Learn to use these Physical Visualization Exercises to help you get in shape.
Each of the movements described here is based
on a familiar image, and each affects specific body parts.
Choose a movement that responds to your body’s present needs, or invent your own, based on your observations of nature and the way others move.

Physical Visualization

 

Mind Builds Muscle Strength

READY, SET, THINK [London Daily Telegraph (2001)]
Mental workouts can boost biceps, scientists report

LONDON—Simply imagining exercising can significantly increase muscle strength, scientists in the United States have found.
Ten volunteers who took part in mental workouts five times a week, imagining lifting heavy weights with their arms, increased their biceps strength by 13.5 per cent on average.
The gain in strength lasted for three months after they stopped the mental exercise regime, said Guang Yue, an exercise physiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.
His discovery could help patients too weak to exercise to start recuperating from stroke or other injuries.
Use of this knowledge could also help older people maintain strength.
Yue said envisaging exercise increased the strength of the command signal sent by the brain to the appropriate muscle.
Muscles are prompted to move by impulses from nearby motor neurons, and the firing of those nerve fibres depends on the strength of electrical impulses sent by the brain.
“That suggests you can increase muscle strength solely by sending a larger signal to motor neurons from the brain”, New Scientist reported Yue as saying.
— Source: London Daily Telegraph (2001)

This research demonstrates the power of mind to build muscle, with no assistance from the physical body. Physical visualization exercises (or physicalization: first visualizing and then physicalizing) adds the power of the body to this power of the mind, producing an even more powerful tool for pattern busting and structural reversal, and is a full implementation of “The Mind-Body Connection”.

The second-to-last paragraph of the “Ready, Set, Think” article describes the mind-muscle connection and motor-unit recruitment: mind (thought) causes the brain to send a signal to nerve fibers; motor neurons induce muscles to move. Mind moves muscle. Yoga develops the mind-body connection through the mind’s eye, and it is possible to become aware of the mind-muscle connection as it is happening in your own body.

For any of the examples in this chapter (or one of your own invention), imagine what it feels like to be the object of the physicalization; when you move, it will be as if you had become the animal or object. You will feel what it is like to be a horse, elephant, frog, etc. Physical Visualization is the mind-body connection fully manifested—a mental picture becomes a physical movement.

Dough Body Visualization Exercise

Perceiving your body as malleable clay allows you to let it go—to relax, rather than to hold things rigidly in place. If you hold your stomach in, if your posture is rigid, or if you do anything that makes you artificially stiff, then you are not applying the dough-body principle.

After letting go, get into Gliding alignment. Add Chi Kung Breathing. Feel your body getting firm from within, even though you just let all the flab hang out! Over time, using the dough-body approach leads to a firm but relaxed body. There are many opportunities to mold and shape your dough body. See “Get into the Bath”; “Tucking the Buns Under”; “Clues”.

Swimming Frog Visualization Exercise

The two-part spring that a frog uses to Glide along in the water is a perfectly expressed two-phase coil-spring contraction. The frog contracts all of its muscles, and then releases all of them in an enthusiastic forward spring, impelling itself a great distance (relative to its size). The swimming frog helps us to visualize the mechanics of a complete contraction, but the only time we might use it, fully expressed, is while swimming (breast stroke or side stroke—see “Power Snap (Shoot from the Hip)”. A more contained form of swimming frog is used during weight-resistance training and while moving as described in “Uphill—Not an Uphill Battle”.

Every time you lift yourself from a sitting or bending position, you can combine the swimming frog with a squat to build butt, hips, abs, and legs. See “Squats”. To understand the two-phase contraction cycle, how to breathe through it, and how to exploit its use, see “Contractions”.

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Summary
Physical Visualization (Images that Induce Feeling)
Article Name
Physical Visualization (Images that Induce Feeling)
Description
Learn to use these Physical Visualization Exercises to help you get in shape. Each of the movements described here is based on a familiar image, and each affects specific body parts. Choose a movement that responds to your body’s present needs, or invent your own, based on your observations of nature and the way others move.
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