Practice News & Calendar – March (2014)
Dear Practice Friends,
In America, the word “surrender” is a less than popular expression. Of all of the types of movies and plays that Americans enjoy, the tale of the underdog railing against a repressive establishment is one of the most popular. Two of Sunday night’s Oscar winners, Dallas Buyer’s Cluband 12 Years a Slave are classic underdog stories. “Never give up,” “never surrender,” “give me liberty or give me death,” are the battle cries of the underdog, and, when performed well, they touch us deeply; it reminds us perhaps of times when we too stepped outside of our own zones of comfort to stand up for something we knew to be true even when others weren’t willing to acknowledge it.
But what if the thing we are railing against or pushing back from is our own higher self, the next best version of me and you?
That seems crazy, doesn’t it? Why wouldn’t we want to be happier, stronger, kinder, more loving, more peaceful, more vital, more generous? We can imagine it. We can make it a goal. We can put it at the top of our priority list, and we can make a plan for bringing it into being. This is the impetus that fuels our new year’s resolutions. And yet so often, after an initial period of intense effort, we find ourselves unwittingly acting in ways that are in direct contradiction to our stated objectives
The reasons why are many and complex, but I will offer one aspect of the larger picture that has some value: our self sense, the current self that directs our thoughts and behaviors, is highly vested in the status quo. It likes things to remain just the same (even though nothing ever remains the same). The harder we try to push ourselves toward change the harder we sometimes find ourselves bouncing back into old ways of thinking, feeling and acting. And these old habits no longer feel as comforting as they once were, partly because we already know better, which is to say our better self is already recognizing a new way of being that is preferable, though we can’t figure out how to get there consistently.
This is where surrender comes in. When it comes to working skillfully with your own self-defenses (the aspect of yourself that defends the status quo), surrender is a back door to transformation. Drawing back to award winning cinema, think of Obiwan Kenobi in his battle with Darth Vader in Star Wars(the original). During the height of the battle, after seeing Luke Skywalker approaching, he turns off his light saber, effectively surrendering, and is cut down by Vader, though he doesn’t die, but rather transcends his physical form and shift to a higher plane of existence.
Why does surrendering work? Because it does just the opposite of what your defenses are programmed for, which activate in response to your efforts. The hopes you dream, the plans you make, and the exercises you pursue are all effortful ways that you make change happen. They are necessary and helpful to be sure. But have you ever noticed that it is precisely the moment when you are on the verge of making real progress that you lose focus, or energy, or you start taking more free days? These are the tools of your own defenses: boredom, energy depletion, distraction, anxiety, and fear. The more you try to “make it happen”, the harder it is, because your defenses are responding to your efforts.
Surrendering, on the other hand, isn’t effortful; it’s letting go. Your defenses don’t see it. By letting go of effort, I don’t mean you stop exercising or eating well or being mindful. You still do the activity, but you let go of all the stories you have about why you are doing it, such as “I need to look better (you already do), “I need to be stronger” (you already are), “I’m not good enough” (you are good enough) or “I’m not thin enough” (thin enough for what?). If you let go of the stories, your fear dissipates and the pressure recedes. In meditative traditions this is known as surrendering to the practice. You leave the stories at the door and do the practice for its own sake, by-passing your defenses, and then the change happens, not because you quaffed it into existence, but because you got out of your own way and let it happen.
If you are following a plan, a program for success, and are continuing to make progress, then stay with it because it is working. But if you should reach a sticking place where you feel that you’ve hit a plateau and you are beating against a wall and in spite of your best efforts you can not make it happen, then let go. Turn off the light sabre, drop the stories, get out of your head and in to your body, and surrender to the practice.
Monthly Class Calendar and 2014 Rates
Welcome to Practice!
A warm welcome goes out to our newest member of the Practice community, who started with us in February:
We are thrilled to have you with us. Welcome aboard!
Upcoming Courses and Workshops
Sunday, April 6, 2014
- Pilates with Medicine Ball
- Athletic Conditioning on the Reformer, Level 3
- Matwork Flow Conditioning Sequence Workout
Remember, for every person you refer to us who pays for and completes the Intensive Mat-Plus course, you will earn $50 in cash or as a credit to your house account.
Contact Patrick Przyborowski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by cell phone at (937) 609-4170.
Study Finds Pilates Helps Back Pain Sufferers More than Other Therapies
This article from the Gaiam Life website (originally published by the IDEA fitness association), highlights a recent research study done to “test whether Pilates exercises were effective in improving the condition of patients.”
Boost Your Balance; Avoid Falls
Michael Kunesh was kind enough to forward this excellent article in the WSJ about BALANCE.
“In the U.S., falls are the leading cause of injury for people over 65, according to a 2005 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every 17 seconds, someone in this age group is treated in an emergency room for a fall. Every 30 minutes, one will die from injuries caused by falling.”
How steady are you?
Research: Resistance Training for Diabetes Prevention and Therapy
Michael Kunesh forwarded us the abstract from this NIH study that is looking to understand the mechanisms for why resistance training can help with type 2 diabetes prevention and therapy.
Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43% in a Decade
From Sabrina Tavernise in the NY Times: “The data, reported in a major federal health survey, offered the first clear evidence that America’s children have turned a corner in the obesity epidemic, and came as a surprise to researchers.”
Research: Why Vitamins May Be Bad for Your Workout
From Gretchen Reynolds in the NY Times’ Well section:
“Antioxidant supplements like vitamins C and E may actually reduce the benefits of training.”