The ITP Kata by George Leonard and Michael Murphy
This will be here until the authors (their publishers, more likely) complain. Their book is worth buying and owning--and I say that about few books. I only occasionally do the whole thing, but frequently do parts and variations of parts of this. It is a life-changing book and practice!
- Visit the authors' web site, itp-life.
- Info about a recording of the deep relaxation part.
- Get the book
The ITP Kata in Outline
Balance & Center--GRACE
Start in an upright stance, without shoes, feet shoulder-width apart, eyes open and soft. Spend a few seconds on each letter of the word:
G-ground R-relax A-aware C-center E-energize
The Water Series
- Drill for water, 4 left, 4 right
- Pump water, 6
- Fountain, 6
- Finger spray, 4
- Half windmill, 4 (left, right, left, right)
- Rowing, 10 left, 10 right, with reach and shake
- Shoulder rotation, 4 forward, 4 back
- Head rotation, 4 each of 3 variations
- Arm swing, 12
- Pelvic rotation, 4 left, 4 right
- Knee rotation, 4 left, 4 right
- Hip joint rotation, 8
- Quad tightening, 6x6'
- Foot rotation, 4 counterclockwise, 4 clockwise
- Hamstring stretch
- Hip stretch
- Quad stretch
- Back stretch
- Spinal curl
- Curl-up 5 x 10"
- Elongation stretch, 2
- Groin stretch
- Sun salutation, 2
- Spinal twist (left & right)
The instructions on finding a recording of this are here. See below for detail.
See below for detail.
Left to your imagination.
"Lie comfortably on your back in the relaxation position, eyes closed. Become aware of the rhythmic rise and fall of your chest and abdomen as you breathe. Let the floor support you.... In the next series of exercises, you'll be tensing then relaxing certain muscles. When tensing a particular muscle, do the best you can to leave the rest of your body completely relaxed. In some of these exercises you'll be lifting your legs or arms a few inches off the floor as you tense them. When you hear the signal to let them drop, release them completely, as if a string has been cut from a puppet. You'll be exhaling on each relaxation....
"Start by focusing your attention on the center of your abdomen....Now let your attention travel down to your right leg. Extend it out along the floor. Take a deep breath and lift your leg a few inches off the floor, tightening its muscles from the toes to the hip. Hold it. Hold it.... Exhale and let it drop. Roll your leg gently from side to side and relax it completely....Now send your attention to your left leg. Extend it out along the floor. Take a deep breath and lift it a few inches, tensing all its muscles from the toes to the hip....Tight, tight, tight...Let it drop. Roll it gently from side to side and relax it completely....
"Attention on your right arm and hand. Extend your arm out along the floor, tensing the muscles. Splay out the fingers, take a deep breath, make a fist, and raise your arm a few inches off the floor, tightening it all the way up to the shoulders....Hold it. Tight, tight....Let it drop. Roll it gently from side to side and relax your arm and hand completely....Attention on your left arm and hand. Extend your left arm out along the floor, tensing the muscles. Splay out the fingers, take a deep breath, make a fist, and raise your arm a few inches off the floor, tightening it all the way up to the shoulders.... Hold it. Tight, tight....Let it drop. Roll it gently from side to side and relax your arm and hand completely....
"Attention now to your pelvis and butt. Take a deep breath and tighten your pelvis and butt....Hold it a little longer.... Exhale and relax your pelvis and butt completely. Roll your lower body gently from side to side and relax completely....
"Now with a big incoming breath, puff up your abdomen like a large balloon...Make it a little larger....Open your mouth and let the air rush out...
"With an even larger incoming breath, puff up your chest like an even larger balloon....Larger....Open your mouth and let the air rush out...
"Attention to your shoulders. With a deep inhalation, raise and tighten your shoulders. Curl them forward, as if around your chest. Pull them far back, hard against the floor...Release your breath and relax your shoulders completely, working them down toward your feet....
"Roll your head gently from side to side....Bringing your head to the center, relax your neck and throat completely...
"Open your mouth wide. Take in a big breath. Move your jaw around, releasing all the tension. Yawn if you wish....Relax your mouth and jaw completely...
"Puff out your cheeks.... Suck in your cheeks....Relax your cheeks.
"Tighten your face. Make it tiny. Squeeze all the facial muscles together. Bring everything in close to your nose....Relax your face. Feel all the muscles in your face relaxing completely...
"Raise your eyebrows and wrinkle your forehead.... Relax your eyebrows and forehead....
"Now we're going to take an interior journey through your body, relaxing any subtle tensions without moving. We'll start the journey by focusing attention on your center. Let that attention move down to your legs, your feet, your toes. Relax your ankles, your lower legs, and your upper legs.... Let your attention now
Let that attention move down to your legs, your feet, your toes. Relax your big toes, your second toes, your third, fourth, and fifth toes....Relax the soles of your feet and the tops of your feet. Relax your ankles, your lower legs, and your upper legs....Let your attention now turn to your arms, hands and fingers. Relax your thumbs, your index fingers, your third, fourth, and fifth fingers. Relax the palms of your hands and the backs of your hands...Relax your wrists, your lower arms, and your upper arms. Relax your shoulders. Let the tension melt away....Attention now to your buttocks and pelvis. Relax completely. Let all the tension melt away....And now your abdomen. Relax all the muscles and all the organs of your abdomen.... Relax your diaphragm [someone forgot to proof their dialog (3rd typo)]. Relax your chest, your heart, your lungs... Once again, relax your shoulders. Relax them completely, from the inside....Relax your lower back, your middle back, your upper back. Relax your throat, your jaw, your tongue. Relax your cheeks, your temples, your ears, your eyes, your eyelids. Relax your forehead, your scalp, the back of your neck....Relax all your body. Become a pure witness. Expereince your body in complete relaxation....Now become aware of your breath as it flows in and flows out with no effort on your part. Don't try to control it. Just witness it... Become aware of any thoughts that might be floating through your mind. Just observe them... Now take this opportunity to become aware of the peace and joy of existence itself, the invisible connections that join us with all beings, with all of the universe, with the miracle of life we are given."
You've just finished a session of deep relaxation. You're lying on your back, feet shoulder width apart, hands on the floor a few inches from your sides, palms up. Inhaling deeply, swing your arms out from your sides and around in a wide arc until they are above your head on the floor. Exhaling, bring your hands from above your head down the front of your body, palms toward your feet, as if you are pushing a wave of energy from above your head all the way past your feet. Your hands don't touch your body; with practice, however, you'll probably learn to feel what might be called an energy wave, not just on the frount of your body but all the way through it. As you create each wave, you might say, "My entire being is balanced, vital, and healthy," silently or aloud. You can use any affirmation you wish with this exercise, or none at all. The basic idea here is overall health, vitality and balance.
After creating several waves, you can move on to any part of your body you wish, using imaging (as will be described in the examples below) as an aid to provide preventive maintenance, repair defective functioning, or produce positive bodily changes ranging from what is considered normal to what would be considered extraordinary.
recommend employing positive statements expressed in the present tense. bring the condition that you intend to realize into sharp, positive present-tense focus in your consciousness.
don't expect immediate results; you're in this practice for the long term.
even a glimmering of yourself as you wish to be can bring effective results.
imaging ability may improve with practice. kinesthetic images. Feeling images.
feel the way it would be if you had, say, a relaxed, supple, erect posture.
all imaging done lying down (unless noted)
somehow by grounding every image in the marvelous physical entity we call a body, we significantly increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
recommend that you take a moment after each imaging exercise to lie still in an attitude of acceptance, thankfulness, and alignment with all that is.
To help improve vision:
Rub your hands together briskly until the palms are warm. Cup your palms over your closed eyes to exclude all light and let your eyes relax completely. Take a few moments to gently massage your closed eyes with the pads of your fingers. Then cup your hands a few inches above your closed eyes and begin a stroking or massaging motion, as if the heat or other energy from your hands is somehow moving or otherwise affecting not only the surface but also the interior of the eyes. If at first you don't feel any effect int he eyes themselves--a sort of warmth, pressure, "magnetism," or presence--simply continue the exercise. Chances are you'll feel it after a few days' practice.
At the same time, begin to create a vivid mental image of your eyes as totally healthy and your vision as extremely sharp. Mentally, see the visible world as bright, sparkling, and crystal clear. If you're imaging not just normal but metanormal telescopic vision, create an image of a small bird in a distant tree. Note the color of its plumage, the precise shape of its bill, the sharp lines that delineate its eyes. Track the bird as it flits from one branch to another. See if you can pick out individual feathers.
If you wish to use words with mental images and the stroking motion of your hands, here are some samples: "My vision is crystal clear and my eyes are balanced, vital, and healthy." "The lenses of my eyes are clear, perfectly shaped, and completely healthy." "The aquaeous fluid in my lenses is pure and clear and circulating healthily." In every case, use words that feel right to you. Go with the ones that touch your heart.
To help prevent or reverse coronary artery disease:
Rub your hands vigorously together. Place your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your left hand. Physically massage your heart area with a feeling of love and caring for your heart. Slide your right hand down to your hara or physical center, about an inch or two below your navel; leave it there as a strong connection between your center of feeling (the heart) and your center of action and intuition (the hara). Lift your left hand (heart) a few inches above your body and begin a stroking motion with the intentionality of "touching" your physical heart. With practice, just as in the case of your eyes, you'll probably be able to feel the sensation of your hand's energy in your heart itself.
Aware now of your heart's approximate shape and size, begin to image it as balanced, vital, healthy, and fully alive with radiant energy. "My entire heart is balanced, vital, and healthy." "My heart is pulsing in perfect rhythm." Then image or "feel" your heart's arteries. (If you wish, use a picture from an anatomy book as a model for your image.) Begin to create an image of your arteries as open, supple, and healthy. Repeat those words if you so desire while continuing the stroking motion of your left hand: "My heart's arteries are open, supple, and healthy." Use any words that feel right for you or no words at all, just a sharp, clear visual or feeling image of your coronary arteries as strongly pumping life-giving blood to all areas of your heart.
Slide your right hand up over your heart area and your left hand down to your belly. Repeat the above induction, this time reversing the two hands' roles. Be sure to "feel" all of the heart, including the top, bottom, and back, and all the arteries.
To help open your heart to others, to be a more loving person. Bring your left hand to your heart center and place your right hand over the left. Ask yourself, "What would it be like if I were a more loving person?" Begin to create an image of yourself as open-hearted and loving, a person who experiences deep compassion for others. Imagine meeting a person with whom you have been less than compassionate and loving. Bring an image of this person to your mind. Create a vivid mental and emotional experience of opening your heart to her or him. Tune-in to the present-tense feelings in your body as you do so. How does your body feel when you approach someone in this open-hearted manner? What are the particular qualities of the feeling? Explore different images. Try taking a deep breath and physically opening your arms wide, expanding your rib cage, making your heart available to others. Stay with it. Pick a vision that brings a thrill to your body, a feeling of the many possibilities that open up when you open your heart to someone previously unloved. Expand this feeling to encompass all of humanity.
To help reshape your body:
Start by focusing strongly on the part of your physical body you want to change. Stroke your hands over it, increasing the awareness in that part. Bear in mind that energy follows attention. Sense the additional energy now localized in the body part given extra attention. Let's say you want to reduce your waistline. Here you might follow the example of the ITP practitioner who reduced his waist measurements by imagining a "girdle of fire" around his middle (see chapter 4). In his case, the image became an obsession, vivid in his consciousness not just while doing the Kata but during many of his waking hours. Successful transformation is almost always closely related to the practitioner's ability to produce and hold a vivid, positive, present-tense image--then, at times to surrender to grace. It's also important that you choose an imaging and induction procedure that's right for you, one that expresses your own personal being.
To help improve physical performance ....
Place your hand over your hara and your left hand over your right hand. Now bring to mind the race itself. Make everything vivid and present: the wind on your face as you're warming up, the tingling, fully alive feeling that goes along with removing your warm-up garb and standing at the starting line, the exuberant burst of energy at the starter's gun. Pick specific moments of the race: the feeling of power as you surge uphill, the release of joy of flying downhill, and finally the sense of triumph as you reach the finish line in :38 or less.
Or you might focus on your awareness on the cellular level, imaginging your red blood cells absorbing oxygen more efficiently than usual. Combine this visualization with several deep breaths, giving your red cells a chance to practice in the material realm what you are experiencing in the mental realm.
To increase your creativity:
Start with the assumption that creativity is a natural human state and that, potentially, your ability to create, to put together the stuff of existence in novel ways, is limitless.
the brief interval between outgoing and incoming breath the "creative pause."
repeat this cycle, touching your heart, solar plexus, hara, and pubis in turn, thus invoking bodily centers sometimes associated with thought, expressiveness, feeling, power, intuitive action, and generation.
see and feel yourself operating with effortless, joyful creativity. Experience the delight of making new connections, of gaining insights that seem to come from the creative void, from "nowhere." Experience the fun of creative work with others. Consider the creative possibilities in every life, not just in art and "creative writing" and the like, but in management, in love and sex, in gardening, entertaining, and household chores. Think of the creativity latent in every moment in time.
Finish this exercise as with every imaging exercise, in an attitude of acceptance, thanksgiving, and alignment with all that is.
We offer these samples to trigger your creativity. We believe that you can find a uniquely personal imaging procedure for any transformation of your body and pysche you sincerely desire. Our experience has shown us that such procedures are highly effective.
Keep practicing diligently and you can be reasonably sure the gains will eventually come.
p107 The ITP kata: meditation.
10 min period of meditation.