Feeling drained? A personal trainer turned Tao Minister explains why posture, not cardio, is the key to energy

The Western approach to fitness is all Yang, no Yin—we have a “no-pain-no-gain” power through it mentality. And the more drained  and stressed you feel, the more the health and fitness industry piles onto your to-do list. “To boost energy, eat this not that.” “Exercise this many times a week.” “Sleep this many hours a night.”

But in my 30 years as a personal trainer and 20 years as a Tao Minister, it’s become clear to me that the key to boosting energy isn’t doing more—it’s letting go of the things that hold you back and weigh you down. And the number one thing draining your energy is  tension.

 Culturally, we’ve confused tension with strength. You’ve been taught to brace yourself every time you’re faced with resistance—be it  mental, emotional, or physical—and to charge through. But real strength doesn’t try to overpower or overcome resistance: It meets resistance and works with it. That is relaxed strength. And until we get our bodies into optimal skeletal and muscular alignment, we will continue to waste energy on resisting gravity and just build tension. To find your real strength, start with your posture.


The word posture is loaded: I’m not talking about walking around with a book on your head in etiquette class or strapping yourself to a medieval rack. In truth, your posture is the blueprint of your personal history and well-being. It’s a lot like what Amy Cuddy explained in her famous TED Talk: Your body language isn’t just nonverbal communication, it has the capacity to reshape who you are and how you experience yourself.


The key is to think about your posture as a three dimensional relationship with gravity that starts at your core and works outward. In  acupuncture, it’s believed that there are five major energy centers in the body. If you can align these five points, and feel as rooted  toward the earth as you are stretched toward the sky, everything shifts. You’ll not only feel tension gradually release, you’ll feel  connected to a larger energy source—gravity. When your body works with gravity, not against it, you have limitless energy for  everything else.


Those five energy centers are your:
  • Gushing Spring Points. Located between your second and third metatarsals, supporting your second and third toes, at the
    indentation in the ball of the foot.
  • Million Dollar Point. On a woman this is the opening of the vagina and on a man this is the point between the testicles and the
    anus, placed directly between sitz bones.
  • Dan Tien. Located three finger below your navel, centered between your abdominals and back. This is your center of gravity: All movement connects through this restorative physical generator.
  • Zhong Heart Center. Positioned between nipples in the center of your chest, between sternum and spine.
  • Crown Center. The very top of your skull, positioned above the tips of your ears. This is the soft spot on a newborn baby.


Finding your optimal posture.
To feel rooted toward the earth:
  1. Start with your Dan Tien. Feel connected to your abdominals and visualize a widened space between your low back dimples.
  2. Center your Million Dollar Point underneath your Dan Tien, and above and between your inner ankle bones.
  3. Shift your weight over your Gushing Spring Points, and feel your sitz bones (the pointy bones in each buttock) drop through your heels.
  4. Visualize energy coming up through the Gushing Spring Points and releasing down through your heels, balancing you evenly
    through your feet.
To feel stretched toward the sky:
  1. Now, center your Zhong Heart Center above your Dan Tien.
  2. Feel your shoulder blades drop back so that your arms hang directly at your sides.
  3. Slide the Crown Center back and forth until it rests directly above your Zhong Heart Center.
  4. Visualize a widening at the base of your skull.
  5. Feel a relaxed openness stretch from your Dan Tien up through the top of your head.
    As you allow the space within you to open upwardly and downwardly, acknowledge areas that feel tight and stay with them until  they start to breathe. As you find your optimal alignment, your muscles will start to release and your bones will get to do their part in holding you up. Experience the phenomenon of letting go of hardship. And from this place, step into your true strength. Use your newfound energy to create a life you love, instead of resisting the world at large.
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