SYSTEMA AUCKLAND  

  A Home for Equal Explorers of Breath and Movement 
   

Solo Sessions for NZ Covid-19 Isolation Period, 2020

Sessions to be released corresponding with Systema Auckland's regular training schedule (M / W / Th / S /S).


Keep things simple. Listen to what your body/mind need. Take your time. Do the work. Stay positive, be well.

Session #43 (Mon 25.05.20)

5 min - On the floor, stretching, moving, compressing/expanding. Work softly, get your joints moving, opening.

15 min - Four Exercises. Do 1 of each exercise. Next round, do 2 of each exercise. Next, 3...4...5...etc. Keep going until you max out one of the exercises, once maxed out, start to come back down the ladder.

10 min - Tension/Relaxation drilling. On the floor, assume a comfortable position. On the inhale, bring tension into your body. On the exhale, release the tension. Work with "full" body tension/spread the tension evenly through your body. Scan down through your body as you work. Feel for what engages easily and what is harder to engage, what releases easily and what is stuck.

10 min - Think back to the previous drill and do focused stretching through the spaces that aren't doing what they're told!! Whether stuck or not engaging......

5 min - On the floor on your back. Breathing and relaxing. Let go! Keep your breathing soft. Be present, don't drift, keep your mind on your breath.

Stand, shake out, and feel refreshed and loose!! Enjoy.

Session #42 (Sat 23.05.20)

Missed the Thursday session, most of the crew tied up with work and getting schedules sorted out. So instead, treated the member that did show to Pravilo Suspension Training session - always a good result!!

So, now for Saturday's session. We continue to tackle holding at the top of a push-up for as much of a 30 minutes period as possible as our Saturday session.

This continues to be a straight forward method for checking down through our bodies, managing stress/discomfort, and developing spirit/resilience.

Give it a try. Engage through the core, slightly tuck your tailbone, soften your knees and elbows relative to the load, pack your shoulders down, and gently move your head/neck to tension check through your shoulders. Tension check, soften/move what you can. Work SUBTLY.

Make sure to push through adversity  - simple method is: When you're hitting the wall, calm yourself and take 5 smooth, long, soft breaths. Then, if needed, rest down on your knees and have a shake out. When recovered and ready return yourself to the top of the push-up. If after the 5 breaths you have calmed enough, push on through and continue to hold.

Once finished, stand, walk, shake out. Feel the warmth and strength throughout your body and mind.

Enjoy this, it is a great way to have a deep look into yourself!!

Session #41 (Wed 20.05.20)

Session Revisit (#4)

No timers for today's session. My session ended up being just over an hour. Shorter, or longer is up to you. Whatever length of time (FEEL for it...), try for continuous breath and movement.

We'll call this one: "By the Rule of 10".

Movements: Crawling, rolling, standing, laying down, walking, stretching, compressing, body weight exercises, etc, etc

Method: Complete 10 repetitions of any movement (ie. 10 steps, 10 push-ups, 10 rolls, etc...), or if stretching, hold the stretch for ten breaths.

Goal: Be present.

Have the goal of NOT planning anything. Try not to think of what you're going to do next. Be present in the movement/stretch. Wait until you've completed the 10 repetitions of any given movement, FEEL where your body wants to go next and slide into the new movement/stretch.

This is hard, patient drilling, be good to yourself. Enjoy.

Session #40 (Mon 18.05.20)

Lie on your back with your knees slightly raised, head on the ground. Gently rock yourself from side to side. Relax and sink into the ground. Start the movement from different parts of your body - head/neck, shoulders, ribs/spine, hips, knees, feet. Breathe freely. Allow yourself to be massaged by the ground.

Keep the movement very soft/subtle in the beginning. Over time allow the movement to become bigger and bigger until you are turning onto your side. You can add in reaching your top arm upwards to the sky, stretching from your fingertips. Try to increase your level of relaxation as the movement becomes bigger. Really sink into the ground, allow gravity to take over. Breathe freely.

Additionally, you can start to hold tension in part of your body, an example being your left arm. Load tension there, isolate it. Try not to allow the tension to travel to the rest of your body. Keep rocking yourself side to side. Breathe freely. Shift the tension to another area, an example being your right leg, etc.

If keen, you can turn yourself over and go through the same sequence on the front of your body.

Spend some time with yourself. Breathe for yourself. Move for yourself. Encourage others to do the same. There is a saying attributed to the Hopi that states, "Go to your sacred caves, for what you see will drive you mad." This drilling makes me think that as things around us seem out of control, if we allow it, we can find a quiet moment to slow things down and remind ourselves that we are - 

our breath, our movement, our present. 

Session #39 (Sun 17.05.20)

Lie down on your back. Inhale slowly. Pull your breath deeply into your abdomen. As your diaphragm maxes out on its range of motion, allow your chest to rise and your ribs to open. Allow a natural shift to the exhale, and let go of everything that feels taut, and relax. Try not to add anything to the exhale, no forcing, no pushing, just release.

As you proceed, start to lengthen out the inhale phase. Again, no forcing, just slowing down.

Next, on the exhale turn yourself over. Use minimal effort. Initiate the movement from different parts of your body by imagining yourself being pulled along by the chosen part. Back to front, front to back, over and over. Take you time. Stationary on the inhale, move on the exhale.

Now do that for 20, 30...60 minutes and tell me you've ever felt more relaxed!! Enjoy.

Session #38 (Sat 16.05.20)

Standing order for Saturday session = Hold at the top of a push-up for as much of a 30 min period as you can.

Challenging exercise you can use for a weekly check-in with yourself - physically, mentally, emotionally.  Push through discomfort, safely. Rest and shake out as required.

Use the time to analyze where your excess tension lies, and find where their are holes/gaps in the integrity/strength of your body.

Can you stay fully present or does your mind wander? Where is your mind? In your breathing, your muscles, your discomfort, etc?

Are you alone? Is it easy enough to quit if no one is looking? Or can you push past the limitations/restrictions you feel?

There is a lot happening in this 'simple' drill. Be good to yourself and make sure to shake out before and after working through this drill. 


Short and sharp, a tidy measure.

Session #37 (Thurs 14.05.20)

Sorry again for the late posting. Couple appointments today and a bit of running around.

So, maybe for today, I'll give ya something to watch to spur you on for your training session tomorrow. This comes from a great resource generator, Rob Poynton, Cutting Edge Systema, UK. Rob has a lot of tremendous videos covering varying aspects relating to Systema and training.

YouTube title: Systema Vlog May 20 - Motivation & Mindset

Link: https://youtu.be/8l91q-pcsHs

So, for tomorrow, your task is to harness your motivation and mindset, and come up with a training session for yourself. Think and feel for what it is you need - flexibility, strength, mobility, skill, etc, etc. Come up with a 1 hour session that explores what you FEEL you need to focus on.

Do the work, feel great, thrive!!

Session #36 (Wed 13.05.20)

Session Revisit (#14)

100+ x Push-up
100+ x Sit-up

100+ x Squat

100+ x Leg raise

100+ x Rolls (forwards/backwards over shoulder)


Get these done however you wish, just get them done!! Smash them all out in one go, break them up (5s, 10s, 20s, etc...) during your day, focus on one exercise + once completed move on to the next, eyes closed/eyes open, breath holds + recovery, wearing a weighted backpack, etc

20-30min - Stretch and/or foam rolling to say a big "thank you" to your body/mind/spirit!!

Just finished up, nice and warm even though got a good soaking out in the wind and rain. Feels great to stir up the damp earth and get the senses going.


Keep pushing team, keep doing well, and let's all keep our eyes on the prize, ay!!

Session #35 (Mon 11.05.20)

Pick up something 'heavy' and carry it around for 1 hour - Walking, up/down, ground movement.

The item you carry should be manageable but also challenging tp hold. Ex: Duffle bag with loose items, duffle bag with sand (filled to 50% capacity), kettlebell, fence post/piece of wood, weights plates, box of random loose items, etc.  Better to use something that forces you to constantly have to adapt to in terms of how you have to carry it.

This is a drill that makes you focus in on: developing strong structures, to use functional tension, to relax/rest the 'free'/unburdened parts of your body, to harness your breathing to help keep your systems calm, to work on your endurance/spirit.

Once you've finished up your hour's worth of work, recover yourself with some soft, loosening movement; stretching, opening, feeling great!!

Session #34 (Sun 10.05.20)

Sorry for the late posting. Hope you didn't wait around for me!!

Did you get yourself outside? Moving? Breathing? Growing? I hope so. Sometimes you've got to take the reins, come up with a plan, implement that plan, and come out the other side smiling!!

For myself, this last week was a good thrashing, so today was a gentle, recovery session.

Movement, stretching, twisting, soft breathwork, calming my systems, freeing the stuck spaces, thanking my brain and body, feeling the sun, feeling the breeze.

Be well, stay healthy. See you soon!!!

Session #33 (Sat 09.05.20)

Time for your weekly check-in with the Push-up.

Hold at the top of a push-up for as much of a 30 period as you can.

Focus in on your breath, allow that to be your gauge. Keep your breath phases long and controlled.

When things start to ramp up, do a few push-ups to calm yourself down, then back to leaning rest.

If you hit a 'breaking' point, take 5 slow breaths, then stand, walk, shake out. When ready, get back to it.

15 min - Get yourself down on the ground and move. Wash away any excess tension developed during the previous drill. Contract/expand. Stretch/twist. Breathe/move softly,

5 min - Lie on back, stay relaxed and breathe deeply. Feel for your heart beating.

Good work!! Now have a good day.

COVID Update: Looks like things are shifting towards level 2. All indications show that we should be able to return to group training when this takes place. I hope everyone is as excited as I am!!.....and ready to get back to it!! Stay tuned for details.

Session #32 (Thurs 07.05.20)

15 min - Free movement, crawling, rolling, up/down, stretching yourself. Breathe freely and continuously through the full period. Work at an intensity that allows your to work for the full 15 minutes.

30 min - Breathwork + the Four Exercises (Push-up, Sit-up, Squats, Leg Raise):

Lie on the floor, hold your breath (inhale fully, exhale slightly and hold), when you can't hold your breath any longer go into your recovery breathing (soft, shallow breathing at fast pace until you feel you can naturally slow down to 'normal' breathing).


While recovery breathing, perform the Four Exercises - any number of repetitions each, any order, mix them around. Perform the exercise in a way that will help you SLOW your systems down.

When you feel FULLY recovered, hold your breath again and repeat the sequence.

10 min - Free movement, crawling, rolling, up/down, stretching yourself. Breathe freely and continuously through the full period. Work at an intensity that allows your to work for the full 10 minutes.

5 min - Lie on your back, breath and relax, SLOW everything down. When the timer goes off, take 5 slow, deep breaths, staying relaxed. On the last exhale, stand to your feet, refreshed and ready to face the day!!

Session #31 (Wed 06.05.20)

Session revisit:

Straight forward work for today's session. Apply yourself, get through it, and feel great on the other side.

5 min - Warm through your joints, shake out, connect in with your breath.

Four exercises: Push-up, Sit-up, Squats, Leg Raise

Spend 15 minutes with each exercise. Get to know the exercise, and yourself, a little better.

For some of the work periods, focus on 'inhale up/exhale down'. Progress this to inhaling until the tension load of the movement has 'maxed out', then shift to exhaling through the rest of the movement. Work this in both the up, and down phases. This should allow you to eek out a few extra repetitions when the going gets tough!!

5-10 min - Shake through.

I added in a 30 minute walk after the session to really enjoy the warmth generated from this work!!

Session #30 (Mon 04.05.20)

10 min - Connect with breath. Lie on the floor (front/back/side). Breathe deeply, pull your breath down into abdomen, lengthen your breath phases. With each exhale, let go of tension, sink into the floor. Scan your body for spaces that aren't 'letting go', don't try to changes these spaces, just acknowledge them.

10 min - Connect with your heartbeat. Continue with your deep breathing. Try to pick up your heartbeat. Put your mind in your fingertips, feel your heart beating there. Take your time, establish a good connection. Every ten breaths or so, move your focus to another space - feet, belly, neck, chest, etc...FEEL!!

20 min - Contraction/Expansion (on floor). On the exhale, make your body as small as possible. Draw everything inwards working towards the 'fetal' position. On the inhale, open your body by stretching your hands and feet as far away from your core as possible. Make sure to time this applying and release of tension to your breathing. Breath comes in and out slowly, so should the tension. Feel free to change positions here. Make the expansion/'tension' phase stronger and stronger as you go (making sure that you are letting go properly on the exhale). Add, twisting through your limbs on the expansion phase.

10 min - Stand, walk, shake out through your body. Breathe. Again, scan your body. What has loosened, what is still tight? Focus some shake out on these stuck spaces.

10 min - Down to ground. Back to feet. Exhale down, inhale up. Very relaxed, efficient. Every time you get up, leave tension on the floor. Stand with more and more power. Cleanse your body/mind of excess tension. LET IT GO.

5 min - Soft breathing on the floor (front/back/side).

Rise, feel full of strength and power, relaxed and ready to face the day(s)!!

Bonus: Book recommendation - The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown

Session #29 (Sun 03.05.20)

15 min - Stretch/loosen/warm through

45 min - Walking while working breathing ladder (1 step inhale/1 step exhale......10 step inhale/10 step exhale.....etc).

15 min - Free movement. Expand/contract. Twist through your body. Up/down. Add in the Four Exercises. Breathe freely. Try to work continuously through the 15 minute period.

100 repetitions - Lie on your back. On the inhale, raise your upper body and legs off the ground. (Think a loose version of the 'V Sit-up') Keep legs and arms relaxed, balance on your backside. On the exhale, relax and lower back to the ground. If you lose the breath pattern, stop, regroup and press-on once sorted.

Get outside, work through, feel the wind and rain on your face. Enjoy the elements!!

Session #28 (Sat 02.05.20)

Regular Saturday session = As much of a 30 minute period holding at the top of a push-up + warm-up/cool-down.

Really struggled here today, both physically and mentally. Pushed through though. Spent a good half hour afterwards stretching/moving afterwards in an attempt to wash out some tension left over from the push-up hold.

Just gotta keep pushing forwards, accept failure, process, re-tool, adjust.

Change can only come from me.......no one is gonna do it for me!!

Onwards and upwards.

Session #27 (Thurs 30.04.20)

Work the same session as yesterday - Focus on Sufficiency of breath.

There is a depth to this work and it should be looked at with respect to that. So, take your time, FEEL, be patient.


Great resource for this work is Vladimir's 'Breath for Internal Control' download/dvd. Check it out if you can.

Added: 50 min - Targeted stretching + foam rolling (quads/hamstrings/adductors/calves)

I will being doing the same session tomorrow also. Maybe you'll do similar.....

Feel good.

Session #26 (Wed 29.04.20)

Reading through Vladimir VASILIEV's "Let Every Breath"......again. Really fixated on the section in Chapter Three - The Seven Principles relating to Sufficiency. I'm really taken by the sentence, "Try to be sensitive to what your body is really asking for."

I think about how much I over breathe in general, and at times, even at rest. I think about the needless energy expenditure, day in and day out. I can feel my overworked breathing-accessory muscles, I can feel the tension there. I can feel how this pulls my body out of balance.

I took the opportunity today to slow my breath down as much as I could. I simply kept my mouth closed when possible (I wasn't working breath holds or anything). When I was able, I would do a slow-count in my head, gently lengthening out my breath phases.

I chose to extend this into the exercise period of my day, as a way of loading on some good stress. It was EXTREMELY challenging, not without it's multiple missteps.

So, for today's session (and subsequent!) - focus on sufficiency. We always say, 'breathe, breathe, breathe' in class. OK, everyone's breathing, but.......how are we breathing? Is there control there? Are we taking just the 'necessary amount of air' or are we being greedy? Are we keeping our body relatively relaxed while breathing? Etc, etc...

During rest, acknowledge your breathing. While you're active, acknowledge your breathing. Start to analyze what is taking place with your breathing. Keep in mind, you will have your own breathing issues, different than mine. Now is the time to FEEL what is happening with YOU?

10 min - Stretch through your body. Twist your limbs. Lengthen out your breath phases. Breathe with ease and efficiency.
30 min - Free movement. Rolling, crawling, up/down, falling, make yourself small/make yourself big, etc. Try to keep your breath phases long. Breathe with ease and efficiency.

10 min - Stretch through your body. Slow everything down. If your breathing is out of control, reel it back in, take control of it. Lengthen out your breath phases. Breathe with ease and efficiency.

On our return to regular classes, we will course correct and be focusing alot of time on the quality of things rather than just doing the things.

Be well, see ya soon!!

Session #25 (Mon 27.04.20)

Straight forward work for today's session. Apply yourself, get through it, and feel great on the other side.

5 min - Warm through your joints, shake out, connect in with your breath.

Four exercises: Push-up, Sit-up, Squat, Leg Raise

Spend 15 minutes with each exercise. Get to know the exercise, and yourself, a little better.

5-10 min - Shake through.

Feel the warmth.

Session #24 (Sun 26.04.20)

I was reminded by one of my mentors today - "Take a day off once in a while."

So, taking his words to heart, today's session is a 'non-session'.

Read a book, watch a movie, cook a meal, fly a kite, take a bike ride, go for a walk, sit in the sun, etc, etc......

We're back to it tomorrow. Be ready to put in some work!!

Enjoy your day.

Session #23 (Sat 25.04.20)

Sorry for the late post......thought I'd forgotten ya, ay?!......NO such luck!!

Warm-up as you see fit (I chose to mow the lawns). Shake out, and give your joints a quick run through for loosening.

Drill = Spend as much time as you can, during a 30 minute period, holding/resting at the top of a push-up.

Check back through the previous Saturday posts for tips/guidelines. We've all done this a few times now, so time to start to push into our barriers, through discomfort, and any negative spiral/feedback loops. Push and grow.

Have a good shake out once finished. Feel strong, resilient, full of power.

Stay positive, be well. Thank you for your continued efforts!!

Session #22 (Thur 23.04.20)

15 min - Walking. Focus on your breath - draw deeply into your abdomen, allow your ribs to expand. Gently hold (NO forcing) at the top of your breath. Feel yourself as a bellows. Relax on the exhale - keep your spine tall . And, your posture - lifting from the crown of the head, shoulders dropped/blades drawn together softly, sacrum rolled under/forwards , hips and knees soft.

15 min - From standing, squat down and place your hands on the ground in front of yourself. Walk your hands out so you're in an extended plank position (EPP), hands shoulders width apart. Walk your hands back in, stand up. Repeat.

As you go, start to spend more time in the EPP, take 2 breaths, 3, 5, 10. Each time you stand shake yourself out. To add difficulty, once in the EPP, walk your hands out to the side so your arms are stretched out at shoulder "height".

15 min - Free movement - walk, stride, run, drop, roll, crawl, stretch, breathe!!

Times are moving, shifting, changing......this is what we train for, this is who we are.

Adapt and thrive!!

Session #21 (Wed 21.04.20)

5 min - Shake out/warm through.

Today's workout comes to us from our Systema friend in Israel, Sharon FRIEDMAN.
Sharon hosts a Facebook page called "Training Without the Crap" and a website <vigilanceandtranquility.com>. 

Both are well worth a good look through!! I love his "The Daily Basics".

Drilling:
1 Pushup - 60 breaths up and 60 breaths down
60 breaths holding on your fists with legs in the air straight out in front of you (From a seated position, hands next to your hips)
60 breaths in the hand bridge (face up (tabletop or rounded), face down)
60 breaths holding in the bottom of a squat

This is a gnarly bit of work, be good to yourself, be patient, push yourself but not to harm, enjoy/smile/breathe!!

Took a nice long walk after finishing this up. Used some ideas Sharon shares on his website.

Have a good day, we're doing well team, things are shifting, let's all play ball so we can move past all this mess and have things back to normal......well, the new normal anyways!!

Session #20 (Mon 20.04.20)

Physically - Have a good stretch out, nothing strenuous. Analyze your body, feel where the work needs to be focused. Mobilize your joints. Work some stretching from the extremities (tips of fingers + toes/heels), move them out from your core using functional tension. Add twisting through your limbs as you stretch. Change up the angles as you work.

Mentally - It can be a strange feeling to lose control of so many things we take for granted. Trying to hold on to this control can be quite stressful, frustrating, and, to speak frankly, a real drag!!

In these regards, I have found the following drill to be quite helpful during these stressful periods of my life. It is a simple meditation on letting go. The drill comes to us through Vladimir VASILIEV's book: The Russian System Guidebook.

Set down a period of time at the end of your day (I chose 20 minutes). Take a piece of paper and write down everything you can remember from the time you woke up in the morning. Describe what you did during the day, what/where were your feelings, was your mind elsewhere, are some parts very clear, are others a blur, etc, etc.....as much detail as you can within the time you've set down. Don't worry if you don't get through the full day. Doesn't matter.

After you've finished writing, read through what you've written one time.

Now, take the paper and burn it. LET IT ALL GO.......Onward and upwards.

Session #19 (Sun 19.04.20)

60 minutes - Falling from various heights/positions.

Fall from: Sitting, kneeling, low squat, half squat, standing.

Greet the floor with softness. Inhale up/exhale down.

Work slowly in the beginning, allow yourself to relax completely on the floor. Over time use less control on the descent, fall, let go.
Feel how your body moves through the transitions. Feel less burdened by tension each time you get up. Feel stronger as the minutes tick along. Feel how your breath draws you along like an engine pulling train carriages. FEEL.

And there you have it. Seems simple.........try it, and find out that it is not!!

If you want to go on and do some exercise while you're nice and relaxed, do 30-60 minutes of walking carrying something that is heavy and awkward to hold. Shake out once finished.

If this activity has brought tension into you, go back to falling. You've practised for an hour, see how fast you can rid yourself of any accumulated tension - 1, 2, 5 minutes, how long does it take to feel as relaxed as you were after falling?

A well-formed body: "a body that is ready for - and experienced in - hard, long term work." K KOMAROV

I hope everyone is well, and to be seeing you in person soon!! Cheers. 

Session #18 (Sat 18.04.20)

Time for your weekly check-in:

Spend as much time holding at the top of a push-up during a 30 min period as you can.

This is an challenging and interesting drill. Accept the struggle, face the doubts, frustration, discomfort. Settle yourself, and your breathing. Examine your emotions (it is about acknowledgement initially, don't try and change anything...). Feel in through your body. What is happening? Where is your tension seated? Where are you free? What are the differences between the spaces? Can the free spaces teach the restricted spaces? What is there to learn?

As always, be respectful of your limitations. When you feel you want to stop, take 5 slow breaths. "Shake hands" with this drill, don't jump out of it. If after the 5 breaths you are comfortable with it, don't stop, continue. You may find that the 5 breaths have given you space to calm, settle, and accept. If after the 5 breaths, you feel you still need to stop then slowly release out of the position, rest on your knees and shake out. Stand and walk if you need. When you've processes, get back to it.

Please keep in mind, we are walking a thin line here. We want to challenge ourselves, but we don't want to set off any negative emotions that can arise when we feel we need to compete with ourselves. Deny the negative spiral any fuel. Progress in your own time. Take time to FEEL - the good, the bad and the ugly!!

Have a good shake out once you have finished. If you're not outside already, get outside and take in some fresh air. Cheers.

Session #17 (Thurs 16.04.20)

Have a warm through, mobilize your joints, connect with your breathing, shake out.

Find something to carry. I chose 2 x 10kg weight plates today, suited what I was after.

Other examples =
- A box (taped up for strength) containing loose objects weighing up to 20-25kg
- Sandbag(s)
- Slosh tube (length of PVC pipe sealed at the ends, water filled to 75% capacity)
- Kettlebells

45-60mins - Walking holding the weights. I used a football field and walked lengths. I would hold the weights at the levels listed below for one length of the field, rotating through the 3.


Hold at hips (farmer's carry)/Hold racked at chest/Hold pressed above shoulders


If you're stuck with nowhere to walk. Work with the weight and complete the 'go down to the ground/back to your feet' drill. Hold the weight close to your body, away from your body, above your shoulders.

Always feel out your capacities for the day. Respect any limitations in terms of injury management. Spend time settling your nervous system to the task. Really connect with your breath. Mind your posture. Establish strong structures. Engage your core. Sink into your steps and roll through them. Do the work. Enjoy!!


Shake/stretch out once finished. (DON'T SKIP THIS PART!!)

Session #16 (Wed 15.04.20)

".....the basis for mastering Systema is a deep restructuring of the body and psyche, starting with the rejection of the majority of old movement and thought patterns, with the return to one's origin - the natural child-like state."

The above quote can be found in the first chapter of Konstantin KOMAROV's Systema Manual. If you haven't had a chance to read this book, I would suggest that you look into it. The book goes into great depth in regards to the methods employed in Systema and provides ideas/outlines to aid your personal development/discovery within the art. Recommended.

During my morning session I kept the phrase "natural child-like state" at the forefront of my mind. I sought to monitor my inner state, manage my efforts, and push through my limitations. I tried to work continuously, and managed to only "need" a few breaks. I will do better next time.

60 mins - Free movement

Can you do it? You want to try? Let's go!!

Session #15 (Mon 13.04.20)

If you made your way through yesterday's session, you're probably feeling it!! No worries.


Spend your time today giving yourself a good loosen up. Spend some time in your breathing, get yourself moving, and stretch/twist through any blockages.


I personally find that going to the ground and back to my feet works very well for this. For this type of session (loosening), I work at an easy pace, maintaining an upright posture for as much of the transitions as I can, and really LETTING GO once on the ground. I work as efficiently and continuously as I can, trying to reduce strain and effort. RELAXING.

If needed, use massage tools: stick, massage ball, foam roller, the ground.

As you loosen yourself, do some more push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and leg raises. Use these exercises to RELAX yourself. You did the hard work yesterday, today it's all gravy - soften, flow, and be buttery!!

If you did not manage to get through all the reps from yesterday's session, finish them up now.....YOU OWE!! Then loosen up as above.

If you did not try yesterday's session.......GET TO IT!!.......Then, of course, loosen up as above.

Shake hands with these exercises and drills.....say "thank you" to them.....they are your new best friends!!

Session #14 (Sun 12.04.20)

100 x Push-up / 100 x Sit-up / 100 x Squat / 100 x Leg raise / 100 x Rolls (forwards/backwards over shoulder)

Get these done however you wish, just get them done!! Smash them all out in one go, break them up (5s, 10s, 20s, etc...) during your day, focus on one exercise + once completed move on to the next, eyes closed/eyes open, breath holds + recovery, wearing a weighted backpack, etc

10-20min Stretch and/or foam rolling to say a big "thank you" to your body/mind/spirit!!

Session #13 (Sat 11.04.20)

Time for your weekly check-in with yourself. Feel, explore, be patient.

30 min - Spend as much of the 30 minutes at the top of a push-up (leaning rest). Take breaks as required but make sure you are pushing through some limits. When you think you need to take a break, take 5 slow, even breaths before deciding to stop or not. When ready get back to it.

Tips: Engage through your core, tuck your tailbone slightly, draw your pubic bone up towards your ribs. Pack your shoulders down towards your waistline, slight tension between the shoulder blades. Hands are somewhere close to being under your shoulders. Elbows and knees are kept soft. Keep scanning your body from top to bottom, acknowledge areas where tension is building up, where you feel loose. If you need to move things around, try to do it subtly, minimize your energy expenditure. Feel your breath moving into and out of your body, filling you with power!!

Bonus Session:

Next time you need to go to the grocery store, treat it as a session. Use the time to explore your patience, calmness, efficiency, breathing (keep it VERY subtle), structure/posture, etc.

Lots of lessons to be learned, take time to know yourself in ALL situations.

Session #12 (Thurs 09.04.20)

Short and sharp today folks. Listening to an interview with Vladimir VASILIEV on the Systema for Life podcast, Vladimir mentioned the importance of SLOW exercises a number of times. So, here ya go, work slowly, patiently.

5 mins - Loosen/stretch through your body. Warming yourself. Connect with your breath.

10 min - Work SLOW push-ups. Do one at a time. Recover between each repetition. Each time you go in for the next one, SLOW down even more. Stay connected with your breath.

10 min - Sit-ups. As above.

10 min - Squats. As above.

10 min - Leg raise. As above.

5 min - Loosen/stretch through your body. Cool down.

Enjoy the rest of your day!!

Session #11 (Wed 08.04.20)

Household chores. Pick a chore, whether today or tomorrow (mine was weeding the garden beds + mowing the lawn (1.25 hours)), pick a task that will take at least 30 mins.

Approach your chore as if you were attending a class. Give yourself a short warm through, get in contact with your breath, and go to work. Cool yourself down at the end with a little shake-out/stretch.

As you complete your chore: Stay connected to your breath, manage your levels of tension/relaxation, pay attention to how you are moving, work to establish strong, pliable form, structure and posture.

Additionally, get creative and add in some sort of extra challenge. Mine was to complete the task with my mouth closed, allowing only breathing through my nose. (Was harder than I thought it would be!). Could be any type of restriction you can think up - blindfold, hand/arm restricted, using your non-dominate side as your primary, walking backwards only, etc, etc......

Session #10 (Mon 06.04.20)

5-10 min - Spend time warming up your joints. Circle thru: Neck (Base of skull/base of neck), shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, chest/ribs, spine/torso, hips, knees, ankles, toes.

30 min - Alternate between two positions: 1 - Low squat/duck walk, 2 - On all fours (hands/feet, this can be facing downward AND facing upwards)

Realize that each position is a "rest" position for the other. Meaning, when your legs get jammed up from the duck walk postion, transfer to all fours, and allow your legs to relax, decompress, breath. When on all fours and your arms get tired, switch back to the duck walk and shake your arms out and allow them to rest.

Back and forth, back and forth. Breathe. Try to work continuously.

5-10 min - Spend time cooling yourself down. Circle thru: Neck (Base of skull/base of neck), shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, chest/ribs, spine/torso, hips, knees, ankles, toes.

Bonus: Excellent ideas shared by friend of Systema Auckland and Senior Systema Instructor Kwan LEE (Vancouver)

https://youtu.be/GwPN20pWORw

Manage your efforts, be sensitive to your current condition, and apply your Systema tools!!

Session #9 (Sun 05.04.20)

5 min - Pick a position: Lying down/sitting/kneeling, connect with your breath.

10 min - Free movement. Stay connected with your breath. One movement - inhale, one movement - exhale. Keep the movements simple so this is easy to keep track of. If you get lost, keep breathing and stop moving. Take a few breaths and when you're ready, get back to it.

10 min - Lying down (Front/back/side), tension/relaxation drilling. On the inhale, bring tension into your body, on the exhale relax your body. For the first half, think whole body tension - try to spread the tension evenly through your body. Play around with the amount of tension you are using - 25%/50%/75%. 

For the second half, begin to isolate the tension to various parts of your body. So, for example, bring tension into your right leg only, your left arm only, etc.

10 min - Free movement. Stay connected with your breath. One movement - inhale, one movement - exhale. Keep the movements simple so this is easy to keep track of. If you get lost, keep breathing and stop moving. Take a few breaths and when you're ready, get back to it.

10 min - Pick 5 spaces in your body you want to stretch. Spend 2 min at each space.

10 min - Find your way down to the ground and back to your feet. Work patiently, soften yourself, take your time, relax.

5 min -  Pick a position: Lying down/sitting/kneeling, connect with your breath.

Session #8 (Sat 04.04.20)

Back to our Saturday morning check-in session. Refer to Session #3 for details. Essentially, spend as much time of a 30 min period at the top of a push-up (leaning rest). Focus in on your breath, feel strong and full of power!

Additionally: Cool-water dousing

Some have been asking about my cold-water dousing. So, here is my little routine.

I fill up 2 buckets (10L each) at night and leave the buckets out overnight.

In the morning, I go to the backyard, with the buckets in tow. I strip down to my grundies, and stand on the grass, barefoot.

I take a few slow, deep breaths and come to terms with what it is that I'm about to do/endure.

Once settled, I take the first bucket and hold it above my head. I SLOWLY pour the cold water over my head. At about halfway, I shift the water from my head to upper back and chest. During the pouring, I am using burst/recovery breathing as required. When empty, I drop the bucket on the ground. I stand and breathe.

I hold the second bucket above my head. I take a few breathes, at some point I take a deep inhale. On the exhale, I pour the whole bucket over my head, emptying it quickly.

I drop the bucket, stand and use recovery breathing as required. Once I've settled, I take 5 long, deep breaths to say "thank you".

So there you have it, my little routine. I try to do this 4-5 times per week, if not everyday. I seem to do it every day when times are stressful. It is an interesting practice and is very challenging. This WILL boost your discipline, and resilience against adversity. Give it a try!!

Session #7 (Thurs 02.04.20)

Hi there, how's everyone getting on? Hope everyone is keeping healthy and safe. Big shout out to those that are working out on the frontlines during these challenging times. Know you are appreciated!! Thank you.

5 min - Warm yourself up, get your blood moving, establish a connection with your breath. Rolling, crawling, lying down, sitting, kneeling, low squat, standing, etc. Keep free and loose, just warming yourself.

Undetermined time period - Think to our Four Exercises (Push-up/Sit-up/Squat/Leg Raise)

Hold your breath and complete one repetition of each exercise. Once completed, breathe and recover yourself.


Repeat each "level" until you are very comfortable with it before moving on. Don't rush. FEEL, and analyze what is happening in your body/mind. Where does the tension build up, what are the challenging spaces you're moving through, what positions/movements make it hard to relax, to hold your breath, etc.

Hold your breath and complete two repetitions of each exercise. Recover yourself.


Hold your breath.....3 reps......4 reps.....etc.

Once you've "maxed" out, recover yourself properly. When ready, come back down that ladder......5 reps......4 reps......1rep.

5-10 min - Cool yourself down, keep your blood moving, maintain the connection with your breath. Rolling, crawling, lying down, sitting, kneeling, low squat, standing, etc. Keep free and loose, start slowing yourself down.

20 breaths lying on the floor (front/back/sides). Relax. Feel in control, full of power and accomplishment. Great job!!

Session #6 (Wed 01.04.20)

10 min - On floor (front/back/side - change position as you feel the need), stretching from the extremities. Imagine someone is pulling you from the crown of the head, the finger tips, and the feet (alternate between heels and ankles). Apply enough tension to feel it is challenging, but make sure there is a comfort there too.....10 mins is longer than you think! Hold each stretch for 5-10 breaths. Add in twisting through the limbs as time goes on.


10 min - Free movement on floor. Use this time to rid yourself of any excess tension you are holding after the previous drill.

100 repetitions - Body/leg raise. On your back, raise both your upper body and legs off the ground at the same time. You should be able to find a balance point at the top. You're looking for a loose interpretation of a "V Sit-up". Keep your body soft. Inhale up/Exhale down.

10 mins -  Free movement on floor. Use this time to rid yourself of any excess tension you are holding after the previous drill.

10 min - On the floor (back), relax and breathe. Feel the air slipping in through your nose and out through your nose. Make your breath more and more subtle, lengthen out your breath phases. With each exhale feel as your body releases and lets go. Feel so relaxed that you could fall asleep......but DON'T......keep your attention on your breath.

Rise, feel refreshed and loose!!

Session #5 (Mon 30.03.20)

Short and simple.....Remember: Simple does not mean EASY!!

Have a short shake out, warm your body for a few minutes.

Stand with your back against a wall.

The ultimate goal is to have the following in contact with the wall: Heels, calves, glutes, mid-back, shoulder blades, back of head.

This is a challenging drill. You are having to let things go AND strengthen other things at the same time. Be patient with yourself. Think of this like a "reset" button for your posture.

Start with a few minutes each day.

For a training session: Shake out/warm up. Stand against wall as above. 5 minutes. Shake out. 10 minutes. Shake out. 15 minutes. Shake out!!

For shorter "reset" sessions (a few minutes), try to carry the feeling of lengthening/opening off the wall with you into your day.

Stay healthy, be well.

Session #4 (Sun 29.03.20)

No timers for today's session. My session ended up being just over an hour. Shorter, or longer is up to you. Whatever length of time (FEEL for it...), try for continuous breath and movement.


We'll call this one: "By the Rule of 10".

Movements: Crawling, rolling, standing, laying down, walking, stretching, compressing, body weight exercises, etc, etc

Method: Complete 10 repetitions of any movement (ie. 10 steps, 10 push-ups, 10 rolls, etc...), or if stretching, hold the stretch for ten breaths.


Goal: Be present.

Have the goal of NOT planning anything. Try not to think of what you're going to do next. Be present in the movement/stretch. Wait until you've completed the 10 repetitions of any given movement, FEEL where your body wants to go next and slide into the new movement/stretch.

This is hard, patient drilling, be good to yourself. Enjoy.

Session #3 (Sat 28.03.20)

5 min - Free movement/stretching through the body. Get your breathing working for you. All smooth, no gaps, feel power with every movement and breath!!

30 min - Spend as much of the 30 minutes at the top of a push-up (leaning rest). Take breaks as required but make sure you are pushing through some limits. When you think you need to take a break, take 5 slow, even breaths before deciding to stop or not. If you stop, shake out and when ready, get back to it.

Tips: Engage through your core, tuck your tailbone slightly, draw your pubic bone up towards your ribs. Pack your shoulders down towards your waistline, slight tension between the shoulder blades. Hands are somewhere close to being under your shoulders. Elbows and knees are kept soft. Keep scanning your body from top to bottom, acknowledge areas where tension is building up, where you feel loose. If you need to move things around, try to do it subtly, minimize your energy expenditure. Feel your breath moving into and out of your body, filling you with power!!

10 min - Free movement. Use this time to work through your body and free up any areas that were problematic during the hold period.

This session will be your standard work for Saturday mornings. Use it as a gauge to feel your development. Use it to put to test all your hard work from the week prior.

Now, set your timer and get to work!!

Breathe and enjoy your day.

Session #2 (Thurs 26.03.20) 

10 min - Free movement on the floor. Transition between lying down/sitting/kneeling/low squat (duck walk). Try to work without breaks, move smoothly, effortlessly.

10 min - Tension/Relaxation drilling. On floor, on your front/back/side, take a minute or so and breathe. When ready, begin to bring tension into your body as you inhale. Let the tension go as you exhale. Play with the strength of the tension you are generating. Scan and monitor your body - what engages well, what lets go well, what does not want to engage or hold strength, what does not want to let go. Note the problematic spaces.

10 min - Stretching. Begin with general stretching/twisting through body. Last 5 minutes, focus stretching into problematic areas you discovered in the previous drill.

5 min - Free movement on the floor. Transition between lying down/sitting/kneeling/low squat (duck walk). Try to work without breaks, move smoothly, effortlessly. Manage your effort and breathing.

5 min - For relaxation, on the floor in a comfortable position, breathe softly and deeply. With each exhale allow your body to really release, let gravity pull you into the floor. Feel your breath going in and out of your nostrils. Slow everything down, listen to your body. Enjoy.

Session #1 (Wed - 25.03.20)

10 min - Down to ground/Back to feet. Firstly, go to COMPLETE relaxation. Slowly work through to dynamic work, spending as little time on the ground as possible.

5 min - Relax/Breathe on floor (front/back/side) + self-monitoring. Analyze from top of head down through body to feet. FEEL what is happening in different spaces in body. Subtly move/shake out any "stuck" spaces.

5 min - Push-ups / 5 min - Sit-ups / 5 min- Squats.

5 min - Relax/Breathe on floor (front/back/side) + self-monitoring. Analyze from top of head down through body to feet. FEEL what is happening in different spaces in body. Subtly move/shake out any "stuck" spaces.

5 min - Stretching/twisting through body, open up any "stuck" spaces.

Finish up with 10 slow, deep breaths while relaxing on the floor. On the last exhale, stand up in one smooth, efficient movement within the exhale.

Feel refreshed and open. Have a great day!!