OOBE 101

Here is an 8-step OOBE procedure.

  1. Position yourself comfortably, but not laying down. Make sure nothing is touching.
  2. Draw energy down from your head to your feet, but don’t circulate it.
  3. Relax your body and your mind, focus on your third eye.
  4. Don’t dwell on discomforts or distractions.
  5. Detach your consciousness from your ego and physical body.
  6. Wait for your guide to notify you.
  7. Push yourself out of your body in a big leap.
  8. Contact your guide.

Spiritual Armageddon

The Bible was correct, the “second coming” is upon us. Every two thousand years a change of seasons comes upon humanity. The focus of the change is halfway between two states of humanity. This is the point of transition between the two states.

The last focus was on the Renaissance, at the turn of the 15 and 16th centuries. This focus was on rationality and discovery of the nature of our physical environment.

The key to understanding the changes happening around us is to discover the nature of the next focus. I assume that there is some sort of progress made during the passage of these “Ages” and that time brings wisdom.

Let’s look at the recent past. The last focus was on rationality. The one before was focused on aggression and conquest. The one before that focused on urbanization, and the one before that focused on writing.

So where does that lead us? I can tell that the first several lead us toward greater levels of communication and contact between peoples, both through writing and direct contact. It also brought greater control of many by a few. Does this mean less or more communication, less or more control, or is significant change upon us, a way of life completely different from what we consider normal. I think the latter. Here is why.

A person from the turn of the century would barely understand “modern life”. A person from the 17th century would find it barely comprehensible. One from the middle ages, foreign. One from antiquity, alien.

I imagine that we would find life five hundred years from now as alien as those from antiquity would find ours.

The nature of the change upon us is fundamental. Some in the past have discovered the nature of the next focus and have passed their interpretations to us in writing. Others have passed their knowledge through an oral tradition. I will use the Bible as the most well known of written knowledge.

I wish to make a disclaimer at this point. My use of the Bible as “proof” for my assertion does not cast doubt on any person’s belief. It also means that I accept what the Bible says, but do not accept it as reality, but as metaphor, as a means to teach. If this offends you, I’m sorry, but Absolute Truth is a very slippery thing to grasp.

The New Testament is the story of the last change. It begins as four opinions of one reality. It continues with interpretation of the results of this change, how they apply, and their meaning to humanity. It ends with a vision of the next change, interpreted through the eyes that saw that vision.

This is the key to gaining insight into our current situation. How does what John wrote reflect his vision? Obviously it is filtered through his culture. Next, how do we interpret what he wrote now? No one can do this except John himself. So I will try to make some reasonable guesses about what his words mean, filtered through the 20th century.

John talks about many occurrences that are hardly likely now. Dragons, angels, beasts. He also talks about very real occurrences-fire from the sky, plagues, pestilence, famine. I can only assume that the “unreal” occurrences are figurative, and the real ones, “real”.

The unreal ones convey the nature of the change upon us, and the real ones concretize that change

John talks of the opening of seals, the sound of trumpets. Something is being revealed, something is being heard that makes us all change or be lost.

What is being revealed?

It must be the connection between the rational focus of the past Great Cycle and the next focus, which, seen through the Revelation of John, seems to be anything but rational.

All those who are marked, who have conquered shall pass through to the next place. All those who do not conquer, who are marked with a coarser mark do not pass and are cast to the lake of fire (to try again).

This doesn’t sound physical to me. It sounds more like some sort of spiritual armageddon, a purification by fire that some will accept and some will not.

From earlier books in the New Testament, we see a certain path of love, humility, peace, forbearance, and forgiveness of others. There is also a personal revelation transmitted from one to another, a sending and receiving (see Revelation 3:3).

From personal experience, this is the key to the spiritual armageddon. You receive the unfelt, unspoken Word and send it to others one-on-one. Each recipient attracts others who are prepared to receive, who receive and in turn attract others. An appropriate scientific metaphor is a chain reaction. Armageddon comes at the point of critical mass, the resonance point of the two closest foci, where the tension between the points is at its greatest.

So how do we deal with the fact of this change? I guess that the best course of action is to act on the purest tenets of your belief, and you will receive when you are ready.

The keystones of Western culture

How does our modern culture define itself? This definition is the basis of how we think, how we act, and who we are.

I want to find one or two things that act as the pillars of the definition. I’ll start with the general thrust of our culture.

Western civilization is a supremely rational, materialistic, controlling and communicative culture. It must dominate in all things. All other ways will follow in its wake, or be crushed beneath its uncaring feet.

How is this way of life epitomized? Let’s look at things we do all day long, in a “average” Western life.

We work, then we don’t work. At work, we make things, we help make things, or we use things. When we’re not at work, we do things that give us pleasure, which is relative.

Where do we work? Usually not where we live. In the past we always worked where we lived, and work was not separate from the rest of our life. We approach the first keystone.

Work is now separate from “life”. We do work that has no relation to us as people, to who we are. There is distance between us and work. How do we express this distance? We drive to work.

The automobile is the first keystone. Without the auto, and its corollaries, we never travel more than one hundred miles from our home, and our place of birth, with exceptions, of course. We have no idea of other anything!

The automobile has many, many far-reaching effects. I will only mention a few here, and I leave it to you to discover how it affects your life and our culture.

The dominance of paved roads, parking lots. Air, water, land pollution, the loss of mineral resources. Inability to notice your surroundings, ignoring your surroundings. These are some but not all of the ways the car culture invisibly infiltrates our lives.

This culture has moved significantly in one other direction that affects all our lives. This direction can most easily be found by looking at the other focus of modern life, leisure time. What do most of do on our leisure time? Watch TV.

TV is ubiquitous. We cannot escape TV. TV is a keystone in our lives. If you try to avoid it, you will constantly be reminded of it by another who watches TV and wants to tell you what they just saw.

TV in its purest conception is a liberating medium. The ability to see something happening in a faraway place provides perspective, immediacy, and understanding that those far from us are in fact just like ourselves. Fear of others is an instinct-television allays that fear by showing us others who are as we are.

However, as most things rarely come in their purest form, television is no longer a medium to communicate images without extrinsic meaning, but a medium that broadcasts images that tell us who we are.

It has become how we see ourselves, others and the culture in which we are immersed. It has become the basis of our view of the world. It’s real if it’s on TV, not if not. The “electric fireplace”. Reality happens on TV. What happens on TV is reality. (see Ellison’s The Glass Teat I & II)

Finally, to make these artifacts true keystones, let’s see what would happen if these keystones are pulled from their places.

With no cars, our travel would be restricted to how far our own energy could take us. No more 60 mile commutes. No more trucked-in goods-what you can get within 100 miles is what you use.

With no TV, no news reaches us until it’s brought by someone from where the news happened. Nothing is sold to us unless someone comes to sell it. No entertainment is provided unless it’s live.

These changes would be far-reaching. Immense. Transforming. Our culture would not look like it does. Therefore these two objects are surely keystones.

The decline of Western civilization-a moral decay?

To start, I’ll define terms. I mean by decline, the ending of a culture. By Western civilization I mean the attitudes that result from a certain outlook on life, based mostly on European culture, more specifically post-Renaissance mercantilism and the Industrial Revolution. By moral decay I mean the results that this attitude has on the human spirit and the corresponding effect on the material world. By homicentric, the belief in the superiority of man. By Judeo-Christian paradigm, I mean post-Lutheran Christianity.

The decline of Western civilization manifests itself in two major ways, the spiritual and physical. The spiritual decline presages and is a cause of, the physical decline.

The spiritual decline is caused by the perception of a split between the spiritual and physical beings of man. This split has its root in Christianity itself, but is not the direct cause of the split. The cause of the split comes from the Renaissance and the scientific method.

Christianity teaches the split of man and spirit in the Fall, but resurrection and healing of the split by Christ on the cross. The true meaning of this is that resurrection is attainable, much like the remembering of a lost skill.

How the Renaissance made the split evident was by discovery, the realization that man is not the center of the universe, and the fact new things could be found by logical thinking, observation and measurement.

As time passed, this paradigm became the norm in the West, and began to result in significant changes to the way Man’s two natures were viewed. In essence, the physical was all that could be “real”, i.e. analyzed, dissected, and the spiritual was immeasurable and therefore there is doubt as to its existence. This is a matter of faith, not science.

As time passed, the split becomes one that was so obvious, it didn’t exist. All our lives are lived without a true connection to our spiritual beings, and no method to make the reconnection. The split is something that will be reconciled at death, so no need to worry about it now. This attitude becomes pervasive, and takes many forms. I will mention several as examples.

There is lack of commitment to spiritual progress. Worship is an activity that takes place in a specific time and place, on Sunday in a church.

There is a fatalism about the future of man. This takes many forms, but is most striking in the myth of Armageddon and nuclear holocaust, a “fin de siècle” “if it feels good, do it” outlook, and a lack of regard for human life, especially the lives of strangers.

There is preponderance of cult activity, fundamentalism, and an attitude of “let’s return to the good old days”. This is an attempt to try to heal the mind-body split.

There is an obsession with material objects, possession, and sensation. This is a result of focusing on the body as the only tangible expression of humanity.

There is a need to sublimate our personal lives in the lives of public figures. There is a corollary effect, the lack of interest in “real life”.

But, as there is a connection between the spiritual and physical, this spiritual attitude change causes a physical change. This physical change manifests itself in many ways, several critical among them. I’ll let you discover other effects of the attitude change.

First and foremost among these physical changes is the destruction of the biosphere. This is a result of the attitude that Heaven awaits, and our physical body is irrelevant.

Second is the population explosion.

Third is violence against fellow man, and a corresponding callousness.

To place all of these problems at the foot of Christianity is ridiculous, but some blame has to be placed there, and in Western civilization in general. Other civilizations have lived in harmony with the earth for much longer than Western civilization has been around. The major part of the decay has happened within the last two centuries, coinciding with the rise of the United States and its subsequent domination of cultural events. The United States is the full flower of Western civilization, and its last great blossom.

What are the roots of these problems? In essence, it is the mandate given by the Bible to the Hebrews in the first book, Genesis. The mandate is that man has dominion of the world. This is stated directly in Genesis 1:26, “…and let [man] have dominion over the fish…, the birds…, the cattle, and over all the earth…” Add to that Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it”. These phrases, written at the start of the primary text of two major religions, is a deep part of the Western mindset.

Taken literally, that man must tame a wild earth and take control of all things, is the ultimate justification for doing anything to the earth. Population growth fulfills part of the mandate, that of being fruitful and multiplying. Taming or destroying animals, rivers, the air, the earth fulfills the mandate of subduing the earth and dominating animals.

The evidence of the failure of this mandate is all around us right now. Air, water, land pollution, overpopulation, extinction of species, these are all the result of the Judeo-Christian mandate.

We need to change this mandate. To what, and how, are the questions to ask. Let’s start with subtly changing several phrases in Genesis. In Genesis 1:26 we change, …and let [man] have dominion over the fish…, the birds…, the cattle, and over all the earth…”, to …and let [man] have care for the fish…, the birds…, the cattle, and all the earth…” In Genesis 1:28 we change, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” to “Be fruitful, and respect the earth and worship it”. Finally, in Genesis 2:18, change …I will make a helper fit for him” to …I will make an equal worthy of him”.

With these changes in phrasing, the mandate is completely altered. Care, respect and equality are the words of the new mandate.

A method of spiritual advancement

To evolve is the goal of all life. Evolution is the cause of and the effect on the organism being changed. Evolution is progressive, building upon the prior changes to the organism.

Humanity is at a waypoint of its physical evolutionary path. The human form will not change for several thousand years, at minimum. Evolution does not stop at the physical form however. Man’s mind still has some evolving to do.

This is evidenced by the amount of trauma caused by man’s mind dysfunctioning. Needless violence, addictions, insanity, inhumanity, careless treatment of others, the list goes on and on.

How can this dysfunction be stopped? How can we start the evolution of mind?

Fortunately, the non-physical part of man can be developed like the body can be developed, through work.
I will describe the work that needs to be done to provide this development.

A human can be divided into several parts that relate to certain physical and non-physical life processes. They are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual parts.

Each of these parts have a particular function and are developed in specific ways.

The physical body is the one we inhabit, the one that dies. It is developed through control of the body and refinement of physical processes. This can be accomplished by these things: physical fitness-cardio-vascular, strength and flexibility; proper diet; yoga asanas; yoga prana; body skills-martial arts, ballet, musical skills.

The emotional body is how we react to the world around us. It is concerned with feelings. To develop the emotions, perception and control of emotions, experiencing appropriate emotions.

The mental body is the one we use to get ideas, imagine things, solve problems, create, reason. It is how intellect is expressed. The mental body is developed by control of thoughts and enhancement of thought methods. This is done by the following exercises: study, logic and reasoning, debate, problem-solving, perception and control of thoughts and attitude, concentration, meditation, contemplation.

The spiritual body is the part concerned with the relation with the greater spiritual world. It is developed by cultivating spiritual perception and control. This is done by experiencing certain events and perceiving your feeling towards the event. This is an extremely sensitive perception, and hard to gain. It also carries the risk of succumbing to illusion and falsehood.

To accomplish the next evolutionary leap, mankind must cultivate non-physical “muscles”. The steps outlined here will be a start on the way of building those muscles. It’s time for all of us to be spiritual bodybuilders.

The trial by fire: drugs as a “shortcut” to enlightenment

There are several paths to enlightenment-each are suited to a particular personality. These provide the person with a path and exercises that are comfortable to them and give the most effective growth.

There are ways that are universal to all types of people, that provide rapid experience of enlightened states, and that are easy to use.

One method that can be used in this way is medicinal plants. Certain plants produce compounds that react with brain chemicals to produce certain effects that are similar to states produced by spiritual exercise.

These substances include: ayahuasca, rye ergot, peyote, psilocybin, san pedro cactus, jimson weed. All of these plants have been used by native cultures in ceremonial rites and by shamans to communicate with their deities.

These substances provide several functions that allow approximation with states of enlightenment.

– Energy raising-when using these plants, energy stored in lower energy states rises to higher states more easily. This allows for increased activity at those higher energy states.

– Altered perceptions-when under the influence of these substances, the force of everyday perception is lessened and more subtle perceptions are able to be used. This is an essential part of spiritual development.

– Peak experiences-these plants produce an experience similar to enlightenment-the wordless state of perception. While the plant influence is transitory, it provides a way to learn about the actual experience of at-one-ment.

There are, however, dangers with using these substances. Opening up perceptions and releasing energy are actions which can entrap the unprepared person.

– Overidentification with the altered state and reliance on it to provide actual attainment. This retards the progress of actual spiritual advancement.

– Losing perspective-falsely thinking that the experiences and perceptions gained during the experience are the only real experience. Inability to see the experience for what it is: an artificial method to gain experience in spiritual activity.

– Loss of control-without sufficient preparation and guidance, the power of these substances and the experiences generated are difficult to control. There is a risk of losing oneself in the experience and being unable to return to everyday life.

– Loss of self-as these plants open up the spiritual body, the risk of this body being taken by malevolent inhabitants of non-physical realms becomes a possibility if the user is not properly prepared or unable to control or defend himself.

– Loss of anchor-as energy is released by these plants, spiritual travel is possible. Without proper guidance or experience, the person can get lost during these journeys and be unable to find the way back to his physical body.

– Inappropriate progress-by the use of these substances, great progress in the acquisition of spiritual abilities can be made. There is a danger that these spiritual abilities will be gained without the corresponding spiritual discipline and control. Using these powers without discipline and control can lead the person to error and illusion.

Because of the many risks involved in this particular path, it is not recommended for most people. It is a violent and wrenching experience, and the benefits do not outweigh the risks. For this reason I call it the “trial by fire”, as coming out of it can leave you severely burned, or tempered into steel.

Keep in mind the words of Ram Dass (Richard Alpert)-“psychedelics are like a business call-once you get the information, you hang up the phone, if you’re smart.”

A physical regimen

Our physical body is the ground in which all our lives are based. Without the physical body, we are only spirit, unable to learn and advance along the path of enlightenment.

Our body is therefore the first most important body to develop and take care of when undertaking a spiritual path. It is a temple, and must be respected and revered as a sacred chalice that holds the secret of our life.

There are several aspects to physical fitness-cardio-vascular fitness, strength and flexibility, body control and skill, efficient bodily function.

Cardio-vascular fitness is
necessary for endurance-the ability to use your body for extended periods of time without tiring. Your heart, lungs and muscles need to be able to tolerate stress and work at elevated levels for some time and high levels without immediate failure. This is accomplished by continuous low-intensity activity of large muscles. The important item to recognize here is time. The exercise must continue for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week.

Many types of exercise are good for cardio-vascular fitness. Some of them are: walking, cycling, swimming, skating, jogging.

Strength is important because of the need to use your muscles for work. Also, muscles need to be stressed or they lose their tone. The most efficient way to strengthen your muscles is through lifting weights. To properly strengthen your muscles, three things need to happen: first, the muscle is worked through its full range of motion; second, the muscle is worked hard where it is strong, less hard where it is weaker; and third, the muscle is worked until it fails. This type of strength training should be done 3 times a week.

Flexibility is the ability of your muscles and joints to stretch and move in unexpected directions without damage. Stretching is best done both before and after exercise, and ideally once a day as well. Stretching should be a consistent routine every time. It should process from the head to the toes or vice versa. Each stretch should be held a minimum of 10 seconds without pain. A good source of stretching exercises is hatha yoga.

The ability to make your body do what you will it to do is very important. This is done through activity which builds skills. Training in non-repetitive motion, muscle memory and fixed motions allows control over your body. Some important skills to learn are: balance, hand-eye coordination, precision movement, quickness, reflexes, strategy, use of power and finesse, ability to absorb punishment. Activities that promote these skills include: martial arts (soft and hard), ballet, tennis, rugby, golf, playing a musical instrument, typing, competitive driving, surfing, skating, hockey, among many others. In short, most any skilled activity is useful, but a balanced mix of activities is important to proper skill building.

Making your body work in the best manner is the goal of all these things. One final thing remains, and that is the health of your body. Proper diet, dental care, monitoring of cholesterol and regular checkups, in addition to preventive care will ensure that your body provides a good foundation for further development.

A yoga routine

Purification exercise

Visualize a being of pure light and love (Padmasambhava-Lotus-evolved one), who is sitting in the midst of a lake on a lotus flower in front of you. He is in front and slightly above you at a thirty degree angle. He will come into your heart when you have sufficiently purified yourself.

Closing your left nostril, breathe three deep breaths out of your right nostril. Visualize the air being ejected as dark red and consider it to be all of your bodily diseases and attachments.

Close your right nostril. Now breathe out three deep breaths through your left nostril. Visualize the air being ejected as blue-grey and consider it to be all your mental obstacles and anger.

Now breathe out three deep breaths through your mouth. Visualize this air as purple and consider it as the sloth that impedes your progress.

Now visualize that from the ajna (the point between the eyebrows) of Padmasambhava directly to your ajna there is a piercing beam of white light which, as it burns into you, rids you of bodily sins and wrongs (the sound connected with this is OM).

Now visualize that from the throat chakra of Padmasambhava directly to your throat chakra there is a piercing beam of red light which, as it burns into you, rids you of lapses of speech and untruths (the sound connected with this is AH).

Now visualize that from the heart of Padmasambhava directly to your ajna there is a piercing beam of blue light which, as it burns into you, rids you of wrongs done in ignorance and wrong thoughts (the sound connected with this is HUM).

Now allow that blue beam to become a broad blue avenue of light. Then you will see Padmasambhava come down that avenue and come directly into your heart. Here he will sit in your hridayam (spiritual heart). His mantra is Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum. This means three-in-one (the unmanifest, imminent manifestation, and manifestation) lightning-bolt Guru of unbearable compassion and infinite power who resides in my heart. To say his mantra is to keep Him in your heart until finally you and He become One.

The Four Bodhisattva Vows (say three times)

I resolve to become enlightened for the sake of all living beings

I will cut the root of all delusive passions

I will penetrate the farthest gate of Dharma

I will realize the supreme way of Buddha

Asanas

Lie flat on your back and relax. Legs out straight, feet together and your hands by your sides. Relax your feet, calves, thighs, pelvis, abdomen, chest, arms, neck and head.

Extend your arms very slowly over your head until they are stretched out straight behind you. Slowly sit up, bringing your arms and head up together and keeping your heels on the ground. Bend at the waist.

Smoothly proceed forward until you touch your toes. Keep your legs straight. If you can, hold your feet with your hands, pulling your feet towards you and bending your elbows until they are touching the ground on either side of your legs.

Gently raise your arms and return to a prone position, inhaling.

Work up daily until you are doing about thirty of these.

Sit up with your legs stretched out in front of you. Now bend your left leg and place the sole of your left foot against the inside of the thigh of your right leg (still straight). Maintain that position. Raise your arms over your head and bring them slowly down towards your right foot. Bend as low in the back as possible. Then hold the position for about 15 to 30 seconds and return to a straight sitting position.

Now change legs so that the left leg is extended and the right is bent.

Roll over on your stomach and lie flat with your legs together and your hands by your sides. bend your arms until your hands are flat on the floor next to your chest. Very gently start to push up with your forearms, thus raising the upper part of your body. Raise your head first, then your neck, and then slowly raise lower and lower parts of your spine.

At the same time that you are raising the upper part of your body, press down into the ground with your pelvis. You will finally feel the pressure at the tip of your spine.

Keep your head up. When you have reached the point that you can reach comfortably, stop and remain and then remain in that position for about 15 seconds and then lower the upper part of your body to the ground.

Sit up and cross your legs.

Place your hands behind you and slowly let yourself back down until you are resting on your elbows. Lower your head until the top of your head touches the ground. Arch your back and rest the upper part of your body on the top of your head and the lower part of your body on your cross-legged seat. Now place your hands lightly on the top of
your thighs. Remain in this position for about 15 to 30 seconds and then slowly return to a sitting position. Continue forward until your head is on the floor and your shoulders are resting on your thighs. Holding the wrist of one arm with the hand of the other behind your back, slowly raise your arms behind you as high as you can. Then bring them down and relax.

Roll over on your stomach. Behind your back take hold of your ankles with your hands, firmly. Push away with your feet, bringing your head and chest up. Keep lifting in this fashion until your thighs are fully off the ground. Look straight ahead and remain in that position for about 15 to 30 seconds. Gently return to the ground. Do this three times.

Sit up straight with your legs straight out before you on the floor. Bend your left knee and put your left leg under your right leg so that the left heel is to the right of and pressed against your right cheek. Bring your right leg up by bending it at the knee and place the right foot flat on the ground to the left of the left knee.

Raise your left arm and twist the upper part of your body to the right until your left armpit is directly over your right thigh. Now turn your left forearm so that you can pass it through the triangle made by the bend in your right knee. At this point your left armpit is almost resting on top of the right thigh.

Reach around behind you with your right arm until your right and left hands can grip each other. Turn your head so that you are looking behind you over your right shoulder. Twist as far as possible. Hold the position for 15 to 20 seconds and return to as straight sitting position.

Now do the twist to the left, reversing the above instructions.

Assume a kneeling position. Place your hands on your knees so that your fingers are extended outwards and you are leaning slightly forward.

Extend the tongue outward as far as possible and turn the eyes upward and towards the middle of the forehead. Exhale the breath as much as possible and contract the throat muscles. Make the entire body as taut as possible-as if you were a lion about to spring. Stop, return, and then relax. Repeat about four times.

Lie on your back. Raise your legs off the ground and spread them, keeping them straight. Then raise the upper body to form a V with the point of contact with the ground being the tip of your spine. Stretch your arms forward between your spread legs. Remain in this position for 30 seconds. Don’t strain. Return to a relaxed position.

Lie on your back. Very gently, in one smooth movement, lift your legs off the ground (keeping the straight) And raise them until they are at a 90 degree angle to your torso. Then placing your hands behind your back, slowly lift your hips off the ground and more and more of your back, until only your head and neck and on the ground. Your back is supported by your hands, which should be as high up (close to the neck) on your back as possible. Elbows are on the ground. Remain with legs and body straight up for two minutes.

Starting from the neck stand, gently bring legs over the head, still keeping them straight, until your toes touch the ground behind your head. Keeping your legs straight, attempt to bring your heels to the ground and walk in towards your head. When you have gotten as close as possible without straining, stop for 10 seconds.

Starting from the last position, bend your knees until they touch the floor next to your ears. Remain in that position for ten seconds. Then gently retrace your steps, one by one, until you are back on the ground resting on your back. As you lower your body, press each vertebrae against the ground from the neck down.

Return to the first position and remain there for five minutes

Pranayamas

Sit upright, lotus position is ideal.

Pull in and up on the sphincter.

Pull in slightly on the stomach.

Extend the tongue out of the mouth as far as possible. form it in a “U” shape. Breathe in through the mouth as deeply as is comfortable.

During the inhalation, imagine that you are bringing pure pran or life force or light or consciousness into your body. Focus on the point between the eyebrows so that you experience bringing the pran to that point. As you breathe out, imagine breathing out impurities of body and mind.

Do five of these the first day. Increase by one each day until you are doing fifty a day.

This breathing involves a rhythmic shallow breathing through the nose only. There is no pause between inhalation and exhalation. You start slowly in order to keep the in-breath and out-breath of equal intensity and duration. Once you have equated them, increase the rate and intensity. Ultimately the breath is short and staccato in neture with a definite feeling of impact at the points between the in-breath and the out-breath.

During this exercise focus in the inside of the tip of the nose at the point where the air hits the nasal passage during exhalation.

Do this exercise for about thirty seconds. Stop, rest. Do it again for about thirty seconds. Later, you can increase the number of intervals to three or four at a sitting.

Place the right hand so that the third finger is resting between the eyebrows, the thumb is by the right nostril, and the fourth finger is by the left nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale slowly and evenly through the left nostril (about four seconds). Hold the nose by closing both nostrils for about 2 seconds. Remove the thumb and exhale slowly and evenly through the right nostril (about 8 seconds). After a second, inhale through the right nostril (about 4 seconds), hold 2 seconds, and exhale through the left nostril (8 seconds).

As you take in the breath through your left nostril, imagine a charge of energy going down the ida (a nerve on the left side of your spine). As you hold the breath for the two seconds, imagine that the charge of energy is coming up the pingala (a nerve on the right side of the spine).

Start with five of this exercise on the first day and increase to fifty a day.

A stretching routine

Preliminaries

It is important to follow a few precautions while stretching.


– A stretch should extend to a point where the stretch is slightly uncomfortable, never to pain.

– Hold a stretch, never bounce.

– Keep a stretch for a minimum of 10 seconds, preferably 30 seconds, and for overly tight muscles, 1-2 minutes.

– Slowly go in and out of the stretch, don’t jerk into a stretch.

Following these guidelines should lessen the chance of pulled and strained muscles.

Now, let’s do some stretching.

1. Take a comfortable stance with the knees bent and shoulder width apart. Relax through your entire body.

2. Take your left arm over your head and place your left hand over your right ear and gently pull your head to the left. Slowly pull your head down and forward, moving your hand to the back of your head, until your head faces downward. Switch hands and pull your head up and to the right, moving your hand to the left ear, until your head is tilted to the right. Slowly pull your head down and forward, moving your hand to the back of your head, until your head faces downward. Switch hands and pull your head up and to the left, moving your hand to the right ear, until your head is tilted
to the left.

3. Repeat step 2. without your hands.

4. Circle your shoulders twice clockwise and twice counterclockwise.

5. Windmill your arms twice clockwise and twice counterclockwise.

6. Clasp your hands behind your back and straighten them out. Slowly pull them up.

7. Place your hands above your head and against a wall. Lean forward, stretching your arms above your head. Remember to keep your back rounded.

8. Return to your stance with the knees bent and shoulder width apart. Place your right arm next to your right ear. Bend the elbow and place your left hand on top of the elbow. Pull the elbow slowly to the left. This stretches the back of the right arm (tricep). Repeat with your other arm.

9. Put your right arm across your body. Put the left hand behind the elbow and pull the elbow towards your left side. Keep the right shoulder down. This stretches the shoulder (deltoid). Repeat with your other arm.

10. Put your right arm in the air and bend to the left. This stretches your right side, so remember to lean from the waist and keep your hips level. Repeat with the left arm, leaning to the right.

11. Clasp your hands in front of you and raise them above your head, pushing them out. Lower them, pushing out. This stretches your upper back, so push forward with enough force to feel the stretch.

12. Lay on your stomach. Put your hands by your sides and push up, leaving your hips on the ground. Hold and lower your body to the ground. This will stretch your stomach. WARNING: Do not do this stretch if you have back problems. It compresses your lower back, which can cause damage if you have back problems.

13. Turn over to your back and pull your feet up. Turn your knees to the right and your shoulders to the left. Keep your back straight. this stretches the left side stomach muscles (obliques). Slowly bring the knees up and over to the left, reversing the stretch.

14. Straighten the legs and come to a sitting position. Lean over your legs, stretching out the lower back.

15. Roll over onto your stomach. Push up with your arms and place your right thigh on your chest, with your foot slightly in front of the knee. Push down with your hips. This stretches the front and back of the thighs.

16. Curl the left leg so that the left calf is near the left thigh. Adjust your left leg so that the left thigh is on the ground instead of the left knee. WARNING: The left knee must not be on the ground. This could cause knee damage. Slowly pull on the left foot with the right hand. This stretches the left thigh. Left go and bring the left foot back to the ground.

17. Repeat #15 and 16 with the other leg.

18. Sit up with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your left knee and put your left heel to the right of and pressed against your right buttock. Bend your right leg and place the right foot flat on the ground to the left of the left knee. Raise your left arm and twist your body to the right until your left armpit is directly over your right thigh. Turn your left forearm so that you can pass it through the triangle made by the bend in your right and your left armpit is almost resting on top of the right thigh. Reach behind you with your right arm until your right and left hands can grip each other. Turn your head so that you are looking over your right shoulder. Twist as far as possible.

19. Repeat the opposite way.

20. Sit up with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your left leg and place the sole of your left foot against the inside of the thigh of your right leg. Raise your arms over your head and bring them slowly down towards your right foot. Bend as low in the back as possible. Hold the position for 1 minute and return to a straight sitting position.

21. Repeat with the other leg.

22. Sit up with your legs straight in front of you. Grab the right toe with your right hand and pull it towards you. Repeat with the other foot.

23. Bring your feet together in front of you. Place them sole to sole as close to you as possible. Hold onto the ankles and push down on your knees with your elbows. Hold the position for 1 minute.

Weightlifting Routine

Strength training is one of the foundations of physical fitness. The following is an approach to strength training.

I prefer to use Nautilus machines, because they provide the most complete workout. You can use them if you prefer, or any other type of weights.

The routines described here provide a balanced workout. I also do the abdominal routine following the Nautilus routines. This routine is originally described in The Nautilus Book” by Ellington Darden. I put them on a set of laminated cards, with another card to record weights and reps. Email me if you want me to make a set for you.

For a complete workout routine, I do 15 minutes of hard walking, then the Nautilus routine, then the ab routine, then a Tai Chi or martial arts set, then the stretch routine, then 15 more minutes of hard walking. I do this three times a week. Between each major section of activity I also do a smaller stretch to keep from pulling muscles.

I’ve recently discovered Pilates, which combines the stretching with dynamic movements to give a combination workout-some muscular stress, stretching and cardio. I would suggest it if you don’t have a lot of time and want to keep in shape-you can get a good workout in 15 minutes. I have a laminated set of pages with the 34 core Pilates mat exercises-email me.

I also have a quickie 6 minute workout if you’re interested. I do this one now because I have no time in my life for any other exercise-it’s not bad for maintaining a low level of fitness. It’s simple.

  • one minute of high steps
  • one minute of trunk rotation
  • 20 deep squats
  • 20 rear lunges
  • 30 sec of side bridge each side
  • 30 sec of pushup position

I think this is best done every other day, but every day might be better.

I’ve also discovered the Tibetan 5 Rites. It’s a little more involved than the short one, but shorter than Pilates. Here it is (all go up to 21 reps):

  1. Stand with arms outstretched horizontal to the floor, palms facing down. Spin around clockwise until you become slightly dizzy. Inhale and exhale deeply.
  2. Lie flat on your back. Stretch your arms along your side and place your palms on the floor, fingers close together. Raise your head up, tuck your chin. Lift your legs, knees straight, straight up. Extend your legs towards your head, legs straight. Slowly lower legs and head to the floor, knees straight. Relax, and repeat. Breathe in deeply as you lift and exhale as you lower.
  3. Kneel, body erect. Hands on the backs of your thigh muscles. Tilt head and neck forward, tuck chin into the chest. Throw the head and neck backward, arch the spine. Toes curled under. Brace your arms and hands against the thighs. Return to an erect position. Inhale as you arch and exhale as you return.
  4. Sit down, legs straight out, feet about 12″ apart. Place your palms alongside your backside. Tuck the chin forward. Drop the head backward. Raise your body-knees bend, arms straight. Tense every muscle. Relax and return to sitting. Rest. Breathe in going up, hold your breath as you tense, and breathe out going down.
  5. Lie down, face down. Hands palms down, toes flexed. Hands and feet are straight. Push up with arms perpendicular to the floor, spine arched,
    cobra position. Throw the head back as far as possible. Bend at the hips and bring the body into an inverted “V”. Bring the chin forward and tuck it against the chest. Breathe in deeply as you raise the body, and exhale fully as you lower the body.
  6. Stand straight and breathe out completely. Bend over forward putting your hands on your knees, forcing out the last trace of air. With your lungs empty return to standing straight posture. Put your hands on your waist and push your shoulders up by pressing down with your hands. Pull the abdomen in as much as possible and raise your chest, keeping your lungs empty. Hold this position as long as you are capable, with empty lungs. Breathe in through the nose until your lungs are full. Exhale through the mouth, relaxing arms to hang free. Take several deep breaths before the next repetition.

Here’s another set I’ve begun doing during work-I’m also standing all day and walking back and forth from work and home to public transit. It seems to work pretty well for me.

0
Squat-Pushup-Crunch
7
Step
15
Cloud hands-Pull up-Crunch
23
Stretch
30
Squat-Overhead press-Crunch
37
Step
45
Cloud hands-Rowing-Crunch
53
Stretch

Here are the guidelines:

Step: about 30 seconds of high stepping.
Squat: 8-15 medium to low squats.
Lunge/Cloud Hands: 8-15 side to side lunges or cloud hands (from t’ai chi). Low position.
Stretch: Stretch calves, adductors, hamstrings, quads, twist,
lean, arms up, arms back, delts, neck-5 sec for each (I do 10 secs for my hamstrings)
Pushup/overhead press: 8-30 repetitions, depending on weight and fitness level.
Crunch: 8-24 repetitions depending on fitness level. I do mine standing.
Pullup/Row: 8-15 repetitions, dependin on weight and fitness level.

Here are some general guidelines for lifting.

  • Alternate BASIC ROUTINE 1 with the other 5 basic routines.
  • Do a NEGATIVE workout once a week.
  • Do a CHANGE-OF-PACE routine once a month.
  • Do each exercise for 1 set, 12 to 15 reps for legs, 8 to 12 reps for arms. If you do +12 or 15 good reps, increase weight.
  • The 9-12th (12th-15th) reps should be to FAILURE.
  • Substitute exercises if you can’t use a machine (eg., bent rows for rowing torso, shoulder machine for 70 shoulder, leg lifts for hip flexion, etc.)
BASIC ROUTINE I

Duo Hip and Back
Hip Adduction
Leg Extension
Leg Curl
Pullover
Behind Neck Pulldown
Lateral Raise
Overhead Press
Neck and Shoulder
Arm Cross
Decline Press
4-Way Neck


BASIC ROUTINE II

Hip Abduction
Leg Extension
Leg Press or Duo Squat
Calf Raise
Behind Neck
Behind Neck Pulldown
Dip
Rowing Torso
Multi-Triceps Extension
Multi-Biceps Curl
Abdominal
Lower Back

BASIC ROUTINE III

Side Leg Curl
Hip Adduction
Leg Press or Duo Squat
Hip Flexion
Pullover
Overhead Press
Chin or Negative Chin
Dip or Negative Dip
Wrist Curl
Reverse Wrist Curl
Abdominal
Rotary Torso


BASIC ROUTINE IV

Hip Flexion
Leg Extension
Leg Press or Duo Squat
Leg Curl
Calf Raise
Lateral Raise
Overhead Press
Pullover
Behind Neck Pulldown
Arm Cross
Decline Press
Neck and Shoulder


BASIC ROUTINE V

Hip Adduction
Hip Abduction
Duo Hip and Back
Hip Flexion
Behind Neck
70 degree Shoulder
Decline Press
10 degree Chest
Triceps Extension
Compound Position Biceps
Abdominal
Lower Back


BASIC ROUTINE VI

Leg Press or Duo Squat
Leg Extension
Calf Raise
Leg Curl
40 degree Chest/Shoulder
Lateral Raise
Pullover
Duo Decline Press
Wrist Curl
Reverse Wrist Curl
4-Way Neck
Rotary Neck


NEGATIVE ROUTINE I

Leg Extension(Lift w/two, lower w/one)
Leg Press(Lift w/two, lower w/one)
Leg Curl(Lift w/two, lower w/one)
Hip Adduction(Lift w/two, lower w/one)
Pullover(Negative Only)
Chin(Negative Only)
Lateral Raise(Negative Only)
Overhead Press(Negative Only)
Neck and Shoulder(Light weight, push down)
Dip(Negative Only)


NEGATIVE ROUTINE II

Hip Abduction(Light weight, push down)
Leg Curl(Light weight, push down)
Leg Press(Light weight, push down)
Leg Extension(Light weight, push down)
Rowing Torso(Light weight, push down)
Decline Press(Negative Only)
Pullover(Negative Only)
Overhead Press(Lift w/two, lower w/one)
Abdominal(Negative Only)


CHANGE OF PACE ROUTINE I

Overhead Press
Chin
Duo Decline Press
Pullover
Dip
Rowing Torso
Leg Extension
Leg Curl
Triceps Extension w/Towel
Compound Position Bicep
Hip Flexion


CHANGE OF PACE ROUTINE II

Leg Press (Seat Back)
Pullover
Leg Press (Seat Close)
Behind Neck
Calf Raise
Abdominal
Dip
Triceps Extension
Chin
Biceps Curl
Lower Back


ABDOMINAL ROUTINE

EXERCISE REPS SPEED
Hanging leg raises 12 med
Hanging knee-ups 5 med
Rest 10 seconds
Hanging leg raises 10 med
Hanging kneeups max med
Lying leg raises 30 med
Rest 10 seconds
Lying leg raises 20 med
Cross crunch max slow
Abdominal crunch max slow
1/4 situps 15 fast
Knee rock-back 20 med

DEFINITIONS
Hanging leg raises Hang from a bar, raise slightly bent legs almost to chest. MAKE SURE BACK IS ROUNDED.
Hanging kneeups Hang from a bar, lift bent legs to chest.
Lying leg raises Place hands under pelvis. Raise and lower legs from 12″ to 18″ above floor. MAKE SURE BACK IS ROUNDED.
Abdominal crunch Bent knee situp position. Raise shoulders and upper back off the ground, hold and lower. Rest hands on neck but DO NOT PULL.
Cross crunch Abdominal crunch but turn elbow and shoulder towards opposite knee.
1/4 situps Abdominal crunch but raise knees to a right angle from floor.
Knee rock-back 1/4 situp position. Lift legs up and to the chest.