I bought this book last week as I wanted the information about Himalayan 61 point meditation. I came across the practice on the Insight timer meditation app and found it to be invaluable at calming my body (and also mind). I also really enjoyed the end of the practice which allows the whole body to feel invigorated and whole.
As I’ve been getting back into marathon training I’ve been more and more focused on recovery and how to allow my body the pace it needs to effectively recover. If recovery is a continuum, there are lots of inputs and stages from short to long that all can have a positive or negative impact. An area that I’ve been more curious about is the immediate short term modalities that can be employed, to help the body settle and start the recovery process really effectively.
One such method is coherent breathing – nasal inhale for 6 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds and repeat for 10 minutes. This has been my go to for some time, not just post exercise, but to recover from any stressful or tiring event (teaching at the end of the day). At the beginning of last week I felt more drawn to trying out the 61 point Himalayan practice, post a harder run to help kickstart that recovery process.
My reasoning behind this centres around the nervous system combined with creating a state of calm or control. What I believed would be really transferable from this to a recovery modality, was the mental focus on the various parts of the body, combined with stillness and the resultant reduced breathing that kicks on when prone. The practice involves visualising a point of light (failing that resting your attention on a specific part of the body) and moving this focus in a specific pattern. This covers the whole body and culminates in releasing tension through the whole body:
What I found – and believe why it to be so effective – is that by travelling around my whole body I am resetting my entire nervous system, whilst still, allowing it to return to a more parasympathetic state. By checking in over a 20 minute period, piece by piece, my whole body is calmed. The ending then also critical as I am then bringing the whole system back on line (so to speak) in a coordinated fashion, realigning each part as a whole again. From personal experience I’ve found this ending section wonderful, as the whole body tingles and comes alive.
I then feel calmer – both mentally and physically and that residual fatigue that the harder workout has created has been cleared.
What I then tried yesterday – again as a result of something I had noticed some time ago – was at the end of the day I carried out a Wim Hof session. Something that I had found, if getting to the end of a Saturday several hours after a long run when tiredness had come back was that carrying out 4 rounds of 40 hyper ventilations, then holds I would remove that tiredness and almost reset the nervous system completely. This worked a treat and reinforced the idea that when we look at recovery it is not just about that muscular fatigued, but critically about that nervous system fatigue. To me it seems that combining 61 point meditation with a later hyper ventilation protocol helps settle the nervous system post workout, then resets it several hours later. I also think that the fatigue isn’t something to completely avoid – like pain it’s a message giving you information about the body. What I have been looking to do is how to help support the message the fatigue is giving me (ie we need to rest, reset and adapt) as opposed to removing it completely to do more on top of what has happened.
I shall continue to explore this avenue as this is definitely something that is key and I believe not as widespread in traditional sports as it could be.