I’ve been slacklining and exploring the benefits of balance passionately for 2 years now. Here’s a tidbit of why I do what I do and some examples of the movements I am currently working on.
I picked these three because they are a general view of how the arm relates to the rest of the torso. The top left picture shows the collarbone and how nerves and blood vessels travel underneath it. The top right picture is a front and back view of the torso. It displays how the collarbone and scapula places the glenohumeral joint out away from the ribs. The bottom photo is a bit to take in. It's a top down view of the collarbone, scapula, ribs and spine. Take notice of how the collarbones and scapula are shaped. Notice how they are curved and in no way straight or flat.Read More
A couple of months ago I attended a course called Advanced Myofascial Techniques for the Illia and sacrum. It was developed and lead by Til Luchau, a brilliant bodyworker and teacher. The main focus of this seminar was to present practicing somatic therapists and experienced bodyworkers with advanced and little-known myofascial techniques that can be easily incorporated into existing personal styles. These specific techniques are very effective at addressing common structural and functional complaints. I have found them helpful in relieving pain, restoring lost function, and getting lasting results. I was intrigued with how we learned precision in working with specific tissue types and body layers and combined indirect or subtle work with deep or direct work. Basically, there was quite a lot to this class. For the most part we spent 3 days focusing on 3 bones of the pelvis and all the tissues surrounding and supporting it. We talked in great detail about tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, nerves, fascia, muscles and a few other things like arteries and veins. Oh and we talked a ton about the ranges and planes of motion these three bones are capable of. It was gooooood stuff. I also really enjoyed being in a room with so many talented manual therapists. It made practicing these techniques a joy.
While exploring hand holds on bony landmarks to evaluate mobility, I was struck by how strongly some of these anatomical prominences and protuberances resemble that of hand holds when bouldering or rock climbing. The thought entered my mind how the body gives us what we need to help nudge, push or pull it back to mobility. Since the class, I've been working on mastering what I learned in that course. Additionally, while bouldering I sometimes feel like I am reaching for bones to climb the walls. What I mean is, sometimes the holds on the wall feel and resemble bones like scapula, ilium and posterior superior iliac spines.
The photo above is my attempt to show the resemblance of climbing and bodywork. It totally makes sense to me. What about you?
This morning when I woke up, I was pondering how deeply circulation goes in the body and was pleasantly surprised to run across these images in Frank Netter's "Atlas of Human Anatomy." The photo on the right is your basic spinal cord image. It shows gray and white matter and some nerve roots and that's about it. I have to say, when I visualize the spinal cord, this is the image that has come to mind......until now!
The images on the right show the arterial and veinous blood flow that runs in and out of the spinal cord. This happens all day. 24/7. That's life giving blood bringing essential substances (groceries) into the cord and carrying the cell debris (garbage) out. That's deep....literally.....actually.......really.
I appreciate this kind of bodymap refinement. I find it helpful to have an accurate picture in my mind of what is really going on inside of me. It's comforting to know that cells can constantly change, repair and grow and to have a picture in my mind of just how deeply that goes. Just imagine that for a moment...........
Wim Hof Method.
I flew down to Los Angeles this last weekend to attend the Wim Hof Method workshop. I stayed with my good friend Eric and his family in Redondo. Hanging with Eric is always a good time. We share many of the same interests regarding mindfulness, meditation and movement. I’d say I tend to lean to the mindful and movement side where he leans toward meditation and mindfulness. Pretty much from the moment he picks me up from LAX we engage in a running conversation on all things mindful, meditative and movement based....I wish I had more of this in my life.
Saturday we attended the Wim Hof seminar. It was very close to what I figured it was going to be. Some talking about his history, some breathwork, some more breathwork with pushups, some more talking about the science of his work, then an icebath. I figured the icebath would be 10 minutes, I am glad it was only 2 minutes. That was plenty.
I’ve been doing WHM for about 4 months now. The method has 3 parts: Breathing, Cold immersion and Commitment or focus/intent. During the last 4 months I have practiced the breathing and taken cold showers nearly daily. I have noticed a dramatic effect in my (you guessed it) ability to breath and my relationship to cold has been changing in a positive way.
I have had a life long aversion to cold. I've never liked it. When I first learned about the WHM, I was interested only in the breathwork and wanted to skip the cold immersion. I didn’t want to let the cold win…..soooo……I began looking into the science behind it and began taking cold showers. I started with 60 degree water (I have a garden thermometer in my shower). At firstjust immersing my hands and feet for 30 seconds. Eventually I involved my legs, then I started hitting my back. I remember the day I took a 1-minute cold shower. I got out and was cheering! It felt really, really good! I was looking forward to my next one…..I was also not looking forward to it.
Eventually, impatience has taken over and I am taking 10-minute full immersion showers. I love and hate them at the same time. They definitely aren’t as intolerable as they were in the beginning, but I still have to focus myself quite a bit before stepping in, reminding myself of how good I feel afterward is a great motivator.
At the seminar, I was hoping Wim would lead us on an extended breathwork session. I’ve done enough breathwork in the past to know that it has the power to create quite intense altered states of consciousness. I got what I was hoping for. We did a 40+ minute breathing session. I started to get tingles and a little light headed then I started to get quite buzzy. It felt amazing. We alternated between breathing fully in and letting go and letting all the air out and holding it, called retention. Then inhaling and holding for 10-15 seconds followed by more breathing, retaining and holding. Doing this in a room with 400 other people is quite an experience. The morphogenic field and mirror neurons were reliably present.
Overall, the day’s experience was quite delightful. After the breathing session, we had some food and then prepared for the 2-minute ice bath immersion. Wim gave a talk about the importance of focus and concentration necessary when engaging with the cold and Dr. Bart gave a presentation and talked about the theory and scientific studies they’ve done regarding the method.
I like to keep these blogs short, so I will stop here. It was a very rich day and I words are my words are falling short. There is a simple and specific way to do the breathing. I'll post it in the future, or you can do an internet search for Wim Hof or "The Iceman" and take your pick of the videos where he is guiding somebody through it. My wife and I purchased his App and use the videos for daily guidance and focus.
The Wim Hof Method is simple, yet profound. It has many potential health benefits, none of which I mentioned in this blog, but are very accessible online. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I'll be sure to get back to you.
A Measure of Success.
One of my measures of success with a client is whether or not they begin to move more on their own without me. Movement and training is one thing, but it’s when I see a client coming in early and getting on the rower, warming up without me, asking questions about movement or diet and following through that I start to think of myself as being successful with them.
What I want most for people is for them to develop a movement lifestyle. I love to see people become non-judgementally curious about themselves enough that they begin to move more on their own. They learn to improvise a little from the movement I’ve shown them. They experiment. They begin to see results and ask themselves what they can to do to get better. Whether it’s diet, sleep, breath, movement, recovery. Whatever. You get what I am saying here? It takes patience. Patience on both of our parts.
I look for long term organic change. It’s not linear. I like to begin with movement and see what questions or motivations spring up from there. It can be simple like what should I do to recover after a workout or bodywork session? It can start anywhere and in my opinion, the simpler the better. Small changes over time can equal a sustainable movement lifestyle.
It’s probably the same as leading a horse to water or teaching a person to fish. But this is how I measure my own success as a manual therapist and movement coach. It’s my job to figure out how to work with a person in a way that will create curiosity, wonder, motivation. And I can be relentless in my pursuit of this. If a person isn’t responding in a way that I measure success then I figure out what the hell I can do differently to make that happen. Is it the way I talk or communicate? Is it the movement or exercise or technique? The progression? As long as someone does the basic work, which is show up for scheduled appointments and be open, then I think we can be successful. It takes time though. If you show up and are ready to move, I will be there for you. Just know that a big meaningful goal of mine is to get you moving and exploring movement more on your own. I can show you all kinds of interesting things and you may progress brilliantly with me, but if I don’t get a sense that you are carrying it into your life, then I don’t feel like I am truly helping you and I don’t feel successful.
Some say unicorns don't exist and I tend to agree, but I want to believe! I am referring to a unicorn as finding one exercise that will fix all my problems. I have been struggling with right knee pain everyday in varying degrees for about 10 months. Actually I've had this pain on and off for about 10 years. I've attributed it to my snowboarding stance and a set up I used for my golf swing. I would drop my right knee in while keeping the the foot straight. What I've noticed is my foot pronates and my tibia laterally rotates. It creates a duck footed kind of look, which is fine except I went to Oregon State.
I did a bunch of acupuncture and had a few chiropractic adjustments which both helped some but I've spent most of my time trying different mobility and strengthening exercises to get my tibia back in alignment. A few weeks ago I was at Sunset Chiropractic doing some Dynavision Reaction Time Training (more on that later) with Dr. Andrew Funk. I asked him if he would look at my knee. It was bothering me more than it ever had and my duck foot was going full Mallard on me.
He assessed my foot, ankle, knee and hip and watched my gait, noticing I wasn't dorsiflexing my ankle as much on the right as I was on the left and suggested I strengthen my Tibialis Anterior (shin) muscle. It made sense to me and seemed simple enough so I came up with this exercise and started right away. I do 3 sets 2 times per day. I put my hand on the muscle to help connect my brain to it and do enough reps that I feel it burn and then I do about 10 more reps. Running, squatting, lunging and slacklining have all been feeling really good. We'll see how this goes as time moves on. Maybe one unicorn does exist.
BTW, knee pain can be caused by many things and I could go into ridiculous detail. Shoot me a question in comments if you have any.
Ok, first off, I am not a singer, at all, but I was sent this video last week and I fell in love with it right away. I've been thinking of how to make a Process vs. Endgaining video for a while and I can't help but want to talk about this one. I appreciate this video for 2 reasons:
1) Watching the attention to detail this coach employs is out of this world. She is working with what appears to be an advanced vocalist and she is right their with her. Watch how she uses her touch, voice and movement to coax the notes out of her student. Top Notch!
2) I love how she emphasizes the use of the process to attain the result instead of recreating what "worked." She even say's something like, if you recreate what you did, you may get the desired result but that's luck. Being with the process is the surest way to get a reliable result over time.
Process vs. Endgaining.
What is endgaining?
It’s the tendency to focus on an end result while losing sight of the process.
When we endgain, we habitually rush into or continue an activity without consideration of the process that we are using to reach our goal. When we do this, we often ignore the warning signs that could draw our attention to the fact that a problem is developing but instead, continue toward our goal. This often results in conditions such as poor co-ordination, strains, injury and even illness.
In order to be remarkable in your craft it's absolutely necessary to pay attention to the process and with all your might try to forgo engaining to achieve a result.
- cause (someone) to feel confused because they cannot understand or make sense of something:
"one remark he made puzzled me"
- a game, toy, or problem designed to test ingenuity or knowledge.
I like puzzles. I have always liked them. I like the feeling of being puzzled, of being faced with something I cannot understand and I especially like the feeling of making sense of something that previously perplexed me.
Often, clients present themselves in my office with baffling soft tissue issues….that rhymes….I’m into puns too….they’re fun..... It often requires me to put together a customized treatment plan. My bodywork style is non-routine. I have basic protocols that I can draw from, but they are often just starting points to be heavily improvised upon.
Since 1998, I have been studying many different massage, bodywork and movement based techniques in order to help people move more comfortably in their lives. If I don’t figure it out right away, you can be sure that I will be looking for the answer and hopefully getting another chance to solve it. Like I said in the beginning, I like being puzzled…..but I don’t like it for very long.
Give me an idea of what something is supposed to look like or how it works and I will figure it out. I’ll study it, break it down, research it, sleep on it, do whatever I have to. I can be relentless in my pursuit of solving the confounding problem.
I've been working on progressing my handstand walking for 9 years. Yeah, 9 years! I started practicing handstands because my dog Makani and I were doing freestyle disc dog competitions and I thought it would be funny if I did a handstand with the disc between my feet, foot tossed it to her and she did a backflip to catch it. She mastered her part of the trick well before I did. I think that trick alone was one of the main reasons we qualified for the world disc dog championships 3 years in a row.
A couple months ago I started juggling 3# balls. I was just messing around at Beaverton Crossfit one day and I noticed how quickly my hands and forearms were getting pumped up. I tried a handstand walk, thinking I would be too fatigued to do it, but noticed I was much better able to hold my position. It was like night and day. I was only juggling for a couple of minutes. Juggling 3# balls made my hands and forearms feel as stable as my feet! My fingers felt more alert, strong and responsive than I recall them ever feeling. I may have stumbled onto something here....exciting! Juggling weighted balls is much more fun than doing dumbbell wrist curls (wink, wink). I live for moments like these. I've since progressed to 4# balls, increasing repetitions and tossing them higher.
I don't know why it has taken me 9 years to become mediocre at handstand walking, but it has. When I first started, it was ugly. Uh-Glee. In the beginning I remember asking a friend who grew up doing gymnastics to tell me what I was doing wrong and she said something like, "I don't even know what I'm looking at." So, lot's of youtube videos, lot's of video coaching, lots of handstand progressions, lot's of time, lot's of falling and here we are. More work and fun ahead.
I started juggling a few months ago because I was curious if there would be any skill transfer to my golf swing. I was in a golf tournament with a baseball player and I could clearly see years of confidence in him that I directly attributed to a well developed hand-eye coordination. I contemplated going to batting cages but wanted to do something more accessible. Juggling in my kitchen in the mornings seemed pretty available. It's been about 5 months of nearly daily practice and I think some results are beginning to show. Additionally, at the driving range I am better able to control my timing at impact and as a result the ball is more often going where I want it to. I've also noticed improved contact with the ball in my putting and my chipping as well. Now if we could just get a bit of warmer, dryer weather, golfing would be more fun.
My goal with this blog is to express how I see movement. Movement is everything. Movement is life. I enjoy learning to move in new ways and especially enjoy working on one particular skill that will transfer over to other skills. It's the old killing a bird with two stones idea. Ha! I got that backwards. I mean Killing two birds with one stone. Yeah, that's more like it.
So in conclusion, this blog series is about movement. I plan on involving some videos of my favorite activities: bodywork, golfing, drumming, kiteboarding, slacklining, Crossfit, juggling and drone flying to name a few. Basically anything I find interesting. My hope is that it helps you find insight into how movement is everywhere and everything.