Monday, September 21, 2009

Yoga's effect on the evolution of my body & mind...

What is going on with my body? I mean, WOW things are really opening up and the ease and strength in which my movement is progressing and flowing leaves me in awe and is making me take notice and look into the deeper layers of this change.

First, I have been doing very little lifting, with some push-ups, pull-ups, swings and presses literally here and there since August 14th. During that time I have been basically doing yoga nearly everyday with a rest day once every week and sometimes not.

So, here is my observations

My posture is better than ever doing to better length tension relationships or should I say my body opening open across each joint, finding a better muscular balance and therefore length tension relationships.

My body is finding neutral through learning the deeper skill of movement and this is due to muscles releasing and opening thereby releasing the neural inhibition factor allowing greater muscle recruitment from the agonist muscles and a more efficient recruitment of motor units through the agonists, anatagonists, synergist, neutralizers and stabilizers.

I am training my body in each plane of motion and through various movement patterns creating strength, core stabilization and strength, neuromuscular efficiency and it is obvious in the performance

Now, as the body's strength develops in yoga it leads to great flexibility and deeper openings. This leads to the ability to open the lungs more and therefore deepen the breathe and thereby quieting the mind which enables me to sit longer in the pose, breathing deeper into the stretch and literally working the parasympathetic nervous system creating relaxation through action.
Serum and Sukam are the sanskrit words for steadiness and ease which is a 'goal' of yoga as a practice.

The internal systems of the body and mind and breathe are evolving to new levels and all sorts of tangible and intangible things are happening. Anatomically, Physiologically, and Psychologically things are opening and I am really in awe

Ok, that is a stream of consciousness reflection, I am going to take more time to observe this and give a better explanation but this is a start...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

General Principles of Movement

General Principles of Movement

1. Root
2. Link
3. Tense
4. Brace

It all starts from the ground up therefore it is essential that you learn how to root yourself to the ground. Your foot has mechanoreceptors that provide essential feedback to your body helping you perform at a higher level. This being said, it is important that when lifting you use either flat soled shoes like chuck taylors, olympic lifting shoes or bare feet. This will enhance your ability to feel the feedback and increase your performance.

Creating linkage is another key point and can only be optimized in accordance with rooting. We have to look at our body as it is, a collection of segments connected by joints. In order for our body to operate at its optimal levels we need to connect the segments through the joints forming linkage. Simply put, imagine a beam supporting a wall that has a kink in it, it will eventually fail to hold the wall up because the link will be compromised.

To effectively link we create tension, another key principle. We do this through muscular contraction therefore never locking out the joints but instead optimizing our muscles ability to perform through enhanced output of our muscles ability to fire through tension and thus linking our segments. In Crossfit we are not training bodybuilding, we are training athletics and in athletics we use our whole body to perform, not individual segments.

The core is key for creating the linkage of the upper and lower body. Also, it is key to protecting the spine and maintaining midline stability and a neutral spine. This is done by inhaling in through the nose through the diaphram and deep into the belly (think belly button) thus creating a strong core. A good way thing to imagine is pushing your core against a belt as your breathe. This air will add volume to your core much like sticking a pencil in mud making your spine stabile.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

We must stop playing games with our hearts and minds, the hearts and minds of others. We as a single organism with an ecosystem of organisms must realize that our actions influence the way the whole organism functions. Just think about the concept of 6 degrees of separation, we all are connected so we must embrace the reality that each one of us somehow impacts another. Therefore it is crucial for the conscious evolution of society that we stop acting in fear, anger, frustration, out of pain, retaliation, for the benefit of ourselves at the expense of another, living and acting a lie and telling lies to others, etc.

How delusional or deluded our we too think that acting in these ways truly benefits us and others. What if we started to look beyond the notion of survival of the fittest & beyond the notion that we are individuals and stand alone entities? What if we started to see the connections, the synchronicity that all of nature acts and flows? What if we really tapped into our hearts and freed our minds from the Chitta and actually started to communicate with unconditional love, love from within us and our authentic nature and state of being?

The mind is a powerful tool and because of its power we have to remember that we have the ability with our actions, thoughts, feelings, emotions, words to influence the minds of others and ourselves. For those of us who are unable to quiet our minds and the Chitta these things mentioned above can wreak havoc on us and others.

The heart is a beautiful organ and a beautiful place to come from. It must be cared for not only through physical exercise and nutritional means but also through the cultivation of love within and the expression of that love to all things, unconditionally and for the benefit of others and by enjoying the breathe of life which cultivates blood and oxygen into our tissues feeding us the nourishment we need to be able to enjoy the experiences that touch our very existence.

The way we are acting in this world, the way we be in this world leaves much to be desired. We are willing to do ruin people, relationships, countries, the environment, the health of the people all for gain, most of which is material in nature be it land, $$$$$$, borders and power to influence, direct and make the rules which tend to benefit the few in lieu of the whole.

So, it begins with me, it begins with you and I will do my part and that is a start and the cool thing is I know others are being and acting with a similar intention and this is a step.....

Principles of Training Part 2

Principles of Movement Part. 2

1. Principles Continued
2. Midline Stability
3. Neutral spine head to toe
4. Body forms straight line
5. Support a roof
6. Active shoulders
7. Depress shoulder blades
8. Linking arm through shoulder to the body
9. Engage lats
10. Creates full body tension
11. Butt
12. Quads
13. Feel feet merge into ground in a corkscrew fashion

A key principal in movement is maintaining Midline Stability. It is essential that the spine is in its natural (S Shape) position otherwise known as a neutral spine. The body must for a straight line. As you will see and learn in the video, optimal performance, optimal efficiency is dependent on geometric angles or position and optimizing physics.

Your shoulders are active which involves a scapluar depression of the shoulder through the engagement of the lat muscles. This will increase the strength through linkage of your arm to your shoulder and the shoulder to the rest of the body. In addition, through this linking process you will enhance your performance due to the fact that you will be able to utilize the rooting effect and the ground through optimal energetics. Imagine your are a coil and that all your energy compresses the coil and when released gives you the strength and power to explode through the movement.

This activation of the lats, with the breathe into the core, the rooting of the feet and the contracting of the glutes (should feel a slight tuck under) which in turn contracts the quads thereby deepening your rooting effect by driving your heels and foot on the whole into the ground in a coil (corkscrew effect) giving you maximal muscular contraction and strength.

Less is more in training, which is contrary to popular belief. But, what is often lost is that what training really is aimed at doing is improving the Central Nervous System ability to produce movement in the effective, efficient manner required for the sport or movements you perform. More quantity and less quality with poor recovery and rest and a poorly designed system will lead to poor performance. The reality is most athletes never perform to their potential because of inadequacy in the training.

The foundation for success on the mat, on the field, in the gym, in life is done in the preparatory work day in and day and paying attention to every little detail. A well rested, well feed, strong program design, intelligent athlete will get more out of their abilities than a gifted athlete with a poor approach/training program.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Principles of Training Part 1

Principles of Training

1. Quality over Quantity
2. Practice the things that make you better at your sport.
3. Less is more
4. Skill/Technique over Effort
5. Wave your program design
6. Rest and Recovery is #1

As an athlete, especially multi-sport athletes the demands are high and over training is easy. Therefore doing too much of anything will lead to Central Nervous System fatigue and overall decrease in ability and benefits reaped from the training. You are far better off to establish short, high quality workouts where you are focused on improving the skills, techniques, forms that relate to your sport. You do not need to do a lot of work too get all the benefits of any of these strength and conditioning tools. Instead focus on determining what works for you, design a plan that will work with your scehdule and allow you proper recovery and listen to your body.

Are you overtraining?

When is too much, too much? Well physiologically speaking the Central Nervous System can only handle so much. Just, think all professional, collegiate and amateur athletes work based on a periodized program design. Why, simple put there is a natural intelligence in which your body operates with and violation of this will lead to eventual things such as injury, a decrease or poor progression, burnout, etc.

Your CNS, brain, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, organs and hormones can only handle so much and when you consider how poor most people eat, the lack of sleep and stress that accompanies the typical or average person you can see that overtraining and constant high intensity, high output work is not the most intelligent way to train and for that matter treat/care for our own organism.

Are you performing at your peak, are you aware of the signs of over training, are you being deceived, what do you know about the physiology of human performance? Ask yourself these questions as you design your program and train your body/brain/human organism

I can go on but these simple physiological facts and questions are meant to help you take a deeper look at your practice of optimal living/performance.

Monday, September 14, 2009

From External to Internal

For years I have been an 'athlete' competing in a number of sports and events as well doing all the training behind what it takes to maximize my physical human performance. Through those years I have 'accomplished' many awesome personal and team oriented feats, here is a small sample

Squat 440
Deadlift 550
Bench Press 385 (425 on Smith bench)
Beast Press, Pistol, Snatch, TGU, Pull-up
Scored touchdowns, tries, baskets, runs and even one games with my performance
Ran a 4.5 40
Ran a 10.7 100
Ran a half marathon in 1:39
Spent 5 seasons as a competitive adventure racer, winning a race in our category and coming in 2nd for the season
Won a league championship

So I think you get the point, I have had a lot of really cool experiences in the world of sport and physical fitness. During this time I studied, observed, practiced the art and science of living, human performance, human movement, philosophy, psychology, etc. and through it all I found myself looking for more.

In the recent years in an effort to build and extend my ability to reach a larger community I started practicing yoga in addition to all my other activities. When I first started yoga I did not understand what yoga was and what and how influencial it would be on my physical progression. As my practice grew and became more regular I noticed I recovered faster, moved better, felt better and became stronger. And I was asking myself how I am I doing less in the weight room, out in nature but still performing beyond where I was, setting more PR's?

The obvious answer was my deeper understanding of training principles, program design and just years of building up. And these are true indeed. But what I began to understand sometime ago (within the last year) that my yoga practice and more important my meditation practice was really changing the course of my life and more than just physically. Because of this awareness I began to spend more time studying and more importantly practicing, to the point where my main and daily practice of my art and science of living became my yoga and meditation practice. And what I also observed was that the 'yogi's' I was meeting who had a simliar approach were people that seemed to be in a place closer to what I was seeking, that 'something more' place.

So, I just went and spent 2 weeks teaching, practicing and truly observing and reflecting/meditating on 'Yoga' During this time I lifted no weights, did no running, etc. and I went with intention of doing push-ups, bodyweight squats, pull-ups and some running. But, I decided I would just 'give my body a break' and just focus on yoga.

Now, I am back and finding that my body, my yoga meditation and breathing practice and my state of being have evolved, transformed, changed. My yoga postures (asanas) are deeper, more open and that has created a gateway for my lungs to open therefore deepening my breathing practice and making the poses 'easier' and my strength in the poses stronger and therefore the chitta, which is the mind distracting thoughts, are quiet and if anything I am more present in my pose/practice.

What I realize is that I am shifting from a focus on the external strength and demonstration of stuff and moving within, to the inside and strength that comes from that 'place'. The thing is by doing this my body is opening, my mind is free, my heart beats smoothly and with gentle ease, and spirit is grounded and my soul has found its true mate, the love that is me for I am love and you are as well.

Strength, which is a broad based term is from the inside and it will manifest in expression which is what people see and that comes in the form of external expression but when people are present and conscious with you they see it is coming from the inside, out.

Now, when I do movements like kettlebells and bodyweight 'strength' stuff I do so because I am exploring the human body, the internal art of the movement associated with these actions/devices. However, I have no attachment to the outcomes, the numbers, the weight used, the this that or another. What I am curious of is how this is developing me and enabling me to be a better student, coach, teacher, human.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Art of Living in Peace

In times like these, where we are working 60 hours a week, watching prices increase in gas, values of our homes and land fall, the availability of material goods increasing and thus our desires for more mass consumption, and having homes where both parents work full time jobs and the kids being raised by the nanny, one must sit back and question what is it that defines me and my legacy.

Is our legacy defined by he or she who dies with the most toys; is it defined by our career or job title; is it defined by where we live and how many square feet our home is; is it defined by the car we drive or the clothes we wear; is it defined by our relationships, our ability to be good role models for our children and others?

Reading a piece today by Dr Wayne Dyer, he speaks of the Tao and Lao Tzu’s perspective on what it means to live peacefully. And according to Tzu, the Tao and Dyer living peacefully is not about acquisition of more material good, how many hours a week you work, the size of your house, etc. it is about contentment and realizing that life is about your relationships, your experiences and the unconditional love you bring into each and every person and situation.

Who am I or is anyone for that matter too say what is right and what is wrong for another. But, through personal experience I have lived so called both sides of the coin and I find living in unconditional love, living without attachment to possessions, titles, $$, and instead living by building relationships, experiencing life and giving of myself freely, without condition, and bringing love (which is what we all are inside) with me everywhere I go is the true art of living peacefully. This is my truth, this is my authenticity, this is my ‘reality’, this is for me what is in life.

Peaceful Living and The Art of Living in Peace too you and yours

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Life is in Constant Motion

Life is in constant motion, ever changing. We must learn how to live with this fact. Understanding that change is a fundamental element of life is essential to our success. Why? Simply put I often hear people say how difficult change is and/or impossible. Well, change takes work, it takes a willingness and openness to all possibilities. It takes a curious mind, one that is willing to explore and learn the how, what, why’s necessary to make and implement the change.

Life is simple, just not easy. We constantly construct stories, dramas, theories, etc. that have little to no validity except that they prevent us from living our best life and interfere with the things that matter most, like reality.

Life is about relationships and relating. Not only too people but to things such as nature, matter and truth. You cannot ignore this fact, so learn how to improve your ability to relate and your relationships.

Stop judging yourself and others. What good does it serve? People are just like you, doing the best they can with what knowledge they have and in context of their experiences, which form their perspectives.

We were not born with the skills, abilities, tools and techniques necessary to succeed in this life. We have to learn these things and that never stops. Just because you are out of high school, college, or a millionaire does not mean you stop learning, growing and improving.

For the most part you are where you are due to the choices you made and actions you have taken. So, you are the master of your domain, the controller of your life path and journey. The wisdom lies within, so open up and listen and act accordingly.

Some things are just plain and simple out of your control, so let go and manage the things you can, yourself, your thoughts, your actions. Use your wisdom and intelligence and if you are not certain, then seek someone who has done it and learn what you need.

We all are a grain of sand and each grain is essential to the success of each other. Therefore, you are a member of a larger community, known as planet earth. Remember that your actions, choices impact others on a multitude of levels. Do your part!

Life is about what is, not what if, especially if the what ‘ifs’ are impossible ideas, etc. like being 6 feet when your 5 feet, or never having had your heart broken.