"The Zen Power Yell is a fast way to get in touch your own personal power and energy". 1 It is an energetic physical activity involving your whole body. It lasts only a few seconds, but gives you a feeling of power and energy that lasts for quite a while during the day.


The Method

Begin by sitting in a traditional Japanese position: sit on your knees with your buttocks perched on your heels. An alteration of the position is to have your toes curled up so you can jump up later in the process. This means you need to lean forward a bit from the traditional position so as not to place too much weight on and thus overextend your toes. Your arms should hang at your sides with your hands resting on the tops of your thighs, palms down, or may just hang limply down to the ground.

Next start a full and deep breathing process. Take a deep breath by extending your abdomen (not your chest) and then exhale. After letting out your breath, say: "one". Repeat the breathing at a steady pace increasing the number spoken after exhale: "two", "three", and so on.

After you say "five", during the next breathing cycle you will change your posture. As you inhale during the sixth cycle, bring up your arms slowly with clenched fists, crossing your arms over your chest in the process. Your left fist should be touching the front part of your right shoulder and your right fist, the left shoulder. Continue the breathing cycle in this position through saying: "eight".

After saying "eight" take a rapid, deep breath and suddenly

bound upward with all your might roaring like a lion!
Throw out your arms forcefully.
Feel powerful and ferocious.

It is a great way to greet the world in the morning.


Personal Experience

I read about this activity in a book I purchased back in the early 1970s. While taking summer courses at the St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, I decided to try the Zen Power Yell after my morning exercise run. I had already tried the power yell a few times after exercise. It was unsatisfying because of fear of embarrassment doing this in a public place. However, this morning would prove to be different.

The college is located on the upper Mississippi River. One of the common exercise runs was entitled "running the bridges" which meant a route between two such structures spanning the river. One is located at the south end of the college and the other is located about a mile or so north. The north bridge is one that leads into downtown St. Cloud (pop. about 50,000). The route for me began from the dormitory near the south bridge, then snaked along residential streets on the west side of the river. I would cross the north bridge to the east side and then back down along the river to a park near the south bridge.

On the east side of the Mississippi River, across from the college is a city garden. It had been donated years earlier by a local resident. It runs a length of about a city block or two along that side of the river with a width of about 50 to 75 yards. There are manicured flower gardens and mature oak trees surrounded by lawn. It is a favorite place for lovers to canoodle and the preferred hang out for water fowl. The ducks and geese enjoy free snacks from visitors young and old. They have become quite accustomed to people and will approach closely seeking handouts.

This place possessed a feeling of zen-like quite and solitude at 6 a.m.. There was a light mist on the grass extending down to the river as the morning light had not fully penetrated the trees. No other visitors were present so I decide to try the Zen Power Yell again. I walked for my cooling down period after the run, then settled down in a place a few yards from the edge of the water on some of the softer grass.

My breathing was long, deep, and slow so as to fully relax my body as much as possible. I sought the experience of the extremes of the deep relaxation and the ferociousness of the Power Yell yet to come. I closed my eyes to reduce any distraction. My count approached "eight", I rocked back onto my toes anticipating. Then, I bounded up throwing my arms wide roaring with all my might!

The power burst from my chest like a canon, rippling the air, the trees, and most unexpectedly, the ducks! The trusting little water fowl had wandered close to me anticipating an early morning snack. I had not noticed them with closed eyes. When I burst upward roaring like a lion they exploded away toward the river with the Zen Yell gusting under their wings; adding their own vocal displeasure at my betrayal. Their sound echoed back across the river from the college dorms.

The Zen Power Yell transformed to a Zen Laugh. The belly laugh that rumbles deep inside from an unexpected twist of events. This was one of those singular moments in life when the ether inhales and exhales you.


Background and Related Activities

The Zen Power Yell is one of the 250 Natural Highs without drugs described in a book entitled The Book of Highs. (See the reference below.) The book is a product of the zeitgeist of the 1970s as an alternative to the drug culture of the 1960s. The book provides short descriptions of 250 activities that may produce a euphoric feeling in the participant and thus provide a 'high' experience - without the negative affects of chemicals (i.e. drugs).

Many thanks to Pseudo_Intellectual for adding The List of 250 Natural Highs to the nodegel. I stumbled upon it in a random walk on E2 and our subsequent conversations induced me to review the list. I felt some recollection of the Zen Power Yell. Once I re-read the description in the book I remembered the Zen Duck Yell experience.



1. Rosenfeld, Edward, The Book of Highs, page 26.

Rosenfeld, Edward, The Book of Highs: 250 Methods for Altering Your Consciousness Without Drugs, Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Company, New York, NY, 1973, third printing.


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