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Building stamina

Start by picturing yourself with unlimited stamina, strong, powerful, enduring and boundless. See yourself totally unstoppable. Imagine yourself in the scene, doing whatever challenging task springs to mind thus imbued. Remind yourself you create the appearance of reality exactly as it is and that reality is utterly plastic and therefore pliable according to your will, so if you align your will with the idea of being imbued with limitless stamina, that’s how you’ll grow to be.

Stamina is a pre-atomic condition of reality and a vital ingredient carried in chi (primordial energy). It’s what gives duration to all phenomena.

When there is nothing blocking its flow, it provides duration to whatever it fills.

The only thing blocking it from flowing everywhere and filling you is a mistaken belief that by tensing against life, you remain in control of it.

By letting go of all unnecessary tension in your muscles and soft tissue instead, you enable all your energy channels to expand to accommodate a greater flow of stamina throughout your system.

In other words, the more you relax, the more the natural pre-atomic quality of endurance (the effect of stamina) is available to you in any given moment.

By visualising yourself richly imbued with stamina, you set up a command at the autonomic level to allow stamina to flow through and fill you. By then using your mind to encourage your body to relax, you enable that flow.

By breathing freely, desisting from unconsciously holding your breath and instead allowing the breath to flow in and out freely, you encourage your body to relax.

That’s the basic set-up, however, the body-mind complex requires training, otherwise the set-up remains mostly merely conceptual. There are numerous ways to do this in Taoism, the most effective (I know about) probably being the daily practice of Hsing I (shing yee), an ancient Taoist internal martial art that develops mental focus and packs power into the muscles unlike any other form of exercise.

Though it is naturally impossible to teach Hsing I in a column, it’s relatively simpler to extract a simple technique derived from it and offer that as a daily practice option, which if practiced everyday for a few minutes, will, over the course of about a week, produce notable results and it goes like this:

Stand with heels together.

Turn the right foot out to 33 degrees.

Step forward (approximately two drumsticks’ distance) with the left foot.

Bend both knees to a comfortable level, tuck your sacrum under a tad and lengthen your spine by pushing the back of your neck back a bit and simultaneously raising your breastbone a centimetre or two.

Extend your left arm in front of you, in line with your left foot, palm facing away hand pulled slightly back at the wrist so that your left forefinger is pointing diagonally upwards at the sky and in line with your nose (approximately two drumsticks’ distance from your nose). Though the arm is extended, it isn’t locked at the elbow.

Place your right palm, facing down and pulled slightly back, on an imaginary tabletop in front of your navel (approximately one small watermelon’s distance from your navel).

Extend both shoulders away from the spine.

Extend both elbows away from the shoulders.

Extend both wrists away from the elbows.

Extend the fingers away from the wrists.

Do not lock any of the joints.

Keep the shape of both arms and hands lightly rounded.

Feel the opening occurring between your shoulder-blades.

Maintain full tensile strength throughout your body, yet remain relaxed, breathing freely and slowly without holding your breath.

Gaze with focused intent past your forefinger into infinity.

Repeat 81 times under your breath or aloud, ‘I am imbued with infinite stamina, with infinite stamina I am imbued’.

Change sides and do it all again.

Practised daily, you’ll be delighted to note a sizable stamina uplift has occurred as if by magic, within but a few days.

Meanwhile, may you be imbued with such infinite stamina now, no mountain is too high or valley too deep.

Love, Barefoot

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