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Hello,

If you have commented on any posts, it may be that the WordPress system has labelled you as spam, and your comment has simply disappeared; let me explain. Even a blog with as small a readership as this one managed to attract 146 spam comments overnight. I simply do not have time to read them all to see whether, in fact, one of them was mislabelled as spam, so I delete them all. If you are reading this, and you feel that a comment you authored has been wrongly labelled as spam, please email me. My email address is publicly available from my website, KitLaughlin.com/.

I am now imbibing coffee number two; it is spectacular! I added a single drop of natural vanilla essence today, in addition to Nityananda’s three herbs which I’ve written about before.

I have a small announcement, which will provide an pointer to the path that I wish to pursue from now on. I have registered the URL moving-mindfully.com yesterday. Although the distinction is artificial, this will complement the stretching-mindfully.com URL that I’ve also registered, to reflect the name of the new vbook, a term I have just invented (‘video book’). Neither of these URLs are live yet; they are simply ideas presently.

The work that we did on mobility first thing on the mornings on the recently completed Monkey Gym workshop has convinced me that movement, however we construe the term, is the next stage in the evolution of our work. Now, in one sense this is not evolution; it is merely a re-alignment—I say this because I taught the morning segment on the last day which was nothing more than the Unnumbered lesson from Stretching & Flexibility, a book I wrote in 1999. Sometimes we call this the ‘rolling around on the floor’ class—and that’s what it is: moving in various ways to see how the body feels.

When I wrote a book stretching and flexibility, I did not identify the Unnumbered lesson as ‘mobility’ but that’s what it is. In the book, I positioned the Unnumbered lesson as an occasional challenge to put to the body to see where your attention needs to go to next. By this, I meant that when you watch/feel the shape the body makes in response to any challenge you give it, you will know exactly what it needs in terms of future strength and flexibility. One of the participants (Lester Naidu) showed me a yoga pose which is a variation on the Cossack Squat (which already is one of the greatest mobility exercises I have ever seen). I will be making a video of this sometime in the next couple of weeks but in the meantime you may care to check the pose out; it is called Skandasana.

If you search for illustrations of this pose is you will find that the term denotes two completely different positions of the body, and one of them is from one of the Astanga series. When I use this term, I refer to the pose below, but with the body parallel to the floor (in passing, I note that the yogi has let the arch of his right foot flatten completely; try to avoid that):

Skandasana; thanks to the "Black Yogi"

Skandasana; thanks to the “Black Yogi”

And the way Lester showed me the pose, the feet are turned out 45 degrees or so; the ankles of both legs are held and, like our ‘martial arts warm-up’, part of the execution of the pose is to transition from L to R keeping the hips as low as possible.

As most of you know, the Cossack squat is a personal favourite, so I was delighted to be shown this new variation.

The reason I registered ‘moving-mindfully.com’ is to acknowledge explicitly that movement will be ‘moving’ to centre stage in our work from now on. A moment’s thought will reveal that the pose above requires both strength and flexibility in addition to the capacity to put those elements together into a smooth movement—so one might ask, “are the distinctions between strength, flexibility, and movement really valid?”

I say, ‘yes’, because the element that any individual requires may be more skewed to the flexibility end of the continuum, or may be skewed more to the strength end of the continuum—or may be in fact skewed to the third axis.

Let us consider these elements more formally.

If ROM is the X axis and strength the Y, then the Z axis, movement (and the third dimension), emerges from ROM (range of movement, so flexibility) and strength (the capacity to exert force). To put this another way, movement requires the critical neural coordination of these basic elements to produce elegant movement. Purists may note that time, the fourth dimension, is also a critical component of movement, but I feel the metaphor has be pushed sufficiently for one day!