Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Great Interview with MovNat Founder Erwan Le Corre

See HERE.  I love the idea (also talked about in a parkour interview I posted months ago) of increasing environmental complexity to test fundamental human movement skills (physical competency). 

It's fascinating and fantastic to see this type of training becoming more popular (certainly other types are still valid), and interesting from a point of mechanstic --> systems theory paradigm shift reflected in changing exercise trends, perhaps? (or Perhaps not..).

Anyway, great article and this style of Natural Movement training certainly has something to offer, would mix well with, barbell; kettlebell or martial arts training. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mythology and Life

Here's another great CLIP on Joseph Campbell - it clocks in at around 25 minutes but is well worth watching. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 90!!

Today marks the final day of Kit and my 'Amazing 90 Day Blogging Challenge' with, it seems, both participants completing the challenge!  Congratulations and many thanks to Kit Laughlin for being my 'Accountability Partner' - many great posts of his have been useful and interesting to people from all over the world.

For me, blogging will continue; but perhaps not every day...and not after 11pm without a damn good reason! Focus will be on expanding themes that appeared during my 90 days of blogging, in greater detail (and more pictures!).  I will definitely be doing more practical posts and videos, that will be added here.

My next 90 day Challenge has started (yesterday). This one has a number of different aspects to it, but the main part is waking up at 5am every morning for 90 days.  So.. let the '90 day Early Bird Catches the Worm' challenge begin!  I will update this challenge here regular.

To any body who dropped by here during the challenge: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  I truly hope you got something (at least (especially) a laugh).


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Full Spectrum Movement Exploration

I re-viewed this Feldenkrais clip HERE a few days ago (having seen it a while ago. There other parts, such as HERE, too).  Some great movement drills you can practice on your own. 

Feldenkrais 'Awareness Through Movement', and other movement exploration methods, compliment really well in combination with strength work of different types; and especially with more rigorous forms of martial arts.  Moshe himself was a Judoka (who knew the arts' founder, Jigoro Kano). 

The combination of a more yin or introspective, explorative bodymind art with a harder, more yang martial art is something that has great appeal to me - and makes for a much more well rounded and interesting skill-set and person.  Be it Judo and Feldenkrais; Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Yoga; Stretch Therapy & Thai boxing or Wrestling & Qi Gong (Or all of the above). 

The full spectrum movement arts study does wonders for the embodiment of the individual, if done with 'awareness through the movement'.  It also gives you and physical cultivation practice to work on everyday without frying yourself.  And they're all fun! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

To Become or not to Become..

Just watched THIS Joseph Campbell video.  I quite enjoyed it; hopefully you will too.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Books on The Shelf

[87] Almost there, almost there.  I am sitting at home tonight, getting writer's block at post 87(!), and being cold and sleepy.  This challenge has been quite cool and worthwhile, and I think will have a ripple on effect into other areas of my life.

Come Wednesday I am going shopping for a new belt!  Not just any belt; this one will be a reminder and reward for starting and completing the 90 day blog challenge. 

The one mentioned yesterday (the 5am challenge) feels more and more like a good idea.  I think I will add some extra bonus challenges to this one.. not too many, but enough to make it more difficult that the blog challenge.

I am currently sitting upstairs, in the library - looking at all my books.  I have read a fair amount of the ones I own (~200 non fiction); but not all of them.  I'm contemplating a 'finish reading all un-read books in your library' challenge..might take more than 90 days!

I want to condense the best bits out of the good to very good books (which is why I read with a pencil), then eventually transcribe/condense this into a word document of quote from these books - and just keep the absolute classics; thus having a greatly reduced library and a fucking interesting and useful document of the 'highlights' of the other books, that can be bound and read on the toilet. 

I recently picked one out of the shelf (that has been sitting there for about 3 years un-read) on impulse, and have had some quite interesting revelations from reading it.  What else is sitting right under my nose..  though, I must say, I am having some interesting revelations about reading and knowledge that are making me want to stop, or limit a fair bit, reading for a while.  Hmmm.

Anyhow, I am off to bed.  I have a couple of partially or almost complete blogs that I have held off publishing, as I want to make them of decent quality.  Post 90 day challenge I will be posting less often, perhaps, but longer and more detailed posts.

Good night.  Good luck with lucid dreaming practice in the twilight hours. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Early Bird Catches the Worm - The Next Challenge?

[Blog day 86]  Legs; don't fail me now!  Only four more days of the Blog-challenge left! 

So.. for the next 90 day challenge I am thinking of 'Waking up at 5am for 90 days'.  I tried this week and got 5am four days in a row; then 9:30am. 

I find that IF I get up at 5am (provided I have had adequate quantity and quality of sleep) I often have the most productive days.  It also allows me to get a morning Sitting meditation session in before my anybody is up.

As I wrote about in a previous post; having a challenge (or two) on the go makes life more interesting, and if they are habit changing or habit breaking challenges, all the better.  I have a lot I want to get done in the next 5 years, and I feel strongly that I will need to rise early and manage time more effectively to facilitate these 'hidden' plans.

The moon is extra bright tonight, and almost full.  Perhaps I will start the 5am challenge on a Full Moon's eve..

"For practitioners, the mind set on the Path is primary, health is secondary, knowledge comes last". Chan Master Sheng Yen, Dharma Drum: The Lift and Heart of Chan Practice

Friday, July 19, 2013

'Long Cycle' Bolster External Hip Rotators stretching sequence

HERE it is!  The 'Long Cycle' Bolster External Hip Rotators stretching sequence, perfect for those interested in physical cultivation, movement exploration and soft tissue health.  As mentioned in the video, I have been exploring a medium intensity, long duration protocol for my stretching and physical cultivation practice of late - to great effect.  It's not better than, say, strong partner based stretching or even slower and softer yin yoga style practice - it's just different, and I like it!

It this type of an approach I make liberal use of micro-movements (especially circles; figure 8's and spirals - as well as spine alignment and pelvic movements); Contract-Relax and Hold-Relax PNF variants (at all type of intensities and durations - it's about feeling what is needed/necessary; not some arbitrary duration and intensity protocol for contractions); sequential Contract-relax methods and breathing enhancers (using different breathing methods to affect/effect the stretch and re-patterning). 

In this method, I will often hold the contractions (especially when building up a series of contractions in sequence, such as: 'turn the little toe into the ground' --> sweep the foot through the ground --> press the knee into the bolster --> you can then add some cool stuff with the rotation of the pelvis and spine using the obliques and brace with a counter-spiral from the arms but it is too hard to write down) for significantly longer than in the standard Stretch Therapy approach (but keep intensity medium) and not fully relax the muscle

This is what I call a modulation or oscillation of the tension of the contractions - or contracting a muscle, then over-contracting it; then returning to the first state of contraction.  This method works well (in my body at least) when winding up long chains of fascia and connective tissue and trying to get them to un-wind/melt.   

I have at least a couple of other versions of this particular stretch (which can be done off the bolster, too) and a fair few other positions I utilize this approach in. 

Playing around with the breathing to get the nervous system in a relaxed state, whilst simultaneously keeping the intensity of the stretch 'simmering' has useful emotional and mental training benefits to it, IMHO.

Smooth, graceful and aware movement is used through-out the sequence (when possible) and as much as you may want to have the mind elsewhere, the stretch will work best if you focus on the sensations of stretching and/or the breath. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


As I sit here waiting for my epic(!) new video to load to Youtube (it's ~2GB but only 10 minutes long), I noticed that I have just passed 5000 blog views! Thank you Every Body! That is truly humbling.  Kit and I are closing in on day 90 of the challenge, and I must say that despite some late night posts, it has been an enjoyable and highly useful friendly competition.

The video I am loading up is my new 'Long Cycle' Bolster External Hip Rotator stretching, breathing and re-patterning sequence.  I think some of you are going to really like it..  I will talk more about it when I post it up, but it uses slightly different methods than a standard Stretch Therapy/Monkey Gym protocol.  A lot of my explorations of late have been on making my own solo stretching more effective, and this is one of the better experimental results. 

In the meantime, check out THIS article - sent to me by fellow Monkey Gym instructor and RKC Anthony Linard.  It mentions some topics that I have blogged about; namely the need to have movement training/Kinesthetic education for children (and adults).  Great to see so many people writing (and doing something) about this.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Wisdom of the Spiral

Check out this VIDEO of a Feldenkrais practitioner on 'Movement Nature Meant'.   This type of movement work makes great active recovery; goes well with Stretch Therapy, Yoga and/or strength training of various types.. basically you can explore at this low level intensity everyday, and should do a daily movement practice to (among other things) "challenge you nervous system to update your habits" and "you enrich your movement vocabulary with new options".

The last few minutes on using 'the wisdom of the spiral' from lying to sitting should be taught to everyone.  Spiral patterns pop up all over the place in movement arts of different types (and in Nature more generally).  I've been playing with some wave and spiral movement patterns during my stretching practice of late, to great and interesting effect (more later). 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Future Depends on Play

Thanks to Craig Mallet for THIS totally cool clip about the dire need for more play by everybody (kids; adults; older people; etc).  The video mentions the education system in Finland, which worth reading up about.  

We all really need more play.  The other evening, for the rest/active recovery part of my workout at the local park, I swung on the swings - and also on this swing-thing, that is like a 1.5 metre diameter platform made out of woven rope. It supports enough weight/space to allow two parents and a small kid or two on it to swing.  It normally doesn't go very high, but I got it up to about level with the beam that it attached too.  I then lie back in a braced position on it (like the guys/gals in that crazy winter olympics sport down that pipe).  It was profoundly fun, swinging back and forth looking at the crescent moon in the sky and feeling how my body sensations changed during the different phases of the swing.  Cheap thrills!

Another thread in the Natural Movement Canberra facebook group had some cool adult-in-mind playgrounds.  There should be more play areas for adults.  Luckily some of the kids playgrounds are pretty cool.  I took my daughter to Darling Harbour playground (which seems to have popped out of nowhere..), and there is one of those cool giant spider webs there.  The kids were having a great time, and more than a few adults were climbing around on it too! Which is great!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bird Poo Blessing

Yesterday I was getting some washing in, when I heard a flutter and tweeting noise.  I looked up to see an Australian Lorikeet about 8 inches above my head, perched on the washing line - and it promptly shat on me.  It went down my t-shirt onto my arm (and I had just got out of the shower, too).

Now, this is either the 9th or 10th time I have been shat on (by a not that type of bird UK peeps) in my near 30 years of Life.  Talking to others, this is well above average.  Birds seem to like to shite on me for some reason (??). Did one of my Irish ancestors copulate with a Leprechaun?  I wonder why it is considered lucky, seems like an odd thing to come about. 

Lorikeets are an odd and magnificent creature, if you really look at them (instead of just mentally label 'Lorikeet - I know what that is')! Such vibrant colours and tweakerish character.  The other morning I was up early with my daughter and she made a shrieking sound (one of her new skills); I went to check out what it was, and it was a Lorikeet upsidedown on the washing line - I thought 'Fair enough thing to shriek about, actually', as it was quite an interesting sight.

P.s the spell check on Blogger does not recognize 'shite' as a word!  What a load of shite! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Side Splits and the Liver

Fellow blog challenger, Kit, authored a great blog about side splits and his recovery from a flattening mystery virus today; see HERE.  I have written at least twice about side splits training, and it would be fair enough to question why the hell all the fuss about something that doesn't offer too much functional benefit to most humans?

Well, there are a few of reasons I do it.  Firstly; it is the most restricted range of motion in my body, so from a sensory awareness and bodymind re-mapping perspective (gaining a total body map) there is a lot of 'gold' awaiting the work and exploration of this area.

I have also noted that, whilst this location does not give the spectacularly tangible benefits of, say, stretching the hip flexors properly; it does do something beneficial when I do it (it almost feels systemically beneficial).  The day after a good side splits stretching session I have enhanced awareness of my legs; various systemic changes and a greater feeling of lightness and connectedness in my body as a whole.. not really things you can measure, but that does not bother me in the slightest as I walk around feeling awesome.

Third; I've never done it and I want to be able to (and get that photo with gi-pants on, doing the splits between two chairs; beautiful wife sitting on my leg).

Another point, a little bit odd to consider for some, is the possible health and organ linkages of this area via Chinese medicine.  The area affected in side splits is the Spleen; Kidney and Liver channels; depending upon how you rotate the femur and tibia.  If you have awareness of you internal organs, doing stretches becomes a very interesting practice.

The Liver channel is on the wood element meridian, and governs the 'tendons' according to Chinese medicine (among other things, including a relationship to governing blood and possibly viruses in blood, which would be interesting from Kit's perspective), which I find quite interesting too. Again, that bamboo metaphor for wood and suppleness and strength could be applied here.  Maybe this is where my anger goes to, as that is the emotion linked to this channel..?  I sure feel an intense and anger-like sensation when I'm in this position for long enough! Interestingly I get liver fascia and organ sensations often when I do side splits. Maybe it's just my body, you'll have to try and see. 

From a Tom Myer's Anatomy Trains' perspective, this stretch effects the all important Deep Front Line, especially if you know how to add in the bandhas and various deep abdominal and pelvic floor contractions and lumbar spine subtle micro movements. 

It really is fucking cool to keep as full a body awareness as possible and slow down your breathing during stretches (and during daily life!). It's not the type of 'try once or twice' type of deal.  It's a practice.  It's possible that you may need other practices too; to get the interoception and visceroception up to scratch.  I have found many subtle things to be present, if you are silent enough during stretching. You really are filled with wonderment at the body and it's seemingly ever increasing richness of sensation.  All I can say is to practice for thyself and see.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Exploring Gravity

Just a brief post on the training the body's strength-control ability this evening.  Recently I have watched/been sent a number of great practical and theoretical videos on this: HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE

Two are from Emile Conrad's Continuum system, the other are two people who have developed a high degree of body control on there own.  I love this type of strength-control in the sea of gravity.  Check out the skin, rib and spine movements in the 'undulation' clip!  Great body control.

The Continuum post on aging being a starvation process of the tissues is an interesting idea..  I love the 3 dimensional exploratory and play elements to this type of movement; and think that it has profound implications for Kinesthetic Education (rather than PE or Physical Education of the moment, which is sport based and not introspective). 

Anyhow, I have been playing around with some hand-balancing lately - and it is FUN!  Here is a Hand-balancing COURSE for free, from Sandow Plus. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hidden Epidemics

I do not watch the news, read the newspaper or look at news website; but I used to, and even without doing this, you still hear about current events and trends.  One thing that you hear fairly often is about some 'hidden epidemic' - with the usual candidates being: Obesity and Heart disease.

Neither of these strikes me as being particularly 'hidden'. Firstly, the obesity epidemic is hardly 'hidden' as it is plainly obvious to all with sight that there are many people over a weight that is healthy for them. And Heart disease is pretty common knowledge, and common place (sadly).

But I don't really want to talk about either of these, though.  I think there are a number of 'even more hidden epidemics'; being that they are so hidden that hardly anybody talks about them; but they are there, if you look.  

The Hidden Epidemic of Lack of Body-awareness (lack of sensory awareness and kinesthetic sense [KQ]).  I've written a little bit about kinesthetic education (or lack of it and need for it). We, in the West, are a kinesthetically malnourished culture, and it is so far below the public radar that is does not even register.  We are very dis-embodied as a people. Sit on a bench (coffee optional, but suggested) and watch people go by (I have done this many times).  Is it a co-incidence that zombie movies are popular again? 

The Hidden Epidemic of Lack of Palintonic Harmony in the Body.  

"Palintonic" is derived from the Greek word "palintonos" meaning "unity in opposition" (literally, "stretched back and forth"). Palintonic harmony describes the spatial, somatic geometry of order which becomes apparent as a body approaches integration. It expresses the unity of opposition that arises among all structures, spaces, volumes, and planes of an integrated soma as it moves through space." Jeffrey Maitland (

Ok, this one is a bit unfair.  I don't have palintonic harmony in my own body, it's more of an ideal to work towards.  The point is one of dysfunctional tension patterns.  Almost everyone has them, in weird and wonderful (or not) ways.  The epidemic is one of un-balanced tension to the point where injury and dysfunction is almost assured (or already extant) - and that is a lot of people.

I can count on two hands the number of runners I have seen this year who I couldn't see something glaringly 'out' with their gait - and I'm nowhere near a gait specialist.  Not that there is anything wrong with running - just that there is a lot wrong with how a large percentage of people run.  Same goes for walking; standing; sitting.  These should be skills that a taught (properly) during school.  After English, Feldenkrais class - lunch, then Stretch Therapy/Yoga. 

The Hidden Epidemic of Un-fulfilled Potential//Un-happiness/Mediocrity.  
I have already written about this in the Resist Mediocrity post - there are a lot of people 'working jobs they hate to buy shit they don't need'.  A fair number will protest and offer lots of reasons why they ain't, but..  beyond this many people are in a state of 'meh'; having various existential crises, and generally being un-happy.  This is not that hidden, I guess; as there are many books/articles/courses about happiness floating around at the moment.  I even saw a story on the cover of Times magazine this week, when I passed a magazine vendor.

This is a big topic, and related to the epidemics of Heart disease and Obesity too, I suggest.   I will write something larger and better researched on this at some stage, but again - just do the coffee and bench drill.  This time watch peoples faces.  How many smiles?  How many genuine smiles - not the sugar-eating-high-smile of someone scheming something that will get them personal gain, but might take away from someone else.  A smile of the wonderment of existence.  How many? 

I think all of these hidden epidemics are related - and re-embodiment is a large part of the process of healing this.  Just my personal opinion (it is a blog after all). 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Coming Back Around The Circle

Of late I have been feeling like I am growing younger, not necessarily in body (though that is happening as my health improves), but in the growing sense of (return to) child-like wonderment, and some glimpses, if that is the correct word, of certain states I have not experienced in well over a decade.. there's a sense of joy and anticipation, but it's not related to a specific thing.  

It is a state of Shoshin-like state.  At any rate, I feel a lot of things coming around full circle, and a need start at the beginning of a number of different movement/bodymind training systems- whilst concurrently continuing to work, journeyman style, on what I am already practicing. I am very happy with what I have studied, digested and assimilated so far; but I do not yet have all the tools I need in the toolbox for what I want to accomplish.

This 90 day Blog Challenge has been very helpful in pointing the way, as to what to study next; and also to what I want to do with what I am studying/practicing/teaching.. 

I have a big blog post half finished on some of this, but don't want to rush it at 11:42pm (!) - so will release it when it's ready. 

IF any of you are looking for an interesting challenge, do try to blog continuously for 90 days - it's epic! (hopefully wifey won't read this post..)  I am going to buy myself a belt as a prize!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Static-Active Flexibility

Static Active Flexibility (stretching) is defined by Thomas Kurz, (in Stretching Scientifically) as:

"The ability to assume and maintain extended positions using only the tension of agonists and synergists while antagonists are being stretched

Not a type of movement I do too often (other than, perhaps, a few gymnastics holds that count in this category), but today Cherie decided to put the Advanced Stretching class through a series of hamstring and sciatic pathway Static-Active Stretches and mobilizations that she stuffs around with whilst watching TV at night.  

Why I am writing this, besides the novelty of this somewhat obscure stretching method and it being 11pm, is that my legs feel fucking awesome from it! Super light feeling; relaxed and springy.  

To be fair, I did some standard Stretch Therapy style PNF stretching too, including front splits that was only 4 inches away from the ground (so I'll have to see if I can replicate this feeling again), but it was refreshing to try some of the static active methods).  

I'm sure Cher and I will film these at some stage soon.  The book Stretching Scientifically is worth reading, if you can pick it up somewhere, as is Thomas' other book 'Science of Sports Training' (the lesser known but better one, IMHO). 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki chilling..image from facebook group, hopefully Zen master is cool with me using it..he looks like he is.

"It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness in activity, but calmness in activity is true calmness." - Shunryu Suzuki

Following on from Kit and my recent blogging (See HERE and HERE) about lying relaxation practices (which are great) and their importance, I thought I would write briefly about the higher art; relaxed awareness and serenity (calmness) in activity. 

Bringing the states that you cultivate on the cushion, chair, standing or ground in a quiet space, into your daily life is quite the challenge.  Still, it's a great way to see if your practice is actually working (or not), and for those of you who have deeper experiences of this, there really is no giving up or going back. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

An Odd Forward Bend

This odd forward bend is actually a lot more comfortable than it looks; and felt great.  It's also a nice wind-up for the sciatic nerve (and the Central Nervous System).  The contract-relax moves that worked well were: toe flexion; plantar flexion; knee flexion and hip extension, by themselves; in a sequence and/or with spinal extension.  

Post contraction can involve standard relaxation phase, and/or spinal wave of thoracic and cervical spine (brain flossing).  

Obviously the contractions in this position were of low intensity, and mainly about contraction precision. 

Nature-deficit Disorder

Check out this great ARTICLE about the health and creativity benefits (and just plain awesomeness) of getting out in Nature. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Friendly Challenges [73]

Starting the 90 day blog challenge on Friday the 26th of April 2013 would put it at day 73 of the Challenge today (!).  It has been a fun and interesting (for me at least) little game we've been playing. 

Having various challenges on the boil makes life more interesting, I would say.. My wife and I started doing challenges a fair while ago.  I don't remember the specific details of the first one, or how it started; but one of our earlier challenges involved each of us picking an unconscious habit the other one did a lot - then seeing if we could catch the other one out.  First person to be picked up doing the habit 10 times lost, and had to do a set 'task' decided by the other person at the beginning of the challenge. 

My first unconscious habit (picked by my lovely wife) was saying the word 'epic' too much.  I lost this challenge so quickly we created another round of the challenge where I had to watch my use (abuse) of the word 'epic' again.. I lost that one too, but not as quickly or by as much! My use of this word is now down to bordeline normal levels again, but I still laugh when I see the word in a business name or ad. 

The challenges are a fun (as long as they are kept friendly) way to work on breaking habits of various sorts.  Having someone to keep you honest in the challenge makes adherence better than if you were left to your own devices... having some type of reward worth something for the winner is also another motivating factor worth considering. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Wanderer

I found this image the other day (HERE), and there's just something about it - so I decided to post it.  It's a portrait of a wandering ascetic.  Obviously packing lightly, but effectively (only the essentials), in his search for moksha.  A picture really does, on occasion, say a thousand or more words. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sleep, Relaxation and Yoga Nidra

Other 90 day Blog Challenge participant, Kit, has posted two great posts on relaxation, sleeping and the yoga nidra practice - HERE and HERE.

I am very grateful to Kit for teaching me these skills and techniques, as they have had a profound effect upon a number of things in my life; not the least of which has been sleep quality. These practices are simple and deep, and pretty much free - but so powerful. They should seriously be taught to all children as a life skill. 

I used to wake up about 10 to 15 times per night. Also, as a teenager, it would take me between 30 minutes and 3 hours to actually fall asleep (ponder deep existential questions about Life and Death - especially death). Now it takes between 20 seconds and 2 minutes; and, if I do wake up, I can drop right back into sleep at will.  

As Kit mentions, the experience of deep physical relaxation (I think Swami Satyananda says it this way too.. what a great three word phrase!) and the “how to experience sounds moving through you and leaving not a trace” were the two keys for me.

Rotating the awareness from sound to sound during a deeply relaxed state totally changed my relationship to ‘noise’ and the environment. There is no noise – just sound. Even during the day, loud sounds that drive other people crazy do not bother me so much, now.

I have seen physical training/exercise broken up into a simple diagram of three interlocking circles of influence (will have to remember which book) of exercise, diet/nutrition and sleep/restoration.  I mainly focus on the exercise/movement and sleep/restoration circles in my work. The relaxation and sleep practices were/are key to working with the restoration/sleep circle (which  exerts a powerful influence upon how the other two interact). 

One interesting thing in relation to sleep that I have had work for me of late, has actually been herbal sleeping tablets.  I got these on heavily reduced sale, and decided to see if they did anything (they were quite inexpensive; I liked the combination of herbs and I am curious and like to test these things out on my bodymind). Tablets consist of: 

Passiflora incarnata [Passion Flower]
Valeriana officinalis [Valerian Root]
Humulus lupulus [Hops]
Scutellaria lateriflora [Skullcap]
Matricaria Recutita [Chamomile]

Interestingly,  I have found these to work really well. Beyond the upper end of my expectations.   Deep, restful and dream-enhanced (vividness and number and duration of dreams) sleep.  Obviously the sample size of one is inconclusive for other people, but from a personal body watching perspective I am very interested by this. 

I might try the 'erbs in isolation to and smaller combinations to see if I can hone in on the one(s) that are working so well for me.  Not something I would do regularly, but useful knowledge to intermittently cycle in and out of.  My guess is that hops and skullcap are involved.. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Today's Impromptu Soft Tissue Re-modelling Play Session

This morning (after my morning CLASS), I decided to play around on the super soft carpet of the Sydney Stretch Therapy studio. 

I started off rolling my skull around on the carpet with knee and arm supports.  Besides mobilizing the neck (which is great), rolling the skull feels amazing on the muscles and tissues of the scalp.  There's a fair few different vectors of rotation/flexion/lateral flexion you can use for this.. but possibly too tricky to explain here (video later).  Trying to roll all over the scalp fascia and muscles, whilst maintaining slow, natural breathing into the belly. Put some of your awareness into what is happening inside the cranial bones (not inside you 'head'). I did a 2 minutes headstand at the end; just because.

Next on the menu was some hanging latissimus dorsi stretching with a heavy fascial emphasis on the angulation and the contraction type, duration and intensity.  Nice wind-up of some of the arm lines, from Tom Myer's myofascial meridians.  Deep reverse breathing to flare the ribs into the lines of the tension; and ringing the tissues out from the inside, too.  I came back to this with an additional element later - which was so good I am going to film it next Wednesday. All in all, I gave my poor lats a about 6 massive stretches each.  What a difference in posture and movement of the trunk and arms!  In my squirming, I also uncovered some tight sheets of fascia quite close to the ribs that I have never felt before...should be fun un-winding them.

Final thing I will talk about, was a passive backward bend over a hard foam roller - but with the foam roller balanced on a small step. *Don't do this unless you know you can*  I had to do this to get into the angle of extension I wanted.  Besides gravity working on the pose, I also used directed breathing to the sternum with double and triple inhales (inhale - pause - inhale more - pause - inhale more).  I got some really nice mobilization of my first three ribs and associated verterbae.  Combined with the lat stretch and I was in pretty close to ideal posture - without tension and with ease

Oh yeah, and did some awesome side splits practice for the first time in a while!  At 10:20pm, I am being hit by the post good neuromuscular stretching session feeling of sleepiness and body relaxation.  Time for bed.  Zzzzz...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Last nights circuit

At the local park, on a brisk July evening: 

Circuit 1 x 3
Chin-ups w 20kg: 5
One-leg Squats (bodyweight): 3;3 [L;R]
Bent Press w 20kg: 3;3  [L;R]
Swings w 20kg: 30 reps
Hanging knee raises: 5-8 reps

Circuit 2 x 3
Chin-ups (bodyweight): 10 reps
One-leg Squats (bodyweight): 3;3 [L;R]
Windmills w 20kg: 8;8 [L;R]
Swings w 20kg: 30 reps
Hanging knee raises:5 - 8 reps

I was no longer cold after about 4 minutes into the workout.  Recently, my other workouts have been indoors, and consist of a lot of lizard crawling up and down stairs; handstands; push-up variations and various glute strengthening exercises. 

Ukrainian Scrap Metal Gym


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Viscera and Breathing Restrictions

Recently I have had a number of very interesting experiences in regards to release of deep tensions in and around the visceral organs (intestines; spleen, liver and stomach in particular); and restrictions in lungs and associated fascia sheaths and layers (especially the pleura and tissue around the esophagus).  I am still playing around with this, so won't go into too much detail now. 

What is interesting (possibly most interesting) about this, is that I feel fucking awesome (that's a technical definition) from this!  Really, really profoundly happy and joyous.  It also brings back to me to depth of a goal like a 'total body map', and how, after years of refining my body awareness - how much I still have to discover.. which is fantastic! 

A lot of the techniques I am studying, developing or creating at the moment are aimed at just these very tensions in the organs and restriction of the breathing and it's associated muscles and soft tissues.   

Monday, July 1, 2013

Liquid Food

This 80kg challenge is getting me excited!  I felt the need to make a 'shake' and am considering watch Pumping Iron again.  Ah sweet liquid food; my friend. I welcome you into my diet once again. You have been missed. 

Here's my current shake ingredient list. 


Vitasoy 'Soy Milky' regular soy milk
Coconut milk
Vital protein pead protein isolate
Organic vanilla essence
2 x Bananas
Lariese Pure Organic Hemp Seed Oil
Cane Sugar 

Sure, it's not milk with chia seeds, but it was damn tasty!