The Practice of Freedom: Aikido Principles as a Spiritual Guide

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9781930485006: The Practice of Freedom: Aikido Principles as a Spiritual Guide
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Drawing on the poetic wisdom of the Tao Te Ching, American sensei Wendy Palmer translates the powerful teachings of aikido for use in everyday life—all without practicing the vigorous exercises of the martial art, itself. With poignant reflections on her own life, including her Conscious Embodiment work and teaching inmates in a woman's federal prison, she describes how we can lose our sense of freedom, vitality, and integrity when under the duress of life's "attacks." She explores a process that responds to the question How? How do we transform our negativity into budo, or love, and how do we move from reactivity to freedom? The Practice of Freedom is invaluable not only for students of aikido and other movement and martial arts, but also for those who seek to live with confidence and self-reliance, to establish clear and compassionate boundaries, and to deepen their capacities for loving and honest relationships.

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From the Inside Flap:

"You hold in your hands a wise book. Wendy Palmer offers us the gracious understandings, dignity, and compassionate spirit that have grown through a lifetime dedicated to her arts." --From the "Foreword" by Jack Kornfield, author of After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

"The Practice of Freedom is a wonderful teaching in embodied awareness. Wendy Palmer has long experience with aikido and Buddhism, and she weaves together their timeless principles of attentiveness, openness, and compassion. This book moves the reader along to a black belt in living." -- Joseph Goldstein, author of Insight Meditation and of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom

"Wendy Palmer's book The Practice of Freedom could be called The Practice of Virtue. It is a wise and eloquent guide to the good life." -- George Leonard, author of Mastery and of The Way of Aikido

"Aikido is the martial art for the twenty-first century. It teaches you how to live in harmony with your own body and spirit, with others, and with your environment. In this book, Wendy Palmer speaks of her quest to follow the Way of Harmony in all manner of circumstances, and tells of the many valuable and practical lessons that she has learned. Every person experiences aikido in a different way, and this is an inspiring account by a sincere and dedicated practitioner of aikido." -- John Stevens, author of The Philosophy of Aikido and of The Essence of Aikido

"This is a valuable book, not just because of the information that it supplies, but because of the perspective that it offers. Wendy Palmer integrates the timeless wisdom of aikido into the modern art of living well in a fast-paced and complicated world. The Practice of Freedom is a book to be lived, not just read." -- Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T., author of Living Your Yoga and of Relax and Renew

About the Author:

Wendy Palmer, a fifth-degree black belt and cofounder of Aikido of Tamalpais, in Mill Valley, California, has been teaching aikido since 1974. In 1980, she developed Conscious Embodiment, which uses aikido principles as a way to study boundaries, relationships, and leadership. She directed the Prison Integrated Health Program from 1990-1997. This is a volunteer project that provides classes in behavorial medicine at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, and serves as a model for health promotion programs in prisons throughout the United States. She is the author of The Intuitive Body: Aikido as a Clairsentient Practice, and teaches Conscious Embodiment in its companion video.

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