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Monday, March 29, 2010

Kipping Swings for Neuromuscular Re-education

This exercise can be used to improve thoracic spine mobility as well as scapulothoracic integration and neuromuscular re-education. Emphasis is on initiating the movement from the thorax rather than the legs. As you swing forward (using the chest as the reference point) the scapula retract and thorax extends and as you swing backward, the scapula protract and thoracic spine flexes.

Thanks to John Tsafos from New Jersey for the idea as he demonstrated the Kipping pull up to me.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Workouts

On Wednesday and Thursday I did yoga and seated meditation for about 1 ½ hours total in the morning. On Wednesday, I managed to get some “mini” circuits while a client was out running quarter miles as part of his circuit.
What I did:

Various martial arts kicks – 10 each leg
Tire back flips – since I don’t have large tractor tires (yet) I use standard-size car tires; I throw these little guys up and over behind me for a total distance of about 40-50 ft
Hex bar Deadlifts – 20 reps

I did the above a few rounds and rested when my client did his circuits.

Later in the day I did some “training” with my 6 ½ year old son which consisted of gymnastics stuff on the big blue mat.

On Thursday I did some general conditioning along with some specific corrective exercise work. The conditioning work consisted of:
Jump roping – 10 sets of 100 jumps
Dumbbell Farmer’s Walks – walking in circles, switching directions until fatigue.

The corrective work:
Kettlebell one-arm clean & press alternating with snatches
Clubbell stuff
Thick-handle mid-cable pulls

The above was performed with the left arm only. I have a tendency to over-use/over-work the right arm; my right clavicle is a bit depressed creating greater tendency for glenohumeral impingement. This left-side only work further reinforces newer neural pathways.

Friday
Yoga asanas and pranayama before outdoor yiquan (standing meditation qigong) – about 1 ½ hours

Back to the weights:

Bar flat bench press – 5x5x5x5x5x5x5x5x5x5 (10 sets of 5 reps)
Handstand holds (until fatigue) – with minimal assistance from wall

Lat pull downs – 10x10x10x10x10
Singe-arm cable bent-over lateral raises – 15x15x15

Roman chair back extensions (horizontal) – up to 100 reps

Post-workout smoothie:
¼ fresh pineapple
Small handful of brazil nuts
1 tbs bee pollen
2 tbs irish sea moss
1tsp tumeric
1 orange
Water

Later tonight, depending on how the day goes, perhaps do more “training” with my son.

The Great Outdoors

Try this experiment: Right now in front of your computer or phone, close your eyes and get a sense of what you’re feeling right now at this moment. Imagine, if you can, a flow of energy moving through you and around you and see if you can discern any particular rhythm. If this is too difficult for you, simply pay attention to what thoughts are consistent and predominant in your mind at this moment. After you’ve tried this, now go outside (preferably out in Nature) and stand or sit in a comfortable space and again close your eyes. Do the same exercise you did before inside, observing what rhythm of energy flow you can sense; what appears to be capturing your attention? What do you feel now that wasn’t as apparent as when you were inside? What differences can you sense between being indoors and out?

Obviously there is a difference and to the degree one did not experience any noticeable difference with this exercise, you can imagine how disconnected one is from Nature. And because everything that is “outside” in Nature can also be found within the Human body, one can be considered disconnected from themselves. Isn’t that how disease processes start? When one does not pay attention to what the body is revealing because the mind is too distracted, these processes can suddenly “sneak” up on you and get you while you weren’t looking. We can start paying attention now rather than later when we start exhibiting symptoms (which is the typical scenario when one starts to “take care” of them self).

Nature is abundant and FREE and is every where around us. I recommend, whenever you get a chance, to try working out outdoors. Try some yoga, qigong, or any form of meditation outside. And if you can, practice somewhere like a park where there are lots of trees, grass, plants, soil, birds, squirrels, etc. You can also get a decent work out in the children’s playground area and perform various body weight exercises. Or you can bring some basic equipment like small dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, or a jump rope and add some more variety. You can always challenge your creativity by making up exercises with what ever is available in your chosen location. For example, in the video above, my family and I were visiting a biodynamic farm where across the street and behind a Waldorf School is a small forest with a stream running through it. In the forest, there were plenty of logs lying around to lift, trees to climb, rocks to lift and toss, and hills and inclines to be sprinted. By the farm, outside the farm store there was a little grassy area in which we decided to practice some yoga asanas. What I noticed immediately is that the expansive energies of the area were so “opening” and “freeing” and it was evident that what would normally take a bit more time for me to loosen up if I was practicing yoga indoors, was not even an issue on the lawn. It was as if the lawn/Nature was inviting us to “play” and like little children playing, we “played”. How often do we adults deny the call of Nature inviting us to experience the expansiveness and freedom and abundance because we trap ourselves in contraction, slavery, and scarcity?

Go now. Get outside. Breathe some fresh air. Appreciate Nature.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This Morning's Workout

As part of my full disclosure to all who are interested I will be from time to time sharing what kind of workouts or movement sessions I perform as part of my role as a health consultant. I find it essential and beneficial to all to share with those who express interest to ignite the creativity and motivation within on each individual's journey in health.

This morning I practiced some yoga in the form of various asanas and pranayama after about an hour of sitting meditation. From there I went for a run in my Vibram Five Fingers for about 1 1/2 miles.

Next was some metabolic conditioning, or "fat burning" (another way of saying high volume, low intensity, and very little rest periods) utilizing a Tabata protocol:

20 seconds work / 10 seconds rest for 8 sets of each of the following exercises followed by a one minute rest period in between each exercise:

1) Inverted Ring Rows
2) Prisoner Squats (deep)
3) Push Ups
4) Sit-Ups with lumbar support and feet anchored (I have a tendency towards a flat lumbar lordosis with lengthened hip flexors)
5) X-iser stepper

The above circuit took about 20 minutes and I ended the workout with 100 reps of Roman chair back extensions (not all at once; I rested as little as necessary).

Afterwards, I had a smoothie with whatever I had in the kitchen:
1 apple
1 carrot
handful of pea shoot sprouts
1 orange
a little bit of black radish, peeled
4 big strawberries
1 tbs bee pollen
1 raw egg
water

No sweeteners are necessary when the produce you use are ripe. Our society has been desensitized to sweetness from over-consuming processed and refined food loaded with simple sugars and few are able to taste what real sweetness from Nature tastes like. The difference is that the sweetness from a ripened fruit has much more life force than the sweetness of refined sugars. It's like the guy who finds out his new girlfriend has fake boobs when he thought they were natural; there's a difference experienced.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Forgetfulness as a Way Towards Enlightenment


Has this ever happen to you?:  You lost your keys and can’t for the life of you remember where was the last place you saw them.  How about forgetting where you placed them almost immediately?  It is common to look for something we have misplaced once we remember that it is missing and typically a significant amount of time has elapsed, along with a truck load of other distractions that have easily contributed to your forgetfulness in the first place.  Just the other day this happened with my perceived “lost” set of car keys.  The thing is that I remembered I misplaced the keys within a time span of less than five minutes.  At first this may appear as if I was extremely distracted to the point of forgetting immediately after the action took place, which some may call this  as being absent-minded.  From there I retraced my steps (literally) a few times trying out every scenario and possibility to where I could have placed my keys.  Finally I reached a point where I was reversing my thinking process from the present moment to the exact moment I last remembered the keys.  At this point I observed that I was feeling a little “light-headed” and decided to sit down.  While sitting, I was meditating and contemplating the very image of the keys and opened myself up to any revelation that appeared.  It was immediate that I experienced the sensation that I can describe as me asking myself the question “Is this Real?” where the moment lucidly felt like a dream or a movie taking place where I was able to take myself in and out of it.  Now I have experienced this sensation before during some very deep meditation sessions and also during some very deep shamanic journeying explorations.  Everything that we consider as real, at those moments, reveals otherwise.  This can be a difficult thing to describe because the mind wants to wrap itself around it and intellectualize it but unless one experiences it for themselves, they have no idea.  It is like trying to describe the act of sex with a virgin: you can describe it in as many ways as you can but unless they actually experience the act, they will not be able to truly understand you.  The mind requires reference points in which to attach to and create some sort of stability to satisfy the intellect.  For example, the mind uses our five physical senses as reference points to create what we believe as our everyday reality.  But what happens when the mind has no reference points to anchor?

Limb Telescopy

In neuroscience there is a known condition where the brain will make a limb disappear when its sensory inputs of the limb are conflicting.  This is evident in persons with amputated limbs where the previous phantom limb sensations become less and less over time to the point where the brain no longer perceives there is a limb anymore.  The person perceives that the limb is shrinking over time until it no longer exists (sensation wise).  So what this means is that if the brain receives conflicting information, or if the mind no longer has any stable reference points to create a perceived reality, that perceived reality starts to dissolve.  What appears is a more quantum presence of a more true reality.  In other words, the veil of deception of a world of duality and separation is uncovered and the light of unity and interconnectedness is revealed (aka: Enlightenment).  But then again, just like the virgin being told about sex rather than experiencing it, enlightenment is the same way.

So, What Happened?

At the moment of my perceived forgetfulness where I diligently retraced my foot steps as vividly as possible, my brain was unable to make any sense of it all.  I remember I even entertained the thought that maybe a “ghost” was playing tricks on me.  The lightheadedness and the surrealness of the moment was the “maya” or the “matrix” breaking down and I was awakened to another dimension that has always been underlying but well-hidden until one is ready to go forth on this path of higher knowledge.  As I “returned” to my senses (the physical senses) I immediately went to my desk where I usually place old receipts and I remembered that I had thrown them away which led me to the trash bin where I found the keys.  So as it turned out, my mind was so distracted that I was not aware at the time that when I threw away the receipts, I also threw away the keys which were also in my hand.  I had totally forgotten this little bit of information when retracing my steps.  The German “Shakespeare”, Goethe, in his work Faust mentions that forgetting is like the rudder and memory is the oars as we work our way through the ocean of consciousness.  Our forgetfulness can guide us on the Soul’s path back Home and our memory is the will to do so.

From Rudolf Steiner’s work, he teaches a practice for one who seeks knowledge of the higher worlds for those on the spiritual path.  One of the most basic practices is called reverse thinking where you retrace your day and try to remember with as much detail as possible everything you experienced.  This practice prepares one for coming into relationship with the soul.  To get an idea what this means, remember those people who report having near-death experiences and it is common for them to describe it as if “their whole life flashed before their eyes”.  Their soul revealed to them at that moment every experience they had from then down to when they were born.  By practicing reverse thinking, you can gain clarity to your present reality.  Remember, when exploring the world of the soul, the rules of the physical material world no longer apply and one does not have to die this lifetime to learn this.  The soul, which is invisible, can be made visible once we transcend what we are currently learning in our physical reality.  All we have to do is to remove the veil.   

Friday, March 12, 2010

Your Gut and Your Manhood


Recently, while playing rough with my 6 year old son, he accidentally kicked me in my testicles which created a instant dull pain in my gut enough for me to fall to the ground. Now I've been hit in the groin before but I've never made the connection between the resulting gut sensation and a guy's manhood until now.

What happened is called a viscerosomatic reflex where a stimulation of one organ can reflex to another, separate part of the body.  My testis, being the organ, were traumatized by a roundhouse kick from my son and reflexed pain to my gut wall.  This occurs because of neighboring structures being innervated by the same spinal level.

After the pain subsided a revelation occurred to me that what if this reflex was reversed, meaning, what if stress to the gut can reflex to the testis?  Stress to the gut may come in a variety of ways such as constipation, diarrhea, malabsorption, poor digestion, food intolerances, chronic gas, and inflammatory conditions of the gut.  If such cases were chronic for a significant amount of time, could this not affect the function of the testis?  The testis is where testosterone and semen are produced.  For all those guys diagnosed with low sperm counts/poor fertility and hormonal issues, they could possibly also have poor gut function.

Bottomline:  If your maleness (testosterone/sperm count) is an issue, address your gut issues by cleaning it up, eat better nutrition, improve digestion, and elimination and learn to block those low kicks.