Unlocking Mind-Body Peak Performance to Become Weightless
What does warrior training have to do with COVID-19? In these times of prolonged stress, how can an integral approach based on ancient wisdom help us cope with contemporary challenges?
In this conversation with peak performance trainer Tom Fazio, we explore how training the body builds mental resilience, the role of nutrition in meditation and why creating tension is an important part of releasing it.
What Is Weightlessness
Competencies are translatable; what we learn in one domain, say at the gym, can help us to encounter a challenge in another area of life, for example a stressful work meeting. Training the body and mind at the gym is therefore actually training in a translatable life skill.
Tom’s signature process, Weightlessness, looks at the development and interrelation between nutrition, strength and conditioning, flexibility, and meditation, and how to translate those tools into performance attributes that can serve you in every area of your life.
His approach is based on the awareness that meditation without engaging the body does not foster deep resilience to stress and that the physiological responses to stress must be engaged with as well as the mental and emotional components.
Looking Challenges in The Face
Developing this sense of weightlessness – a sense of presence and inner lightness – does require effort. Paradoxically, to release tension we have to engage with it; in order to have a better tomorrow, certain sacrifices are required today. As Tom says, there’s no gold without facing the dragon.
As we engage with this tension it’s important to simultaneously foster the ability to stay open and sensitive. In lightness training you learn to be with stress whilst maintaining lightness and presence, and they begin to become less contradictory and more of an integrated experience.
Learning to be with tension in this way fosters a deep resilience; a resilience we need now more than ever collectively and individually. Growing our capacity to be “weightless” involves facing challenge, and the way that we personally respond to it. There is no greater training for life in these times than the ability to create inner space no matter what is happening.
The more stress we have, the more training we need. Our stress threshold needs to be increased in accordance with the level of stress we are facing, and we have to start with where we are on a developmental level. A certain foundational of physical wellness is needed before we can foster mindfulness.
One of these easiest ways we can increase our ability to be with stress is push ourselves with something. It doesn’t have to be big, it could be one minute of pushing past where it feels hard, but that accomplishment is what builds our inner strength.
And very often the biggest growth will come from the places we don’t want to go; if we’re comfortable with talk therapy maybe we need to deadlift. Spiritual insight is not enough for resilience, it must be grounded in the body; so if you have a lot of competence in the mental and emotional levels of your experience but avoid body-based growth, perhaps that’s the next place to go.