Mind Harp's Journal

Due to an injury ten year's ago I have been unable to walk freely. Where I once danced and hiked mountains, now I am fortunate if I can journey around the block. Along with the inactivity also came a lot of weight gain. This is a journal of my experience with BodyFlex, an isometric aerobics program recommended to me by someone in a similar situation. The journey begins.
Day 1 - June 4, 1998 

The deep breathing has produced an enormous amount of phlegm. I honestly did not know all of this was in my lungs. I am too amazed at this revelation to be disgusted. 

Many of the positions for oxygen concentration are too difficult for me at this time, so I am concentrating on getting the breathing technique down. I am hoping that my past voice lessons will help me with control. I am so concerned about doing this right. I have some fear in me that says I am doing it wrong. 

Up until 6 hours afterwards I found myself sporadically and automatically taking deep breaths and my diaphragm pushing the air out. This has given me confidence that I did it correctly enough to be on the right track for a beginner. I see this as a clear sign of success. 

These sporadic breath intakes are accompanied with mind images of clear blue icy lakes and fresh mountain streams. I am immersing myself in an ocean of air. 

Day 2 - June 5, 1998 

Whoa! Half asleep this morning. Have to keep concentrating on learning the technique. I honestly feel that eventually it will become habit and automatic. I tend to do opposites (breathe in instead of out, out instead of in). Did one more position today than yesterday that I felt was accurate, so as long as I keep noticing the growth and can repeat it I am sure this will work. It is clear to me that this will be an accumulative process, each day building on the next not only result-wise, but also knowledge-wise. Panic disappears when I do this program. It feels so natural and like something my body deeply and lovingly wants. 

There was no deep breathing afterwards today like yesterday. I felt I was going too slow for the tape and so did not really have a full workout. I do like hearing the breathing on the tape though. I feel eventually I'll get into the rythym of it, in fact I get moments of that already. So I will hold onto those moments as a springboard of things to come. 

I just thought of something really funny that's been happening all day long. I have been singing the Beatle's song "I'm a Loser" all day. Each time I've stopped and thought, "What the heck? How depressing! I'm no loser! I'm a winner!" Just now I realized it was my body talking to me. The song is coming joyously and happily. I AM losing. Inches. This is hysterical. 

Day 3 - June 6, 1998 

Today is Saturday, so I was a little more awake than yesterday and it helped. Am keeping up with the tape at least 50%, maybe more. Only got lost (scrambled breathing pattern) about 20%, the rest was coughing up phlegm. The phlegm didn't happen until later in the tape. Maybe I need to vacuum? I'm serious. 

Found myself in bed last night and this morning trying to breathe deeper,  really feeling my diaphragm, and experimenting with its control. I still tend to suck in when I'm breathing in and extend out when I'm breathing out, which sounds like the reverse of what it should be. I think practicing in bed helped me keep more on track with the tape when I finally got up and did it. I want to get that automatic breathing back that I had during day one! That was so cool. 

Day 4 - June 7, 1998 

A strange thing happened as I was falling asleep last night. Just as I was drifting off I saw an image of hundreds of random points each surrounded by an expanding corona of light. In the center were two computer-like buttons. There was something written on each button, but the image came and went so fast I couldn't read them. The impression I was left with was that one said File and the other Retrieve. The image was so powerful and startling. I absolutely love it when my body talks to me like this, trying to communicate with me in terms I can consciously understand and see. I never thought of breathing as a process of filing and retrieving, but I guess it is, especially when you learn what oxygen does when it finally is where it needs to be in the body. 

The surprise with this morning's exercise was that when breath was expelled on the tape I wasn't ready to expel. After only 4 days I am able to, and more surprisingly my body longs to, hold my breath longer (which Greer advises in the training tape is a good thing). For the first time I felt at some point I will be ready to do these exercises on my own and at my own pace. The breathing patterns went a little more smoothly than yesterday, I'm controlling my diaphragm better, and there was only one coughing fit (maybe I don't need to vacuum after all). I'm still having trouble with some of the positions (learning the breathing and positions is a lot like the perverbial rubbing your head and tummy at the same time). 

Day 5 - June 8, 1998 

Very sluggish beginning today. Gray day, fell out of bed. Was totally out of sync doing the exercises. Breathing was all off. In instead of out, out instead of in. Didn't feel I was getting into the swing of it until near the end. After work I did the training tape instead of the workout, just so I could get the breathing down again. I tried it a bit on my own after that and still felt out of sinc and nothing felt or sounded right. Maybe it's just an off day. Maybe it's just the weather. I'll keep hanging in there, but I have no idea why today was so off. Looking back, the best days so far were when I practiced the breathing in bed before going to sleep. Practice makes perfect. I really want this to work! Despite feeling off I did notice I felt tighter all over somehow. Tomorrow I see the doctor about another orthotic adjustment. After all this time, I'm still only able to walk in 5 minute stretches before the pain becomes unbearable. At least that is better than not being able to stand in the shower like before! Sometimes successes are small, yet they are the equivalent of scaling mountains. 

Day 6 - June 9, 1998 

Oh boy. Today was bad. I felt totally useless and out of form doing the breathing exercises. I tried to get up earlier and do them after I'd woken up a bit, but all that did was make me feel rushed and panicked. So I've learned my lesson. Do them first, no matter what and hopefully I'll eventually adjust. I did do them again when I got home tonight though and it went a lot better. I wanted to make up for this morning, just to prove that I could concentrate and do it, more than anything else. My doctor tried to cheer me up today about the next orthotic adjustment. Gave me a spiel about how medicine is a science, but orthotics are a work of art. I am so grateful he is working with me on this. It gives me hope. 

Day 7 - June 10, 1998 

Felt about 60% effective with the breathing this morning. Am still not able to get into some of the positions. The User's Group helped a lot with some alternate positions, like the rowboat. I felt a difference right away. I wonder how the breathing would work with Callanetic positions. I am able to do those. Today is my 7th day on the program, but I didn't take measurements until Day 3 (didn't get to that part of the book until then!), so I'll wait until Saturday. Sigh. 

Day 8 - June 11, 1998

Not too much to say today. I felt good doing the program and felt better breathing on my own a bit. At this point I feel I need more than BodyFlex, that it is not all in and of itself, but the foundation on which to add and build. Maybe it's the increase of energy coming into my life, but I now want to incorporate other activities, which I had no desire to do before. My new orthotics are in and I am picking them up tomorrow. I hope this means I will at long last be able to reincorporate walking into my lifestyle. I also want to explore incorporating the breathing into Callanetics. I miss the stretches, or more honestly, my body misses the stretches. I have to start listening to what my body wants. These desires are great! I also miss the feeling weights gave me. But these will be in addition to, not in place of BodyFlex. No matter what the results are inch-wise, this program has really started a dialog between me and my body. 

Borders by Silverhair
"No Holly for Miss Quinn" by Enya