Other people did astounding things. But I think the most important story to tell you is about Ann Buszard, a strength competitor who was seventy-six when I met her. About a year and a half before the competition, Ann had noticed she was getting weak in her legs, specifically when she bent over to pick things up. Getting out of chairs had become harder and harder. A retired nurse who lives alone, she was getting a bit concerned about her lack of strength. Her son is a strength competitor, and he suggested a doctor in her area who specifically trains elderly people in basic strength movements. She had never done any exercise in her life, specifically none involving weights or a gym. So doing squats, deadlifts, and presses with a barbell was completely alien to her. It can attract love, people, work, possessions, and money into your life. Visualization uses your mind ' s power. It is the power that pushes success. When you visualize an event happening, you are attracting it into your life. This process is almost like daydreaming. This might look a bit like magic, but technically there isn ' t an ounce of magic at work; it is just a natural process of thoughts, power, and natural laws. There are people who use this daily. They aren ' t even aware that they are using some kind of power. Every successful person out there uses it both unconsciously and consciously. I want to remember the immense relief I felt when I was strong enough to take just one step forward. I want to remember the moment I felt the sun on my face again as I looked up and realized that what I thought was a giant cloud obscuring the sun was really a massive force.

A force bigger and stronger than any Goliath. The force who had been blocking arrows, flames, and hellfire to protect me. I want to remember how when the battle was over, the force moved back, and the sun shone on my face, and all became clear. He looked at me and said, 'Well done, Sash. I got you. See what you withstood? Wasn't it worth it? Now you know what you can stand against. It took about twenty years of belief, dedication, and determined work, but it happened! When you think good thoughts about the body, trust it, give it the things that it needs to thrive, and honor its uniqueness and the sheer miracle of your existence, this puts you in a great place to uplevel your healing and access your life's work, using the body to retrieve the knowledge and wisdom within and beyond you. These practices, and a plentitude of other tips and exercises, are intended to help you clean up your thinking about your body so it can do its rightful, sacred task of connecting to the divine and your life's purpose. Figuring out what you are here for will be a lifelong adventure. It will shift and change and evolve as you do. Sometimes I feel like I'm changing so very fast inside, it's hard to keep track of what I really think I am here for from day to day. This is the challenge of being a spirit in a material form. The inner koshas all move and change faster than a slow, stubborn body. Routine questioning for these answers helps us keep our finger on the pulse of our life force. You might recall what the chakras are from Lesson 2, but let's review. Yet a few moments after we talked, the 143-pound woman was about to deadlift 200 pounds. Deadlifting 200 pounds is hard for anyone, let alone someone in their seventies.

Ann told me she noticed results about two weeks after she started training a few times a week. It was like her body had woken up, and suddenly she was able to pick things off the ground without difficulty. Weight lifting changed her life, she told me. 'Not only in my stamina,' she said, 'but in my balance and strength, obviously. And your attitude toward life, especially--it carries over. ' We had to cut our interview short because it was her turn to compete. The crowd of lifters roared as she went over and easily deadlifted 200 pounds. They attract every success that they want by just visualizing their goals as already accomplished. Our subconscious mind accepts all the thoughts that we repeat and changes our mindset, along with our actions and habits. Actions, habits, and changed mindsets all bring you to new circumstances, situations, and people that will help you reach the goals that you want. Thoughts are full of creative powers that attract and mold your life. They will bring you everything you think about. Thoughts can travel from one person to another. If these thoughts are strong enough, they can be picked up by others who might be in a position to help you reach your goals and desires. Every person on this planet is a part of Divine Power that helped to create the universe, and this means we participated in the creation. When you think of things this way, it makes complete sense that thoughts can materialize. Just stop and think about that for a minute. Shine girl, shine. Authentically, as Sasha.

' It is not lost on me that if I hadn't gone through that experience without leaning on anyone else for support, I wouldn't know what I can stand up against alone. I would not have realized that God is with me always, standing in front of me and taking the brunt of the battle. I wouldn't have known that hope remains--always remains. It is our safety net during the storms. And guess what? The more authentically we live, the more hope we have. Why? The chakras ('wheels') are part of our 'subtle body. ' Koshas create a map of the human body in layers, from obvious and 'gross' to invisible and 'subtle. ' I think of the koshas as lining up on an X axis. The chakras line up on a Y axis, like a radio tower that plugs the body into the ground and extends us into the sky. Anatomically, the chakras correspond with seven nerve plexuses positioned along the spine and into the skull. They're hubs of energetic activity in the both the physical and metaphysical bodies. If you visualize the seven chakras as two interlocking triangles, with the bottom one upright and the top one upside down, their points would interlock at the fourth, heart chakra. The triangles represent the two realms that a human being occupies--one is the material realm of the first three chakras, which govern elimination (first chakra), procreation (second chakra) and sustenance (third chakra). The other is the spiritual realm of the upper triangle; the upper three chakras govern wisdom (fifth chakra), spirituality (sixth chakra) and divinity (seventh chakra). The whole place exploded, and she was all smiles. Lifting so you can compete sounds like a great reason to lift weights.

And then you can only hope that someday you'll be as strong as Ann. I'm going to not bury the lede on this one: The best results I've had, in terms of how I felt my body looked and my actual weight when standing on a scale, came from training purely for strength. I've heard this again and again from friends. They didn't get their best results from running, doing yoga, or anything else. It always came from lifting heavy shit off the ground and fighting against gravity. Throughout researching this piece of writing, though, I got a bit off track. I spent a lot of time focusing on running and neglected lifting. (Sure, my CrossFit-style workouts involved lifting weights, but they weren't focused purely on strength. You are a part of a great Universal Power. This simply means that thoughts do come true. Not every thought but the ones that are focused, repeated, and well defined. Thoughts are energy, specifically a focused thought that has been formed with a lot of emotional energy. Thoughts can change the energy that is around us. They can cause changes to the environment around us. Many people often repeat specific thoughts in their minds. They focus these thoughts on their situation or environment and thus create the same circumstances and events over and over again. This preserves their world. It is similar to watching the same television show or movie constantly. Because we trust that we were meant for more than someone else's agenda for us. We were meant to live brave enough.