the destroyer > art > Rachelle DÍaz

Do not eat for at least 4 hours prior to attempting this brief exercise sequence. Do not change clothes, wear whatever you have put on to face the day. Turn off music, television. You should not be under the influence of any mind-altering substances when you attempt this exercise. You have to depend on your body for this nourishment. You do not need a clock.

First, it's important to get your muscles and lungs warmed up. Stand up, feet shoulder-width apart. Arms at your sides, bend your elbows 90 degrees, palms facing down. March in place at a moderate, even pace -- not too slow, not too vigorous -- bringing your knees up high enough to touch your palms. Do this for what like a minute. Inhale, exhale, get that body warm, the lungs taking in oxygen. You'll need it.

Good. Now, spread your feet wider than shoulder width apart. Inhaling, reach your hands straight up into the air over your head, plug your fingers into the sky and exhale, slowly pulling your hands down while flaring your elbows like butterfly wings. Feel the stretch in your shoulderblades and pectorals. It should feel like the kind of stretch you make when getting out of bed in the morning. Continue pulling your hands down till they're at your side. Good. Repeat twice, feeling more and more blood flowing each time.

Let's stretch out our backs and legs now. Keeping your feet the same distance apart, bend over and fold your arms over your head. Rock slowly from side to side -- inhaling, exhaling -- for 5 breaths. Feel the tug in your lower back, hamstrings and calves.

Stretching time is over. Do 100 jumping jacks.

Do 8 pushups. Real ones.

March in place again, moderately, for what feels like 1 minute, slowing down your pace towards the end. Repeat the stretches. Enjoy the relaxation of your muscles, heart and lungs as you complete this exercise sequence.

The goal of these movements is not to test your fitness. Rather, it should make you aware of your muscles supporting you (or not), the fibers pulling, bones underneath bearing weight, the sensations of your heart and lungs working, the pull of skin under your clothes, slick sweat. It should make you aware of your mental focus as you complete each task, the hardness of the floor, the feel of the air around you as you mark the passage of time through breath and what feels right.

––Rachelle Díaz

[artist's website]

Meditation Weights, from Hippy Fit!, digital photograph, 10"x7"
Bendin' and Blendin', from Hippy Fit!, digital photograph, 10"x7"
Melt Away, from Hippy Fit!, digital photograph, 10"x7"