Do you think working out is simply a series of boring exercises strung together? Think again: it's time for you to learn how to use the Force...and beat Darth Vador. This week is a very exciting week for me. At last I am crossing the threshold into working with groups and am launching something I already love: Group Jedi Workouts.
Twice a week, I'll be teaching a bunch of eager Padawans how to jump, crawl and light-sabre their way to weight loss and health.
Of course, this is not your standard workout. It will combine everything I have learnt over the past 10 years, to teach the wannabe Jedi Masters to become more embodied, more connected and more powerful than ever before.
In other words, to use the Force within them to not only exercise better, but to enjoy it in the process.
So this week's post is about exactly that: how you too can learn to train like a Jedi - and defeat Darth Vador single-handedly.
HOW TO BEAT DARTH VADOR
Trick 1: Find Your Feet
A Jedi is always connected not only to his body, but also to the ground beneath. The number one mistake young Padawans make is to get stuck in their minds, away from the power and the intuitive knowledge of their own bodies. Connecting to your feet is the first step towards getting out of the chatter of your mind and into the present moment.
Start by feeling your feet and the support of the ground. Notice how that changes your posture, your sensations, even your mood. Imagine sending energy directly through your heels towards the centre of the earth, and roots growing from your feet into the floor beneath you. Notice how your balance and your awareness change.
Trick 2: Connect To Your Breath & Body
A Jedi is deeply embodied, deeply connected to every single part of his body, and deeply engaged in the present moment. Before you start a workout, take time to bring yourself into your body: breathe deeply and imagine each breath soaking down all the way into the pelvis and the legs, even the feet.
Notice how the breath feels against the nose and the mouth, and the sensations within your chest and lungs. See if you can direct the breath into any tightness in your body. Next, connect to your body from within. You may want to practice this by closing your eyes or using a blindfold, as unfortunately Jedi Blinding Helmets are not available for sale on this planet. Yet.
Feel each joint, muscle, ligament and tissue as you move gently. Practice various movements and explore what feels good from within. Practice feeling and connecting to various points, like the fingertips, hips, pelvis, ankles or shoulders, and notice how each time the sensations differ. Aim to be as relaxed as possible - and enjoy it!
Trick 3: Use your senses
A Jedi is constantly aware of his surroundings, in order to be ready to counter any move from the Dark Side or catch the odd falling Princess.
Practice connecting to your different senses while exercising. Notice the smells, hear the sounds, feel the sensations on your skin.
Taste each sensation as if you had to describe it to someone else: what name would you give it? What does it remind you of?
Being fully present in your environment will get you out of your mind and into the present moment, where you'll be able to appreciate the beauty around you. See what catches your attention.
The more you appreciate your experience, the more you'll want to repeat it. So the quicker you'll become a Jedi. Simple.
Trick 4: Train your focus
A Jedi has laser-like attention, and can hold his focus for hours on end.
Develop your focus outside of training, through meditation. Keep your attention on your breath, and especially the sensations around the mouth, throat and nose. Connect to different parts of the body, and breathe into those that feel tight.
Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. You may also wish to focus on breathing in and out of your heart centre: this will bring you a strong sense of the Force deep within you.
You can also build your focus during exercising: practice tricks 1 to 3 while moving. Whenever you find yourself in your thoughts, gently refocus back on the present moment, the body, the breath, and your environment.
Trick 5: Use your body's intuitive Force
A Jedi knows how to connect to the Force within him.
When you practice listening deeply to your body, you'll begin to notice its impulses, its needs and its desires. You'll get a deep knowing of what muscles need stretching and which body parts need some care and attention. You'll even understand when to rest and when your body actually wants to go all out and let loose.
Using your body's intuitive Force requires practice to get out of your mind and to allow your body to speak instead. This is often a foreign concept for trainee Jedis, but with practice will become common sense.
Trick 6: Use your imagination to yield the Force
A Jedi understands the power of his own mind and how he use it.
Your imagination is your most powerful weapon, in exercise as in life: it allows you to prepare your subconscious mind for the desired outcome, and sends a clear signal to your body. In other words, it taps into the Force.
Before each set or workout, imagine yourself being at your best, enjoying the workout, and finishing the session feeling like Han Solo when he gets to finally kiss Princess Leia.
This is especially useful for more skilful or acrobatic moves like handstands: imagine the end result (holding a handstand), then jump and allow your body to do its job.
Of course, I wouldn't advise you to constantly be in your imagination, or you'll miss the beauty and the pleasure that you can experience. Use it wisely, young Master.
Trick 7: Focus on what you love
A Jedi uses his focus and mental clarity for good, and to push beyond his own boundaries.
During training, our Dark Side's thoughts and feelings often arise to hold us back, to keep us safe.
With practice, you'll learn to recognise these whispers and maintain your focus on what you love i.e. your desired end result (fat loss, health, happiness, etc).
Keep setting your intention, before each set and even during: "I choose to do 10 reps" for example, or "I choose to do 3 more reps". You'll be surprised at how effective this trick can be.
There you go, Padawan: 7 tricks to become a Jedi Master in no time. I wish you the best of luck in your training.
Now it's your turn to take action: choose one Jedi tricks and try it out for the next 5-10mins. Then leave a comment below with what you experienced!
Love & Health, Will x