I'm Swedish but live in Tokyo. It's the first time I'm doing bells , in fact I jumped off a reboot just to join up. Main motivation is that I'm looking for something a bit more strength-related - I think the promo said something about bench-pressing refrigerators? I also have a bad left shoulder and I've heard bells is good for strengthening these. Plus I've had a kettlebell sitting in my closet for about 5 years so figured it was time I actually used it. Looking forward to training with everyone!
First day of bells is done! Felt good, was fun to be working with a weight as opposed to the bands. Must admit that lunge-to-shoulder-press thing had me a bit puzzled - the muscles worked seem to be the same as those of the straight shoulder press, so why not just do that? But then again, if it’s on Kenzai, I’m sure there’s good reasoning behind it. And my balance definitely needs some work. Looking forward to tomorrow.
Almost end of week one, way overdue for my first blog post. I live in Tokyo and have been on Kenzai for about a year and a half. Have been hearing about it for years, ever since it was known as the PCP - took the plunge in January of 2018 and haven't looked back (although I do take hiatuses). This is my first reboot, definitely feels needed as I've been on a downward slide since finishing KB1 a couple of months ago. My goal for the program is mainly to get back into the habit of doing daily workouts. I'm not too concerned with losing weight, but maybe that's not an option on the Kenzai program? In any case, looking forward to training with everyone!
A new form of workout GRADUATION POST
Before this program I was a complete newbie to meditation - I think the last time I sat completely still and tried to think about nothing was circa 1998, and only because I'd lost a bet. At the same time I've been increasingly fascinated by the idea, not least of all when I learned some friends of mine are avid meditators. Kenzai Mind was a great introduction to the practice - as with all programs, the lessons were on-point and the challenges gradually ramped up. After six weeks I'm still not sure if I actually like the act of meditating, but then again I don't necessarily "like" doing pistol squats or 8-minute abs either. This, I think, was one of the biggest insights from the program - meditation is harder than it looks (which, admittedly, doesn't really say much). Before the program I had assumed meditation was all about relaxing - now I understand that it takes effort and work. At the same time, the pay-offs have been noticeable - I've found myself calmer than before, and many mental and behavioral patterns have been put in a new light. I do feel like I've only scratched the surface, and that scratching was admittedly half-assed at times as I missed a few sessions and the diet & exercise weren't exactly stellar. But nonetheless, it's got me intrigued and the goal from now is to try to get in 5 to 10 minutes of meditation every morning.
Thanks for a great program!
I liked this alternative meditation style, the candle gave my eyes something to focus on which ups the concentration factor. As cheesy as it sounds, I also found myself admiring the beauty of the flame - I've spent numerous hours staring into fireplaces at our cabin but I've never really focused on one flame, fascinating the way it dances, alternatively contracting and expanding. One question I did have is whether we're supposed to be thinking about the flame and all its philosophical implications (a light to ready by or a spark to burn with), or use it as a way of clearing our minds as per the usual meditation. Whenever I let myself think about the flame and its meaning it inevitably led to thought chains that took me away from the moment. But overall, definitely something I will try again. And 12 minutes felt SHORT!
Mornings have been stressful this week, haven't been able to fit the meditations as planned, so I've ended up doing a few in the afternoons. Good thing about this is that the mind is quieter, don't have to deal with the early morning hyperactivity. On the downside, things are a bit too quiet - I keep falling asleep! Seriously, I'm focusing on my breathing, but then my mind starts to wander and suddenly I realize I'm drifting off. Early afternoons have always been the low-point of my day, so in hindsight not too surprising my mind would take the opportunity to grab some shut eye. Today's solution was a walking meditation, which worked somewhat (didn't fall asleep standing up, but not far from it). Will keep experimenting and try to find my way back to the good zone I had a couple of weeks ago.
Today’s session was tough. Went straight into meditation when I woke up, rather than first doing exercises or running per usual. Found that my mind was way too excited about the upcoming day to be able to sit still. Was able to let go of most thoughts, but no gap. By the end I was so sure the timer wasn’t on I sneaked a peak (it was of course). On a positive note didn’t let this stress me out, just accepted that it was a scattered session.
Today’s lesson hit home - I had a good first two weeks, third week was so-so, and the last seven days have not been great. I’ve been getting the meditations in, but just barely, and often haphazardly (yesterday turned into a nap....). The effects have been positive, as I wrote about yesterday, but definitely feel like I haven't been giving 100%. And the diet has fallen off a cliff, much thanks to continuous barbecues during the 10-day Golden Week Imperial abdication enthronement holiday here in Japan.
So it was good to hit the reset button and get in a serious 20 minutes this morning, no disturbances. Yes, it was long, but not as bad as I was dreading. Getting the mind to “go quiet “is still a challenge - think I managed about 20 seconds of pure gap, but other than that there was a constant humming of thoughts. What’s interesting is that none of the thoughts stick - they pop up, I see them, focus on my breathing, and then they fade away. It’s kind of like driving in a car where the scenery flows by, but you never really stop to look at it. The end result is that after 20 minutes I can’t really remember what I was thinking - it’s all a blur, albeit a comfortable one. Not sure if this counts as a “progress” but certainly feels like it’s going in the right direction.
And now I’m off to see Endgame with my son - hope everyone’s having a good weekend!
10 days without a post! Sorry for being AWOL, I’ve been doing the meditations but things have been busy. I learned the hard way that timing and place are crucial. Last week, in an attempt to optimize my time, I ended trying to meditate in my car parked on a busy city street - not a good idea. Also trying to figure out what to do with the eyes - tried going for half-closed but I’ve found I keep blinking and can’t settle - so in the end I’m keeping them shut. So, after three weeks, I’ve finally settled into some kind of pattern - early morning meditation, chair, eyes closed.
As far as effects go, I do feel calmer and more aware. I’ve found myself able to let go of - and even smile at - things that would’ve agitated me before. Not sure how much is my imagination or real, but certainly seems to be working!
I realize the word "progress" is probably completely antithetical to the whole philosophy behind mind, but I can't help but feel a bit satisfied by where I'm at. Over the past few sessions I feel like my ability to concentrate on the breathing and be "in the moment" has increased quite a bit. Yesterday I didn't get to the meditation until quite late, just before bedtime. I was pretty tired and figured my thoughts would completely run amock, or I would fall asleep - instead I managed to slip into a very comfortable zone, focusing on breathing and posture. I think I managed to hold the focus for several minutes before a crying baby next door inevitably pulled me out. I couldn't quite get back to the same place afterwards, but I didn't feel stressed, just hummed along, observed where my mind took me and then gently nudged it back. Exercises are ok - not at the point of a regular Kenzai program but managing to stay active every day. The diet's been about 75% compliant - had a few slipups during the weekend but will tighten up moving forward.
Useful lesson today, have been wondering what to do with the eyes. Surprising to read that it's better not to close them, but definitely makes sense. Spent about 20 minutes trying to find a blank white wall in the apartment - didn't quite succeed, but turns out it didn't matter too much. Am finding more and more moments where I can concentrate on breathing and the posture. The moments are't long (like, literally, moments), but they're more frequent. Still struggling to shut down out the thought chains , although more and more they're just individual thoughts that pop up - I feel like I'm able to stop them before they become bonafide chains (well, sometimes).
Hope the program is going well for everyone!
Where are you? Tokyo, Japan.
How do you spend your time? Work (university), Family (kids' soccer games, movie-night, date night, walks with the dog), Hobbies (skiing, guitar, running)
Why Kenzai Mind? Curious about learning how to gain greater focus and awareness, while also gaining deeper insight into how the mind works, and why I sometimes do the things I do.
How do you get here? Who introduced you to Kenzai? Started Kenzai January of 2018, cheered on by Brian S, Fish, Bill W and others. I saw notice about the new Mind program in an e-mail and felt it would be a great switch after doing KB1.
What's your favorite season? Why? Fall (the colors and the crisp air) and Winter (the skiing)
Are you facing obstacles to this training cycle? No particular obstacles, but my biggest concern is that I will start to slack off on the physical side of things (my mind has a predilection for laziness and chocolate chip cookies) so if I'm not careful the weekly photographs will be Kenzai in reverse.
Look forward to getting to know everyone and reading the blogs!
Just finished my seventh day of meditating in Kenzai Mind. I'm happy with the program thus far, but it's definitely not easy, as advertised in the lessons (on point and helpful, as always). Understanding the thought chains has been an "aha" experience, particularly the recognition that these things have lives of their own, largely out of my control. They're constantly forming, and I find it difficult to keep my focus on the breathing for any longer than three to five seconds. In fact, I often find that it's the breathing focus itself that triggers thought chains ("there's the breath, going in and out - sounds kind of like the wind - remember that time it was windy when skiing - mmmm, skiing, too bad the season's over - mmm, seasonal beer, etc...").
There were moments during the past week when I had a fleeting sensation that I was able to keep the thoughts at bay, but inevitably they came back. I would probably have gotten frustrated with this, but today's lesson on "less is more" and just showing up was helpful, as was the guided meditation yesterday which extolled "calmly observing where your mind takes you, and then gently leading it back to the breathing." The guide made it sound like my mind was an obstinate child that refuses to sit still - pretty much spot on. I'm still trying to find my most comfortable position, most likely in a chair. Also curious that there hasn't been any discussion of when to mediate (I assumed it would be first thing in the morning), but I'm sure it's coming.
Looking forward to seeing where the program takes us next!
Just finished KB1 and am happy to be diving into this program, and looking forward to seeing where it takes me. Given that I'm joining up a bit late I did all three of the lessons sequentially this afternoon. Pretty sure that breaks all kinds of meditation rules, but couldn't resist (yes, I know it will get more challenging later). As usual, the Kenzai lessons are on point - the thought chain kept forming. Also found that it got worse when I closed my eyes - mainly because I would start to drift off to sleep. The fact that I'm doing the meditation mid-afternoon may have something to do with it...will try to reschedule for the morning tomorrow, right after the workout.
KB 1 - check! GRADUATION POST
It is DONE! After 90 days it feels great to be graduating from a "real" Kenzai program, as Fish calls it. I've previously done the Run programs, as well as Reach, and while these have been great I must admit KB was different - longer, tougher, but also more in-depth and life-changing. I wrote in an early blogpost that my goal was to change underlying habits and become more aware, and this is where I feel KB1 has definitely had the most impact. I will most certainly part take of unhealthy foods, but it will never quite feel the same, and that is an accomplishment.
Our team has been great, a big thanks to Kim and Ed, but also to all my teammates - more than once your encouraging comments and inspiring blogs got me up in the morning to get the exercises done. Well done everyone for sticking with it! Also a big shout out to Fish for his tough-love, as well as Brian, Erik S, "Louise" and of course my kids who were overjoyed to find out I was finally done.
And as promised, here's a picture of those seven chocolate bars I bought at Whole Foods. Which one do I start with?