Psoas News!

I started listening to the Shrugged Collective podcast this morning and heard some remarkable news. A scientist was the guest who was talking about the Psoas. In fresh dissections of human cadavers, he verified little reported ideas about the psoas being connected to the diaphragm. More amazingly, some say it IS the diaphragm. In anatomy text books and diagrams, they show the insertion of the psoas along the spine. They don’t show its connection to the psoas. This has very amazing implications!!

More to come as I listen to the podcast and do some self-study!

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Social Ineptitude

Haha, now I’m the last person who should be writing this post. I mean, I’m out there. I teach yoga classes. I’ve done a lot of things in front of people. But I love alone time. I’m a total introvert. I’d much rather be by myself or with my family than in a crowd. I despise crowds.

But…I also feel like I was raised with good etiquette. More like Southern etiquette that I know. I always said yes sir and yes ma’am as a kid. Then, we did the same thing when I was in the Army. Its a common politeness that comes with civil society. I was also raised with chivalry. I know the women’s movements have thrown much of that in the trash. But I still abide by it. There are many women stronger and braver than I am. But I’ll still hold a door open or let a woman go first in line. I’m not changing my ways for anyone. Its just nice to do these things for people.

So, you’re probably wondering why I write this post. I just walked out of my office and there is a kitchen area to the right. A colleague who sits in the next office was washing something in the sink. She looked up at me and I said hello. She just gives me this goofy grin and ignores me.

Hmmmm?!

Now its not just her. There’s a guy who walks around in his baggy britches who is always really gruff. He also says brash things just to show he is his own guy. He likes to ruffle feathers. But I’ve learned to never say hello or smile or anything to him. I wait for what he does first. The reason being is that you feel like a fool if you say anything. If you say Hello, he might just look straight ahead and keep walking. If you smile at him, he’ll ask you what you’re smiling at. Then, on another day, he’ll exuberantly say "Hey man, how the heck are you?" I’ve seen him be the softest teddy bear in the room around people. But that’s just how moody people are. You just never know.

I know I’m generalizing, but when I go South in the U.S., I love all the syrupy talk. I don’t mind the honey this and darling that. There isn’t any harm in it in my mind. I just think people are very nice. Then, when I go North, like Chicago or Detroit, people just want to be anonymous. You don’t say hello or smile at people. You don’t offer anything extra. You just do you and that’s it. I know there are some who are really nice. But in general, this is how it is.

To be honest, I hang around a lot of academics. Its like when I worked at the University. I once said Merry Christmas to someone and he came back with all this fiery anti-religious sentiment. Most of the guys where I work don’t watch football, they don’t go fishing, and wouldn’t ever think about going to "The Beef House". So as far as small talk, its non-existent. We just don’t have much in common. I’d probably fit in much better at the gym, or at a truck stop, or maybe at the hardware store. To me, those are the normal people. They are nice and down-to-earth.

All these are generalities. People will surprise you. I call it being "aware". There are people who perceive feelings. They treat people how they expect to be treated. There is a guy who works here who I think of. If he sees you, his eyes engage. He is almost sorting out your feelings. And if he finds a spark, he’ll sense that he needs to say hi or how are you doing? But not as small talk, but out of real meaning. In many ways, I think I am that guy too. In fact, if everyone acted like this guy, I’d be so much more happy. I love people like that. Those who are kindhearted, earnest, and genuine. I think that is civil society.

I wish all people would be kinder to one another.

Just Walk Away

Recently in Florida, a man confronted a lady sitting in the passenger seat of a car parked illegally in a handicapped space. There were two children in the car as well. When the male owner of the car returned to this heated discussion, he pushed the man to the ground. In return, the man who was pushed pulled out a weapon and fired killing the man. The Sheriff said they wouldn’t press charges on the concealed carrier because of the stand your ground laws.

There are obvious problems with this altercation on numerous levels. To be honest, I’m a person who believes in laws. There were reasons why they are put into place. When I see a seemingly stupid sign that states something obvious, it usually means some stupid person actually did whatever the sign is warning against. And believe me, there are some very not-so-smart people in this world. I watch Cops on TV when I have a few minutes to spare. Its so obvious that a majority of the people law enforcement has to deal with don’t have a full sense of right or wrong. If you don’t like laws, then you should do what you can within the process to get the law repealed.

I get slightly riled when I see someone selfishly parking in a handicapped or no-parking zone just because they are too lazy to park where they should. This was the case in this incident. I would have said something too. In fact, if I could make a citizen’s arrest, I would be doing that on a daily basis. But do you want to know why I resist blabbing my mouth? Why I resist honking my horn or making gestures that would escalate a situation? Its my concealed carry permit. When I carry, I don’t do anything that stirs a boiling pot. Because I know that if someone threatens my life, I have the means to end theirs. And that is the last thing I ever want to do.

If you ask most concealed carriers, they would say the same. Its one reason why you never carry if you have even a drop of alcohol in your system. Its why you don’t carry into bars. For a very few immature people, having a weapon on them makes them more brazen. They become more bold about what they do. Its like a woods thick with Kodiak brown bears. Normally, you wouldn’t even think of going in there. But if you have bear spray and a .454 magnum on hand, you think you’ll tempt fate. Its always a very dangerous thing to do. You never carry looking for a fight. In fact, most of us carry because we don’t want a fight. But if we’re crouching under a table just waiting like sheep to the slaughter, we have a means to protect those we love, including ourselves. We never seek a fight.

This guy was looking for a fight. He wanted to vent his frustration on some illegal action by someone. I can see if he was handicapped or was transporting someone who was handicapped and these people occupied the only space available, then maybe say something. Otherwise, leave it alone. You don’t escalate a situation with heated words ever, but especially if you have a weapon. Even if you are completely justified, you are still going to have to hire a lawyer to protect any criminal or civil litigation. You may also need some therapy to heal your own mind.

Don’t put yourselves in situations where you have to fight. I’m rarely out after 9pm when most danger occurs. I’m not in bars or places where fights take place. I’m not road raging on every car that bothers me. If you are the type who is looking for a fight, you better not be carrying weapons. Its the best way to find trouble and end up fighting for your livelihood.

Common Self-Discipline

For normal healthy people, you’re not going to die when you are a little hungry or thirsty.

So I’ll start the disqualifications right up front. If you are a diabetic or have hypoglycemia or any other condition where blood sugar, protein, or other needs have to be met regularly, I’m not talking about your condition. For someone who is seriously dehydrated or is depleted in electrolytes, this is not for you either.

I’m talking about normal, healthy people.

I’ve said this many times, but some people think you need to graze; not just people, but the FDA too! I guess they think we’re cattle or bunnies. The average bodyfat for men ranges from 18 to 24% bodyfat. Its much higher for women. Essential bodyfat, meaning the lowest healthy range to maintain life, is between 10-12%. Believe me, most people are closer to the average. With that amount of bodyfat, you aren’t going to die if you miss a meal.

Here is the Rule of Threes for Survival. You can [roughly] survive for…:
3 minutes without oxygen

3 days without water
3 weeks without food

Much of our attitude about these things has to do with conditioning. If we’ve been pampered all of our lives to get whatever we want when we want it, then every second is a tragedy. But for those who have lived in want, those who don’t get 3 meals a day, and those who have been in survival situations, you know you can go for quite a while without dying. Honestly, nobody wants to be in such dire straits. But lets try to fall in the middle of the spectrum somewhere.

Here are some things I’ve done to learn to go without:
1. For short runs out on the trails even in hot weather, if a run is a 10K or less, I don’t bother carrying water with me. If I pre-hydrate correctly, I won’t need water. And "correctly" means, with adequate electrolytes to prevent hyponatremia, which can result in death. If your mind knows that you aren’t going to die, you know you’ll make it to the finish without trouble. But I see people out for a 1-mile walk with a huge water bottle taking a sip every block. That is wholly unnecessary and is a waste of effort. I know there are people who have dry mouth and feel the need to sip incessantly. But train yourself to do without and it won’t be as disastrous as you think.

2. I fast regularly. I use Intermittent Fasting (IF) as a tool for weightloss. But it is also a means of being more productive. I love coffee in the morning. That keeps me from feeling hungry throughout the morning. And without an insulin flood in my bloodstream from eating sugars (and yes, carbohydrates are long-chain sugars), my mental state stays on an even keel. Ever wonder about that circadian trough after lunch that makes most people want to take a siesta? Its the crash after eating so much for lunch with sugars and carbs. With IF, I do away with those problems. If I feel low on energy, I can take some coconut oil. That provides energy without triggering insulin production (and fat-production and fat-storage). I say this all the time, but eating Fat does not begat Fat. Healthy lipids are super useful for hormone production and lots of other healing properties. Its eating sugar and carbs that causes fat to balloon in your bodies.

Mentally, what do these restrictive habits do for you? If you discipline yourself to restrict immediate desires, you learn to have patience. You learn self-assuredness. You can do this for your children too. Don’t jump at every whim. They can learn early on the value of contentment. Focus on something else than that addictive desire for something. Food can be like a drug. You are dying for that Dopamine Dump. If you are worried about dehydration, drink your water or sugar-free electrolytes. But if you have normal salt intake (please don’t restrict salt; its super bad for you), you will always have a good balance of electrolytes where drinking water won’t cause hyponatremia.

When I was in the Army, the most painful things we did were stand in parade formation in the hot sun. You had all these people watching you, so you couldn’t lose your bearing. Imagine standing in 90F degree heat. Those black polished shoes absorb the suns rays roasting your feet to a crisp. That thick polyester Class A uniform with a long-sleeve shirt and t-shirt underneath aren’t doing you any favors. You can feel sweat trickling from under your hat into your eyes and ears, but there’s nothing you can do about it. It is a very painful position to hold for many tens of minutes without even the slightest movement. That is what we call discipline.

Find ways in your life to develop your mental fortitude. Diet can be an area where you learn about yourself. It is the weak who end up failing. Instead, find strength. Strong people are winners in life.

Calorie In — Calorie Out
Burn more than you take in.
Its as simple as that.

There aren’t any excuses. If you are on medication, it doesn’t matter. There isn’t magic in calories. Its very simple. If something makes you desire food, trim those desires. Don’t keep chips and cookies in your house. Its as simple as that. Resist fast food. You don’t have to eat it. Resist the donuts in the break room. The strong survive. There aren’t any tricks to it. There isn’t any magic. A morbidly obese person stranded to a couch has to be fed by someone if they are going to eat. The simple solution? Feed them less. Easy as that. Don’t give into their whims. And don’t give into your own desires. Calorie In — Calorie Out.

Killed my GoPro?

I thought I killed my GoPro. I was showing off and selfie sticked it through a bird bath full of water, forgetting to close the lid after charging. I shook it out and it seemed to work. I often charge it in my truck. So I was out on a run yesterday and I took it along. But when I pushed the button, didn’t work! When I read what to do, everything said not to turn it on or charge it after getting it wet. They talked about the putting it in rice thingy and even tearing it apart and washing components with isopropryl alcohol. I just left it out in my hot truck with the lid open. Once it cooled in the house, it worked. Yay!! I just hope it keeps working.

Must Run Trails

Or better yet, can’t run roads!

I’ve said this too many times, but I was a runner all my life. My first 10K was in the 6th grade and I haven’t looked back. A hard landing during adult gymnastics damaged something in my left calf that has hobbled me for the past several years. If I try to run, the left calf totally seizes up.

But what I’m realizing is that my left calf only has a problem when I run flat concrete surfaces. If I run in grass or on trails, I don’t have a problem. I can still feel tightness but it never goes into full blown Alles Kaput mode!

And don’t even say it, its not that I am NOT running in shoes. That will take us on a whole other tangent. But I will go there briefly.

For me, being a natural, barefoot, minimalist runner, a natural gait is one in which I can midfoot strike. That is, I land mostly on the center of my foot. I probably feel a lot more spring from the forefoot when I do this because I am rolling toward the forefoot when I press off. This is a natural gait and should be for everyone.

The worst kind of foot strike is a rearfoot strike. You see this in most shod runners, a.k.a. those who run in shoes. If you read the book "Born to Run", there isn’t a single shoe manufacturer who will say that their shoes scientifically prevents injuries. Imagine this, take a 10 pound solid glass ball. Now wrap it the best you can in bubble wrap or whatever. Maybe wrap it in foam. Now extend it with arms overhead and just drop it on the floor. How well do you think it will fare? Now take a 120-200 pound human and wrap their foot and see if you can prevent an injury. Its really quite a chore. Try dropping the ball a thousand times. That’s the number of foot strikes you land in a single run. Shoes are not the answer. And dependence on shoes makes you think you are protected. So instead of using the elasticity and shock absorption of your arches, calves, ankles, knees, etc., you become wholly dependent on a half inch or so of foam. Its not gonna happen.

So for me, being a barefoot runner, when I’m on a very hard, unnatural surface, I think I tend toward more shock absorption with a slightly forward forefoot strike. If I didn’t have a predisposing condition, this would work just fine. But that nagging calf problem gets overloaded. I’ll never say never. I’m a Thai yoga massage therapist, so I’ve been trying to self-heal. And I know it will happen. Some day.

I swore off roads about 15 years ago anyway. Those evil humans were out to get me. When a drunk driver weaved all the way to my side of the road, I said I’d never do it again. The trails fit my personality better anyway. I love nature and embracing Mother Earth. I love all the challenges and obstacles they present. I love the variety of hills and twists and turns. I love seeing so much wildlife and smelling the honeysuckle and feeling the crunch of leaves under my feet. It is the best way to run. And for the most part, I prefer solo. I love being with a friend now and then just to be able to say out loud how beautiful the trail is. Otherwise, I love the pitter pat of my own feet and the breath from my lungs.

Strength

Being strong is not about how much you can lift. Its not about bragging on social media about what you can do. Its not about lifting more than someone else.

Being strong is an attitude.

I was walking across the parking lot just now. The sun is just now beaming down onto my back with that early morning smell of thick moisture. But as I walk, I can feel purchase with my feet. I have to wear shoes for work, but if I were barefoot, its as if I was a lion clawing with each step. Its not just ambulating or moving forward. Its more of a pulling at the Earth’s surface and all its mass. I can feel it in my feet, my hips, my back. My shoulders roll back and I stand taller. The computer bag strapped over my shoulder is weightless. It could be 5 pounds or 50 and it wouldn’t matter. My senses are hyper aware. I know what’s behind me without looking. In my peripheral vision, I am keen to the bird 100 feet up on an antenna. Yet I can see the worker illegally smoking next to paint cans at the shop. I sniff to confirm the smoke but the thick air is slowing moving away from me to the West. I see the angle of the sun and from whence it rose. Last night, instead of the sun setting due West at 270 degrees, I noticed it was more like 300 degrees West-Northwest and I wondered why. It was a New Moon and funny things happen then. But this awareness gives me strength.

So many of us bobble head our way through life. I read that most people have lapses in time in their daily rigor. They drive to work but forget everything about the drive. They didn’t notice anything special. But there is something special in everything. They didn’t see the person smile at them as they walked by. They didn’t notice the line of ants busily doing their work without much reward other than a job well done. They didn’t notice the chicory along the highway and wondered what that would taste like in tea or Cafe Au Lait. The latter whisks me back to a muggy morning in New Orleans with the sounds from a rusty old trumpet along the street. Every sight and sound connects me with a memory. But if we aren’t aware of all the things of life, we’ll miss out on that strength. The strength in connecting. We plug into the tunnel vision of our smartphone. We put blinders on to what is around us. And we miss all the syrupy goodness of life.

Strength is confidence. Strength is resolve. Its knowing that you can defend yourself with extreme prejudice, but instead you turn the other cheek and walk away. Strength is in your voice that speaks confident truth. It doesn’t make excuses or find a scapegoat to send into the desert with the lies you tell yourself. Strength is knowing you lay your head on your pillow at the end of the day and know that not a single minute was wasted. You are conscious of your surroundings and become one with the eclipse of the moon.

Strength is seeing something and knowing you can pick it up. It may be a boulder on your neighbor’s lawn. It could be a steel vice that blocks your path at work. Without thinking about the mechanics of the lift or the potential damage a cold lift can do, you just know its possible. You don’t have to lift it, not even for yourself. And you don’t have to take a picture or yell to everyone to gather around. You just know.

That’s the strength of a grown man. The strength of a mother. The strength of the Veteran lying on his death bed. Its the strength that they know they’ve fought the good fight. And as a new day dawns, the next fight is around the corner. But the calm, silent warrior in all of us errs on the side of strength. It doesn’t flame social media posts to better their opponent. That is only cowardice. Instead, strength crouches in the shadow like a catapult on an aircraft carrier. Strength says that I know my character. And I have nothing to prove anyone. I hold it for when its important. And then I do my best with strength.

Be strong my friends.