Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Conscious Calisthenics in Body Mind Spirit Integration

My twist is to combine the trainer Alvin Reuben’s slow, conscious movements with traditional calisthenics. It takes more strength and control to do these calisthenics meditatively than to rush through them. The key is to slow down and use your breath as a guide. Match your movements to slow inhalations and exhalations. Breathe in to a slow count of four, and breathe out to a slow count of four. As you gain strength, you can slow down even more--inhale and exhale to counts of six or eight or ten as you move. Whether you are working out in the gym or the great outdoors, consciously slowing down your breathing transforms your exercises into meditations.

Conscious calisthenics becomes an ideal form of weight training. The difference between somatic exercise and other training methods is the attention given to the raw experiences of our body as we exercise. It is also far safer than weight lifting, which too often relies on rapid and jerky movements which stress the body and can result in muscle strain and pain. Acute attention to proper body mechanics and super-slow movement through somatic exercise almost totally remove the risk of injury. This approach also increases the actual load, and thereby build-up, of the muscles being worked.

Super-slow weight training isn't anything new. Bob Hoffman, founder of the York Barbell Company, sold weightlifting courses as early as 1927 that involved very slow training speeds: reps with a ten-second positive and a ten-second negative. He also urged close attention to the beginning changes of each repetition.

Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’


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