photo by Gabe Zamorano
“for the purpose of being able to sense, acquire, store and mobilize energy at will, in order to promote health, vitality, and longevity.”
for years I practiced strong physical asanas and pranayamas.
(i still do)
my practice has always been a 6/7 day a week commitment. if i was really honest, there were times where i had to dig deep into my energy stores be present with my work, and be engaged in the rest of my life.
when i started practicing with richard freeman, gioia irwin, orit sen gupta, and angela farmer, i started to apply the energy building and storing aspects that i was missing. this changed my practice as well as the amount i could give to the rest of my life. practicing with 70% effort, i felt able to receive more as well. to the untrained eye, my practice is… same but different.
i started to build and store energy. life will throw a few curve balls, and with this compassionate approach, there will be excess stores to deal with things. the practice can be deeply restful and nourishing, while at the same time can be dynamic, flowing, fiery and powerful. however, a lot of energy can be wasted by holding tension in the breath, the skin of the body, and facial muscles. take these away, and the practices are still there – minus that chronic holding.
a meditation practice also helps to be more in tune with the energy exertion level.
you leave yourself no margin of error, if you are working at your maximum. This sets you up for various types of strain and injury, most often occurring at whatever is your particular weakest link. In various taoist traditions, this working at full effort without strain is referred to as “the golden mean”, or colloquially as “the 70% rule”. this guideline states that after ascertaining your true 100% capacity, you proceed at 70% of that capacity. you can then put full effort into that 70%, without strain, and as your 70% ability increases, your 100% capacity is also increased commensurately. and you always have that extra 30% to draw on if you really need it.
and it feels good.
so… sometimes go for it when the prana is asking you to. and then figure out your peace place. sometime you have to go out of balance for love.
of course, the word “rule” is a sticky one. there is never a rule, and sometimes working in different ways is the most freeing. sometimes just giving it all you’ve got is just the most perfect way to fly.
often working with 70% effort way enables spontaneous bursts into explosive shapes and expressions, as well as gives you the energy to take risks in your life. this comes from a very different place than “trying”. It comes from your stores of chi and prana.
things flow and change, even our approach to things.
but having a few tools in your backpack can make the shifts as smooth as possible.