Shea Vaughn’s Breakthrough, while useful for anyone is oriented toward women of a certain age, specifically 45 and older. At the leading edge of this precipice, and always interedted in incorporating meditation into different areas, I was curious. Could she persuade my less than enthusiastic self to begin regular exercise? Could it challenge my mind as well as my body?
Ms. Vaughn has taken her extensive experience in various areas of fitness and melded them into a personal mix of East/West philosophy and movement. To my admitted surprise, and her credit, Ms. Vaughn does not skimp on the cerebral, philosophical portion of this mix. In fact, it is 172 pages into the 226 page book before exercise is addressed with any specificity. Shea Vaughn’s Breakthrough is far more concerned wit the mental and emotional orientation needed to gain the maximum benefit from exercise of any kind, not just the system the author has named SheaNetics.
Vaughn takes her readers on an annotated journey through her own life and the lives of some others she has worked with in order to give a real-life context to what could easily become a series of catch phrases threaded together. She shows how her unique mix of Eastern and Western modalities came about and how it can be of use to anyone, helping the reader to breakthrough, wake up to the life they are living in the present and plot a course to move into a better future. She then urges readers to build their new future on her five “living principles”: Commitment, Perseverance, Self-Control, Integrity, and Love. A great deal of time is given to explaining each and illustrating the principles at work in individual lives.
As I mentioned earlier, it is only the last fifty or so pages that deal with physical conditioning moves and recipes, along with suggested “breakthrough behaviors”. There are pictures of poses that Vaughn says are to be done in series, with flowing movements one to another. And I gave them a concentrated effort, but found it difficult to puzzle out exactly what flowing movements were needed to transition between the poses. I suspect it would be much easier either in person or along with a video to help those of us not already experienced in the Eastern disciplines. When I later took at peek at her website – http://www.sheanetics.com – some of the video clips helped me to see what she was aiming at, but I couldn’t find a link to the specific poses she uses in Breakthrough.
I appreciate Vaughn’s refusal to simply prescribe a workout regimn as a cure-all for everyone. Her emphasis on the mental and emotional needs for well-being is fantastic. As a long-time student of the inner life, there were not great revelations hiding for me, but most folks don’t live so much in their own heads. For the ladies out there who have spent a large part of their lives just reacting to what life throws at them, Breakthrough is a marvelous starting point, taking them step by step through a process of looking at what is, what the results have been and what they truly want their lives to be. It can awaken them to an entirely new world of understanding and empowerment.
I would recommend that Ms. Vaughn consider creating a CD or DVD to accompany future printings, addressing the specific exercises she showcases in the book. The slower among us could learn from her expertise in physical conditioning as well. On her website, you can also find an entire CD or DVD series, if desired.