Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Training in Harmony With the Seasons

"One's skill will increase during the Winter and Summer."
-Yang Ch'eng-fu

How we train is just as important as what we train. Unless we live in a region that has a constant climate, we need to adapt our training so that we can make improvement in the cold as well as the heat.

When it is hot, it is a good time to work on flexibility and strength. Our bodies expand and open up with the sun and we can safely add stretching  to our regular warm-ups. We also don't need as much time to get our joints loose or our muscles warm. Of course, we have to keep hydrated and avoid over-heating in our training. Lower stances and slower rounds are preferred in Summer.

When it is cold, it is a good time to work on breath and mindfulness. Our bodies contract with the lessening sun and we have to take much more time and care before we exercise, especially as we age. Proper clothing helps. Higher stances and more flowing rounds are preferred in Winter, especially in sub-zero weather like in my home state of Minnesota.

As the seasons change, we can slowly change and adapt to be constant in our training. The times when the weather is neither hot nor cold can also be times of great improvement.

There are many more ideas and practices but they are beyond the scope of my blog. Here is a quote, and guide, from the Tao Te Ching:

"Movement overcomes cold.
Stillness overcomes heat.
Stillness and tranquility set things in order in the universe."

-Number 43

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