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Roger Federer, Kinetic Beauty, and the Religious Experience

Written by Philip Walter on Jul 11 at 5:40 pm.

Roger Federer

photo courtesy of Squeaky Knees

On the heels of the great Roger Federer’s recent and utter silencing of any critics, with major championships number 14 and 15 at Roland Garros and the All England Club, I revisited a 2006 New York Times article by David Foster Wallace, “Roger Federer as Religious Experience.” If you’re a tennis fan in general, a Federer fan specifically, the entire article is worth reading. Its 5 pages are full of astute observations, but there is something said in the first several paragraphs I found incredibly interesting on this particular reading. I thought I might comment on it in this blog entry.

Wallace asserts, “high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war.” It’s not that courage is the object or purpose of war. Obviously, conquering the enemy is the goal, but the courageous tend to rise to the top. You might say, courage in war is often rewarded with victory. Likewise, in the uppermost tiers of competitive sport, it seems, beauty is often rewarded with victory.

This might seem a strange statement since most sports fans flock around their big-screen televisions with thoughts of beauty far from the fronts of their minds. However, what we’re talking about here is, as Wallace pointed out in his essay, “beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty.” He goes on to say,

“Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.”

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BrickhouseBodymind Blueprint 002 – Biotensegrity and Musculoskeletal Traction in Hatha Yoga Posture Practice

Written by Philip Walter on Aug 3 at 1:27 pm.

Brickhouse Bodymind Blueprint 001 - Approaching Alignment from the Inside Out

Designed by philip.

Well, it has been a while since the first blueprint came out, but as promised this is a series of documents, so here’s the second one. It’s called “Biotensegrity and Musculoskeletal Traction in Hatha Yoga Posture Practice.” It represents an amalgam of ideas I’ve been mulling over for a while now, but only really came to fruition after reading Scott Sonnon’s blog post, Biotensegrity = Circular Strength Training. As is my modus operandi, I began digging through the search engines to find out as much as I could about the subject, and what I found validated much of what I already felt to be true of the value of hatha yoga posture practice.

Biotensegrity is a subject that has recently come of age, which observes the principles of tensegrity structures at work in living, biological systems. This dynamic dictates that certain conditions be present for living systems such as the human body to function efficiently. In this blueprint, I discuss the principles of tensegrity structures, how those principles apply to the human body, and then how the practice of hatha yoga asanas can help bring equilibrium to such a system.

This blueprint will, like the first one, be freely available to anyone who drops by. I encourage folks who enjoy these essays to subscribe to my e-mail feed, or via rss. This insures two things – 1) that you’ll be among the first to know when the next blueprint comes out, and 2) once these documents become available to subscribers only, you’ll already be on board.

Get it here – BrickhouseBodymind Blueprint 002 – Biotensegrity and Musculoskeletal Traction in Hatha Yoga Posture Practice.

BrickhouseBodymind TV Episode 5 – The Software of Hatha Yoga

Written by Philip Walter on Jul 11 at 6:12 pm.

prasara flow, vinyasa, and asana - yoga practice at the lake

Photo courtesy of
Becca Davis

This is the first lecture-based installment of BrickhouseBodymind TV. The idea came out of a brief discussion on the RMAX Forums about the differences between vinyasa and prasara flow. Do they differ? If so, how do they differ, and how can they be integrated into a single practice?

The first pitfall is to think of prasara yoga as a type or brand of yoga. It is not. It is simply one of the software programs that comes with the Hatha Yoga 2008 package. I am grateful to Scott Sonnon for re-introducing this piece of the puzzle. The other two pieces of software are vinyasa and asana. To find out how they work together to integrate the hardware of the human body – breath, structure and movement – check out the video below.

One final note – I’m trying out a new video player to see if I can deliver a better quality video than YouTube. If this copy doesn’t work for you, you can view the crappy YouTube version here.

BrickhouseBodymind TV Episode 4 – Spinal Rock ‘n’ Roll (developing the best flat-tummy exercise of all)

Written by Philip Walter on May 29 at 5:29 am.

Best Flat-Tummy Exercises Ever - Spinal Rock Tips.

Image coutesy of Becca Davis

Just in time for summer, one of the best flat-tummy core exercises I know – the spinal rock. In this episode I explain some tips for getting better results from the killer ab exercise, the spinal rock.

Special thanks go to Becca Davis for the production photos, Robert for his camera work, Signal Path for the intro music, and as always my wife for allowing me to spend time on this exhilarating diversion. Please let me know how you like the video content by commenting below, and don’t forget to subscribe via e-mail or rss so you don’t miss the next great recipe, article or video on integrating mind and body fitness.

Improvements Made to BrickhouseBodymind TV

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 29 at 4:32 am.

Hey all. This is just a quick note to let you know that I’ve made a couple improvements to the first episode of BrickhouseBodymind TV originally released in this post about shoulder pain and stiffness. Graphics package has improved a bit, and I tried to place the exercises earlier in the video, while leaving technical exposition for later. As always, please comment below if you have suggested improvements or suggestions for future episodes.

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