Written by STEEL MBS on . Posted in Uncategorized

You probably think that swinging a blade around like Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is going to leave you missing a limb. But don’t worry—the only thing you’ll lose doing a our Sword Workout is fat. That’s because Steel MBS combines Sword Training with a Thai Chi Workout. You will gain Physical Strength in your core while swinging a sword. Sound interesting? Read on to channel your inner warrior.


Don’t have your Steel MBS sword yet? Grab a dull, long, weighted object, such as a broomstick and walk into an open area with a tall ceiling (or no ceiling) and plenty of space. Perform the workout as a circuit, resting 30 seconds between exercises. (So you’ll perform all your reps for exercise A, rest, then exercise B, rest again, and so on.) Repeat the circuit as many times as it takes until you’ve been working out for 15 minutes—your goal is to eventually perform 15 minutes of continuous activity with no rest. Once you can do that, use a heavier object.

The Workout:

A Half-Cut
Grab your “sword” with both hands, palms facing each other, but separate your grip by four inches. Your right hand should be on top. Take an athletic stance and place your feet together. Keeping your arms bent, lift the “sword” over your head so the “blade” points directly behind you:

[1]. Take a short step forward with your left foot and simultaneously slice downward, so that the sword ends up in front of you with your bottom hand at waist level

[2]. Return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 15 reps, and then switch your grip so that your left hand is above your right. Now you’ll step forward with the right foot. Complete another 15 reps.

B Full-Cut
Set up in the same position as you did for the half-cut:

[1]. Lunge with your left leg until it’s nearly parallel to the floor, and slice downward with your “sword” so that it ends up in front of you and your bottom hand is at waist level.

[2]. Return to the start position. That’s one rep. Perform 15 reps with before switching grips so your left hand is over your right. Now you’ll lunge with your right leg. Do 15 more reps.

C Horizontal Cut
Take an athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the “sword” so your hands are slightly in front of your right shoulder and your “sword” extends behind you:

[1]. Rotate your hips and shoulders from right to left as you slice with your “sword,” tracing a line parallel to the ground and at your eye level, stopping when your bottom hand reaches your left arm pit

[2]. Return to the start position. That’s one rep. Perform 15 reps before switching grips, so your left hand is above your right. Now you’ll cut left to right, rotating your hips in shoulders in the opposite direction. Do 15 more reps.

D Thrust Lunge
Take an athletic stance with your feet together, and hold your “sword” with your arms bent and your hands near your left hip so the “sword” extends in front of you:

[1]. Lunge forward with your right leg until your front thigh becomes parallel to the ground and push the “sword” forward

[2]. Reverse the motion and return to the start position. That’s one rep. Do 15 reps before switching grips so you left hand is on top of the right. Now you’ll lunge with your left leg, and start on your right hip. Do 15 more reps.

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How to Meditate Lying Down

Written by Steel MBS on . Posted in Uncategorized

There are two modes of Son Buddhist meditation: “Son in the midst of stillness” and “Son in the midst of commotion.” I simply call them the “quiet” and “active” modes of meditation. Quiet meditation commonly refers to traditional seated meditation but includes any meditative form where you’re not moving. Active meditation refers to meditating while in motion in the midst of daily life.

Active meditation is considered more advanced and confers the advantage of not having to set aside a special time and place to meditate. Practically speaking, however, in order to get to this level we first have to learn how to meditate in a variety of physical postures. Recently, I’ve shared with you “How to Meditate Sitting in a Chair, Part 1 and Part 2″ and “How to Meditate Standing Up.” Today I would like to present a method for meditating while lying down.

We will then have mastered meditation in the three primary postures that most people assume in daily life when they’re not moving: sitting, standing, and lying down. This means that you will now be able to perform meditation whenever and wherever you have an opportunity to stay still — whether that be sitting in front of your computer, standing on line, or when you’re about to take a power nap.

Traditionally, in a Son Buddhist monastery, we are taught to meditate lying down when we’re about to go to sleep. It is said that this is the best way to enter sleep, and I personally have found this to be absolutely true. Entering mindfully into a relaxed physical state — free of unnecessary muscular tension — while engaging diaphragmatic breathing and the “Yi-mwot-go?” (“This. What is this?”) hwadu ensures a deeper, much more restful and satisfying sleep. The next morning you wake up feeling physically replenished and emotionally vital and optimistic. There is a feeling of abundance, an overflow of energy and hopefulness, and the day just starts on a better note literally as soon as you open your eyes.

I also believe, however, that meditation lying down is helpful for beginners when they feel overwhelmed, when they feel truly emotionally stricken and depleted of energy by some difficult turn of events. When you’re in a state of emotional disarray, it can be hard even to hold yourself upright in a chair. At these times, it’s good to know that you can meditate lying down. So here’s how to do it.

Lying Down Correctly: The Corpse Position

Historically, the ancient Son masters were quite terse and told us only to practice meditation when “walking, standing, sitting, and lying down.” They never actually described a procedure for meditation lying down. Personally, I have found that the so-called corpse position (savasana) in yoga seems to be the most natural and effective way to meditate lying down. If you’ve done yoga before, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and for this meditation you can assume the posture as you’ve been taught. If you don’t know what the corpse position is, that’s okay, you can just follow along below.

1. If possible, especially when you feel overwhelmed, it’s best to choose a broad surface, one much longer and wider than your own body. This provides the feeling that you’re lying on an ocean, upheld in your time of weakness by the world, the earth itself. A broad surface also allows your body to extend and lengthen as much as it wants without worrying about bumping into something or flopping a limb off an edge. When your heart is aching, spread a blanket on the floor.

2. Whether you’re on a giant bed, mattress, or a blanket, lie down on your back so that your spine is in a straight line, parallel to the sides of the bed or blanket. Imagine that your spine is a chain that’s been put on the floor and pulled straight so that all of the links are aligned and disentangled from one another.

3. Your legs should be about hip distance apart.

4. Your hands should be spread out about a foot away from each hip with your palms up to the sky.

5. In this position, the left and right sides of your body are perfectly symmetrical, perfectly balanced.

6. Keep your eyes open and look straight up, but don’t stare at anything on the ceiling or above you. Again, allow your field of vision to present itself evenly. (If, however, you’re meditating in preparation for sleep, it’s okay to close your eyes.)

7. Place the tip of your tongue lightly against the roof of your mouth just behind your upper row of teeth.

8. Now, flex the muscles of both legs very strongly and raise them a few inches into the air in a brief, powerful leg lift. For a moment, your legs are two pillars of steel suspended low in the air.

9. Then, drop them and let them lie where they land. Your legs will probably land in roughly the same position, and your feet may tilt out to the sides. That’s okay. Relax your legs completely and leave them alone. You’re through with them for now.

10. Now arch your lower back and raise your hips up a couple of inches off the mattress or floor. Tense the muscles in your lower back and buttocks.

11. Then, drop your hips back down again and relax them. You’re through with them now, too.

12. Now arch your upper back so that your spine rises in a bow while your buttocks and shoulders remain anchored on your sleeping surface.

13. Then, drop your back down again.

14. Now clench your fists powerfully. Straighten your arms and raise them a few inches as you flex all of your arm muscles as strongly as you can for a few seconds.

15. Then, drop your arms again.

16. Finally, shake your head from left to right like you’re gently refusing something. Imagine that your face is swinging from left to right, back and forth like a metronome, slowly losing momentum until your chin comes to a stand-still perpendicular to the floor.

MEDITATION TIP: If what you’re lying on isn’t long enough, bend your knees so that they jut up like small peaks and place your feet down flat. Your lower back should be flush against the bed or floor so that it’s amply supported. On the other hand, if what you’re lying on isn’t wide enough, then tuck your arms against the sides of your rib cage while keeping them straight with the palms up. If even that’s impossible, clasp your hands by interlocking your fingers and place them over your lower abdomen. In your meditation practice, feel free to be creative. Then, you’ll be able to practice meditation lying down on a small sofa with your legs hanging off of the armrest or even in the backseat of a car. The point is, anywhere you can lie on your back, you can meditate.

Preparation Breathing: Detoxifies and cleanses your mind and body

1. Inhale through your nose and completely fill your chest. Hold your breath until it feels mildly uncomfortable. Then, exhale completely through your mouth.

2. Repeat three times. Then, engage diaphragmatic breathing.

Diaphragmatic Breathing: The primary breathing method of Son meditation

1. Inhale softly and slowly through your nose as you push out your belly as if it’s filling up with air. Inhalation time should be about 2-3 seconds.

2. Pause when your belly feels 80 percent full for about 2-3 seconds.

3. Exhale even more slowly through your nose as you draw your belly in toward your spine as if you’re squeezing the air out. Exhalation time should be about 3-4 seconds.

4. Each time you inhale, imagine that you are drawing in all of the qi or life energy of the universe into your dantien or energy reliquary about 2.5 inches below your navel, midway between your belly and your spine.

5. Imagine that this qi energy is filling your body, saturating your cells, and seeping into the marrow of your bones. Every cell in your body is bathed in and humming with this energy, becoming repaired and rejuvenated.

6. Remember the primary advantage of the lying meditation position: You don’t have to exert any muscular effort whatsoever to maintain this position. Therefore, you have more awareness and attention to give to the state of your body. Globally scan the inside of your body, the hollow spaces inside your limbs, torso, neck and head for signs of tension. With great attention, try to relax every single strand of muscle so that the only muscles you’re using are the ones needed for breathing. Go to a state of complete physical surrender and peace.

MEDITATION TIP: You’ll notice that the diaphragmatic breathing on your back requires greater effort because your abdomen has to fight the pull of gravity in order to move. Nonetheless, keep your breathing very smooth so that your lower belly rises up and down very evenly. Imagine that you’re breathing underwater. Beginners can clasp their hands over their lower abdomen and the up-and-down motion of your belly will let you know you’re doing the breathing correctly.

Thought Regulation: “Yi-mwot-go?” and the Great Doubt

1. Continue to perform diaphragmatic breathing, but when you exhale, in your mind intone, “Yi-mwot-go?” and generate the Great Doubt.

2. “Yi-mwot-go?” means “This. What is this?” What is this that directs my body when I move? What is this that generates the thoughts that I think? What is this that feels the emotions that rise up in me? When someone calls my name, what is it within me that recognizes the sound of my own name and looks to see who called? What is this that is asking, “What is this?”

3. By repeatedly asking ourselves this question in coordination with our breathing, we create, maintain, and increase the state of Doubt. Mentally, this is a condition of urgent questioning, the state of attempting to know the unknowable and see the invisible. Emotionally and physically, it is a sensation of feeling stuck — the way you feel when you can’t remember where you put a set of missing keys. Ultimately, we are attempting to direct our attention back at its own source.

4. Then, the Great Doubt acts as a cleansing flame in our bodies and minds, purging us of tension, worry, hostility, fear and sorrow. We feel consoled and unburdened, luminous and at peace with ourselves, and in the end, free.

Lying Meditation in Preparation for Sleep

If you are meditating in preparation for sleep, intone “Yi-mwot-go?” in your mind a little more gently than usual. Please bear in mind that mental and emotional intensity do not require you to tense your muscles. Keep your whole body soft — including your face — and intone “Yi-mwot-go?” calmly and clearly. Continue to do this until you drift into sleep.

Lying Meditation for Emotional Recovery

If you feel enraged or terrified, lying down for meditation may not be the best way to cope. This is because both anger and fear are, in part, a preparatory physiological state for extremely fast movement and great energy expenditure — fight or flight, basically. When you’re angry or afraid, it may be best to do something active like cleaning your house or going for a brisk walk so that you can burn off the excess energy. Then, afterward, you can perform one of the quiet forms of Son meditation — sitting, standing up, or lying down.

If, however, you feel heartbroken, empty and unmotivated, depressed, or simply physically exhausted, lying meditation may prove very helpful. What you need to bear in mind is that there is an art to meditating while lying down. Discipline is needed. You want to feel completely at rest so that you can heal and recharge, but on the other hand, you don’t want to simply doze off. Your mind must be very clear and alert even as your emotions remain calm and your body still. In this highly refined state of mental clarity and absolute physical stillness, you keep your attention completely fixed on the Great Doubt of the “Yi-mwot-go?” hwadu and allow the painful emotion — the grief, regret, shame, guilt, loneliness, or whatever — to pass on by like a cloud that drifts across the sun, momentarily obscuring it before moving off and going on.

Lying Meditation for Physical Recovery

Son meditation while lying down is also ideal for when you’re sick and bedridden. Especially, if you’re feeling frustrated, wanting to get better quickly so that you can get back to work, practicing meditation will help both in coping with your frustration and passing the time.

Lying Meditation for Waking Up

Finally, when you wake up after a good night’s sleep or a nap, instead of popping right up and engaging the world in a disoriented, unfocused state, assume correct lying meditation posture and take a couple of minutes to meditate. Even one minute is good. You’ll find this is a far more pleasant and healthy way to segue from sleep into complete wakefulness. When your mind and body are fully awake, balanced, and prepared, then rise and go out to greet the day — while meditating, of course.

Article sourced by Huffington Post

5 Tips On When To Maximize The Effects Of Your Workout Routine

Written by Steel MBS on . Posted in Uncategorized

Exercise When it’s Right For You

What time of day is the best time for your workout routine? pushupWith the popularity of the home workout routine, people have more flexibility than ever to exercise at different times of the day. Here is a rundown of how to schedule your workouts to get the most out of them.

1. When you’ll actually follow through – duh.

Obvious right? Don’t get hung up on the details. Exercise and healthy eating will always trump all other advice. Unless you’re injured, sick, or overtrained, exercising is better than not exercising. Schedule your workout routine when you are confident that you’ll do it.

2. When you feel like it.

Nothing trumps the psychological edge you have if you feel like exercising. As simple as this sounds, effort equals results more than any other one factor. This means that if you’re a night owl, work out at night. Morning person? Work out first thing in the morning. Any time you’re in the mood to really Bring It will work because, by far,the biggest physiological changes happen to your body when you push yourself further than you’ve pushed yourself before.

3. When your glycogen stores are full.

This one’s a bit more technical. Your body can push itself anaerobically longer and harder if you begin your workout with a full tank of muscle glycogen. This will let you lift more weight, jump higher, move faster. Glycogen is mainly recharged by carbohydrates, and is extinguished very quickly with exercise, brain activity, and most other tasks. This means it is always highest immediately after you digest a meal containing carbohydrates.

At night, your body can store glycogen, meaning that it’s possible to wake up and train in the morning before you’ve eaten and still have enough energy to get through a workout, but this is a theoretical scenario. Most of us, especially when we’re training hard and not eating a ton, will burn through glycogen recovering from the prior day’s activities. The result is that those early morning workouts can lead to something called “the bonk,” which is what happens when your body runs out of glycogen. Essentially you lose the ability to push your anaerobic realm, and you feel like you’ve hit a wall.

Bonking is not one of those “good pain” times. When your body is out of glycogen, it starts to break down muscle tissue and you quickly begin to offset the fitness gains you’ve made. It’s inevitable that it will happen to you at some point. When it does, don’t try and push through. Instead cut your losses and get on the recovery program by eating, resting, and then reevaluating your eating schedule and/or choice of workout times.

If exercising when your glycogen stores are low is the only time of day available, you can fix the situation nutritionally. If it’s first thing in the morning, eat a half or a whole banana, If that helps, try adding another serving of complex carbohydrates to your evening meal and then skip the banana. If that doesn’t work (you’ll know if it doesn’t—bonking isn’t subtle) it means you’re on a nutritional edge and aren’t eating enough calories to recover from your workout program. It’s time to reevaluate your daily caloric intake.

4. In the morning on an empty stomach.

If you do your workout program in the morning before you’ve eaten, your body is forced to utilize its fat stores for energy. You can train your body to be efficient at doing so, which is cool. You’re also “burning fat,” which sounds even cooler (although it’s not nearly as effective as “burning glycogen” when it comes to losing body fat). While fantastic, in theory, it’s not if you force your body into a situation where you bonk.

5. At night before bed.

This time of day is last for a reason. Unless it is really the only time you will work out or the only time you feel the best, you should probably avoid it.

Many people do a home workout routine because they are busy and can’t go to the gym, but working out directly before bed can affect your sleep. Most people have a hard time getting to sleep after a workout because exercise can throw off your melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, among other things. This isn’t ideal because sleep is very important for recovery. It’s when your body naturally produces most of its own performance-enhancing drugs in the form of hormones. Anything that hurts your ability to sleep should be eliminated if possible.

Exercise also utilizes a lot of nutrients, which are further depleted at night. If you’re on a strict diet, perhaps trying to lose weight, you run further risk by training and then not eating to recover from the workout prior to bed.

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Written by Steel MBS on . Posted in Uncategorized

Show me the Mindfulne$$

1. Lowers Stress


Occupational stress has become a “global epidemic”. I think we are all in collective agreement that stress is not a good thing. Where the problem lies is in how to reduce it – one sure fire way is meditation. It promotes mindfulness better and is more work friendly than workout programs. And linked to the reduction of the hormone cortisol, meditation has been shown to reduce stress. It doesn’t require any special clothes or gyms, just a quiet space. And lower stress in the workplace is a good thing – potentially increasing productivity and overall office wellness.

2. Increases Working Memory

Did you remember to fill out your TPS report? Check it out, add meditation to your daily life and you’ll never have to worry about that again. In a study conducted by UCSB, researchers found that increased mindfulness, “…reduced mind-wandering in every way we measured it and improved performance on both reading comprehension and working memory capacity.” Who doesn’t agree that less mind-wandering and better working memory can improve productivity at work?

3. Lower Healthcare Costs

Healthcare costs are a hot talking point these days. According to Fairleigh Dickinson University, “Workplace stress costs U.S. employers an estimated $200 billion per year in absenteeism, lower productivity, staff turnover, workers’ compensation, medical insurance and other stress-related expenses”. Keeping these costs under control while still providing comprehensive medical care to your employees, is a balance that’s tough to strike. One solution is a more holistic wellness package that includes meditation. Prescription drugs are a major player in healthcare costs. In a three month study conducted by Dr. Randy Zusman of Massachusetts General Hospital, he found that a large percentage of the study participants were able to reduce the amount of hypertension medication that they needed. There are still more studies on the horizon as mindfulness is gaining popularity in western culture, but it appears to be a solid reducer of healthcare costs.

4. Better Sleep

How many people roll in to work sleepy eyed and spend the first hours of work simply waking up? More than would openly admit it. Getting a good night’s sleep is paramount to being productive during the day and to increasing mental strength. A study by the University of Utah found that people who meditate, thereby maintaining a higher sense of mindfulness, are more rested at night and fall asleep easier. You wake up more rested, your mind is clear, and your synapses are going off like a 4th of July grand finale – priming you for some serious productivity.

5. Makes you a Better Leader

Randel S. Carlock says in an article published by Forbes, “Meditation creates space ― space in one’s mind to think”. Most leaders admit to feeling stressed over the constant demand for decision making. When your mind is cluttered with a life full of drama that has nothing to do with the matter-at-hand it may prove difficult to make decisive and clear choices. By improving clarity, you improve decision making. But it doesn’t stop there, he also points out that it is a “powerful tool for building teams, being creative and making clearer decisions”.