"Every man desires to live long,
but no man would be old."
Jonathan Swift

This is a more recent interest for me, and I bring it to my homepage because I feel it has value for our health and wholeness.  Endorsed by the likes of
Bernie Siegel, M.D. who  calls it the "Youthing Process",  it is a simple means of restoring your vitality.

Regardless of the many claims that it opens a fountain of youth in your physical self, there are benefits for body AND mind to the simple series of positions.  I don't think the method really qualifies as an excercise.  It is more a series of slow, gentle positions that address the body's need to stimulate areas that are not affected by ordinary excercise.  

I am reminded of actual studies done on toddlers which have proven beyond a doubt that mental growth, I.Q., and motor development are retarded when children do not go through the processes of rolling, spinning and crawling that are natural to human physical growth patterns.  We know now that the brain and certain glandular areas of the body need stimulation to promote development.  When these areas are not stimulated by the toddler's natural activities, they are deprived of the blood supply that enhances growth  of the glands and they remain undeveloped.  Sometimes the consequences are serious mental retardation or physical disability and
depressed immunities. The good news is that they, and we, can be re-patterned.

Normally, we become less active as we age even if we haven't been sitting at a desk for most of our lives. And although aerobic excercise is essential for vascular health, rarely does it address the importance of keeping our brains and these glands stimulated.

It was awhile after I retired from wildlife rehabilitation that I noticed a difference in how my body and brain were functioning.  In the business of doing physical therapy with those very large birds, and the conditioning for final release which included a process that I call "Hawk Dancing", I was not merely challenging myself physically.  It takes a great deal of stamina to chase an eagle back and forth, round and round in an eighty foot aviary, but there were other, more subtle manoevers that I was involved in that I believe were an even more important part of not only keeping mentally alert, but which also produced an overall physical and psychological status of well-being.

Try to imagine holding a twelve pound eagle by it's legs and starting with it above your head, sweeping it down, around and back up in an arc in an effort to get it to expand it's wings and accept the force of what we call "wing loading".  Well, okay,  that might be hard to picture, but you get the idea of how the
body must twist. Another method employed was to put the bird, who has leather bracelets on his ankles to keep him securely on your gloved fist and move in ever expanding circles. The bird crouches in a bullet position and spreads its wings to maintain balance as you move it through the air until it has to start flapping..  That is the "Hawk Dancing" part.  The wingbeats of different sized birds have various rythms depending on how much body weight it is carrying through the air. Years of experience tells you when the individual achieves bi-lateral symmetry which means the ligaments in the broken wing are stretched enough to begin the real Olympic conditioning that is necessary for release back to the wilds.

I used music of different tempos for different sized birds and it would be difficult for me to express the euphoria produced by dancing
'round and 'round to Kenny G with a gorgeous little Red Shouldered Hawk, or to a Beethovan Sonata
with a magnificent Golden Eagle. Was it the
birds or the dancing in circles?

The TIBETAN VORTEX BALANCING POSITIONS, are capable of re-producing that same sense of well-being with much less effort.  Since we don't all have eagles to dance with, it makes sense that we embrace this gentle method.

Put on some loose clothing, play some gentle music, and go through the positions for a couple of weeks and prove it to yourself.  You'll feel as refreshed and energized as if you had been Hawk Dancing all your life!