It was the early morning. There were only two people in the class. One was flexible, and one was not.

We were in the midst of stretching exercises. The inflexible one had hit an extremely uncomfortable impasse.

He was nowhere near the desired position, but he felt that he could not stretch any further. At this moment, he looked at his flexible counterpart, and contemplated: “How the hell is she doing that?”

The flexible one could feel that she was being noticed. She turned to acknowledge her struggling peer, whose beleaguered bewilderment begged for some sage advice:

“You can do it… Don’t bend in a place that can’t bend. Find the place that can bend, and bend there.”

It’s obvious. It’s simple. It’s almost obnoxious…but it’s true.

Life’s greatest lessons are obvious. They have been there all along. They don’t move—they don’t come and go. They blend into the background. They are fixtures, as common as the air and the ground, and so they are easy to miss. They are constant whispers, and we become desensitized to them.

Pain screams and yells. It demands to be heard. As we begin stretching, our pain begins screaming: “Stop this insanity!”

The pain of stretching is like a passing siren: As you begin, you hear its approach. As you continue, it blares so loud that you have to cover your ears. As you endure, it passes and fades.

Perseverance is the first necessity. Have your mindset. Endure long enough to explore small adjustments to your stretching technique. These small adjustments can afford you huge increases in flexibility.

The practice of stretching is a full-body exercise, but the pain of stretching is often localized. A man tries to touch his toes, and his hamstring feels like it is “on fire”. The man’s focus is consumed by the feeling of his hamstring. He ceases to be a human being. During this stretch, he is simply a burning hamstring, with sweat on his brow and a grimace on his face.

His other ligaments and tendons are ready and willing to stretch more, but he has completely forgotten that they exist.

You are more than a burning hamstring. You are hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, and one spectacularly functional spine. Remember who you are, and you can stretch further than you ever imagined.

The best way to learn about anatomy is not from a book or a smartphone app. It is by understanding, feeling, and experiencing your own body.

The function of your body should not be foreign to you. If there is one thing you should know how to use, it should be the physical body in which you have to spend this lifetime.

The knowledge of the human body cannot be confined to a book. Our bodies keep this wisdom alive. It reveals itself constantly, in everything we do. We just don’t notice.

Every breath is a reminder that we are more than ourselves

Without air, we do not exist. In this sense, we are as much the air, as we are ourselves. We are individuals, but we can never be truly free from dependence.

We depend upon air, water, food, and shelter. We depend upon ideas, trust, stimulation, and love. Without these things, we do not exist. Our existence necessitates that we be more than ourselves.

Every action we take demands reconciliation with gravity

Our lives are a constant dance with a planet that holds us very close.

Yes, rockets can take us to space—where our bodies wither and atrophy without gravity.

The planet is our natural partner, and it is a dominant dance partner. There is no respite from gravity.

To those who wish to float away into oblivion, gravity can be seen as a limitation. Totally isolated from gravity, in the middle of deep space, every human action would resemble a squirm.

On earth, this physical attachment to our planet, and the constant interaction with others who are also “stuck” here allows us to do more than squirm. We can walk, run, dance, jump, bounce, slide, hold, push, and kiss. Gravity is a limitation that allows us to do much more than we would be able to do without it.

This is the way to view any limitation. Your limitations are your partners.

If you have no choice, make the best of it. If you have a choice, choose a good one.

Your limitations are opportunities to be more than yourself. When you understand your limitations, you can exceed them. You can utilize them.

Life is a lot like gravity. Constantly tugging, constantly demanding. One breath after another, for an entire lifetime. There is no end to the obligation, no end to the responsibility. Our limitations are the fuel that fires the creativity within our souls.


Blog: Martial arts – a Necessity For a Sane Person

The human body is a rather complex system, but its proper function is based on some very simple principles. Here are the main three:

Proper Activity:

The human body adapts poorly to a sedentary style of life. All of us, without exception, need to exercise every day. Laziness must be overcome, every day.

Proper Nutrition:

We need to look beyond the trends. When it comes to nutrition, it is imperative to stick to the middle ground: not too much and not too little. This is the simplest way to maintain a healthy diet. For those who are more ambitious, it is important to know when and what you can eat, and the effects of combining different types of food. At first, this issue seems quite difficult. Most roads of internet research lead to some trendy diet. You must resist this temptation.

Trendy diets, predominantly based on deprivation, are generally bad for your health. Your diet has to be simple and rich in vitamins. Your body needs fats, sugars, proteins (from meat), carbs, minerals, fiber, and everything in between—just not too much of it. Eat a big breakfast, and avoid huge dinners. As they say in China, the reason for your troubles can be found on your plate.

Proper Recreation:

People today seem convinced that life is unbearably tough, and requires constant distraction, leisure, and rest. “Fun” for a modern man generally involves ingesting some sort of mind-altering poison or zoning out on primitive, mind-numbing entertainment. What is a proper recreation? There is a wise ancient saying: the best kind of rest is changing work. Once you are tired of sitting at your office computer, it is the perfect time to do some exercise.

Work does not need to exhaust you: Collaborative artistic endeavors can rejuvenate. Simple chores like cleaning can renew your enthusiasm for your surroundings. Indulge in productive self-reflection, and take a moment every once in a while to do something that is truly important to you. After all, you can always lie down and enjoy idleness at bedtime. That is exactly what bedtime is for.

You can find “health nuts” and “know-it-alls” on every corner, but you will be hard-pressed to find someone leading a truly healthy lifestyle. Keep it simple, resist the grips of laziness, and you will be ahead of the curve.

Martial arts – a Necessary Need For a Sane Person


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