Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise
Integrating solo work into my practice:
1 - I initially changed my "before" and "after" class workouts to be the solo exercises.
2 - Next, I focused on looking for my solo work in the aikido warm up exercises, then I favored techniques that my solo practice seemed to fit into the best. Basically more training my mind to start adjusting slowly.
3 - Then, I realized that since I am a teacher of several teachers, I can let those others teach, and I can take class and work on doing things in a different way - where no one was planning on correcting me (for not doing the technique exactly like what was shown) at least once per week.
4 - Lately, I am continuing to work on this stuff as close to all day long as possible, so when I am in class it is no different integrating than it is when I am sitting at my chair at work, except that martial application is the most difficult.
I know fairly effective external methods to do things, so having to give that up has been terrible!
I think you have to have the courage to back off of the things you know so well, and spend a good amount of time with the new way on at least 1 thing you can sink you teeth in. For me, that was developing what I refer to as the super punch. I really like my striking now. I can drive almost all techniques from that kind of trusting, so it has been working out very well for me so far.
As far as ancillary practices, I'm a big fan of AIS because it helps with getting your body issues out of the way, and works with intent - so it kind of supports the solo work in both ways.
Yoga is awesome. It is not as good for stretching as AIS if you ask me, but it is awesome. I'm a big fan of para yoga for people with healthy bodies into this kind of solo work, and a big fan of forrest yoga for people with body (specifically core) issues. I'm sure others are fine too, I'm just telling you what I have found to be helpful so far.
I'm not a big fan of kettlebells personally. Use bodies as resistance, I say.