The Love-Hate Relationship

We have a love-hate relationship with our bodies. And therefore, same goes to anything else in the world.

Having a body is both blessed and troubled state of affair. We know it’s decaying, on the way back to ground yet there is some part in this possession that is worth celebrating. We love this body, at least intellectually apart from our bulky tights, sagging breasts, fleshy tummy and short legs, but when are the times we get genuinely interested in the way it’s showing up right now?

My first Yoga Teacher used to teach “Look at the good”. It means, only dwell in good feelings and sensations at any given moment when attention has to be paid to the body. Years later, another wise teacher brought up a question to myself “when things become uncomfortable, do you hastily move to around to get into more pleasurable position? Do you freeze and numb out? Or “Do you tell yourself that pain is not going to stop you?”

The love-hate relationship with the body will manifest as often as it appears in life situation. There is some part of your body you favour like the superhuman strength you have in the arm, the six packs you are dying to preserve and your new straightened spine. On the other hand, your body changes will stare right at you, day by day, year by year, as you get stronger or weaker, get sick or heal, get injured and gradually get old.

And interestingly, for me, it takes four decades in my life to realise that through all these changes in life, whatever strategies you are using to deal with the bodies are likely to be at play in your life as well.

Life at work plays the same game. It’s an inevitable love-hate relationship with your work, “I like my work but my boss sucks”, “I hate my job but I need the money”, “I hate everyone in office but I need the job” etc. For many decades, the mainstream trend of Self-Esteem training, Personality Development, Self-Improvement, Motivation seminars have not changed the troubled workplace to a large sustainable extend.

Self-esteem training concerns itself with getting better, fixing oneself that produces results in one feeling better about oneself but it does not necessary lead to new actions or improved performance.

In order to fix the love-hate relationship at work, you need to fix the love-hate relationship you have with your body. When we learn through our bodies in an environment like in the CATalist program, over time we reap the benefits of changing the way of interacting with ourselves which lead to interacting positively with others. When we learn how to transform and change in the body, our ability to coordinate with others is increasing and we become more capable of shaping a future that takes care of our personal and professional concerns.

There has never been a time more urgent than now (seeing from the fact of rising pain bodies, rising stress and depression), when all the best technology has failed, to bring human value alive at work by cultivating the practices that sustain our biological wisdom. All around us we hear the call for concern in the declining quality at workplace, the moment has come, the choice is ours to place leaning in the context of returning value of humanity to the workforce.

Is Sitting your new sinful activity?

 

Zen has recently got his mind glued to a lyric of this song
 
“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be”
 
If I got the lyric changed to
 
“You raise me up, so I can sit on a chair,
You raise me up to walk on stable ground,
I am strong when I stand on my feet,
You raise me up to be as normal as I can be”,
 
I know the “Oh my God” reaction. No one wants a “No big deal” way of life.
 
Critical Alignment Therapy (CAT) 中定疗愈瑜珈has given me the great gift of indulgences into helping people to sit, bend, walk, stand, squat and run in a pain-free way we did as young children. It may not be a “wow” ability. Throughout all my CAT years, I have worked with many truly miserable CAT students who have to manage their pains and I am amazed how many people blame their issues on the workplaces which require them to sit for long hours and hence many develop the fear of sitting.
 
 
It is not unusual to hear confession that people become uncontrollably upset and guilty if they have to sit. This obsession impinges on many people’s life hugely and restricts what people want to do. A few that I met resigned from the job that requires long sitting even though they truly love the nature of their jobs.
 
In reading the recent CNN highlight on this issue, it is clear that there is a direct relationship between time spent sitting and the risk of early death. That supports the need to be fearful even more.
 
I feel the urge to write this for people everywhere that need reassurance that sitting is ok, but who really don’t believe that it is ok. Of course, most people whose works involve long hours of sitting are familiar with the various aches, pains and outright bodily discomfort involved in sitting for a long time. They are convinced that their jobs are there to kill and they need an exit plan.
 
It is worth repeating that your body is designed and programmed to perform daily live activities easily. Regardless of what happened in your life, the memory of pain-free “bodily center” is still within you and pain is a way the body communicates with you that you are moving further away from this center. And if you are not communicating back, it just needs to shout at you louder which means moving from pain to numbness.
 
Take a look around our lifestyles in this fast-paced culture and what you will see that many people are living lives that are far from our bodily centers. Many desk warriors slouching on the foam padded seat with whole world glued in the computer screen thinking about whole new lists of things to settle. Our muscles have tightened up from the stress of living this way and don’t move that naturally anymore even when we exercise.
 
The truth is, whatever you don’t use, you end up losing them. When the bones, muscles and joints are not put to good stimulation, they gradually lose their function.
 
Sitting is not a problem. Young children are usually able to sit on the floor with their favourite toys without a problem although they do not have highly-developed muscular strength. Sitting longer for young children can stimulate the postural muscles. Originally, the body should be able to maintain a seat for a longer period of time just like children can sit for a long time without building up any tension. So, do not blame the job that requires long sitting periods. It is how we behave towards that line of stress and strain and how off we are from our bodily center that causes pain.
Bodily center is the starting place because without it there can be very little genuine movement. Center is the basic bodily presence and it is on this presence that the other bodily states are built. Pain and discomfort will manifest as a warning when you are drifted off the center.
Keep in mind that although I am describing bodily forms and practices, they represent states of being that are applicable to all aspects of our life. The experience of center in the body, for example, can through practice be passed into our intellectual, emotional and social life. Which I will elaborate in another write-up.
 
Bodily center can take place (in the language of Critical Alignment), when the body learn to go through phases of Relaxation, Movement, Coordination and Strength where various parts of the body are in proper relationship with each other starting from the home base of the head on top of the spine.
 
The concept of center is not a new one and in fact, many experts in this field can talk about it in great anatomical details but very few people understand it as an experience. The idea of center and the experience of center are two different things. Most people take an intellectual understanding of center and then try to act in a certain way, like overextend the lower back, rolling the shoulder back, sucking the belly inward and tensed up the body in order to look and feel straight. From this, attitude is shaped within the musculature and soon we will see another bodily hazard in this person.
 
To center is to experience our body in a total way and can be developed through the practice of Critical Alignment way and that’s the first chapter in our Journey Within CATalist program.


Is Sitting your new sinful activity?

Zen has recently got his mind glued to a lyric of this song
 
“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be”
 
If I got the lyric changed to
 
“You raise me up, so I can sit on a chair,
You raise me up to walk on stable ground,
I am strong when I stand on my feet,
You raise me up to be as normal as I can be”,
 
I know the “Oh my God” reaction. No one wants a “No big deal” way of life.
 
Critical Alignment Therapy (CAT) 中定疗愈瑜珈has given me the great gift of indulgences into helping people to sit, bend, walk, stand, squat and run in a pain-free way we did as young children. It may not be a “wow” ability. Throughout all my CAT years, I have worked with many truly miserable CAT students who have to manage their pains and I am amazed how many people blame their issues on the workplaces which require them to sit for long hours and hence many develop the fear of sitting.
 
It is not unusual to hear confession that people become uncontrollably upset and guilty if they have to sit. This obsession impinges on many people’s life hugely and restricts what people want to do. A few that I met resigned from the job that requires long sitting even though they truly love the nature of their jobs.
 
In reading the recent CNN highlight on this issue, it is clear that there is a direct relationship between time spent sitting and the risk of early death. That supports the need to be fearful even more.
I feel the urge to write this for people everywhere that need reassurance that sitting is ok, but who really don’t believe that it is ok. Of course, most people whose works involve long hours of sitting are familiar with the various aches, pains and outright bodily discomfort involved in sitting for a long time. They are convinced that their jobs are there to kill and they need an exit plan.
It is worth repeating that your body is designed and programmed to perform daily live activities easily. Regardless of what happened in your life, the memory of pain-free “bodily center” is still within you and pain is a way the body communicates with you that you are moving further away from this center. And if you are not communicating back, it just needs to shout at you louder which means moving from pain to numbness.
Take a look around our lifestyles in this fast-paced culture and what you will see that many people are living lives that are far from our bodily centers. Many desk warriors slouching on the foam padded seat with whole world glued in the computer screen thinking about whole new lists of things to settle. Our muscles have tightened up from the stress of living this way and don’t move that naturally anymore even when we exercise.
 
The truth is, whatever you don’t use, you end up losing them. When the bones, muscles and joints are not put to good stimulation, they gradually lose their function.
 
Sitting is not a problem. Young children are usually able to sit on the floor with their favourite toys without a problem although they do not have highly-developed muscular strength. Sitting longer for young children can stimulate the postural muscles. Originally, the body should be able to maintain a seat for a longer period of time just like children can sit for a long time without building up any tension. So, do not blame the job that requires long sitting periods. It is how we behave towards that line of stress and strain and how off we are from our bodily center that causes pain.
Bodily center is the starting place because without it there can be very little genuine movement. Center is the basic bodily presence and it is on this presence that the other bodily states are built. Pain and discomfort will manifest as a warning when you are drifted off the center.
 
Keep in mind that although I am describing bodily forms and practices, they represent states of being that are applicable to all aspects of our life. The experience of center in the body, for example, can through practice be passed into our intellectual, emotional and social life. Which I will elaborate in another write-up.
 
Bodily center can take place (in the language of Critical Alignment), when the body learn to go through phases of Relaxation, Movement, Coordination and Strength where various parts of the body are in proper relationship with each other starting from the home base of the head on top of the spine.
 
The concept of center is not a new one and in fact, many experts in this field can talk about it in great anatomical details but very few people understand it as an experience. The idea of center and the experience of center are two different things. Most people take an intellectual understanding of center and then try to act in a certain way, like overextend the lower back, rolling the shoulder back, sucking the belly inward and tensed up the body in order to look and feel straight. From this, attitude is shaped within the musculature and soon we will see another bodily hazard in this person.
 
To center is to experience our body in a total way and can be developed through the practice of Critical Alignment way and that’s the first chapter in our Journey Within CATalist program.