Friday, January 30, 2009

New Exercise

I've been working my way through some exercises in relaxation, attentiveness and focus with my class, and I think this one in particular is highly valuable and potentially useful to SpiritFire attendees.  It could easily be matched with transformative breathwork, or some of the other processes that get taught in SpiritFire workshops — but it only takes a couple of minutes a day, especially once you get used to it.

1) lie down in a relatively comfortable, dimly-lit space.
2) make yourself comfortable.
3) Begin flexing muscles, small and large, in order, from the tips of your left fingers up your arm to your shoulders.  
4) As each muscle tenses, hold it a moment and then release it, releasing the tension that goes with it.
5) As you reach your shoulders, scrunch up the muscles on the back of your neck, and then release the tension; do the same to your face, chest, and then down your right arm.  
6) The more attentive you are to tightening and releasing each muscle, the easier this will be to do quickly.
7) Tighten and then release the pectoral muscles of the chest, and then the horizontal bands of abdominal muscles.  Tighten the muscles of the lower back and release.
8) Tighten the buttocks and then release.  You should feel your spinal column relax against the floor, especially if you tighten and release the muscles of the lower back as well.
9) Tighten and release the muscles of the thighs, front and back; and then the calves.
10)  Flex, tighten and release the muscles of the ankles, feet, and toes in turn.
11) Take a few minutes to sense where there is any further tension in your body. Then work your way through all the body, top to bottom, rapidly tightening and releasing all the muscles through a second round.
12) Repeat a third time, if necessary.

At this point, you will have given yourself a thorough workout of all the major muscles and minor muscle groups, and you should be feeling relatively calm, relaxed, and happy.  Intense workouts using this method can generate tears, moments of anger, flashes of pain, and even spontaneous laughter.  It's slow-going at first but the process picks up speed with practice, and it makes me feel most days as if I spent part of the previous night dancing in the sweet spot at SpiritFire.

No comments: