Today I write to thank you for your support of our Yoga Program. The past few weeks have been great is several ways! It makes my night to see interactions between participants making each other feel welcome and scrunching closer to make room for each other as classes get more full. Of course we have been doing some great work toward our goals with each class. I appreciate each of you making room in your schedule for our class, we can have many irons in the fire and it is important that you feel welcome attending and comfortable with your practice.
Over the years there have been times when I feel to busy for practice. It is during these times it is needed most. Occasionally I have tried to “multi task”, practicing while watching a webinar, or listening to a lecture. Sometimes I have felt the need to keep my phone near me to know the time or to watch for that important message. These multi-tasking strategies have impacted the experience of my practice in a way that I may call negatively. I miss the deep relaxation at the end and do not end feeling as refreshed seeming to drop right back in to the state of “chaos” I fought leaving to practice. As a “teacher” at times I have kept my phone nearby to watch for messages from participants who were running late etc. It continued to be a distraction from my ability to lead class in one way or another. Worse yet it distracted people who were close to me with sound, (even when silenced it vibrated…) and the light would draw not only my attention but that of those around me.
For me the practice has become a “mini” media fast. It is a small way I can work to keep my attention on what is happening on my mat and let the “worries” of the world melt away. The messages will be there after practice is done and amazingly and I feel more organized, my webinars get watched and the lectures find themselves listened to. I invite you to join this practice in the studio. If you are able extend this to your home practice taking note of the changes.
A few weeks ago I attended an in-service on sports performance with a very prestigious method that is used by many collegiate and professional sports teams, special forces and professional emergency response organizations and Rehabilitation agencies. Self described “as a leader in applied research and innovation to advance human performance”. This short in service was specific to the warm ups.
We were running through various exercises that were thoroughly studied to provide optimal preparation for maximum sports performance. As we worked through this set of exercises my Physical Therapist co-workers, many of whom were collegiate athletes, noticed how it seems like I do these exercises all the time, which is great since they were very similar to some of the yoga exercises and Junbi undo techniques we employ in the dojo.
Today I am writing about Junbi Undo, one of the cornerstones of Goju Ryu. Created by Miyagi Chojun Sensei after extensive research with medical professionals into the workings of the human body, the junbi undo of Goju-Ryu are more than a warm up but a way of instilling martial movement and building a robust body of good health.
The exercises contained within junbi undo not only loosen the joints they promote mobility and martial movement. Relating specifically to Karate technique, the various methods gradually raise the heart rate, promote circulation, regulate the breathing, massage the internal organs, and boost the immune system. Body-weight exercises designed to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles and spirit of the practitioner. Breathing exercises introduce the concept of hakkei and how to issue power using the entire body and breath. Also contained within the exercises are elements of Kiko (Qigong), the harvesting and circulation of energy in the human body. Many of the movements transfer directly into Kata demonstrating the link.
My definition of Self-defense has been to protect (my/our-self) from anything that would cause us harm. In modern days it may be complications from inactivity. Regular practice of Junbi Undo helps to ensure we remain active, mentally alert, and energetic throughout the span of our lives.
Our focus for January will preparing the body for our Karate practice. That is not to say we will not practice other things, but we will be paying special attention to Junbi undo and Sanchin as this is the foundation.
If you are looking less to instill Martial Movement but still like the ideas of promoting mobility, increasing circulation, boosting immune function and stabilizing joints with body-weight exercises. Additionally we will work to connect with breath and calm focus the mind in our Yoga classes. We will also begin some dedicated time for supplemental exercises, with implements to help with strength.
Looking forward to a great 2016!