Category: News

Change, Release and Free Your Story: Teaching on the Path with Heart

As a BE teacher, I often have to face all of my fears and insecurities when I begin to plan a class. I find myself asking: Who am I to be offering instruction to others in something so elusive and difficult to talk about as turning the wheel of time? How do we create a pause in the seemingly unceasing repetition of our own stories? How can I honestly stand before others when I really don’t understand anything myself?

Carlos Castaneda used to say that no one “understands” anything. A real understanding would require going behind or beyond the assumptions on which all attempts at understanding are based—something that we can never do because at the base of everything is pure mystery, the unknowable. It’s like the child who responds to every step of an adult’s explanation with “Why?” until finally his parent has to tell him that there is no “why” for some questions. However, even without understanding anything, we can handle and enjoy life and the world perfectly well; we can function wonderfully.

Tom Detail BE Energy PassWhen I guide Being Energy classes or teach it to others, my only option is to suspend my own story—which includes plenty of self doubts about handling something that can’t be reduced to logic or reason—and let the spirit channel through me, even if only for a while. Under the pressure of my commitment to present something, I have to relax at some point and let ideas flow—what to emphasize, how to express it, what sequences of movements to do—and then connect to the energetic feeling that the movements and practices create. This is especially true when presenting the Code or guiding a recapitulation session. It is a complete mystery why the movements of the Code silence the mind, but I do experience that silence and I feel it as a direct connection between me and those who I am guiding, even when we are on different parts of the globe, communicating by Internet but also through our energetic link.

Recapitulating in a group is even more mysterious. If each one of us is reviewing his own distinct life experiences, what is the value of pursuing this as a group or class activity? For one thing, we are conditioned to the discipline of a schedule and an agreement to meet together, so the class format helps us take that initial step—just do it! Beyond this practical advantage, the group format helps create and reinforce a certain mood—of silence, of courage and determination to face ourselves without judgment. The suspending of judgment also applies to the act of recapitulation itself. Even when nothing comes to us as an experience worthy of recapitulation, we accept this without self-criticism and with a mood of curiosity and wonder. Even the most seemingly mundane experience we happen to remember can lead to discovery and self-knowledge.

Tom TeachingThe challenge of integrating our innermost core, the essence of our being, with our behavior and choices is not a goal against which we judge ourselves as winners or losers. It is a path, a process that continues throughout our lives. Everyone has doubts, and each of us loses the feeling of fluid energy and silence over and over. However, if we have tasted this energy and silence, we know how to find it and keep coming back, trying to go deeper and maintain this position longer.
By deciding to teach, you are committing yourself. You are choosing to put yourself on the line and rally your energy each time you lead others, even though you have no guarantees that you will succeed. When a class approaches and you feel lost, the commitment comes to your aid. It focuses your attention and activates your intent so that you can genuinely connect to the inexhaustible source of life and creativity. You stand before others not knowing exactly what you will say, but with a feeling of certainty that expresses itself in your voice, your eyes and your movements. And in that moment you have changed your story—you are someone or something else, an expression of the infinite.

What a great gift is this opportunity to share beauty of spirit with others!

Tom Reavley

Note: You won’t want to miss Being Energy’s BE Skilled! workshops and training programs this fall. Dive in on September 26th for Turning the Wheel of Time and on November 7th for The Crack Between the Worlds!

Advanced registration required.

We’d love to see you there.

Aerin and Miles

Power Nap, Part I: 7 Simple Steps to Boost Your Energy

Feeling a little fuzzy? Not as clear-headed as you know you can be? Maybe you could use a nap!

Though there’s long been debate, the science is now in: There is such a thing as sleep debt, and it is a debt that you can, at least in part, repay. So how does that work? First, it’s important to recognize that there is such a thing as both short-term and long-term sleep debt.

Short-term debt includes things like staying up late one or two nights in a row for a work project or to cram for an exam, or waking up extra early to catch a flight. When you fall short of the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep on one night, you can effectively make up for it over the coming nights or on the weekend (studies show that people tend to sleep more on the weekend and less during the week). For every hour of sleep that you lost during the week, try to make up an hour, either in one night or incrementally over several nights.

What happens when you can’t catch up? We call that long-term sleep debt—a debt accumulated over weeks, months or even years. To give your body and mind a rest after such sleep deprivation, try giving yourself a few days with a light schedule in which you can turn off your alarm clock and sleep every night until you wake naturally—a retreat, if you will. If you can manage to truly take a rest during those days without worrying about work, or being on the computer and so on, you’ll be taking a big and valuable step for your health and wellbeing.

Something else that can give you a boost of energy while helping you put money in your sleep bank is a Power Nap. This is a really effective nap technique that my patients around the world have benefited from. You can think of it as boosting your vitality in just seven steps. It goes like this:

  1. Take off your shoes (if you have shoes on) and make sure that you’re feet are warm, keeping or putting on a pair of socks as needed. Have a blanket handy in case you feel cold.
  2. Lie face down on your bed so that your feet just hang off the bed comfortably—if your bed isn’t handy, you can lie on the floor on a mat or blanket and put a pillow or cushion under your ankles so that they can hang over that (you don’t want to have any pressure on the tops of your feet).
  3. Put a pillow on your shoulder blades—not too high so that it is up at your neck and not too low so that it is below your shoulder blades. It’s nice if the pillow has some weight to it.
  4. If you feel cold, cover yourself and the pillow with the blanket.
  5. Turn your head to rest your cheek on the bed or mat.
  6. Let your arms rest comfortably at your sides, or raise them above your head if that is more comfortable for you.
  7. Rest there for 20 – 40 minutes. (Set your alarm as needed so that you don’t sleep longer than you wish.)

You may or may not fall asleep during this Power Nap. Sometimes, people tend to fall asleep just in the last few minutes of the rest period. It doesn’t matter. Whatever happens, you’ll probably be surprised at how energized you’ll feel later in the day.

If you feel even more tired in just the few minutes after the Power Nap, don’t worry. This will likely soon dissipate and then you’ll be energized.

And remember, as research documented in the journal Sleep found, the more tired we get, the less tired we feel. So why not give that nap a try?

Aerin is also offering a sleep class series just for women in October. Hormonal and life shifts can strongly impact a woman’s sleep cycles, and this class will give you helpful information and tools so that you can get good sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. The classes will take place in the peaceful environment of our LA offices, and will be supportive, and fun. Bring your pillow and a friend!

Energy Redeployment: More Energy! Reclaiming Your Vitality through Movement

During our apprenticeship, Carlos Castaneda emphasized practicing sequences of movements to regain focus and alertness.

“When paying attention, not only to what movement comes next in the sequence, but even more importantly to ‘how’ you are practicing each movement,” he said during a class break, “you align your mind and body, working in unison with a clear purpose. That is what don Juan called energy redeployment— bringing back one’s energy flow to the center of the mind-body unit.”

It was a hot, dry summer evening in LA; my mind was meandering and inner thoughts jumping while I watched myself performing movements in the mirror, trying to not mess up the sequence. For several months, I had followed the practice of not watching myself in the mirror, even when brushing my teeth or applying facial lotion. It was Castaneda’s suggestion, and I found it very liberating. Looking at myself in the mirror had become torture—I couldn’t stop judging myself. However, in the yoga studio in Santa Monica were Castaneda used to teach his classes, there was a long mirror and it was difficult to avoid watching myself as I practiced and getting lost in thoughts such as, “I am good at this move,” or “Oh, I can’t get this move like he is doing it”—an endless comparison.

“Energy redeployment is required to meet It,” he said, interrupting my thoughts. “LO Infinito,” he added, with piercing eyes looking towards me. A shiver ran through my sweaty spine.

He went on to say that seers of his lineage described “Infinity” as a field of infinite energy where we can expand and evolve as beings of awareness. Infinity, the universe or source, as named by other traditions, is where our lives originate, and where we return after our journey of awareness on earth has ended.

Castaneda came closer and almost whispered in my ear, “redeployment of energy beings about your energy body.” I didn’t understand it and felt a bit spooked by the idea of another body that resembles me, but is not really me.

He then continued telling the rest of the class that there are caches of energy that exist within the self. Don Juan told him that these caches are composed of energy that originates in the body itself and becomes displaced, pushed out of reach by the circumstances—the wear and tear—of daily life. In this sense, the practice of movement sequences with focus, precision and alertness, gives us a means for redeploying our unused energy.

“In the alignment of mind and movement, pay attention to your breath,” he said to all. “That is when Spirit whispers you.”

In Being Energy’s upcoming workshop in Amsterdam, we will practice the same movement sequences that Carlos Castaneda taught to me (Aerin Alexander) and Miles Reid.

Redeploy your energy to bring daring and purpose to your actions and allow the Spirit to speak through you.

BE in Bulgaria!

Hello Friends,

I am writing to you to let you know about our most recent workshop in Bulgaria. I can say that it was the most successful event led by BE instructors in Bulgaria. We were able to procure a beautiful event site, which served good food at a reasonable price of 45 EUR for the workshop, accommodation and full board. Have you heard of such a price? It is possible here. And half of the price covered the workshop, which was a normal hourly rate for yoga studios here.
We are, of course, just beginning on our path as BE Instructors in Bulgaria, so we did not ask for a higher price. Patience. Our group consisted of 12 practitioners plus the two Being Energy Instructors, Sergey Velev and me.

Let me say a little about the event site. It is a little rustic, but a very pleasant place in a small town with mineral springs. It is actually a small ceramic factory where there is a studio for designing different figures from clay. Every year the factory holds seminars for children, which gives them the opportunity to work with their hands in the studio. They also hold seminars for different kinds of artists—painters, sculptors, etc. There are beautiful pieces of art all around the studio that were made during these seminars.

Participants 1We had the whole place for the weekend, and we ate meals cooked especially for us, based on a menu we provided to them.

The mood was heartfelt and sincere; everybody worked hard and got the best for themselves from the event. There were six newcomers who expressed excitement and happiness to be there.

At the end of the workshop we left some time for everyone to ask questions or just to say how he/she felt. Most people shared that they now had a new vision for their lives. One of the newcomers explained that she was expecting to practice yoga, since we also announced the event through our yoga teacher friends. At first the movements confused her. She was astonished when we spoke about Carlos Castaneda, as she had recently begun reading Castaneda’s books. Upon making that connection, between reading the books and this event, she realized that she was not here by chance.

Participants In Studio 2

The theme of the workshop was “In the flow of Power.” That theme was generated by me and Sergey before hearing about the next Path With Heart series theme! During lunch, I heard a practitioner report about a video clip she had seen on YouTube about a mother duck that led her ducklings across a very busy, 6-lane highway. This story hit me. When, at the end of the event, we redefined for ourselves the meaning of personal power, I wrote in my notebook, “Personal power is to lead your little ducks across a busy six lane highway to get to the other side together.” And, why not through the Unknown?

Participants In Studio 5Can you imagine this bird passing through, flying and killing monsters with her ducklings? What can drive this incredible act? After the workshop, I found the clip and shared it on the Being Energy – Bulgaria Facebook page. You can see it here https://www.facebook.com/BeingEnergyBulgaria – A CNN Report.

I even bought a ceramic family of ducks that are in front of the tree house in the forest now, next to where I am writing this blog post to you—a beautiful chain of ducks. And of course it is now my desktop picture.Make_way_for_ducklings_statue

During the preparation of the workshop, I had a very strong feeling that I had to keep certain the intent about the theme and then develop everything around it. It definitely came, but at first I felt my energy was scattered and things didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked. It is a learning process, and I am grateful to my dear teachers, Aerin, Miles and all the incredible beings of the lineage, whom I feel are supporting me, and all of my comrades from BE Skilled!

Pavel Pavlov

Cool It Down! Foods to Eat for Summer Vitality

We’re thinking about longevity lately, and sustainability.

Can what you eat really make a difference to your longevity? Yes! In fact, your daily food choices affect your mood and health both in the moment and well down the road.

First and foremost, aim to eat according to the season. This is a key for aging with vitality. It gives your body the necessary nutrients to function at its best at any given time.

In the summer heat, it’s smart to focus on cooling foods. In fact, in both the spring and summer, you want to nourish your yang energy and eat foods that are cooling by nature. Whereas the fall and winter are the yin-predominant seasons—so when we move into the fall season (just around the corner!), it will be time to nourish your yin energy with warming foods. 

Spring and Summer Diet

For those of you in the southern hemisphere, or when the season turns for us here in the north, keep these recommendations in mind.

Springtime is a perfect time to nourish the liver, and do our Being Energy Detox Program!

Also, you’ll want to eat pungent foods to help your liver—ginger, onion, garlic and chives are good. But avoid excessively spicy, hot, greasy, fried and sour foods throughout the spring and summer.

Though you want to eat cooling foods during the spring and summer months, note that it’s best to avoid ice water (ice water damages the stomach energy). Instead focus on foods with cooling energy, like cucumber, watermelon, celery, tomatoes, strawberries and mung beans.

Recommended Foods for the Season                      
  • Vitamin C
  • Cucumber
  • Melons
  • Squash
  • Celery (juice is great)
  • Jicama
  • Zucchini
  • Corn
  • Water chestnuts
  • Aloe vera
  • Beets
  • Watercress
  • Clam or oyster shell soup
 Foods to Avoid
  • Barbecued, toasted, baked foods
  • greasy and/or fried foods
  • hot spices
  • alcohol
  • coffee (replace with green tea)

Fall and Winter Diet    

As we move into the cooler months, it will be time to focus on warming our bodies. A simple and enjoyable way to do this is to eat more soups and stews. Walnuts and lamb are also excellent foods for the season (lamb is the most warming of all red meats).

Especially during the fall, favor sour foods and avoid spicy foods. Incorporate more pears, yams, aloe vera, soy and honey into your diet.

Recommended Foods for the Season                                        
  • Baked or roasted foods
  • Meats–game meats and lamb are best
  • Ginger, cardamom, fennel, clove, scallions, anise, pepper
  • Cherries
  • Walnuts
  • Seeds (any kind)
  • Green beans
  • Chinese chives
  • Horseradish
  • Azuki beans
  • Supplement with green algae or chlorophyll powder (2 spoonfuls)
Foods to Avoid
  • cold, raw foods
  • dairy products

800px-Celery_1We think these tips will help keep you balanced throughout the seasons, which is a key to a long and healthy life.

For more in-depth nutrition and health information, we invite you to participate in Being Energy’s Nutrition + Health classes—these classes are taught live online about once a month.

Our next class airs live on September 19 at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time, and will be all about the senses.

Yours in health,
Dr. Miles Reid

 

The Fountain of Youth: 3 Ancient Formulas that Work

Some things stand the test of time, while others fade away. When it comes to staying youthful, Chinese Medicine offers an herbal treasure trove for our bustling modern lives. What’s more, Chinese herbs can be used together with key nutritional supplements for broad support of your health and longevity.

The following supplements, herbs and herbal formulas are safe, yet potent, and some even have a centuries-long track record. Incorporating some of these into your daily routine may be an investment that pays huge dividends.

From Vitamin D and calcium to ginseng and Zhi Shi, these powerhouse products reduce inflammation, strengthen the organs and more to slow and even reverse biological aging. (Of course, check with your doctor before taking any nutritional supplements or herbs—you’re always welcome to contact our clinic for an in-person or Skype consultation: 310-231-3500 or admin@tilomedical.com.)

Nutritional Supplements

These supplements, taken in a split dose, half in the morning and half in the evening, have been proven effective in reducing inflammation, regulating cortisol and more.

  • Vitamin D3 (1000 IU)
  • Calcium (600 mg)
  • Magnesium (200 mg)
  • Multivitamin (we likeUsana Essentials)

Chinese Herbal Formulas

The following are also recommended in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and have proven their worth over time:

  • Gingseng
  • Cordyceps
  • Ashwaganda
  • Reishi mushroom
  • Astragalus
  • Schizandra

In fact, TCM provides a deep well of knowledge with respect to anti-aging and longevity, with herbal formulas that are tailored for maximum effect. These are three of my favorites:

  • Zhi Shi (circulatory promoter)
  • Mu Xiang (circulatory promoter)
  • Shan Zha (digestive herb)

For the ideal supplements and dosages for you, contact us to schedule a consultation. Acupuncture treatments work in conjunction with supplementation to promote youthful energy, and address specific health concerns.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a remarkably powerful tool for restoring balance, maintaining health and promoting longevity. It stimulates the flow of qi (energy), improves organ function, reduces inflammation, regulates hormones and relaxes the mind and body.

To schedule your consultation or acupuncture treatment, contact us at 310-231-3500 or email admin@tilomedical.com.

Also, check out our Nutrition + Health class series for the latest information and tips on a variety of topics.

To your longevity,
Dr. Miles Reid

Personal Power, Leaving the Cult

Carlos Castaneda would often talk, and even joke about the cult of “me, me, me”—the self-centered, human, ego-driven obsession of self-importance.

In my years of training with him, I had the opportunity to observe myself worry and be obsessed with my “self-presentation”—taking extra time to fix the way I looked, which I judged harshly. I spent so much energy in seeking external approval, and in trying to “fit in” with friends and people at work. The self-presentation, the idea I created about myself, was a heavy load to carry around. I could never feel fully satisfied. In fact, it made me feel joyless, worried and stressed out.

“There is a way out of this,” Castaneda told me one day, smiling at me, aware of my misery. “You need to leave the cult of Me, Me and create a new reference point for yourself, a new way of being by thinking of yourself as a mystery, as something to be discovered, unfolded.”

He taught me endlessly about dropping off the mask that I used to wear and to dream a new mask for myself, a new mask that would make me feel lighter, joyful, and more open. “You need to build your personal power,” he said, “and that is something that you intend, that you call upon, that you dream about.”

It has been almost 20 years since that conversation. I have been practicing tools and recapitulation to free myself from ideas of unworthiness and feeling unlovable—slowly releasing my “idea of myself,” the “me, me, me” inside me. Then something special happened to me just a few weeks ago.

Recently, I have been taking my son to the ocean for daily swims. He loves the water, and I get great pleasure watching him swim. However, every time my son asked me to join him, I resisted getting my head under the water.

I made the decision to look deeper into what was preventing me from submerging myself in the water. I immediately started remembering a time in childhood when I really enjoyed swimming. Then a memory came up about an experience in the ocean: One afternoon when I was 14, vacationing with my family, I got in the ocean and got paralyzed. I remember standing on my tippy toes, with the water just below my nose, being completely unable to move. After 20 minutes of struggling, I was able to wave my arms and was rescued by a lifeguard. It was scary, embarrassing and traumatic. I knew how to swim, but I got paralyzed by fear.

Since then, my relationship with water had somehow been frozen in time. I realize now that I’ve always found excuses for NOT going swimming. “Too cold,” “too hot,” “my hair is done,” “I don’t look good in a bathing suit,” etc, etc. It turns out that I was numbed by fear, not able to enjoy the water for more than 30 years.

Personal Power BlogSo this is what I did last Friday: I went into the ocean, and I recapitulated right there in that spot, my experience as a 14-year-old. I called on my “personal power”—the part of myself connected to Spirit—and I cried (and didn’t care about people watching me). I prayed to Mother Ocean and I released a big chunk of self-defensiveness and stress. I’d been holding fear deep down in my bones without even being consciously aware of it. After that experience, which lasted around an hour, my body completely changed. I felt much more relaxed and my belly was softer. I have been sleepier and have allowed myself to take naps (something unthinkable to me just a few months ago!). I am still processing, but something fundamental shifted in a very deep way.

Getting out of the cult of “me” and awakening to my higher self has been a journey. It’s a process. It doesn’t get done in one weekend. But I can say that thanks to the consistent practice of movements and knowledge given to me by Carols Castaneda and inherited from his teacher, and to the Path with Heart classes that I have been guiding with my husband for the last five years, I have been able to release this thing that was so old and deep.

Our Path with Heart series has been especially effective in supporting this process and sustaining my energy levels and my commitment to transformation, growth and expansion of awareness.

I am a happy fish again, free from the obsession of the Me, Me, Me.

Love,
Aerin

The Truth about Detoxification

Are you thinking about doing a cleanse? Everywhere we turn these days, we see cleanses and detox programs being promoted. The truth is that not all programs are created equal. A proper detoxification program can be greatly beneficial. But some cleanses actually do more harm than good.

Why Detoxify?

A good detox program is energizing and rejuvenating.

We’re exposed to toxins every day—in our food and water (pesticides, heavy metals, microbes), in the air we breathe, from things we come into contact with through our skin (soaps, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, lead paint) and from our body’s own natural metabolic process. This toxic load can become a toxic overload.

Given this, I believe that periodic detoxification is important. Our organs are constantly trying to repair and regenerate, and we can help them do this by removing toxic obstructions. Any excess toxicity that you can shed can make a difference in your life. But therein lies the difference between a proper detoxification regime and one that is harmful. Some cleanses actually impair your body’s ability to eliminate toxins.

What to Avoid

Avoid juice-only cleanses. Why? A juice cleanse may seem like a good idea, but the truth is that doing such a cleanse without proper nutritional support can make you very ill. This is because when you fast or consume fruits and vegetables only, you diminish your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins. Amino acids are essential for liver detoxification. If you are consuming only juice, you may flush out toxins in your system that it then has inadequate ability to eliminate. It will pull amino acids from your muscles in order to deal with this, which can cause loss of muscle mass.

Other problems that can arise from some cleansing programs include blood sugar imbalances and fatigue.

Benefits of a Good Program

A good detoxification program will suggest you avoid foods and beverages that cause inflammation. It will also include proper nutritional support. Having physician support, as with Being Energy’s Detox Program, is also highly recommended.

The benefits of a good program include:

  • Greater energy
  • Clearer mind
  • Improved circulation
  • Glowing skin
  • Good sleep
  • Healthy weight loss

Ready to Energize?

Kick off the fall season with a cleanse! For an even  more profound experience, take time out for yourself with our three-day Los Angeles retreat in September.

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Join Being Energy’s Radiant Energy + Radiant Health retreat. The weekend includes a detoxification program and treatments tailored to your needs.

You can also purchase our 21-Day Detox Program to do at home.

Sweet Summer Slumber: 7 Foods for Better Sleep

Sleeping well is a struggle for some of us throughout the year, but the summer season can really turn up the heat on nighttime tossing and turning. To help, we have some recommendations for what to eat and what not to eat to invite blissful slumber any time of year.

For even more tips and tools, be sure to check out our special Sleep Class for Women series with Aerin Alexander in October.

Let’s focus here on food. Food plays a key role in how well (or not) you sleep. The first thing is to avoid eating a heavy meal too close to bed time—say within three hours of going to bed.  Eating too much late at night puts a strain on your liver, and you might find yourself waking up between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. and having difficulty falling back to sleep.

That said, it is good to include some quality protein in your evening meal, especially if you tend toward low blood sugar. So what other foods can help and hinder sleep?

We’ve found that these seven foods encourage better sleep:

  • Banana
  • Cherries
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grain cereal
  • Almond milk or soymilk
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lean turkey

A yummy, sleep-promoting evening dessert, for example, would be to blend a banana with some almond milk into a thick and frothy drink; you could even throw in some cherries and/or a date or two for extra sweetness. If it’s an especially hot evening, you might even want to make this with a frozen banana for a satisfying ice-creamlike dessert.

Just as there are foods that promote good sleep, there are also foods that prevent it. These are:

  • Alcohol (which can lead to fragmented sleep)
  • Nicotine prior to bedtime
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Salt

In addition to the foods to eat and to avoid, you might try giving yourself that extra push toward a restful sleep with a cup of warm chamomile tea. Chamomile, valerian, linden and passionflower all act as natural sleep aids.

Speaking of herbs, one of our favorite sleep inducers is lavender essential oil. You can put a few drops of lavender on your pillow or into a warm bath, or put just a drop on your temples. Not only does it smell wonderful, but you just might find that it relaxes and eases you into a peaceful sleep.

Wishing you sweet dreams,
Dr. Miles Reid

How to Be Flexible to Stay Strong

Movement. Energy. Health. Vitality. It’s all tied together. At Being Energy, we think it’s important to take the whole into consideration. But to understand the whole, you must look at the parts, and vice versa.

Movement is a key part of what we teach in our classes and workshops because movement, in one way or another, is a fundamental part of life, and a key for staying healthy and happy.

We want to cultivate flexible movement. To be flexible is also to be strong. So we offer the practices we do ourselves every day in Being Energy’s live online daily Mind + Body + Spirit classes.  We also just launched a new Video Library, with a collection of daily 30-minute classes, many of which focus on movement.

In a presentation during one of Being Energy’s Nutrition + Health classes this year, our colleague Jordan Hoffman shared some philosophy and simple exercises of Aikido. Jordan is a longtime Aikido practitioner, and 2nd Degree black belt, in addition to being an outstanding acupuncturist. He shared some valuable insights.

Aerin and YelenaBecause the class theme was bones, tendons and muscles, Jordan spoke about keeping the tendons and ligaments nice and open, and how this enables energy to flow throughout the body.  In every healthy joint there is space. That space allows for comfortable, easy movement. When we’re stressed, tight or tense, we tend to contract, reducing that space, which results in more tightness and tension. This also slows us down, and creates an environment ripe for injury. But if we’re supple, we can move faster with more fluidly and grace. When presented with an obstacle, the more supple we are, the better we can navigate in the situation.

Think about the branch of a young tree. You can bend it and it won’t break; it remains flexible; but an old branch can snap. Just so, we want to keep our bones and joints supple. We want to be able to move easily with the winds of change and challenge.

An inspiring example of flexibility and grace at any age is Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba (December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969). In this video from 1935, these qualities, and more, are made clear.

Here, you can see his last public demonstration, in 1969, at the age of 85 (it’s a little fuzzy, but nonetheless worth watching).

So how can we embody this? What can we do to meet the challenges of life with power and grace? We can start with awareness.

At the end of every day, you might notice that you feel shorter, tighter, contracted, more compressed. Cultivating awareness is an important step in remaining strong yet flexible. Hold the image in your mind of spaciousness in your joints. Think of elongating your spine. If you’re standing and notice that your knees are locked, soften them, letting the energy flow through the joint and through your body.

To your health, strength and suppleness,
Dr. Miles Reid