alone – around you is nothing and no-one. Create a feeling of happiness and spaciousness in your mind. Before starting, it is necessary to acquaint yourself with the various resting points or bases of the mind inside the body. The first base is at the rim of the nostril, on the right side for men and on the left side for women. The second base is at the bridge of the nose at the corner of the eye – on the right side for men and on the left side for women. The third base is at the centre of the head. The fourth is at the roof of the mouth. The fifth is at the centre of the throat above the Adam’s, apple. The sixth base is at a point in the centre of the body at the meeting point of an imaginary line between the navel through the back and the line between the two sides. The seventh base of the mind is two fingers’ breadths above the sixth base. This base is the most important point in the body. It is the very centre of the body and the point where the mind can come to a standstill.
Feel that inside your body is empty space, without organs, muscles or tissues. Gently and contentedly rest your attention at a point near to the seventh base of the mind – at the centre of the body. Whatever experience arises in the mind, simply observe without attempting to interfere. In this way your mind will become gradually purer and inner experience will unfold.
If you find that you cannot dissuade the mind from wandering, then your mind needs an inner object as a focus for attention. Gently imagine that a bright, clear crystal ball, the size of the tip of your little finger, is located inside at the centre of the body. Maybe you’ll find you can imagine nothing, but later you’ll be able to see a crystal ball of increasing clarity. Allow your mind to come to rest at the very centre of the crystal ball. Use the subtlest of effort and you will find that the crystal ball becomes brighter and clearer. If you use too much effort you will find that it gives you a headache.
If you find that your mind still wanders from the crystal ball, you can bring the mind back to a standstill by repeating the mantra, “Samma-araham” silently, as if the sound of the mantra is coming from the centre of the crystal ball. Repeat the mantra over and over again without counting.
Don’t entertain thoughts in your mind. Don’t analyze what’s going on in the meditation. Allow the mind to come to a standstill – that’s all you need to do. If you find that you can imagine nothing, then repeat the mantra, “Samma-araham” silently and continuously in the mind. If you find that you’re not sure about the location of the centre of the body, anywhere in the area of the stomach will do. Persevere because today’s daydream is tomorrow’s still mind; today’s darkness is tomorrow’s inner brightness; today’s perseverance is tomorrow’s fulfillment. Don’t be disappointed if you find your mind wandering. It is only natural for beginners. Make effort continuously; keep your mind bright, clear and pure, and in the end, you will achieve your goal.
Keep repeating the mantra and eventually the sound of the words will die away. At that point a new bright, clear, crystal ball will arise in the mind of its own accord. The crystal ball will sparkle like a diamond. This stage is called pathama magga (primary path). At this stage the shining crystal ball is connected firmly to the mind, and is seated at the centre of the body. You will experience happiness. With continuous observation at the centre of this crystal ball, it will give way to a succession of increasingly purer bodily sheaths until it reaches the ultimate one called “Dhammakaya”, the highest level of attainment of supreme happiness.
Regular Practise is the Most Difficult Part
Meditate at least once a day, picking times when you know you will be free. If you wish to meditate in the morning, you should first do a little exercise to refresh your body then sit down to meditate for thirty to sixty minutes; this will give you the perfect start to your day. Alternatively, in the evening just before going to bed, find time to meditate, helping you to relax your mind and allowing you to make the most efficient use of your time asleep.
Set a start time for at least one period of meditation and stick to it. When it is time for meditation, stop what you are doing, find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes and meditate. Don’t make a time limit for it. Be happy when you meditate and just let the time go. If you are happy meditating for half-anhour, then just practise for half-an-hour. If you are happy meditating for an hour then meditate for an hour. The most important thing is to fix the habit of meditation in your daily life and meditate in that period of time every day.
Hyperventilation (Overbreathing) versus Hyperinhalation
© 2002 Michael Grant White. ALL rights reserved.
Hyperventilation is in some ways a maladaptive response to stress. It is also caused by poorly coordinated unbalanced breathing. It is also a partial misnomer as it is often occurs when breathing is improving. Where does YOUR situation fit in here?Reduce or Eliminate HyperventilationHyperventilation / Overbreathing / HypocapniaHospital admissions for possible cardiac or neurologic disorders are extremely common and many patients with chronic breathing pattern or breathing coordination problems carry an assortment of incorrect diagnosis with bottles of corresponding ineffective or even harmful medications.Faster (than you are accustomed to) breathing is mostly looked upon by the western medical community as hyperventilation. It carries a bias of being the wrong way to breathe; there is an illness connotation to it. That is largely because medical science does not clearly differentiate between healthy fast and unhealthy fast breathing.There are different types or qualities of fast or forced deeper breathing. I call the good kind hyper-inhalation, or balanced deeper-easier-smoother-grounded-faster breathing. This is the relaxing and energizing breathing such as from our #176 Rapidly Improving Your Breathing Video.Bad breathing is over-stimulation (high chest dominant). When the faster breathing is predominately chest it can still be somewhat appropriate but only in the sense that it resolves an immediate emergency and then reverts back to healthy slower deeper easier balanced breathing as soon as the emergency is over. Wild animals seem to do that (adapt and recover) much better then most humans but humans can be trained to adapt by developing their breathing in optimal fashion.One form of breathing pattern disorder is when one takes quick deep or shallow dominant high-chest in-breaths. These over-stimulate the nervous system and engage the reptilian (survival) portion of the human brain. Most gas exchange perspectives say hyperventilation sharply reduces the level ofcarbon dioxide in the blood. I see this as important in many ways and misleading in others.I borrowed the following more scientific explanation of hyperventilation from a colleague…I will announce him and his company sometime in the not too distant future. He is dong some very, very special work.”Overbreathing* means bringing about carbon dioxide (CO2) deficit in the blood (i.e., hypocapnia) through excessive ventilation (increased “minute volume”) during rapid, deep, and dysrhythmic breathing, a condition that may result in debilitating short-term and long-term physical and psychological complaints and symptoms. The slight shifts in CO2 chemistry associated with overbreathing may cause physiological changes such as hypoxia (oxygen deficit), cerebral vasoconstriction (brain), coronary constriction (heart), blood and extracellular alkalosis (increased pH), cerebral glucose deficit, ischemia (localized anemia), buffer depletion (bicarbonates), bronchial constriction, gut constriction, calcium imbalance, magnesium deficiency, and muscle fatigue, spasm (tetany), and pain.”*Note: “Overbreathing” is a behavior leading to the physiological condition known as hypocapnia, i.e., carbon dioxide deficit. “Hyperventilation,” although nomenclature synonymous with hypocapnia in physiological terms, is often used as a clinical term to describe a controversial psychophysiologic “syndrome” implicated in panic disorder and other clinical complaints.”In other words. no matter how much oxygen we may breathe into our lungs, if the O2 is taken in a certain way then our sympathetic nervous system will dominate, constrict the blood vessels in the brain and our body will experience a shortage of oxygen. Its like the old saying. “the hurrier I go the behinder I get”.A severe asthma attack is one example of this. Panic attacks and aspects of many seizures are as well. The lack of oxygen and/or increased carbon dioxide switches on the sympathetic nervous system which makes us tense, anxious and potentially irritable. So in some sense we need to become more tolerable to increased levels of CO2.I DisagreeI partially disagree with the gas exchange over-breathing-carbon-dioxide-is-the-major-marker perspective My research leads me to believe that the primary issue is more about the way the nervous system is stimulated, ie., whether parasympathetic/abdominal, breathing, or sympathetic, high chest breathing is engaged.I have observed people breathing intensely for hours without any signs of distress, but rather with signs of bliss and joy. The key to “over-breathing” is more about balance. The way they take the breathing stimulates the ANS in a good way or a bad way or something in between. CO2 levels are influenced this way, but they are not always the dominant theme like the CO2 gas exchange proponents seem to believe. CO2 is the effect, not the cause.Our evolution and survival often necessitated having fast responses. The shortest distance between two points is the straight line connecting them. High chest dominated “sympathetic” breathing causes constriction and what I call “hyper vigilance”; a stronger and physically closer connection to the reptilian survival brain. Abdominal breathing invites expansion and increased energy toleration. It has much more of the vagus (parasympathetic-rest-digest-heal) nerve action engaged with it and allows for the neocortex as well as parasympathetic relaxation response to “buffer” the survival instinct.High chest breathing generally hyper-stimulates, causes increased breathing rate, lowers blood CO2 amount and exacerbates nervous system distress. It causes blood vessel constriction and makes O2 less transferable to the cellular system and your brain. Once the high-chest dominant breath ceases, adaptations need to occur to raise CO2 levels that dilate vessels to allow for replenishment of CO2 balance. Optimal oxygen uptake is not possible without proper CO2 presence.As an aside, we need to remember that sometimes it is good to be ungrounded and unbalanced as with being able to laugh or cry wholeheartedly, change one’s rigidity, one’s attitude and/or achieve quantum shifts in awareness and ability by altering one’s emotional anatomy. When done in a healthy way, it will help to change sympathetic/parasympathetic balance toward more harmonious levels. Parasympathetic response also relates to one’s balanced grounded power base. Sympathetic enervation can be fun or excitement which is often good (zealotry and hyperbole are examples of excitement or fun without seemingly realistic parasympathetic, neocortical/rational accessed reality checks and physical groundedness).Generally, parasympathetic enervation accompanies relaxation and lessened activity such as rest digest and heal. Sympathetic relates to action, anxiety, fight/flight/freeze/fake it and FUN. FUN is a strong sympathetic enervation that is balanced with enough parasympathetic enervation.There are other relevant influences towards hyperventilation such as nutrition and toxicity that veers one toward anxiety or confusion. But, barring congenital nutritional/toxicity considerations, it is still only when sympathetic enervation becomes dominant without the proper amount of parasympathetic enervation, that anxiety states occur to invite hyper constriction of blood vessels and signs of overbreathing/hyperventilation. I am discouraged with the use of the “overbreathing” word as it implies that breathing more is bad. It is not QUANTITY, it is BALANCE that is the key. Sympathetic Dominant Deep Breathing or SDDB is the label I believe should be used to describe hyperventilation.This is proven time and again by a persons ability to withstand the agony of the dentist office or birthing babies aided ONLY by well developed breathing techniques and zero use of customary pain killers. Nutrition and toxicity aside, low CO2 caused vasoconstriction does not happen so much or at all when the parasympathetic nervous system is strong enough to maintain nervous system parasympathetic dominated balance. Another way this manifests in real living conditions is with maintaining reasonably relaxed self control and centering during extreme states of stress or “courage under fire”. Ahhhhh! — Insights from martial arts.”HyperINHALATION” or charged breathing as opposed to “quiet” breathing is a more objective way to look at the good kind of increased breathing, ie, depth and rate, which focuses on the nervous system as opposed to just CO2/O2 relationship which is the effect and not the cause.To re-emphasize, having watched over a million breaths of advanced breathwork clients, I have observed with the help of a pulse oximeter, that quick-deep or quick-shallow breathing, if dominated by belly, back and side breathing, most often increases the level of oxygen in our blood. By gas exchange standards, this would seem to reduce the CO2 ratios, invite constriction and inhibit O2 transfer into the cells but this MAY or MAY NOT not occur depending upon how well the breather is able to relax and stay dominant parasympathetic. Key factors are how well they adapt, tolerate or become accustomed to the increase in physical energy (chi, prana, Qi, pneuma, etc.).Dominant front, side and back abdominal breaths allow the nervous system to remain calm and to stay out of the potentially vaso-constrictive “anxiety/survival responses”, CO2 depletion, and high chest, sympathetic breathing pattern. We get more energized and in touch with our power without being overwhelmed with oxygen deprivation. The key is HOW this occurs, and that is a lot of what our breathing development programs improve.To repeat.It is not over-breathing which is a general term like hyperventilation. It is too much sympathetic, high chest breathing. There is a HUGE difference between over-breathing parasympathetic (abdominal) and over-breathing sympathetically. It is not the over-breathing. It is the way we over-breathe, and how we create internal and nervous system balanceCertain schools of allopathic medicine presently lump everything into one word -hyperventilation- which is grossly inadequate. So this prejudice distorts and increases the importance and relevance of carbon dioxide. The effect of carbon dioxide levels are very important and permit tremendous insight and without them we can fail to help many in need. We must recognize that this is an imbalance that has a cause, and the cause is unbalanced breathing. I steadfastly believe that higher O2 levels and the way we balance them with CO2 levels are primary factors in developing and maintaining internal balance and optimal health..There are instruments that can easily record the CO2 levels and help gauge therapeutic progress. I believe that science will support my thesis that a stronger stimulation of the parasympathetic “rest, digest and heal” aspect of the nervous system, produces “safe” increased levels of oxygen, peptides, endorphins and subtle energies of the various forms of what the ancient – and modern -breathing practitioners call chi, ki, prana, pneuma, spiritus, etc. The arteries, including the carotid arteries going to the brain, remain more open, thus allowing increased flow of energized blood throughout the brain and body. It feels great, sometimes even ecstatic. Gospel singing is an example of this experience, as well as some forms of chanting, and transformational breathwork.How often is chest pain caused by hyperventilation?One study suggests that up to 90% of non-cardiac chest pain is thought to be induced by hyperventilation (De Guire et al 1992) Syndrome X refers to patients (mainly women) who get a history of angina with positive exercise test, but normal angiography. This is thought to be due to a functional abnormality of coronary circulation.Can hyperventilation cause a heart attack?In very rare cases, people who hyperventilate can have lower carbon dioxide blood levels that can cause a spasm of the blood vessels that supply the heart. If you already have heart disease, this spasm may be enough to cause a heart attack. The majority of patients with hyperventilation, the chest pain is due to over-breathing, and over-inflation of the lungs. Without thinking about it, you might use your chest muscles to expand your rib cage. This extra muscle work will feel like shortness of breath, and you’ll have difficulty in taking a deep breath. Your chest muscles will become tired, just like your legs tire after a long run.How can hyperventilation be differentiated from a heart attack?The diagnosis of causes of chest pain should ALWAYS be made by a doctor. Clues that will be helpful include:Hyperventilation symptoms usually last longer (hours as opposed to minutes)Hyperventilation symptoms usually happen in younger people or stressed out adultsHyperventilation symptoms can get better with exercise but often worsen such as in sports induced asthmaHyperventilation pain will not be improved by heart medicationHow does hyperventilation affect the functioning of the brain?Chemical changes happen in the blood due to over-breathing. Hyperventilation causes the carbon dioxide level in the blood to decrease. This lower level of carbon dioxide reduces blood flow to the brain, which may result in weakness, fainting, dizziness, and confusion. To protect the brain from damage one will faint and resume normal breathing to restore blood flow to the brain.Increased Energy Developed SafelyBreathing practices are most often safe when the body’s sensing mechanisms are engaged on a moment to moment basis to monitor against excessive or inappropriate breathing related energy. But many people are so far out of balance that the “breather” may have forgotten about or never have felt (due to traumatic birthing or infancy) a state of wholeness and balance. This puts practices such as singing or voice training and the teachers that comprise this population in a completely new light and shows how singing can be not only a performance-personal growth tool, but a health modality as well.Though they are often monumentally powerful healing and energy paradigms, many Chi Kung and Pranayama teachers are often at a disadvantage in teaching their art forms because their students may be lacking fundamental, internal breathing balance and coordination, plus subtle aspects of feeling and kinesthetic feedback, and do not internally sense themselves in ways familiar to these paradigms. Making sound can give tremendous insight to this missing link, and the vocal/speech trainer becomes an integral part of the Optimal Breathing paradigm.To address this problem I developed advanced breathing development techniques in the #176 Rapidly Improving Your Breathing Video and the Optimal Breathing School that bring the person back into balanced mechanical breathing coordination; safely, rapidly and without hyperventilation or discomfort.When the basic breathing work of the #176 Rapidly Improving Your Breathing Video combined with the deeply relaxing forces of #120 Better Breathing Exercise #1 or the gentle energizing of (#130 Better Breathing Exercise #2) you will feel a strengthened sense of deep peace within, wholeness and incredible lightness of being. When this occurs, quantum healing and transformational results often present themselves.#130 Better Breathing Exercise #2 comes with TWO phases, a training tape and a practice tape plus a special devise that helps develop the other 60% of the breath beyond the belly/abdominal breath. It includes my recorded reminders of what to feel for as your natural energy slowly and safely increases. Reich called this increase “toleration.” Gay Hendricks calls it “raising your energy thermostat.”Sports-Related Breathing ProblemsA few signs of possible hyperventilation are:Shortness of breathBreathlessnessChest tightness & pressureChest painFeelings of suffocationSweaty palmsCold handsTingling of the skinNumbnessHeart palpitationsIrregular heartbeatsAnxietyApprehensionEmotional outburstsStressTensenessFatigueWeaknessExhaustionDry mouthNauseaLightheadednessDizzinessFaintingBlack-outBlurred visionConfusionDisorientationAttention deficitPoor thinkingPoor memoryPoor concentrationImpaired judgmentProblem solving deficitChronic painHeadacheTremblingTwitchingShiveringMuscle tensionsMuscle spasmsStiffnessAbdominal crampsBloatednessPanic attacksToo many thoughts that will not stop when you would like them toSeizuresHigh blood pressureCan’t meditateDifficulty singing or playing wind instrumentsA small sampling of the abilities or conditions directly related to the way you breathe. Click on the arrow to the right Chronic pain Back rehabilitation Back pain Chest pains Heart attack prevention Heart attack recovery Pre-surgery vitality conditioning Post-surgery recovery Breathing difficulty Dyspnea Asthma Bronchitis COPD Emphysema Hyperventilation Shortness of breath Oxygen increased in the blood Arthritis Osteoporosis Diabetes Fibromyalgia Singing Public speaking Speaking problems Meditation Depression Anxiety Poor memory Stress management Stress-induced or exacerbated diseases Muscle tension and spasm Sports performance Hypertension Hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorders Low energy Fatigue Weakened immune system Some forms of cancer Stroke recovery Poor circulation Sexual enhancement Smoking cessation Birth delivery Weight control Recovery – 12 Step See your health professional if you think you have an illness The long-term answer to optimal breathing is not in surgery, steroids or inhalers, but in establishing one’s internal homeostasis and maintaining it on a moment-to-moment, day-to-day basis. The 8 Steps to Optimal Breathing need all be in place and in balance. I work on and train people in techniques, exercises, nutrition and insights that will permanently keep you out of future breathing trouble. My self help programs are guaranteed to help a great deal. My private sessions take the progress further and faster. Our school trains others to do what I do. #250 Our Most Popular Wellness ProgramMany thanks to J. Michael Wood, core faculty member of theOptimal Breathing School, for his editing support.
About copyrights.My patience is running a little thin with plagiarists copying my work and not giving me credit for it. Understand that I will challenge/expose those that use this material without proper credits. mgw
sometimes get asked questions about how to breath while sparring, in particular, how to control your breathing when you are really fighting hard.When you are sparring at an easy to moderate pace then it is a good idea to keep your breath regular, deep and even. You don’t want to hyperventilate unnecessarily. So far, so good: most experts would agree with me on this point.Now it gets a bit more controversial. I believe that the situation changes considerably when one is engaged in extremely strenuous exercise. Let’s say that you are sparring or competing and you are in an all-out dogfight: you are trading attacks, escapes, takedowns and reversals with your opponent at a fast and furious pace. My advice here is to go ahead and breathe as quick and as hard as you need to, even perhaps a little harder than you think neccesary.Here is a little story: I used to compete in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, which is an anaerobic event known as “the toughest 2 minutes in sport” on ESPN. In this event firefighters race in full turnout gear and breathing apparatus, trying to complete 5 tasks as fast as they can. These tasks include carrying a load up a 5-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and finally rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb. “victim”. This event is an all-out lactic acid fiesta, and it is common for some competitors to require medical aid at the end of their run.When I first started competing I struggled to break the 2-minute mark. I’d start my race breathing normally and increase my breathing as the event went on. By the time I got to the finish line I’d be hyperventilating and trying to breath in through every orifice in my body.Finally a teammate suggested that I start hyperventilating early – about 5 seconds before the race began, and keep on hyperventilating the whole race. I was worried about passing out and he said “yes you might pass out if you weren’t going as hard as you can, but you are going to use all that extra oxygen and still need more”.I tried this technique that day: in the last few seconds before taking off up the stairs I started taking rapid and very deep breaths. I continued breathing this way for the whole event: every few seconds I reminded myself “breathe, Breathe, BREATHE”. That day I took 10 seconds off my time, which is ahuge improvement. Within a year I eventually ran the event in one minute and 33 seconds, which is considered an ‘elite’ level performance.Conscious hyperventilation not a technique you want to use all the time. That being said, when there is a lot of action in your next grappling match and you know that you are about to get tired, you may want to give it a try.
Are breathing problems caused by sports, exercise, or prolonged, intense Efforts?Or are exercise challenges caused by breathing poorly? Answer. BOTHSome call it Exercise Induced Hyperventilation, even COPD or Emphysema but that may only be part of it, or none of it. Physicians may call an intense form Effort Induced Broncho- Spasm. EIBS. Sports coaches and personal trainers may refer to it as overtraining.Why do some pass a cardiac stress test and drop dead the following day or soon thereafter? Or even die during the test? Competitive athletes and non competitive exercisers (this also applies to Fire and Police personnel as well as emergency paramedics, nurses, many physical therapists, and anyone that must intensely breath-heave, gasp, under-breathe or over exert repeatedly on the job or otherwise) routinely breathe too hard, too fast, and too soon. This is unbalanced hyper-inhalation. They often mouth-breathe, breath-heave and/or gasp to get the air they need to support their exertions. This kind of charged breathing can develop respiratory problems and related oxygen deficiency diseases including heart conditions, strokes, depressions, asthma, high blood pressure and many others. Restriction of the breathing muscles, reduced breathing volume and ease, vaso constriction, such as presents in sports induced asthma can appear along with almost any malady. I believe this is often why many athletes develop sports induced breathing problems, and die prematurely of heart and vascular problems.Retire and die? I believe that many need the movement that causes extra oxygenation and as soon as they stop moving as with a job or activity they MUST perform, theUDB takes over and slowly locks their breathing up and with less and less breath they succumb to oxygen deprivation. Most forms of competitive sports are in NO way a guarantee to a long healthy life. Most often the reverse is true such as with sprinters and or professional football players.Let’s take a look at several athletes and see if we begin to see a pattern.Recent News Clip. The week following a Los Angeles marathon, “13% of runners reported upper respiratory tract infections compared with only 2% of ‘control’ runners.”From Mike This should include hard style martial arts as well. You simply must do something to rapidly offset the accumulating breathing constriction of competitive sports. What caused it? Flo Jo’s autopsy reveals severe breathing problem. Doctors advise Olajuwon to restI hear doctors have told Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon to stay off the court for an unspecified time because of respiratory problems.”He was re-examined today by a team of physicians and we’ve recommended that he not play basketball for a while,” James Muntz, the Rockets’ physician, said in a brief statement released by the team.Olajuwon, 37, w/as diagnosed March 1 with a disease that restricts the flow of air through his bronchial passages during heavy exercise, causing spasms in his lungs. He has been taking medication for the condition.Migliore has breathing difficulty The Associated Press03/29/00 4:59 PM EasternNEW YORK (AP) — Jockey Richard Migliore complained of difficulty breathing after leaping from his mount, Denver Mint, during Aqueduct’s seventh race Wednesday.The oft-injured Migliore was making his return to New York after racing in Florida during the winter. He said he would see his own physician for diagnosis. From mgw. The body posture of a jockey is VERY negative to deep easy breathing. Amy Van DykenWhen Olympic swimming champion Amy Van Dyken races in the 50-meter freestyle event, she doesn’t breathe.”I take one breath, and I’m gone.”Van Dyken holds the record for the most gold medals won by an American woman at a single Olympics – four.But even when she’s not competing, her breathing is still a critical concern.Van Dyken has asthma, a chronic inflammatory disorder that constricts the muscles of the bronchial airways, making every breath a struggle.”I was diagnosed when I was 18 months,” says Van Dyken. “Asthma has pretty much defined my entire life.*But I wouldn’t be who I am without it. *From Mike: Same attitude as most AA 12 step members. Sad but true. WE can REDEFINE ourselves. I want people to know that you can have asthma and still live normally, even be a professional athlete.” More from Mike: Many trainers train their swimmers to NOT BREATHE. I believe this sets up breathing patterns in the future that are VERY unhealthy. She’s on the maximum regimen recommended for asthma maintenance.” That means three or four different medications a day – every day. Can we be ourselves using drugs every day and still be “healthy normal”? The drug industry would sure like that. I seriously doubt that most drugs and healthy normal are compatible. http://www.breathing.com/articles/asthma-hyperventilation.htmThe World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that asthma afflicts 150 million people worldwide and claims 180,000 lives annually. In the USA, over 17 million Americans suffer from the disorder. Of these, at least 5 million are children, and half of those are undiagnosed.I wish I could reach just ONE of the following people. We could set the stage for backing thousands, perhaps millions of people away and or off of inhalers and steroids.From a leading martial artist… Dear Mike;Once in my early training years I witnessed, and helped, one of my teachers in Judo. Do you remember when Ingemar Johansson, the boxer who won over Floyd Paterson once, on his second match I think it was, was knocked out. People where talking about his shivering foot. One of his feet was moving because of the damage the knockout from Floyd gave him. I am not sure this is what happened for my teacher, but this was the situation. He was wrestling on the mat with his opponent. He ended up under his opponent, who got a judo-strangulation around his throat – and I saw one of his feet started to move as it did with the Swedish ex-champ. I yelled STOP and let go, since he had fainted because of the lack of oxygen. This was 1968, and I was at that time not so well aware of how the hazardous way the Martial Art strangulation hold could be handled. Well, he came back with some dizziness, stood up and thanked me. I don’t think I saved his life, but I did a good thing for him, since his opponent didn’t see what was happening. Later during the years I have been studying more of the strangulation techniques. It is a ART in itself. Sorry to say, it is a killing art. One Japanese friend of mine, he is dead now, rest his soul, not by strangulation though, he died from diabetes. He told me about one of his teachers in Japan. For the Japanese (some) it seems as “close death experiences” is close to orgasm. This teacher had a way of doing it by throwing a wet towel around his neck and from that reach the goal of “almost” strangulation. It worked always for him, except one time, when he could not remove the towel from his neck – he died from the strangulation (maybe a fantastic death considering his view of sexual pleasure).In Judo, i.e. there is at least ten to fifteen different strangulations. Some going to the windpipes, others attacking (don’t know the word for it) other places in the throat.Once when I was in Japan, my teacher, Ishizuka-sensei, showed me the following thing; “Bo-san look,” he said. Called for another student and hit him with his thumb (a special technique we use) in his throat and the guy lifted from the mat and landed two or three meters from were he had been standing.All those strangulations are very dangerous handled improperly. Sometime Martial Artists say, “You can take a strangulation for ten seconds”. This is a lie. I ended up in a choke-hold and I had to give up straight away, the other person was so powerful so I felt the blackness coming over me.I think Mike, that it could be a good thing if you from your side, as a breathing-specialist, wrote about the hazardous ways of handling opponents while training. In this so called Ultimate Fighting, where it obviously is correct to hit and choke ones opponent until he is unconscious. Some of the contestants get hurt real bad. In the East, Russia i.e. there have been at least a couple of deaths from those so called gladiator-games.I get very angry when it comes to those spectacular games. In the end, a person can die. We all die, it’s the only real truth in life. But as I have learned from much of your writing, through the proper breathing we can live longer, instead of shorter. B.M.From Mike:This is an important insight, though very extreme examples, that will add to other’s understanding of the importance of healthy breathing and longevity. Many thanks.Chief Seattle said many years ago that if the white man continued his life in the direction it was going that he would spend most of life surviving instead of living. Breath is life. I think the ones to really watch are the ones that do NOT abuse their bodies and die anyway. They are far in the majority then the fighters whom we know often push the limits beyond reason and sanity. My friend Margo Anand who wrote The Art of Sexual Magic and teaches Tantra in the form of spiritual sexuality would absolutely have a fit at someone trying to choke themselves to achieve ecstasy. Ecstasy stems from the breath being greater, deeper and easier. From being directed to specific areas of the body in great amounts. I feel sad for these “choking “people.Many thanks Bo. You are a friend and colleague, I honor and value our relationship.Namaste.From Steve:Unfortunately I think some of them don’t care if they shorten their lifetime or even die. They are doing what they love and are willing to die for it. It is almost like a Samurai Warrior. He knew he could die tomorrow, but he kept on training as hard as he can and continued to be a Samurai. I also saw this analogy with rock climbers who climb without ropes. They love living on the edge of life. If they die, even their survivors say they died doing what they loved. There was also a story about these guys who jump from cliffs with bungee cords but stopped above the tree line. This one guy tried to aim below the tree line so he would go between 2 trees. He missed. To each his own I guess. Q. Does the ventilation system limit exercise capacity??*From Mike:* The bigger question is “does certain kinds of exercise/physical exertion limit the ventilation system and how does one offset this limitation?”Effort Induced Broncho Spasm. EIBSBronchitis in a world class bicyclist?Swiss rider wins men’s road race ATLANTA (AP) — The conditioning provided by the Tour de France was evident in today’s Olympic cycling road race. All three medalists raced in the Tour, while American favorite Lance Armstrong, who withdrew because of illness, faded in today’s race. “I said before the race that the winner would come from the Tour de France,” said American Frankie Andreu, who finished fourth. “Because when you come out of the Tour de France either you’re flying or you’re dead. Pascal Richard of Switzerland overtook Denmark’s Rolf Sorensen in the final 20 meters to win by a bicycle length in the first Olympic road race open to professionals. Richard covered the 138-mile course in 4 hours, 53 minutes, 56 seconds. He swung left of Sorensen at the last moment and crossed the finish line with arms upraised, while Sorensen slapped his handle bar in disgust. Maximilian Sciandri of Britain the bronze medal, finishing two seconds behind the two leaders. With professional cyclists invited to the Olympics for the first time in Atlanta, today’s field of 194 of the world’s greatest cyclists was the strongest ever for an American road race. Andreu of Dearborn, Mich., was the top American finisher, 1 minute, 14 seconds behind Richard. Armstrong led for about a lap but faded in the final 25 miles and finished 12th, 1 minute, 29 seconds back. Armstrong dropped out of this month’s Tour de France because of bronchitis and strep throat, and his lack of top conditioning caught up to him. “The ideal preparation for this race is the Tour de France,” said Andreu, the only American to finish the Tour de France this year. “Then you rest up and for a one-day ride, you’re in perfect shape.” Steven Bauer of Canada said it was evident Armstrong was gassed. “I guess he didn’t have it in the end,” Bauer said. “As we can see, one, two, three were guys who did the Tour de France, and everyone was saying they may be tired. But I knew anyone who rode the Tour de France was going to have the top conditioning.” All the world’s best were here, with the exception of Switzerland’s Tony Rominger, whose skills are more suited for mountain courses than the 8.1-mile course that wound its way through the plush neighborhoods of Atlanta. The race — 17 laps on a course winding through the heart of Atlanta — began at 8:30 a.m. on rain-cooled streets and the temperatures were relatively tepid — the opposite of what Armstrong had hoped for. Armstrong, a two-time Tour DuPont winner and a two-time Tour de France stage winner, figured a hot, humid day would have hurt the Europeans. But the weather wasn’t that hot or sticky. The field included Miguel Indurain of Spain, whose five-year reign as champion of the Tour de France ended this month when he finished 11th to Danish rider Bjare Riis. National coaching director Chris Carmichael did everything he could to give Armstrong the upper hand. The four other Americans in the race — Andreu; Steve Hegg, of Dana Point, Calif.; George Hincapie, of Charlotte, N.C.; and Greg Randolph, of McCall, Idaho; — raced for one purpose: to help Armstrong win a medal. All but Hegg came from the Motorola-sponsored professional riding team led by Armstrong.Nurses and physical therapistsare harder to see the breathing relationship due to lack of need to be compared to a competitor but when many take our breathing tests they begin to wonder if their stress (our definition of harmful stress is not giving yourself enough time to breathe) is more harmful than they realized.Recommended Program for offsetting harm done by stress, gasping and breath heaving.
A small sacrifice for fitness?
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Stress can be good or bad for a person engaged in a sporting event. Good stress can improve a performance whereas bad stress can cause them to, in sporting parlance, not be at the races. This article will examine these two types of stress, what causes them, how they affect sports and how they can be combated.
Sport is a fairly general term for a range of activities that require varying mental and physical skills. For example, archery and ice hockey have many skills in common but probably more skills that are disparate. Physical exertion may be more intense in ice hockey than archery but mental pressure and judgement would be more in archery.
The body’s response to stress is to change the bio-chemistry in the blood. The hormones adrenaline and cortisol are pushed into the bloodstream which passes through the body. This gives the body an energy boost. The muscles will become tighter and prepared for some exertion. The senses will become more attuned; pupils will dilate to allow more light to enter the eye and thus improve eyesight. This response is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. It is triggered when the person, through their nervous system, senses a stressful event about to occur. In this way the body can overcompensate for a stressful event by putting too much adrenaline into the blood stream or not enough.
There seems to be two ways to affect this response. The first is the actual event that is causing the stress. The second is the perceived amount of stress that the person places on the stressful event. They are, obviously, closely related.
In the first instance stress could be caused if the person is new to the sport and does not have the skills or knowledge of the sport. They will feel overwhelmed and worried about things like the rules of the game, what position they should be in, what are their responsibilities or how to do a particular activity. On a physical level, they may not have developed the physique to do certain activities.
In this instance it is important not to take the sport too seriously. If the sport is a form of relaxation or stress relief then this should be clarified each time anything becomes overwhelming. Remember that it is supposed to be fun. Remember, also, that making mistakes is a part of learning. You can only improve by making these mistakes and you will be better for them.
The second way to influence the body’s response to a stressful event is more to do with people that are experienced in the particular sport. In this case, we are talking about fine-tuning a performance. It is often said in professional sport that the difference between two competitors is not their fitness or skills but their mental preparation because the physical skills are virtually identical.
This is true. Many top sportspeople use mind techniques and sports psychologists to give them an edge. Simply put, the mind techniques are a way of putting the right amount of stress on a particular event, in the mind of the sportsperson, so that he or she peaks at the right time.
For example, a stirring speech by the coach can have two results. It could inspire the person to a great performance or it could put too much pressure on the person and limit the performance. This is a highly personal issue for people. Knowing how to mentally agitate the stress responses in the body to peak at the right time is a rare skill or talent. Generally, it comes through knowing the person involved.
Music is also used to ‘calm nerves’. In this, we mean mediate the stress response in the body. The relaxing music can help the person forget about the stressful event. On the other hand, high energy or dance music is often used to motivate and get the ‘blood flowing’. The music is often personal and different music can elicit different responses in people.
Stress is crucial to obtain a peak performance in any sports. Attaining the perfect level of stress for the individual at the right time is often harder than attaining the peak physical condition. From a stress management perspective, knowledge of the persons stress levels and how to alter these levels is the only way improve the individuals performance.
Athletics has a complexity beyond being able to perform a physical skill at a consistently optimal effort. Team dynamics, the emotional well being of the team, can influence the outcome of an event. Stress and anxiety can become crippling to a team or an individual athlete at any time for several different reasons. If an athlete is injured, stress and anxiety can also become an overwhelming problem during the healing process. An athlete’s adherence to rehabilitation and attitude can become non-compliant. However, athletes can be educated on how to manage or eliminate stress and anxiety during activities. Injured athletes can practice methods to improve the rehabilitative process and adherence to a program.
Most athletes associate stress and anxiety with injuries. However, stress and anxiety can infiltrate an athlete’s world. An athlete can feel pressure to succeed, pressure of failing, fear of injury, fear of re-injury, or anxiety about overcoming an injury. Some athletes have to overcome the fear and anxiety associated with returning to sports. “The major sources of stress that have been reported by sports performers include fear of failure, concerns about social evaluation by others (particularly the coach), lack of readiness to perform, and a loss of internal control over one’s environment.
There is a difference between stress and anxiety. Stress exists when a perceived situation and abilities to handle the perceived situation are not equal. “It is a response that we can learn to change and to regulate unstressed people are more effective, healthier, and happier”.
“Performance stress comes from social evaluation and the feeling of threat to one’s ego that evaluation brings”. Signs of negative stress include the following:
- having low self confidence
- making negative comments about yourself
- being more self-critical
- consistently performing under your ability (particularly in pressure situations)
- having trouble sleeping the night before an event
- experiencing difficulty getting loose before a competition
- feeling ill or upset before an event.
Symptoms of general anxiety include:
- muscle soreness
- trembling restlessness
- shortness of breath
- being on edge
- startled response
- loss of concentration
- poor sleeping patterns
“The intensity of the anxiety that is felt before and during sports is so gripping, immediate and debilitating, that one feels compelled to provide fast relief for those anxious athletes”.
“Anxiety comes from concern over the lack of control over circumstances”.
During a competitive event, adrenaline can be released. Adrenaline release can have positive and negative effects. Positive effects include the physiological arousal alertness as the body is prepared for explosive activity. Athletes and their support system need to identify the stressors and then formulate an individualized plan to manage the stressors. “A fragmented or enfeebled self system can give way to temporary states of psychosis when under extreme pressure during competition”. “Shame and embarrassment are constant threats in sports because the game is usually played in front of people”.
“Psychological factors have been found to play important roles in the occurrence of and recovery from a sport injury” . When an injury occurs, an athlete may go through the grieving process. In order for the athlete to progress, the athlete must complete the grieving process. The five stages of grieving include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In addition to the five stages of grief, athletes also report feeling of distress, shock, guilt, isolation, and loneliness.
In order to deal with an injury, an athlete needs to be educated about the injury and rehabilitative process. An athlete can begin to decrease anxiety by accepting responsibility for an injury, monitoring attitude, establishing a support system, setting attainable goals (short and long term), and instituting a cross-training approach into the healing process. “For some athletes the injury might take the athlete away from a team or a social structure that gives them a sense of belonging and security”.
The level of stress occurring after an injury can be reflective of the athlete’s personality, history of stressors coping recourses, and stress management methods. Positive reinforcement and encouragement incorporated in the rehabilitative process can help ensure confidence in returning to activity.
”The psychological impact associated with injury has been shown to affect motivation, positive self-talk, concentration, and feeling of control during rehabilitation sessions” .
After becoming injured, an athlete may have fear regarding returning to play, losing position, and increased pain. Reducing the fear of re-injury can possibly result in an adherence to the rehabilitative process. Poor adjustment can evolve into non-compliance and can inhibit the healing process.
Six characteristics were identified among athletes having difficulty adjusting to injury. The characteristics identified were:
- feelings of anger and confusion
- obsession with the question of when to return to sports
- exaggerated bragging about accomplishments
- rapid mood swings, withdrawal from significant others
- fatalistic thinking, and dwelling on minor complaints
To change an individual’s reaction to pressure requires making changes in two main categories:
- thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of stressful situations
- the physical bodily responses to stressful conditions
“Stress and coping are ways the body reacts and adapts to stressors to return to a state of equilibrium after a traumatic event”.
In order for a stress management technique to be used properly, the athlete’s environment, personality, and ability to effectively use the technique need to be taken into account.
“Through implementing stress management techniques or reinforcing lifestyle buffers, the athlete learns to share control of the rehabilitation process with the athletic trainer”.
Stress and anxiety management strategies can cease an athlete’s stress and anxiety. Other benefits of implementing stress and anxiety management include: decreasing pain, decreasing the occurrence of an injury, increasing the adherence of rehabilitation, enhancing physical healing, assisting in adjustment to being injured improved coping with the stress of the injury, and enhancing mental readiness to return to full participation.
“A calm explanation, reassurance and involvement in the rehabilitation plan can counteract psychological disturbance”.
Psychological strategies that can be implemented in order to achieve a positive outcome include visual rehearsal, emotive rehearsal, body rehearsal, thought stoppage, and mental practice.
Effective methods to decrease stress and ellicit coping techniques include:
- social support
- relaxation techniques
- thought stoppage
- coping with frustration
- establishing a positive environment
The role of the support systems has been shown to play a vital role in recovery and rehabilitative process and to affect the adherence to rehabilitation. Support systems can educate and help implement intervention strategies and psychological rehabilitation techniques.
Some of the techniques include:
- relaxation modeling
- goal setting
- positive self-talk
- pain management
- stress management
- cognitive reconstruction
Athletes who report having lack of social support or high stress related to life events are more likely to sustain injury. All of the previously mentioned techniques are effective. However, an athlete needs to find the technique that meets his/her needs and one which he/she feels comfortable executing.
Athletes can be faced with stress and anxiety prior and during their sporting activities. Sports is no longer ‘just a game’; some athletes feel tremendous external pressure and internal stress to succeed and perform to perfection. Being placed in the media spotlight in the sport world can become a positive or negative stress for an athlete. Identifying and accepting the onset of stress and anxiety is a positive first step. Selecting and implementing the appropriate stress and/or anxiety management technique accomplish the next step to overcoming and managing the source of the stress and anxiety.
“Sport psychology consultants are trained to help athletes understand how pressure affects them, and then introduce them to strategies to help them overcome the effects of pressure”.
These strategies are useful for athletes to prepare for an event, to overcome the anxiety and fear associated with injuries and the rehabilitative process, and to deal with stress. Stress and anxiety experienced during the rehabilitative phase can be inhibiting and can affect the adherence to the commitment of healing process.
Some techniques that can apply, such as:
- thought stoppage
- establishing a positive environment
- enhance the rehabilitative process.
Athletes should also establish a rapport with their athletic trainers and support systems. A support system can result in adherence to the rehabilitative process. If injury occurs, the athlete’s support system can alleviate the grieving process. In order for athletes to prevent or eliminate the occurrence of stress and anxiety issues, management strategies should be implemented. Implementing and effectively applying a stress a management technique can become an essential element in an athlete’s routine. In addition to the daily routine, the athlete can implement the select technique to daily life stressors.
To experience these wonderful benefits, there is no need to take dangerous or expensive supplements. There are a few things that you can do to boost your growth hormone levels naturally.
6 Tips To Stimulate Growth Hormone Naturally
1. Get At Least 8 Hours of Sleep a Night.
Growth hormone levels are elevated during sleep. Getting more sleep is a great way to speed up your muscle gain/fat loss progress.
A lack of sleep not only results in a decrease in growth hormone production, it increases a muscle wasting hormone called cortisol. This hormone actually destroys our muscle!
2. Perform Strength Training
Strength training is proven to be more efficient at stimulating the release of growth hormone more than any other form of exercise.
3. Perform the Big Lifts
When in the gym, it is best to focus on the big lifts. Exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench press, chin ups and dips are the most efficient exercises at boosting our growth hormone levels.
4. Short Intense Cardio
Doing brief, intense cardio sessions are a great way to increase our growth hormone levels. They are far superior to longer, lower intensity exercises such as jogging.
5. Get Out Of Breath
Whether it is your strength workouts or your cardio, you want to push to the point where you are gasping for air. The build up of lactic acid and the out of breath feeling, are good indicators your training will boost your growth hormone levels.
6. Wait a While After Training Before Eating
You want to wait an hour or 2 before eating anything after a workout. This is because our growth hormone levels are elevated after a workout.
If we eat during this time, we risk increasing our insulin levels. This will automatically decrease our growth hormone levels. This is because growth hormone and insulin don’t work well together. If one is high, the other will be low.
Diet, Posture and Exercises
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying sleeping, diet, posture and exercises are not important. They are actually major factors affecting your height: You need to eat the proper foods that give you the calcium and other vitamins and minerals for height increase. Get enough of sleep which is usually 8 hours a day for most people. Always keep a correct posture and do regular and appropriate exercises. But do you know massage which is base on Chinese acupuncture concept can also increase your body height?
The Theory Behind Massage
How can that be? It may seems massage do not have a direct relationship to our bones and spine. However, they can help stimulate the hormones and glands which is important to your body height.
Massage has been used for thousands of years in many different cultures as a way for body relaxation. In China, it is also used together with the theory of acupuncture. By massaging the different reflex points in various parts of our body, it can stimulate the production and function of hormones and growth.
Chinese medication, usually western doctors, focus on the holistic of a person. It is not a discrete separation of each part of our body, rather looking our body as a whole. Therefore when we talk about increasing height, we don’t just look at the bones and spine. We should look at basically every thing from what you eat, how you live and your emotional state.
Therefore one of the benefits of having massage is to relax your emotional state. Stress create a lot of free radicals, and damage our cells. By relaxing our emotion, we prevent the damage of free radicals. Although this is not a direct relationship with your height, it is the foundation of releasing the pressure and let your full capability to excel. Our height is one of the capabilities we can achieve.
The 2 Reflex Points Concern Your Height
Apart from releasing your full potential in body height, massage on the correct reflex points also has a direct relationship to your growth hormone. Because your neurons system is connected to the pituitary gland. By the stimulation of certain reflex points during a massage, signals will be sent from the pituitary gland to the thyroid. This leads to the growth hormone, one of the factors for body height, to work.
Amongst numerous reflex points, at least two major reflex points are related body height. One of them is located on the pad of your thumb, while the other is in your whole neck. You can rub these parts in a clockwise direction to stimulate your growth hormones. You may use a small handy device that applies our body’s Galvanic current to stimulate these reflex points. At the moment, this handy device is used for beauty and some health purpose, but I find it may also be used to increase the effectiveness of reflex points massage to achieve grow taller goal. To see me detail about the Galvanic device, check out below link in resources box.
Here is the handy device to help stimulate reflex points for growth hormone. Look for “Galvanic Spa” in this link.
The natural and proven grow tall program
Among all tribes there is a strong sense that behind all individual spirits and personifications of the divine, there is a single creative life-force, sometimes called ‘the Great Mystery’, which expresses itself throughout the universe, in every human, animal, tree and grain of sand. Every story, too, is a working out of this life-force.
The role of animals
An aspect of this outlook is the major role played in the stories by animals, who often speak to humans and assist them. Most tribes thought of individual members of a species as expressions of the spiritual archetype of that species, which in turn embodied a particular spirit power.
The Four Directions
Another key feature of the Native American spiritual outlook is found in the powers ascribed to the Four Directions, which occur either literally or in symbolic form throughout the stories. These are often represented by particular colours, or by animals.
The Four Directions have to be in balance for all to be well with the world, and often a central point of balance is identified as a fifth direction; for example, four brothers represent the outer directions, and their sister the centre.
Native American myths include all the types found worldwide, such as stories of creation, and of heroic journeys. However, they are particularly rich in ‘trickster’ myths. Notable examples are Coyote and Iktome. The trickster is an ambiguous figure who demonstrates the qualities of early human development (both cultural and psychological) that make civilization possible, and yet which cause problems. He is an expression of the least developed stage of life, which is dominated by physical appetites.
The story below is of another type, that of the ‘culture deity’, a key figure who brings a tribe its major ceremonies, customs and spiritual insights.
This is a central myth of the Plains tribes, especially the Lakota, or Sioux. It tells how the Lakota first received their sacred pipe and the ceremony in which to use it. It has often been related, for example by Black Elk, Lame Deer and Looks for Buffalo.In the days before the Lakota had horses on which to hunt the buffalo, food was often scarce. One summer when the Lakota nation had camped together, there was very little to eat. Two young men of the Itazipcho band – the ‘Without-Bows’ – decided they would rise early and look for game. They left the camp while the dogs were still yawning, and set out across the plain, accompanied only by the song of the yellow meadowlark.
After a while the day began to grow warm. Crickets chirruped in the waving grass, prairie dogs darted into their holes as the braves approached, but still there was no real game. So the young men made towards a little hill from which they would see further across the vast expanse of level prairie. Reaching it, they shielded their eyes and scanned the distance, but what they saw coming out of the growing heat haze was something bright, that seemed to go on two legs, not four. In a while they could see that it was a very beautiful woman in shining white buckskin.
As the woman came closer, they could see that her buckskin was wonderfully decorated with sacred designs in rainbow-coloured porcupine quills. She carried a bundle on her back, and a fan of fragrant sage leaves in her hand. Her jet-black hair was loose, except for a single strand tied with buffalo fur. Her eyes were full of light and power, and the young men were transfixed.
Now one of the men was filled with a burning desire. ‘What a woman!’ he said sideways to his friend. ‘And all alone on the prairie. I’m going to make the most of this!’
‘You fool,’ said the other. ‘This woman is holy.’
But the foolish one had made up his mind, and when the woman beckoned him towards her, he needed no second invitation. As he reached out for her, they were both enveloped in a great cloud. When it lifted, the woman stood there, while at her feet was nothing but a pile of bones with terrible snakes writhing among them.
‘Behold,’ said the woman to the good brave. ‘I am coming to your people with a message from Tatanka Oyate, the buffalo nation. Return to Chief Standing Hollow Horn and tell him what you have seen. Tell him to prepare a tipi large enough for all his people, and to get ready for my coming.’
The young man ran back across the prairie and was gasping for breath as he reached his camp. With a small crowd of people already following him, he found Standing Hollow Horn and told him what had happened, and that the woman was coming. The chief ordered several tipis to be combined into one big enough for his band. The people waited excitedly for the woman to arrive.
After four days the scouts posted to watch for the holy woman saw something coming towards them in a beautiful manner from across the prairie. Then suddenly the woman was in the great lodge, walking round it in a sunwise direction. She stopped before Standing Hollow Horn in the west of the lodge, and held her bundle before him in both hands.
‘Look on this,’ she said, ‘and always love and respect it. No one who is impure should ever touch this bundle, for it contains the sacred pipe.’
She unrolled the skin bundle and took out a pipe, and a small round stone which she put down on the ground.
‘With this pipe you will walk on the earth, which is your grandmother and your mother. The earth is sacred, and so is every step that you take on her. The bowl of the pipe is of red stone; it is the earth. Carved into it and facing the centre is the buffalo calf, who stands for all the four-leggeds. The stem is of wood, which stands for all that grows on the earth. These twelve hanging feathers from the Spotted Eagle stand for all the winged creatures. All these living things of the universe are the children of Mother Earth. You are all joined as one family, and you will be reminded of this when you smoke the pipe. Treat this pipe and the earth with respect, and your people will increase and prosper.’
The woman told them that seven circles carved on the stone represented the seven rites in which the people would learn to use the sacred pipe. The first was for the rite of ‘keeping the soul’, which she now taught them. The remaining rites they would learn in due course.
The woman made as if to leave the lodge, but then she turned and spoke to Standing Hollow Horn again. ‘This pipe will carry you to the end. Remember that in me there are four ages. I am going now, but I will look on your people in every age, and at the end I will return.’
She now walked slowly around the lodge in a sunwise direction. The people were silent and filled with awe. Even the hungry young children watched her, their eyes alive with wonder. Then she left. But after she had walked a short distance, she faced the people again and sat down on the prairie. The people gazing after her were amazed to see that when she stood up she had become a young red and brown buffalo calf. The calf walked further into the prairie, and then lay down and rolled over, looking back at the people.
When she stood up she was a white buffalo. The white buffalo walked on until she was a bright speck in the distant prairie, and then rolled over again, and became a black buffalo. This buffalo walked away, stopped, bowed to the four directions of the earth, and finally disappeared over the hill.
A gopher in the Badlands
Lakota four directions sunwheel; porcupine quill on buffalo hide (Lula Red Cloud). Picture the outer colours as trailing arms on a spinning sun disc.
To the Lakota this is probably the most important of all their myths. It has also become a spiritual focus for Plains tribes generally. It has three main aspects: White Buffalo Woman herself and what she represents, both historically and in the present day; the encounter with the two young men; and the importance of the sacred pipe and the ritual that goes with it.
The spirit woman
This is the only myth in which White Buffalo Woman appears. Moreover, there is no attempt to create a whole life story for her, and she has no identifiable family or husband, unlike the Navajo’s Changing Woman. She is altogether mysterious, appearing on the distant horizon, bringing her gifts, and then departing. In her self-sufficiency and virgin inviolability she is like the Greek goddesses Athene and Artemis, though since the coming of the Native American Church, many Native people have identified her with the Virgin Mary.
Certainly she is a powerful anima figure, a maiden goddess who springs direct, untarnished, from the spirit world. She is also a culture goddess in that she brings the all-important fetish object, the sacred pipe, as well as teaching the people how to use it to remain in communication with the spirit world. She is said to come from the north, which is the home of the Buffalo Nation (Tatanka Oyate), and the place of health and spiritual growth through self-discipline and endurance.
She is of course closely identified with the buffalo. For the Lakota, as for most Plains tribes, the buffalo was a vital source of food and clothing, as well as providing most of the material goods of everyday life. Tools were made from its bones, rattles from its hooves, tipis from its hide. The Plains tribes also had a close spiritual relationship with the buffalo, as inferred by the Lakota emergence myth in which the medicine man turns himself into a buffalo to feed the tribe.
The Ghost Dance religion, which tragically led to the Wounded Knee Massacre, had as one of its aims the restoration of the buffalo. It met with failure, but there is a prophecy, believed by many modern Lakota, that when four white buffalo have been born, then the old ways will return and the earth will be saved. White Buffalo Woman herself, in the myth, promises to return ‘at the end’.
The two young men show very different attitudes towards the spirit world. One is oblivious to the woman’s power, and is reduced to bones by this encounter with spirit for which he is totally unprepared. Joseph Epes Brown, in Sacred Pipe, quotes the famous Lakota medicine man Black Elk’s explanation of the foolish man’s fate: ‘Any man who is attached to the senses and to the things of this world, is one who lives in ignorance and is being consumed by the snakes which represent his own passions.’
This makes the important point that the foolish man’s action stands for more than just sexual desire.
The pipe is extremely important in Lakota ritual. It is the symbolic means of making an exchange between humanity and the spirit world. Hence when smoked it is always offered to the Four Directions. The smoke is regarded as rising up to the spirit world.
The Plains tribes still make their pipe bowls from red pipestone found only in a quarry in south-west Minnesota. The dark red stone is said to be the congealed blood of those killed in the Flood, and it is also a reminder of the blood sacrificed by the creator Inyan in order to make the world. In addition it is the colour of the earth in much of Lakota territory. Lastly, it is the colour of the ‘red road’ associated with the north, the direction from which White Buffalo Woman comes. This refers to what in Christian terms is the ‘path of righteousness’.
When the White Buffalo Woman enters the lodge she walks around it in the solar directions, to meet the chief in the west (opposite the east, place of dawn and therefore of enlightenment). The spotted eagle feathers on the pipe are symbols of transcendent solar spiritual power. His feathers are equated with rays of the sun. As Joseph Epes Brown says, when a Lakota wears the eagle-feathered war bonnet, he ‘actually becomes the eagle, which is to say that he identifies himself, his real Self, with Wakan Tanka.’ Thus when the Ghost Dancers sang, ‘The Spotted Eagle is coming to carry me away,’ they were referring to spiritual transcendence of the material world.
The Significance of Dreams and Visions for Indians
[This text was originally published in 1907 by the Bureau of American Ethnology as part of its Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. It was later reproduced, in 1913, by the Geographic Board of Canada. The work done by the American Bureau was monumental, well informed and incorporated the most advanced scholarship available at the time. In many respects, the information is still useful today, although prudence should be exercised and the reader should consult some of the contemporary texts on the history and the anthropology of the North American Indians suggested in the bibliographic introduction to this section. The articles were not completely devoid of the paternalism and the prejudices prevalent at the time. While some of the terminology used would not pass the test of our “politically correct” era, most terms have been left unchanged by the editor. If a change in the original text has been effected it will be found between brackets [.] The original work contained long bibliographies that have not been reproduced for this web edition. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]
Most revelations of what was regarded by the Indians as coming from the supernatural powers were believed to be received in dreams or visions. Through them were bestowed on man magical abilities and the capacity to foresee future events, to control disease, and to become able to fill the office of priest or of leader. It was the common belief of the Indians that these dreams or visions must be sought through the observance of some rite involving more or less personal privation; an exception is found in the Mohave who believe that the dream seeks the individual, coming to him before birth, or during infancy, as well as in mature life. In general the initiation of a man’s personal relations to the unseen through dreams and visions took place during the fast which occurred at puberty, and the thing seen at that time became the medium of supernatural help and knowledge, and in some tribes determined his affiliations. It was his sacred object. It had no reference to his kindred, but was strictly personal in its efficacy, and he painted it on his person or his belongings as a prayer for assistance – a call for help in directing his actions. Any dream of ordinary sleep in which this object appeared had meaning for him and its suggestions were heeded. Men with a natural turn of mind toward the mysterious frequently became shamans and leaders in rites which dealt with the occult. Such persons, from the time of their first fast, cultivated their ability to dream and to have visions; the dreams came during natural sleep, the visions during an ecstasy when the man was either wholly or partially unconscious of his surroundings. It was generally believed that such men had power to bring or to avert disaster through direct communication with the unseen.
Many of the elaborate ceremonies observed among the tribes were said to have been received through visions, the actual performance following faithfully in detail the prefiguration of the vision. So, too, many of the shrines and their contents were believed to have been supernaturally bestowed in a vision upon some one person whose descendants were to be the hereditary keepers of the sacred articles. The time for the performance of rites connected with a shrine, and also other ceremonies, frequently depended on an intimation received in a dream.
The dreams of a man filling an important position, as the leader of a war party, were often regarded as significant, especially if he had carried with him some one of the sacred tribal objects as a medium of supernatural communication. This object was supposed to speak to him in dreams and give him directions which would insure safety and success. Forecasting the future was deemed possible by means of artificially induced visions. The skin of a freshly killed animal, or one that had been well soaked for the purpose, was wound around the neck of a man until the gentle pressure on the veins caused insensibility, then in a vision he saw the place toward which his party was going and all that was to take place was prefigured. In some tribes a skin kept for this special purpose was held sacred and used for divining by means of an induced vision. Some Indians employed plants, as the peyote, or mescal button, for like purposes. That the spirit left the body and travelled independently, and was able to discern objects distant both in time and space, was believed by certain tribes; others thought that the vision came to the man as a picture or in the form of a complete dramatic ceremony.
The general belief concerning dreams and visions seems to have been that the mental images seen with closed eyes were not fancies but actual glimpses of the unseen world where dwelt the generic types of all things and where all events that were to take place in the visible world were determined and prefigured.
The Native American Sweatlodge
A Spiritual Tradition
A Crow sweat lodge.–Museum of the American Indian
The Sweat Lodge Ceremony, now central to most Native American cultures and spiritual life, is an adaptation of the sweat bath common to many ethnic cultures found in North and South America, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and Africa. It was prompted by the influence of European culture with its corrupting effect on native culture. With the introduction of alcohol and the inhumane treatment of native people, the need to re-purify themselves and find their way back to traditional ways of living became evident, as they were becoming increasingly poisoned by European culture. The Sweat Lodge Ceremony was the answer.
With the help of Medicine Men and Women, they could repair the damage done to their spirits, their minds and their bodies. The Sweat Lodge is a place of spiritual refuge and mental and physical healing, a place to get answers and guidance by asking spiritual entities, totem helpers, the Creator and Mother Earth for the needed wisdom and power.
A traditional Sweat Lodge is a wickiup made up of slender withes of aspen or willow, or other supple saplings, lashed together with raw hide, or grass or root cordage, although in some areas the lodge was constructed of whatever materials were at hand, from a mud roofed pit house to a cedar bark and plank lodge. The ends of the withes are set into the ground in a circle, approximately 10 feet in diameter, although there is no set size for a Sweat Lodge. That is determined by the location, materials available and the builder. The withes are bent over and lashed to form a low domed framework approximately 4 – 5 feet high at the center. The pit in the center is about 2 feet in diameter and a foot deep. The floor of the lodge may be clean swept dirt, or natural grassy turf, or may be covered with a mat of sweetgrass, soft cedar boughs, or sage leaves for comfort and cleanliness, kept away from the central pit.
The lodge in former times was covered with the hides of buffalo, bear or moose. In this day, the animal skins have been replaced with blankets, plastic sheeting, old carpet, heavy gauge canvas sheets and tarps to retain the heat and the steam.
In many traditions the entrance to the sweat lodge faces to the East and the sacred fire pit. This has very significant spiritual value. Each new day for all begins in the East with the rising of Father Sun, the source of life and power, dawn of wisdom, while the fire heating the rocks is the undying light of the world, eternity, and it is a new spiritual beginning day that we seek in the sweat ceremony.
Between the entrance to the lodge and the sacred fire pit, where the stones are heated, is an altar barrier, beyond which none may pass except the lodge or fire keepers, to prevent participants from accidently falling into the fire as they emerge from sweat. Traditionally this barrier altar is a buffalo or other skull atop a post, placed about 3 paces from the entrance and 3 paces from the fire, to warn of the danger. At the base of the post is a small raised earthen altar upon which are placed items sacred to the group or clan, sage, sweetgrass, feathers, etc., bordered with the four colors, and a pipe rack for the chanunpa.
Common to all traditions, and the sweat, is the ideal of spiritual cleanliness. Many sweats start with the participants fasting for an entire day of contemplation in preparation for the sweat while avoiding caffeine, alcohol and other unhealthy substances. Prior to entering the sweat the participants usually smudge with sage, sweetgrass or cedar smoke as a means toward ritual cleanliness.
Bringing personal sacred items is allowed but some rules apply. Items such as Eagle feathers, whistles and medicine pouches are allowed and welcomed. You should not bring anything that is not natural into the Sweat Lodge, such as: watches, ear rings, gold, silver, eye glasses, false teeth, etc. In many cultures a female on her moon is not allowed into the sweat, but in some they are.
A Sweat Ceremony in many traditions usually starts with the loading and offering of the sacred chanunpa ~ “peace pipe” ~ in prayer, that the participants may know and speak the truth in their supplications of Grandfather, Earth Mother and the spirits. In other traditions, when you are called upon to go into the sweat lodge you will have some tobacco to offer to the sacred fire, saying a prayer or asking a question, the smoke from the tobacco carrying your request to the Great Spirit. As you prepare to enter the lodge the sweat leader smudges you with the smoke of burning sage, cedar, or sweetgrass, wafting the smoke over you with an eagle feather. You then crawl into the lodge in a sun-wise (clockwise) direction, bowing in humility to Great Spirit and in close contact with Earth Mother, and take your place in the circle, sitting crosslegged upright against the wall of the lodge.
When all are inside the sweat leader calls upon the doorkeeper to drop the flap covering the lodge opening. The lodge becomes dark, and at this point the lodge leader announces that all are free to leave the lodge at any time if they cannot endure. (If you must leave, speak out “Mitakuye Oyasin,” “All my relatives.” The other participants will move away from the wall so that you may pass behind them as you leave in a clockwise direction.) He then asks for a short, contemplative silence. After the brief silence the flap is raised, and the leader calls upon the fire tender to bring in the heated stones from the sacred fire.
The Stone People spirits are awakened in the stones by heating them in the sacred fire until red-hot. They are swept clean with a pine or cedar bough to remove smoking embers which would cause irritating discomfort in the lodge. One at a time they are placed in the shallow pit inside the sweat lodge, placing first the stone on the west, then north, east, south, and in the center to Grandfather. Additional stones are then placed to Grandmother and The People. After four to seven stones are in the pit, depending on tradition (and probably the size of the stones), the entrance is closed and sealed by the Sweat Lodge Keeper, who generally is also the fire tender.
Aglow with the luminance of the red hot stones, the ceremony begins in the lodge. The sweat leader sounds the Water Drum and calls forth the spirit guides in prayer from the Four Directions. The sweat leader then dips water and pours it onto the hot stones in the pit, producing large amounts of steam, usually one dipper for each of the four directions, or until he is told by the spirits to stop. Then he begins his prayers, songs and chants.
A typical prayer might be:
Grandfather, Mysterious One,
Grandfather, Sacred One,
Let us begin this very day,
During the purification of one’s spirit inside a sweat lodge, all sense of race, color and religion is set aside. As in the Mother’s womb and the Father’s eyes, we are all the same, we are One. Each of us has the ability to sit with the Creator himself. Healing begins here for dis-ease, physical, emotional, directional and spiritual.
As the steam and temperature rises so do our senses. Messages and vision from the Spirit World are received through the group consciousness of the participants. One at a time, as a talking stick is passed, all the people inside get an opportunity to speak, to pray and to ask for guidance and forgiveness from the Creator and the people they have hurt. As they go around the circle, they tell who they are, where they are from, and what is their clan, so the Creator, the Spirit People, and all there can acknowledge them.
A sweat is typically four sessions, called rounds or endurances, each lasting about 30 to 45 minutes. The round ends when the leader announces the opening of the door.
The first round is for recognition of the spirit world which resides in the black West where the sun goes down, and the Creator may be asked for a “spirit guide” by some of the participants.
The second round is for recognition of courage, endurance, strength, cleanliness, and honesty, calling upon the power of the white North.
The recognition of knowledge and individual prayer symbolize the third round, praying to the direction of the daybreak star and the rising sun that we may gain wisdom, that we may follow the Red Road of the East in all our endeavors.
The yellow South stands for growth and healing. Thus, the last round centers on spiritual growth and healing. From our spirit guides from the west, from the courage, honesty and endurance of the north, from the knowledge and wisdom obtained from the east, we continue the circle to the south from which comes growth. It is from growth and maturing that healing comes.
At the completion of each round, the participants may emerge, if desired, to plunge into an adjacent pool or stream if one is available, or roll in the snow if the sweat is held in winter. In arid areas the participants roll in the sand to cool off and remove the sweat. Many participants maintain their places in the lodge until completion of the fourth round, while the cooled stones in the pit are removed and replaced with hot stones.
There are many different forms of sweat ceremonies in Indian country. Each people has their own tradition and this is especially clear when it comes to the sweat lodge ceremony. Many differences, depending on the people participating, occur during each ritual. For instance, many times rounds are held in complete silence and meditation as the participants feel the need. At other less intense times, a round may be devoted to story telling and recounting of the clan’s creation stories. This is all part of spiritual and emotional healing and growth. Respect, sincerity, humility, the ability to listen and slow down are all key in the way you approach ceremony.
Who Sweats and Why?
The sweat lodge ceremony usually occurs before and after other major rituals like the “Vision Quest” for example. The aim of the ceremony is to purify one’s mind, body, spirit and heart. It is also a “stand alone” ritual that it occurs whenever it is needed. Sweat lodge essentially translates into returning to the womb and the innocence of childhood. The lodge is dark, moist, hot and safe. The darkness relates to human ignorance before the spiritual world and so much of the physical world.
Traditionally it was only the men who would sweat. As time has passed and the lodge has evolved, other levels have been shown. The sweat lodge has given many gifts and shown itself as a way to not only cleanse, but to release anger, guilt and shame in a safe way, and to bring people together as ONE. These days women sweat also, provided they are not on their moon time or cleansing time already. Men can sweat separately and women can sweat separately, or there can be mixed sweats where men and women both participate. The Elder or Lodge Keeper running the ceremony according to their teachings will determine this.
Observing very strict protocols while in ceremony are key. Men and women must both practice modesty in their dress when they come to ceremony. Sweat lodge is not a fashion show, nor is it a place for vanity or to get a date. This is a sacred place to pray, meditate, learn and heal, and that must be the focus.
Unlike “New Age” sweats we do not go in naked when men and women are present. It has nothing to do with being uncomfortable with our bodies, as some would have us believe. Rather it is about not confusing spirituality with sexuality, and creating a safe place where all people feel comfortable. Men, women, boys and girls can all benefit from the lodges. Modesty is to be practiced in our dress, meaning that men wear shorts and bring a couple of towels to cover themselves and the women wear modest dress or long skirt with a loose T-shirt and a couple of towels.
We must always walk the Red Road in a way that honors others’ views and teachings without sacrificing our own. All of these ways are good, none is better or worse than the other.
We need to unite all of the races and both of the sexes if we are going to be strong and the Sacred Hoop is to be mended. Every form of spirituality goes through change. This evolution reflects the changing needs of the community and of our environment. Anything that will not change risks isolating itself from the people. Water is life and changes everything, even the hardest stone. The change that is needed is turning towards each other instead of away from one another. If we ceremony together, we heal together, we laugh together, live and love together.
If you are invited to a sweat, the 24 hours previous to the sweat should be spent in cleansing, fasting, prayer and meditation on the intended purpose of the sweat, and you should be free from drugs and alcohol. For the greatest spiritual benefit, these conditions should be met.
If you would like to know more of what happens in a sweat lodge ceremony the answer is quite simple:
And so it is . . .
A simple alternative to Tai-Chi
By Christopher T. Wong, CFT
Y-Dan is an ancient exercise dating back over 2000 years. Initially, it was practiced only by the Chinese imperial families and remained quite secret. Eventually, it was lost and remained so for centuries until 1978. It was at this time that it was rediscovered and practiced again in Taiwan. In a very short time, its popularity became so widespread that due to the limited number of qualified instructors, only people over the age of 40 were allowed to learn.
Y-Dan is a full body exercise with its own warm-up and cool-down built into it. It exercises every part of the body and has a very balancing effect on the body and mind. The name of the exercise actually translates to External Elixir which means that it was designed to exercise the exterior of the body, which includes the muscles, joints, ligaments, etc. Because of this, it is also one of the safest exercises you can do. Another exercise very closely related is called Nei Dan which translates to Internal Elixir However, this exercise is much harder to learn and can potentially cause more harm if done improperly. The beauty of Y-Dan is that it’s arranged in such a way that it can be learned very quickly and efficiently. There are only 19 movements in the exercise, so each movement can be remembered more easily and practiced with more repetition. With some other types of exercise, you may do each movement only once. But in Y-Dan, each movement is done either 4 times or 10 times.
The “Chi” is something you may have heard of before. It’s basically your body’s energy flow balancing the body, mind, and spirit. When the Chi flows well throughout the body and your meridians are open, you will experience vibrant health with energy and a general feeling of well-being. It’s also much more difficult for disease to take root with everything flowing so well. Now you may have heard of athletes dying very young and think to yourself, “How could they have died so young when they were in such great shape?” The truth is that they may not have been in such great shape after all. Just because someone looks good, it does not mean that they have balanced health. A lot of athletes exercise to the point of overtraining which can cause a shock to the system. That, when combined with very severe dietary and drug practices makes their bodies into walking time bombs. Unless you’re experienced, you can’t tell any of this from looking at them. But believe me, I’ve seen it myself. They fool everyone around them. Then one day an injury hits them, then they get a string of illnesses, get hurt a few more times in a futile effort trying to regain their former glory, and finally, it’s game over. Remember, I’ve seen this myself!
What these people need is balance. They need to tone down their more intense exercises and include balancing exercises to bring harmony to their bodies. Clearly, they did not have good flow of Chi. Y-Dan is excellent for this purpose. It’s easy to learn, is very effective at promoting the Chi and makes you feel great. Not only that, but it also helps prevent and rehabilitate injuries. I’ve taught numerous people Y-Dan who suffered from various joint problems including Fibromyalgia and Sciatica among other things. At first, the students were not able to perform all the movements. But eventually, once they were able to do them all, their pain was almost gone! It may not have left 100%, but they were able to do many things that they hadn’t done in years.
Another point I’d like to make is that I’m not saying you shouldn’t do other exercises. By all means, do them as long as they don’t involve impact. Although Y-Dan can work very well by itself and certainly has helped countless people using nothing else, it can also help balance out other exercises you do. I am also a bodybuilder of more than 11 years and take my weight training very seriously. However, when I started including Y-Dan in my daily routine, I can say with absolute certainty that it enhanced my exercise greatly. Getting up to go in the morning was easier, starting my workouts was easier even in cold weather, and I had more overall energy and balance. As much as I look forward to my bodybuilding workouts, I look forward to my Y-Dan.
As with any exercise, exercising first thing in the morning is the most beneficial. This is primarily because of blood circulation. Between the hours of 1AM and 3 AM, the liver is placed under the most strain and retains the most blood, which is why people will often wake up during this time to use the bathroom, and also why people have cold hands and feet in the morning. By exercising first thing in the morning, you will make your body more efficient by forcing the blood out of the liver and to the rest of the body. Also, your focus is generally better in the morning, and unexpected things often have a way of creeping up on you as the day goes on. By exercising first, you don’t have to worry about that, because you’ve already done your exercise.
I have been an instructor in Y-Dan for the past 7 years and a weight-training instructor for 9 years, working in conjunction with Prime Health Products. Due to the demand for the Y-Dan classes and to make it accessible to people who don’t live in the Toronto area, I produced an instructional DVD making it possible for anyone anywhere to learn this fabulous exercise.
There are 19 movements in total with 7 introduction movements and 12 core or main movements. It begins gradually with very slow movements, eventually getting harder and more dynamic, until it finally slows down again at the very end.
- EMBRACING THE MOON: This is a general warm-up exercise to slowly open your energy meridians.
- TURNING THE HEAD: This is another warm-up exercise again opening the energy meridians and involving movement of the head.
- WALKING AGAINST THE WIND: This involves some deep breathing along with some leg movements to slowly bring the whole body into play.
- SWINGING THE ARMS: This is a faster movement involving somewhat more vigorous breathing and arm movements.
- BENDING: This is a forward stretching exercise.
- STRETCHING: This is a more dynamic stretching exercise combining forward stretching with overhead stretching in a fluid motion.
- ROTATION: This is a combination of rotation of the body and deep breathing to end the introduction movements.
- PREPARATION: This is a warm-up for the core movements. However, the movements are faster than the warm-up in the introduction movements with more vigorous motions.
- BREATHING LIKE A TURTLE: This combines forward bending with very deep breathing and in particular has helped many of my students over the years with back pain.
- KNEELING AND SWINGING: This is probably the most dynamic movement of the entire exercise involving knee bending (squatting), arm exercise, and finger exercise all in 1 movement.
- FLAPPING YOUR WINGS: This involves quick movements of the arms moving away from your body resembling a bird flapping its wings.
- STRENGTHENING THE SHOULDERS: This does exactly what the name suggests. Through various rotations and upward extensions of the shoulders, they are strengthened and these movements are also very effective at rehabilitating shoulder injuries.
- THE EQUILIBRIUM BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH: This movement is a very effective balancing exercise. It involves quick movements with the arms outstretched.
- CROSSING YOUR ARMS: This exercise strengthens the fingers and forearms.
- PRESENTING THE PEARL: This is another excellent balancing exercise. It involves both short and deep breathing along with short and long arm movements.
- ROTATION AND FINGER STRENGTHENING: As the name suggests, this combines rotation with finger strengthening while at the same time, involving deep breathing.
- STRENGTHENING THE HEART AND SPIRIT: This is a very dynamic movement with finger strengthening and vigorous arm and leg movements.
- SWINGING THE FOOT: This is a balancing exercise in the sense that it’s done while standing on 1 leg. It exercises the calf muscles and involves quick shaking movements of the legs.
- WALKING LIKE A CRANE: This is the cool-down of the exercise and is a slow fluid motion to bring you right back to where you started.
T’ai chi ch’uan (“grand ultimate”) is said to have been started by Chang San-feng. According to one myth, the 12-century Taoist monk was disturbed when he heard a crane and a snake fighting. When the crane stabbed with its beak, the snake twisted away; when the snake tried to strike, the crane shielded itself with its wings. This gave Chang the idea for a martial art based on yielding in the face of aggression. Another myth holds that the tai chi movements were revealed to him in a dream; he had been searching for the elixir of life, but realized that the body’s “chi” (life force) flows like a liquid, and that tai chi could be used as a life-giving force. Based on the principles of Taoism, tai chi seeks to develop both the mind and body by treating the two as one cohesive unit. As opposed to the “hard” martial art of Shaolin, which relies on physical skill, tai chi is a “soft” form of internally-based self-defense. The ability to bend, says Tao Te Ching, means we can avoid breaking and then straighten once again.
Tight Shoulders: An old Treatment From China
By David Bock C.Ac. Dipl.OM FABORM
TS Photo 1 (Rip-please make this a large photo to the left with the copy of the first paragprah running to the right and below–thanks
The dream of many of those in karate, kung fu or other martial arts is the relaxed fast punch, strike or grab. Mechanically speaking, many empty-hand and weapons strikes require relaxed muscles in and around the shoulders. “Dropping” the shoulders into a relaxed position allows for a fast and powerful technique.
For some modern martial artists, this seemingly simple act is made more difficult because of their modern lifestyle. Many people have chronically tight shoulders. This can be the result many things such as sitting at computers and being stuck in traffic. Both situations can promote the habit of pulling the shoulders up in order to hold the arms and hands in specific positions (either the keyboard or on the steering wheel). The result is “knotting”, spasms and tightness in the Trapezius muscle. Often there are also “knots” in the Levator Scapulae, and Rhomboids. The result is a tightness that slows down the functioning of the movement of the shoulders and upper back. This can result in pain in the occipital (back) area of the head, neck pain and sometimes herniation in the cervical spine, as well as numbness and tingling in the arms and fingers.
Making a habit of relaxing and dropping the shoulders can eventually correct this problem. Regular massage and adjusting your steering wheel and computer can also help. Often these measures are insufficient to fully release the muscles. One very valuable traditional treatment for this condition is fire cupping. There are a number of Fire Cupping methods. Two of the most common are illustrated below.
|Fire Twinkling Method (I have no idea how this method got its name): This is perhaps the most common method of Fire Cupping. At left is a glass Fire Cup. After a tense back muscle is identified, the cup is heated with an alcohol fueled (cotton ball) flame for a few seconds, and quickly placed on the skin and held in position until cool, at which time the cup adheres to the skin by a vacuum. After treatment the removal of the cup is a simple matter of breaking the seal at the edge of the cup with a finger.|
|The Paper or Paper Flower Method: This method is very often used in China. After a tense back muscle is identified, a “paper flower” is made (left photo). This consists of a coin or coins wrapped in paper, the paper pulled upward to resemble a blooming flower, the coins creating a weighted base. This is placed on the identified muscle and ignited. The cup is placed over the flame and held in place until the cup adheres to the skin by a vacuum. Removal of cups is a simple matter of breaking the seal at the edge of the cup with a finger.|
Fire cups historically have been used throughout the world, and are not specific to any one area of traditional medicine. Basic fire cupping technique is often considered folk medicine, and the basic technique is relatively simple. The tight muscles (usually on the back or shoulders) are identified. A special glass cup is heated, (There are a variety of ways to heat the cup, some modern practitioners use cups attached to a vacuum pump instead of heat) the cup is placed on the skin over the tight muscle, as the cup cools, a vacuum is formed drawing the tissue up into the cup and pulling on the muscle. The local muscles “fight” the cup. This is similar to the situation created if you hold a weight out at arms length. Eventually the arm muscles tire and release making it impossible to lift the weight.
The cups are left in place up to 15 minutes or sometimes “slid” across the area to massage the muscles. Eventually the muscle becomes exhausted and releases. The now flaccid muscle can be massaged into its proper state. Often a topical sports liniment is applied to help the muscles recover after treatment. This technique is repeated as needed over days or weeks until the muscles remain loose and relaxed.
Fire cupping is unique in the way that it forces the muscles to relax. Massage can also exhaust and relax the muscle, but it usually takes a lot of extended deep tissue massage to accomplish this. Often patients who have used both massage and fire cups point out that fire cups accomplish in 15 minutes what it takes a massage therapist over an hour of concentrated effort. The continuous force applied by the fire cup means that the muscles can not retighten during the treatment. A massage therapist can only pull or stretch the muscle as long as their strength holds out. This means that the massaged muscle can “snap back” while the massage therapist adjusts their grip.
Heat will also relax muscles, but heat does not change the way the muscles are spasming. The tightness will return as soon as the muscles cool. Acupressure, Shiatsu and other pressing methods are limited in how far they can stretch the muscle. As the muscle is pressed, it will only stretch as far as the local structure will allow. The muscle stretch stops when the muscle is pushed into the bone or other muscles. This is often not sufficient to truly stretch the muscle enough to get the spasming to stop. Fire cupping pulls the muscles away from the body. The amount of stretch is only limited by the elasticity of the skin. It is this extreme stretching under a continuous force that makes fire cupping so effective.
It is best to work with someone who has the training in fire cupping techniques to determine if they are an appropriate treatment. Many Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners/acupuncturists, other traditional healers and some massage therapists have the training to do fire cupping. Fire cupping is relatively safe with few complications. The only real concerns are bruising to the skin and possible burns. To avoid burns, many practitioners invest in modern fire cupping sets that use a pump rather than fire to create the vacuum.
Fire cupping is considered folk medicine. It is a safe and easy to learn technique, even for the non professional. The recommendation is to get a professional to teach you how to do the technique. There are some safety rules of thumb. Do not fire cup over damaged skin or open wounds. Do not fire cup an area, until the circles, or bruises from a previous treatment have healed. Be very cautious with treating anyone who has diabetes, is elderly or has very thin skin.
For the person who has chronically tight shoulders, Fire cupping can be very helpful in loosening up the muscles so that the shoulders move freely. The general rule of thumb is that the longer the muscles have been tight, the more treatments it is going to take to fully loosen them up. Loosening those muscles can help your overall martial arts techniques and skills improve.
By Mark Jenkins, MD
Editor’s Note: Because hamstring injuries are so common in karate, kung fu and other martial arts we have posted this article from the SportsMedWeb.
The hamstring muscles are located in the back of the thigh and injuries can be acute or chronic. Sprinting subjects these muscles to high tension loads and sudden tears can occur. The recent Olympic games in Atlanta saw several sprinters go down in agony with acute hamstring injuries. Conditions that predispose to acute injury are,
• inadequate warm-up/stretching,
• poor lower back flexibility, and
• abnormal biomechanics (e.g., anterior pelvic tilt).
Chronic hamstring injuries usually arise from an improperly rehabilitated acute injury, but may occur as the result of small amounts of trauma repeated over a long period (i.e., distance running). Poor hamstring flexibility increases the likelihood of small tears, which in turn cause the muscle to shorten and get tighter. A vicious circle can become established. Prompt and appropriate initial treatment can break this spiral. The initial care of an acute hamstring injury involves the R.I.C.E. regimen. This acronym stands for,
• compression (e.g., an ace bandage), and
After 1 – 2 days, the athlete can stop the intermittent application of ice and begin a gentle stretching routine. It is important not to overstretch into the pain range , since this will contribute to muscle damage. As recovery progresses, rehabilitation exercises are added and gradually increased. Soft tissue therapy is useful to promote full range of motion and to break down areas of “scar” formation. Return to full functional activity should proceed slowly and be carefully monitored. Treat the injured muscle with respect. Too quick a return may cause a quick recurrence.
The final phases of treatment, as well as prevention, involve correcting any existing biomechanical problems and a hamstring strengthening program. A good running coach can help uncover any abnormal motion in running and video analysis can help show the athlete what is happening. Weak abdominal muscles are often the cause of an anterior (forward) pelvic tilt. Finally, eccentric exercises are vital for the prevention of hamstring injuries.
Eccentric – the muscle lengthens as it exerts force (e.g. lowering a weight). This can be done with the hamstring by using ankle weights, or using specific exercise equipment. One method to perform eccentric exercises with hamstring curl equipment is to raise the weight with two legs, and then slowly lower with one.
This article is posted with permission of Dr. Mark Jenkins and SportsMedWeb.
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