The core of all – not only Chinese martial arts – is so called ‘natural movement’. It is a way of movement that has originated in Nature and is connected to energy consumption (see: Least of effort in leadership).
Long ago, when physical strength was necessary to fight, ‘natural movement’ was commonplace. All styles of martial arts, breathing techniques (see: Best Ways to Relax Successfully), meditation, yoga etc. are supposedly methods to regain natural movements. Those are very straight forward and very simple once we know how to do it, but quite a bit hard to (mostly) re-learn (recall) from our childhood years. And when we do, we realize how powerful natural movements are. In the Nature all species depend on them to survive. That is why masterful martial artists when old move so simply, so powerful and are able to subdue much younger competitors.
There are different techniques to learn natural movements! Some of them are very popular today:
- “Meditation allows your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to use concentration or effort.”
- “Yoga is a healing system of theory and practice. The purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body.”
But are the above techniques fairly represented and taught?
There are millions of people in Western civilizations practicing meditation each day; there are plentiful appeals to bring meditation and yoga to elementary schools to minimize the usual stressors throughout the schooling years and additional stress and trauma outside school.
The fact is that anyone who practices sports, whether running, cycling, swimming, attending gym or doing yoga, is a hair's breath away from injury at all the times. Runners or gym people have a long list of minor and major injuries.
So, do yoga and meditation mislead by showing only benefits? Probably yes!
But have you ever heard of injuries in meditation or yoga?
It took me years to figure out that, by comparison with meditation or yoga, running is a very “honest” sport: there is good and accurate information about the types of injuries that occur, how to prevent them, the best treatments to explore if you do get hurt. There are more and more demands to put together the potential injuries and prevention in yoga, too.
Is this because of yoga and meditation background?
Yoga comes from Hinduism and is, by definition, a perfect system, so if you get injured - it's your bad karma as you must have been thinking impure thoughts. Anyhow, pay attention when you practice yoga as you may get injuries to knees, back, feet, shoulders; don’t follow diets blindly - that can weaken your health; even breathing techniques of yoga can have unexpected side-effects. It’s only lately that yoga is taught in a much more balanced and responsible way so less injuries may happen.
In the meditation it is even more difficult to demonstrate negative side effects. But injuries exist and are always demonstrated in much subtle ways typically taking much longer to come on than the sunburn or Epicondylitis in tennis and golf.
Since meditation is mighty, it affects your body, nerves, muscles and senses. Problems that arise for meditating practitioner may include feelings of ennui and emptiness, disconnection and also fear that persists even after meditation is over. In meditative state suppressed emotions or things you haven’t thought of for years may come to the surface of your mind which could be difficult to control or upset you. The so called ‘brain fog’ that can be induced by meditation is insidious in that it may interfere with a person’s work or school performance. Meditation slowly modifies the electrical activity in your brain to fit a specific pattern – which may be detrimental to your performance. It is possible that meditation triggers over activity in one hemisphere of the brain, potentially causing functional impairment. The more you meditate, the more you are essentially ‘molding’ your brain in a specific way via neuroplasticity. So it is important to consider your mental health before starting meditation practice.
Meditation should be regarded as a tool, a neutral act designed to increase one’s awareness and/or cultivate a specific state of mind. But bear in mind that we, humans, didn’t evolve by sitting and focusing all of our attention inwards. And lastly, trust your own experience rather than some ‘guru’.
relaxation techniques or other impressive tools to keep you healthy and safe invest some time in research whether there are side effects, is your future teacher knowledgeable, does this suit your character … and more.
Opinions are very welcome.