Sunday, February 24, 2013

That's Right, Skippy

When I was a kid, a younger kid - not that I ever grew up, I used to watch the Smurfs. Cute little blue guys that sung "falalalalala" and skipped everywhere they went. You know you watched them too, and right now you are fighting the urge to sing that tune. Anyway, the Smurfs would skip around, and I too used to skip around. Have you ever watched anyone, usually a child, just start skipping out of the blue? Have you ever noticed when people start to skip it is usually spontaneous? 

You know why that is? Because Skipping is a joyous movement. It is the body's way of joyfully, playfully nourishing the brain. It is rhythmic, it is graceful, it is the movement of joy. I did say it was graceful. If you see a "spontaneous" skipper, more than likely, it is a graceful movement. Anyway, skipping is the RESET of JOY. 

Skipping is a reset. Much like rolling, rocking, and crawling, skipping is a reset that restores the body and brain. It is a contra-lateral, rhythmic motion, that coordinates both sides of the body and makes both sides of the brain communicate. Skipping makes you smarter and helps tie you together. It even helps prepare the body for larger amounts of force like sprinting. 

Remember earlier, when I said spontaneous skippers where graceful? I also just said skipping was a reset. The truth is skipping should be a reset. Many people, even kids, lack the coordination and strength to skip well. For these people, skipping is probably not a reset at all. Also, these are people who will probably never break out into spontaneous skipping. Did you catch that? Some people will never feed their brain with this movement, this reset of joy. Not being able to skip well is like robbing the body and brain of potential joy. 

I know this sounds EXTREMELY WEIRD. But just think about it. Have you ever seen anyone try to skip, like say in a bootcamp or PE class, and they skip horribly? They have no rhythm, no coordination, no confidence in the movement - which shows up in their posture and demeanor. They are missing out on a little bit of joy, movement joy. These people look and act as if they feel awkward. It is because they do. 

We were made to be able to skip; ALL of us, with grace, power, rhythm, and JOY. Skipping was meant to be a reset, a joyous reset. If you cannot skip well, if you never just break out and spontaneously skip, you are missing out. You need to get this movement back into your body's vocabulary. You need to allow yourself to experience this joyful movement. 

So what do you do? You press reset with crawling - lots of crawling. Crawling is the easier cross-body, contra-lateral movement that sets the foundation for two footed contra-lateral movements. AND, you practice skipping - swinging the arms from the shoulders and matching their movement with the legs. Practice and rebuild this movement. Feed your brain and body with this reset of joy. 

You can think I'm crazy all you want to. I still know you are thinking about going for a skip. Skip on my little smurfs!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Planting Seeds

We reap what we sow. Have you ever heard that before? It comes from Galations 6:7 - "...whatever a man soeth, that shall he also reap." There is a megaton of wisdom in that sentence. It applies to every thing we do in this life. In it simplest form, if we plant corn in the ground, we will grow corn; not apples. Or, If we only sow seeds from lemons, how can we expect to get peaches? In it's more complicated form, this phrase has huge ramifications when it comes to what we expect to yeild, or produce, from our lives in regard to how we are living. 

If I just lost you, let me ask you this: What are you sowing in your life? What seeds do you scatter around in your brain, in your heart? Are you planting seeds, or thoughts, or actions, that will produce the desired results, the desired life, you are looking for? 

We will reap what we sow. If we always go around saying things like, "I'm fat.", or "I'm lazy.", or "I'm just always so tired." we will have these things. We keep planting those thoughts in our heads, and they actually start to paint our expectations. What if we walked around thinking, "I'm strong.", "I'm not tired.", "I will be lean and mean!" What if we walked around saying these things? We would eventually believe them, and these thoughts would also shape our expectations which would then influence our outcomes. Do you plant thoughts into your head and heart for health, for strength? Or, do you plant thoughts in your head that foster weakness, sickness, and helplessnes? 

If you're not too big on the whole sowing thoughts in your head thing, that is okay. This works physically as well. What kinds of daily activities do you engage in? Do you deliberately move often and with purpose each day? Or, do you simply fill up a chair for the most part of your day? If you fill up a chair for many hours a day, you are planting a whole lot of deadly seeds, or weeds that you simply don't want. However, if you are sowing good movement throughout your day, you will reap the reward of being able to move well throughout your life. 

How about your food? What kinds of food do you sow into your body? Do you eat whole, natural, God made foods? Or, do you eat wrapped up, scientistized, souped up, processed "food." Is what you are putting in your mouth congruent with what you are hoping to achieve and become? Do you plant foods in your body for health and vitality, or do you plant foods in your body for sickness and disease? 

Our actions, our thoughts, our habits - they are all seeds. We plant them daily, We till the soil (our heads, our hearts, our bellies) and we harvest what we plant! We will get what we sow. It is a simple truth. It is a truth that can work for us, or against us. For you, or against you. Choose "for you." Think good thoughts. Listen to good words. Eat good foods. Engage in good movement. Get good sleep. Reap good living! It is so simple it is easy to miss! BUT, in case you have missed it: Quit thinking negatively. Quit listening to junk (most media). Quit sitting around all day. Quit eating processed, man-made foods. Quit staying up all night watching TV. Quit killing yourself!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getting Up

Do you include Turkish Get-ups in your training? If you don't, you probably should - in some form or another. If you've been around the kettlebell world for any length of time, you probably know what I turkish get-up (TGU) is. If you don't know, it is simply a move where you trasistion from lying to standing while holding a kettlebell, or some other form of weight, over your head.

There are many ways to perform a TGU. There are "right" ways and "wrong" ways depending on who you talk to. I will not go into which way is right, wrong, better, or worse. I will simply say, you should practice getting up off the ground and learning how to stand while holding extra weight. Getting up from the ground is an invaluable life skill. You need to own this ability. The TGU is such a wonderful move, because it adds extra, awkward weight to your body forcing you to get off the ground with thought, strength, and patience. 

For some of you, and there is no shame meant in this whatsoever, just getting up from the ground is a challenge. That is okay. You have a place to start. BUT, you should start! Start getting up from the ground. Lie down on your back, or any other awkward position, and practice getting up. Try to learn from how you are moving, learn the best ways to maneuver youself from lying to standing. Can you do it fluidly and gracefully? If not, make that your aim.

If you are strong enough to do "traditional" get-ups, great. Include them in your training often. Play with different ways to get up, though. If you only ever practice one way to get up, you have one way to get up. If you practice several ways to get-up, however, you have several ways. Do you get my point? The more ways you can get up from the ground under somewhat awkward loads and positions, the better. Expand your "vocabulary." 

You can even play with the loads in which you use to get up. You don't always have to use a kettlebell. You can practice getting up with a sandbag draped across your shoulder, or a small child. Small children love this by the way. At least for the first time or two! Anyway, you can practice getting up from the ground with awkward objects and loads from even awkward positions. Play and explore. This will engage your brain, strengthen your body, and equip you for life.  

However you practice, try to get to the point where the way you choose to get up can be done with grace. When you are moving with grace, you are moving with strength. Moving with grace and strength is health; it's vitality.

If you are past your thirties, stay young and turn back the clock. Start getting down on the ground - on purpose, and start getting up. It is a great life skill that will keep you young and healthy for many, many years. If you are well past your thirties, It is never too late to start. Get started. Get up!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fat Leopards

Have you ever seen a really fat leopard? I haven't. You probably haven't either. I will admit, all of the leopards I have seen have been from books, nature shows, and the internet. I can't say that I've seen too many in person. I can say though that I've never seen a picture of a fat leopard. I can also say that leopards are the picture of beautiful strength, grace and power. They are simply beautiful. 

Do you know why leopards are so graceful, powerful, and strong? Because they spend all of their time being leopards. They do exactly what leopards should do. They hunt, they play, they roam, they rest, they sleep, they climb, they prowl. They spend all of their time engaging in "leopard" things. That is their secret. That is why I've never seen a fat leopard!

Leopards do what we should do. Sort of. I don't mean that we should act like leopards, but we should act like man. We (man/woman) should also be graceful, powerful and strong. We were meant to be awesome! We were never meant to be obese, weak, lethargic, apathetic, or injured. We have not followed the leopard's example. Instead of engaging in the things, the life, that man (and woman) was meant to engage in, we have engaged in the things that were meant for rocks. What? Yes, we have followed the example of the rock instead of the example of the leopard; instead of the way of man. 

Man does a really good job of trying to live like a rock. We remain motionless for most of our day. We occupy one small space, one tiny peice of realestate, for much of our entire life. We act more like rocks than we do men and women. That is why we do not look sleek, athletic, strong, powerful, and graceful. We should be all of those things. We are men and women! We are meant to conquer mountains, to conquer rocks, not be rocks! If man would just act like man, if we would just engage in the things our bodies were designed to do, the things we were meant to do, we would be the picture of life! Leopards would not inspire us, but we would inspire leopards instead! Don't you see? We are supposed to be the picture of beautiful strength, grace and power.  Leopards are inspiring because we know that they have something we are supposed to have. The truth is, we have something the leopards should want. 

We are capable. That is, You are capable. You were meant to be strong, athletic, resilient, graceful, powerful, sleek, and confident. It is still yours to have. Get up. Stop living like a rock. Be a man. Be a woman. Be a conqueror. BE!