After a nice lunch of vegetarian chili and cider, and after it all digested enough, a visiting friend (who is also a professional philosopher) and I turned to the issue of the day and that was pumping iron. He wants to build up some upper body strength and his doctor recommended using weights. When I was a teenager I used them, and bought them with my Bar Mitzvah money, and turned myself into a regular incredible hulk. Well maybe not but I did my share of pumping iron and still have a vague recollection of how to use them. My philosophical friend is funnyRead More →

In one of my dreams last night I was attending some wrestling matches but really wasn’t interested in watching any of the matches.  I was more interested in just getting some rest, which I did, and ignored the competition of the matches.  I get rest in my dreams, take breaks, lie back, relax and feel like I am floating away and that is in a dream.  I do it in my waking life too.  We can split our lives up into two basic parts, wrestling and rest.    Wrestling is that part of our existence where we are trying hard to attain something, where weRead More →

Any yoga teacher, who is also inclined towards writing and thinking, will eventually write about rest and relaxation. If there is a goal to our physical practice, it is being able to rest and relax in a deep and a profound way. Our classes usually end with a period of rest and relaxation, but a period of relaxation that often is too short and not entirely satisfying. Rest and Relaxation have a natural course to take and ten or fifteen minutes might only be just the beginning to that course. A half hour to an hour might be more like it. And in that timeRead More →

Science tries to understand and explain the workings of the world with logic and by employing observation and experimentation before coming to any conclusions. Building on past knowledge and explanations can be helpful but not always totally accurate or reliable. We still need to rely on our own observations and experiments before we draw any conclusions. When I was younger, I did a lot of reading and studying on meditation and yoga. You might call meditation and yoga part of the mystic arts which could also include Zen, Taoism, Sufism and the like. These might be called mystic practices because so many people find suchRead More →

From my “Hip Series” pamphlet.  Allan WHAT ANIMALS KNOW AND WE HAVE FORGOTTEN   Besides walking, stretching may be the easiest and most natural form of exercise. Exercise may not even be a good word to describe stretching. Most animals stretch and relax naturally in the course of their daily activities. An animal probably does not think in terms of this or that exercise is good for me so I’ll do it. Animals move and stretch because it feels right to them and they enjoy doing it. If they didn’t enjoy or get satisfaction out of it, they probably would not do it. Animals haveRead More →

 What a day it is.  The outdoor thermometer is reading 14 degrees right now, there is a howling wind blowing, and a snow shower is falling.  All the really smart creatures have gone into hibernation and are exploring a state of suspended animation, a state of very low arousal, low activity, and low metabolism. They will stay there until a spring thaw occurs.  I just spent better than a half hour in my recliner exploring just such a state of suspended animation.  The body becomes still, all efforts cease, and the struggles of life and limb melt away for a blessed hour or so.  Jan has alsoRead More →

ALLAN SHRUGGED There is a popular medical, pain management technique, called a ‘stellate ganglia block’, done with an injection of anesthesia into the upper thoracic and lower cervical area near the spine. This seems to be a regular technique used for arm pain and maybe neck, head, and chest discomforts too. The stellate ganglia are part of the sympathetic nervous system and they come in pairs and lie on either side of the spine in the upper thoracic region. I often feel like something is stuck in there and years ago I used to actually tear the skin over the upper thoracic vertebrae in anRead More →

Feeling tired?  By the time we get into our fifties and sixties we might be feeling very tired indeed. The demands of life have caught up with us and we start to slump with fatigue.  But even though we might feel tired and exhausted we can’t seem to rest.  All those demands keep demanding or so it seems. We are running on empty but we can’t stop running.   We are convinced there is no rest for the weary and never will be.  Our minds keep blaring at us “do this, do that, go here, go there”.  It often takes a disease or disability to put us off ourRead More →

    The diaphragm is a key muscle and our principal breathing muscle.  One feature of its anatomy, I have noticed from diagrams (see below), is that the tendons of the diaphragm, called the crura,  wrap around the aorta as it descends through the body.  Tighten this muscle and it looks like the aorta is put into a scissors grip by these tendons.  I think this is one way we keep our blood vessels pressurized and our heads charged with energy.  Free the diaphragm and we can take a lot of pressure off our blood vessels and our brains.        The crura are theRead More →

I like this little chapter from the Tao Te Ching. It is an argument for surrender and hints at what we might be surrendering to. To remain whole, be twisted! To become straight, let yourself be bent. To become full, be hollow. Be tattered, that you may be renewed. from the TAO TE CHING Chapter 20, Translation by Arthur WaleyRead More →