Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Gentlemen's Agreement

My dear old breath work coach, the Holy Spirit, has finally got me where He wants me. I have to admit that he hasn't had an easy time of it. As far as I know, there's not a drop of Pole in my blood, but I'm as stubborn as that breed is reputed to be. Yet I also know that the stubbornness, my adherence to persistent closed mouth breathing, was based on principle, at the time the best collection of principles I knew of. And those principles, although imperfect in the over all scheme of physical culture, nonetheless were excellent and necessary for learning some of the key fundamentals of functional anatomy. All arts of performance, of which athletics are a genre, have their parts of the whole that need to be worked on individually before there can be any hope of a complete balance. Probably before we can fully appreciate the unique purposes of breathing in through the mouth, we need to exhaust the limitations of breathing in only through the nose. In singing, for example, we absolutely need to learn how to sing softly, yet resonantly, before we start cutting loose in volume.
All of this means that I was able to return to our beautiful sports complex this morning and leg out another twelve laps, and also, for the second time this week, to tell someone that I have decided to at least look into the possibility of trying for the world record in the mile for 70 or 75 plus. This is not because I like collecting records or trophies, but because I want to promote the intelligence of sound breathing technique and the employment of yoga as the ultimate foundation of all real athletic intelligence, simply as the gifts of an all wise Creator.
In other words, the great Kevin Wallbridge has been released from some of his sniping duties - although not any of his tai chi instruction - because I'm honestly looking forward to running one of the fastest bloody old man's mile the world has ever seen, if I can pull it off, simply to prove the validity of the system and the genius of God's design of the anatomy of the human body.
The twelve laps were amazingly easy, three steps of mouth breathing in, six steps of mouth breathing out, with an excellent conversation with a retired hockey player and continuing coach sandwiched between laps four and five. Without the conversation I might have gone for three miles again, but that would have left me a little too tired perhaps for writing.
It was to the one-time player, now coach, in the rink to help with evaluating the dozens of young hockey players in Nelson to try out for spots on an upcoming BC-Alberta bantam level team, that I spoke of my intentions on the world record. His life work has been teaching, and he is as concerned about balance in the education of the young as I am. He's also a fellow grandpa, which gives us a sense of allegiance no one else can ever appreciate until he reaches that category.
I didn't come into the rink and the concourse to chit chat. I was there, not without anxiety, to see if there would be a really positive result of my returning to using my Birkenstock arch supports. I had been experimenting with tensor bandages on my ankles, wondering if they might restore some of the elasticity to my slumping arches. (A very real, as opposed to an imaginary, age-related factor in fitness.) They might have been some help in walking, but when it came to running, as I found out on the last day of 2008, they were no substitute for the pounding the feet have to take on a jog. 175 pounds landing on one foot every second stride is going to take its toll somehow.
Well, this time the 175 was no problem to the Birkenstocks. Good old German engineering, and a cake walk around the cement floor of the complex complex, at least with my Soleeze insoles as well. The Cadillac of running footwear, if I do say so myself. In fact, my left ankle feels better than it did before the run. If there's a Nobel prize for foot therapy, I'm a candidate. Man, what a lot of single malt that prize could buy! I could throw a party for the entire NFL, in order to cruise around and find out how much those mighty fellows know about yoga.
A lot of this, of course, because I'm really starting to get the hang of all the good you can do to the lower body muscles in the child pose and its many adaptations. I've got plantar stretches coming out of my ears - including one you can do while kneeling through the Canon of the Mass - so I was able to do a fair amount of healing to the ankle that took several hits from not using the Birkenstocks in the complex on Wednesday.
Suck it up, Eugene, Oregon; suck it up, Melbourne and Sidney. You guys used to have the advantage from the climates that let you train runners all year. But that was before the Nelson and District Complex - which in my heart is really the Ernie Gare Sr. Memorial Arena.
And it was also before I ran into the Maharishi of yoga coaches, the incomparable Patanjali of India.
Stability and comfort. Two fundamental principles, that keep the balance in effort. Two principles, just like two legs.


cabbage ears said...

Ken...have followed Kootenay Ranger since seeing your ad in the Valley Voice. Small world.You have always been original. Keep writing. I still do too. Still love poetry. regards, Irene Cavalier

eastsilica said...

Lovely to hear from you. I've actually been trying to find out who my Lumby reader was and drawn two blanks. All the best.
Ken and household.