The Lomi School was the first to synthesize different approaches of body mind spirit centered therapies into one curriculum. The importance of attention, or focus, lay at the center of Lomi proficiency, but the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, Fritz Perls, and Asian training in meditation and aikido also influenced the method. Additionally, Lomi co-founders Robert K. Hall and Richard Strozzi Heckler borrowed from Randolph Stone’s Polarity Therapy and the structural massage work of Ida Rolf.
Besides the above therapies, the Lomi curriculum featured the Asian ways of aikido, Hatha yoga and Vipassana sitting meditation. Aikido, developed by Morihei Ueshiba, is a Japanese martial art for self defense that harnessed universal love to heal conflict, create fluidity of the body, and strengthen personal energy. Aikido was often translated as “the way of spiritual harmony.” This translation pointed to a practitioner’s skill at controlling an attacker by redirecting his energy rather than by blocking an attack. (See the anecdote about aikido and emotional brilliance in Chapter One of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your Five Vital Intelligences.)
To understand this skill, visualize the way a flexible willow bends with the storm, whereas the stout oak breaks if the wind blows too hard. Ueshiba taught that the principles of aikido should be applied to every aspect of one's life, and he once remarked that he was teaching students not how to move their feet but how to move their minds.
In the West, the term yoga was associated with the stretching postures of Hatha, one branch of India’s classical body mind spirit disciplines. Most Western yoga classes had little or nothing to do with Hinduism or spirituality, but were simply a way of keeping healthy and fit. Traditional Hatha yoga was a complete yogic path, including moral disciplines, physical exercises (e.g., postures and breath control) and meditation, encompassing far more than the yoga of postures and exercises practiced in Western physical culture.
Yoga lovers see daily practice as beneficial in itself, leading to good health, emotional well-being, mental clarity and joy in living. Yoga adepts progress towards samdhi, a high state of meditation and inner ecstasy. For the average person still far from enlightenment, yoga can be a way of increasing one's spiritual awareness. While the history of yoga strongly connects it with Hinduism, yoga lovers claim that it is not a religion itself, but contains practical steps which can benefit everyone.
Vipassana, which means “insight,” was a body-centered meditation technique attributed to Buddha. Vipassana, often called mindfulness meditation, focused on the many sensations and feelings of the body. Meditation calmed the mind and strengthened concentration. The mind was able to “stop and see” (remember the power of a well-intentioned pause in Chapter Five?), ready to receive the spirit’s insight. In this calm centeredness, the practitioner gained knowledge of whatever disturbed his mind, which led to pure wisdom and eventual healing. Followers of Vipassana eliminate the desires and emotions of greed, anger, and ignorance that corrupt the mind.
The last century of the millennium ushered in a valuable shift in the way we humans experience our bodies, yet in many ways our physical “self” remain a mystery. For many women, the intricate interdependence of their complicated systems remains uncharted territory. It is a recent phenomenon for women to demand control of their physiology and anatomy. But for men or women, our bodies are the only concrete reality we can know. They are always with us, constant, living and breathing in present time. Our bodies never lie, and with careful stewardship they will reveal all the secrets leading to truth. And when we work to achieve body brilliance, mastering our five essential IQs, our bodies shine.
As Lomi founder Robert Hall noted to me, “Enlightenment is, after all, a bodily process.”
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Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
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