Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Life Strategies - In The Moment

Live every second "in the moment"

      I’ve learned as much in restaurants about martial arts training as I have in the training halls. I like the way seasoned teachers sit. Their backs are always straight and they survey the room with a calm and measured confidence.

     When they order, there is no haste; when they take their first sip of tea, they lift the cup with a gracefulness derived from years of training. They savour the mist that rises up from the tea cup. And they indulge in the taste – while remaining calmly aware of everyone at the table and of the other people moving about in the restaurant.

     I love the way some of them eat. They take a bite and then slowly savour the taste in their mouths. If you sit close to them, you’ll sense that they are already drawing nutrition from the food in their mouths before the food reaches the stomach.

    That practise comes from the past experience of martial artists in times of war. They drew sustenance from food, air, water whenever they could. They had to access that energy quickly. Turning points in war came so quickly, the food may not have been able to reach the stomach before the next round of fighting!

     All these past experiences are built into martial arts training.  There is a certain type of breathing you practise as a morsel of food sits in your mouth. This method of breathing draws energy from the food, provides enough time for the saliva to thoroughly mix with the food (in martial arts saliva is considered to be an elixir) and unites the entire mind/body system into a strong bond.

     In Karate, I Chuan, Judo…every movement involves the entire mind and body. That’s what gives each movement such strength.

     When you eat, or drink…place the tip of the tongue on the upper palate of the mouth just behind the teeth. Inhale and exhale through the nose. You’ll immediately become aware of the sustenance in the food.

     When the food reaches the stomach, continue breathing in the same way. You’ll feel the food become  part of you. You’ll also feel warmth spreading throughout the abdomen.  Through the simple act of eating, you’ll feel connected from head to toe.

     Whether eating, sleeping, walking, studying or even at work…use this simple method of breathing to draw strength and sustenance from life. Be aware of life “in the moment” – and savour every second of it!


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