My role as the fitness writer for SDGLN generally has me working to inspire or educate others on physical pursuits that may better their lives in some way.
Aesthetics and health don’t always go together so I try to keep those standards at the forefront. For example, achieving visible abs by shaming yourself into starvation is no bueno.
This is why two weeks ago I chose to drive six hours to the foothills of Yosemite and meditate for ten hours a day, ten days straight, no talking, no reading, no writing; only focused attention on the breath and sensation of the body.
This was no “zone out” kind of hippie retreat (which I would also totally love!), and with that much time available for thinking I’ve been writing and planning this article in my head for a while.
Not everyone has a platform to share something so powerful and transformative so please know:
YOU CAN DO THIS TOO, IT WILL HELP, TAKE THE LEAP!
The course is free, only after you complete it may you give a donation of your choosing if you’re inclined and able. You’re fed well and housed well in a beautiful setting in the hills.
This isn’t a religious exercise but a mental one where you learn to focus the mind, keep it from wandering into the past or future, and stay present in your own body.
Through the observation of breath passing over just the upper lip at first, you learn to focus on the sensation there.
And then, KITTENS, what the hell?
Sensations on the lip one moment, the next I’m having images of kitten’s faces pilling up in my mind like one of those screen savers from the ‘90s .
And you pull yourself back to the sensation. Ten breaths later I’m replaying that favorite sexual fantasy of mine and don’t realize I’m gone for about a minute, and I pull myself back to sensation.
This continues, ten hours a day, for ten days.
The magic is in the pulling back to sensation, staying vigilant to the that focus for longer and longer periods.
It’s this training of the mind that releases us from the psychosomatic disorders like depression and anxiety.
Reacting to past events keeps us depressed.
Obsessing over possible negative outcomes in the future gives us anxiety.
Being “present” is almost cliché these days and the self-experience of it holds little weight beyond a conceptual grasp.
As soon as something unwanted arises, we’ve lost control of the coolness and are responding with negative emotion. Imagine being able to note the situation, know you are still well inside, and respond accordingly without reacting blindly.
This Vipassana meditation teaches you just that.
It was a true battle at moments there’s no sugar coating it. Four men, and six women left the course early I found out at the end and I could understand completely.
But some things just need to be done for not only your own happiness, but the relief you gain is spread to those around you and the world, quite literally, is a bit better because of you.
Getting your headspace cleaned up is probably one of the most attractive qualities you can offer a partner.
This is square one, abs can come after.