Friday. Got the day off for Good Friday, so that is nice. I am going to add two things to my workout: lung exercises, and specific stretches for my legs.
I found a great set of videos on the lungs by Donna Wilson, a pulmonary clinical nurse specialist. Even though her exercises are made for patients with extensive lung damage and severe respiratory problems, I think they are nonetheless useful for the everyday person. Breathing seems to be one of the most neglected aspects of health. We just kind of take it for granted, like our heartbeats, that we breathe correctly. I don’t know anyone who can control their heartbeat, but we can control our breathing. And when people reach adulthood, they have decades behind them of habits and mental attitudes that can affect their breathing. Stress, anger, depression – all these can change the way we breathe, without us even noticing. And after several months or years of shallow or rapid or any kind of abnormal breathing, our entire health is affected. So, given that, I am going to start doing some of these lung exercises on a daily basis.
Yoga has an entire science on the breath. I have done Yoga breathing exercises before, but I choose these exercises because these are more practical for me right now. I do know a few breath asanas which I have done over the years, but they target the nervous system, and these lung exercises are geared more for the musculo-skeletal system. Just a couple of years ago I wanted to start practicing Pranayama, which is the actual yoga of breathing, but my yoga teacher said it just don’t work if you cannot sit in the full lotus: it’s really not happening unless the body is aligned correctly.
One thing I found fascinating is that one of her exercises (called “Core,” at 7:33 of the above video) is exactly like a section of a Chinese Qi Kung routine (see 4:25 of Shaolin Yi Jin Jing Muscle & Tendon Changing Classic ). This just reinforces my theory that humans have pretty much already figured out how to take care of the body, be healthy, and exercise. We already know what to do, humans have for centuries, with different cultures expressing it in different ways. We just forget, or we become lazy, or we re-invent. There is only one human body and we have inhabited it for millenia. You think we would have picked up a thing or two along the way…
On stretching, I am just going to stick with two or three very basic stretches, and do them twice a day, every day.