Approaches to Peak Performance Categorized
The following is not an article. It is an extension of my contemplations found in “dirty rants”. These contemplations are based on my recent experiences with runner’s high and Bikram yoga and draw upon my work on the psycho-philosophy of peak performance.
Background to the latest “rant”:
I am an ultra runner who began Bikram yoga almost two months ago. Although I do it only one day a week, I recently had an incredible experience following my regular Tuesday night Bikram session. Briefly, I ran faster than I normally do (8:30 pace versus 10:30), felt like I could run endlessly on every run and ended the week in what felt like an out-of-body running experience. I also experienced endless energy throughout the week, incredible mental clarity and intensely creative urges. On the downside, I was very irritated, mostly because I could just not satisfy my creative drive and lost all patience with others in the search for both logical and creative self-expression.
Latest “rant” (1 week after the Bikram-induced experience)
Today, I bowed out of my run after barely 30 minutes. However, I must say that I am in an absolutely wonderful mood. Comparatively, my mood this past week (post 5 days of Bikram-induced “high,” culminating in an out-of-body running experience), has been to unhealthy extremes: crabbiness and an emotional intensity that has irritated me and others I interact with. Ironically, my logistical or organizational capabilities have been acutely sharp at the same time (a positive side effect of reaching a state of peak performance). I bowed out of my run because my stomach was upset. Simple analysis. I was not mentally tired or mechanically incapable of performing today. Combined with earlier analyses, this leads me to the following analysis on approaches to “peak performance” or the “runner’s high” (the type of peak performance most commonly understood in the running world):
Approaches to peak performance:
i) Breaking through physical barriers
ii) Physical repetition and symmetry
This is an interesting category as Eastern philosophies seem to be so much more advanced on this topic (i.e. ability to control or “lead” our minds into different states of consciousness). In the West, we are almost obsessed with physical states of being (i.e. exercise). This probably arose in response to a focus on fast foods and the accompanying state of unhealthiness in Western populations. As such, we are probably more familiar in the West with entering altered states of consciousness through physically induced means, particularly that of breaking through physical barriers.
I can cross-examine these theories through contemplating the process of creativity in terms of the various categories that I have noted here. This is for future deliberations.
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