Consistency is the key

Great people don’t do different things. They approach the same things differently. Their success stories are a series of small steps. Their rehearsal is the real thing. They practise their required ABCs to perfection to produce that X factor — they know that to write an essay they have to first master their grammar. The drill of their routine is done to death. Repetition after repetition until it sinks and syncs with the subconscious.

To make the cut, dig the rut. A routine that releases and realises the potential energy stored in the ­subconscious — to kick in as an auto-­response in a subconscious state of mind, where physiology meets psychology.

In sports, this manifests as a ­memory-muscle team up. As when a goalie makes an apparently impossible save, a tennis player produces an improvised stroke at the right and instinctive instance. This bend-it-like-Beckham scene, the flick that kicks, is the result of decades of practice and preparation on and off the field — on ankles that angle the ball. As are those wrists that fist the tennis ball, often against the run of play, to an unexpected place on the court. May legends like Beckham and Botham inspire you to get fitter. It is this routine extra-mile exercise that generates the winner’s smile. That one per cent inspiration born out of 99 per cent perspiration: toil, cold sweat and fear. “You have some great highs in sport, and you have some lows. If you don’t put yourself on the line in games like these, you don’t experience the great highs or the great lows.” Digest this Rahul Dravid statement. When the muscle falters, the mind takes over.

This emphasis on the subconscious and sport is to motivate and help you continue to enjoy the momentum. It is a fitness rhythm with your holistic health: Your fitness is a journey. Holistic health is both companion and final destination.


Runner’s high

The runner’s high is the epitome of exercise. Adrenaline gushes, blood circulation rushes. This is your daily SIP (systematic incentive plan). Hence, the sequence to follow is like this:



The parable goes that in a beautiful lush garden, a student was trying to study. But he was being constantly distracted by a butterfly alighting on a flower, a line of ants marching steadily along, a squirrel running up a tree trunk and so on. As a result, he couldn’t study. Finally, he went to his guru and confessed he couldn’t concentrate on his studies.

The fun way to work on your reflexes is to play a ball game. It ensures you keep your eyes on the ball and your body keeps pace alongside.

‘I’ll teach you, come!’ the guru said understandingly. The student followed her into the garden. There stood one plant. It swayed gracefully in the wind. ‘Focus your eyes on this plant and only on this plant,’ she said. ‘Let your eyes sway with it. Soon, you will be completely in harmony with it. This means your focus has improved.’

This is the power of focus. It is whole-minded and whole-hearted attention. You get not only your facts and acts right, you get into harmony with them and make a deep personal experience of the whole thing.


Concentration and the subconscious

Focus and concentration could be considered synonymous. In that context, I perceive focus as the eyes and concentration as the brain. Both feed and are fed by the subconscious and together they trigger the required relevant, reflex action. Connected motor nerves spring into action faster than your blink. The reaction itself has been patterned on past and consistent behaviour. For example, I stopped driving in 2000. But when we travel by cab or rickshaw today, sitting in the backseat, I still press my left and right foot down — hitting imaginary clutch and brake — when I sense an emergency on the road. For subconsciousness is our second nature. Or a second’s nature in a reflex action.


Psychometric tests

Catching reflex: The fun way to work on your reflexes is to play a ball game. Please don’t forget to warm up. Join a club or start a small one of your own to play the catch-the-ball game you played as a kid. The game ensures that not only you keep your eyes on the ball but that your body keeps pace alongside. One-on-one sports like table tennis, tennis, badminton are better bets. They ensure you keep your eyes fixed and your body fluent and fluid — full time.


Donkey, donkey: If you prefer to make it a family event, get your partner and kids to play catch-catch. Each time you drop the ball, you get an alphabet starting with ‘D’. If you drop it a total of six times, you spell out and make a d-o-n-k-e-y of yourself! And are out of the game. The one with the least alphabets against his/her name is the winner.

If you like doing things on your own time and space, take a ball. Throw it at a wall and catch it on the full. Repeat the throw and catch as long as you like. Vary the force and angle of the throw so that you move around to catch it.

The power of focus is whole-minded and whole-hearted attention. You get not only your facts and acts right, you get into harmony with them and make a deep personal experience of the whole exercise.

In addition, you can play catch with both hands. Place a ball in each hand. Throw the ball up with your left hand. Simultaneously, switch the right-hand ball to the left hand. And catch the air-borne ball with your right. Repeat this sequence five times. Then follow the same drill by throwing the ball up with your right hand.

These exercises do wonders for your hand-eye-brain coordination and reflexes. Hence, do them as often and as long as you can.


The balancing act: Stand on one leg without any support. Count to 10. Do 5 reps. Repeat with the other leg. You could stand by a wall just for need-based support.


Pool your resources: If you have access to a swimming pool, try this exercise. But, if you don’t, don’t do this. A pond, lake, sea etc. are for fish. Not for you. These waters are dangerous for this exercise. I perform this swimming exercise to test my balance and sense of direction. I start at the shallow end and swim across to the deep end. You’d say that’s easy. It is. However, I shut my eyes and ‘go blind’. My aim to swim straight as an arrow and arrive at a similar point across the 35-foot pool is off by at least 5 degrees. That is, if my target is 12 o’ clock at the deep end, I arrive there at a 1 o’ clock position. If I extend this angle of difference across an ocean, I think I’d be today’s Columbus! He set sail for India. And discovered America. My pool set in India, restricts my travel.

The writers are authors of Fitness for Life and Simply Spiritual – You Are Naturally Divine and teachers of the Fitness for Life programme


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