So it begins – Rocket Yoga training

larry schultz epk

I will be attending a 5-day Rocket Yoga training soon. A minor hiccup in the process is that (on a whim) I signed up for the CrossFit Games Open as well. So I’ll need to submit my video Friday morning after the announcement of the workout before I begin my travels. What’s life without a challenge? 🙂

So, being an older yogi…and despite being relatively fit….you can’t overlook one thing. This is gonna sting…possibly badly. I packed Epsom salts for nightly and morning baths. I have a Rumble Roller, massage stick, back buddy, and lacrosse ball packed for self-therapy. I tried to find a place for a massage, but most don’t have weekend hours. And I understand my training schedule may be fluid, so I couldn’t cancel if I needed to.

Regardless of the uphill climb I describe, I am very excited for this opportunity. I’ve been teaching Rocket Yoga classes for 1.5 years and attended Ashtanga and Rocket classes over several years. I have many limitations flexibility-wise. But I teach many who have similar or greater limitations. I emphasize doing what you can and having fun. So teacher do likewise. I keep my mind open and my body fresh.

Namaste!

Building Bodies

arnold-cable-row

So, my upper back, lats and such, have been sore for 3 days now. No worries because its a good soreness. One that comes from revelation.

I’ve been focusing more in the past 10 or so years on athletic performance and functional fitness. I’ll occasionally dabble into the dark side of narcissism and do some body work. But for the most part, my body work is an afterthought. If what I do makes me look good, then so be it.

Sometimes, if I am a little tired or I have a few minutes to spare, I’ll grab the cables on a machine or maybe I’ll do some isolation work with dumbbells. And sometimes, I do it even though I think its a waste of time. I mean, I know its not necessarily going to help me clean & jerk another 5 kilos or add to my squat. But I do it anyway.

Well, back to my soreness. I keep a fairly detailed log of my workouts. I mark down weights and PRs and how long it took to do a MetCon WOD. Three days ago, I found I was running out of time, so I thought I should do a few pulls on the cables since I was too tired to do pullups. I started with lat pulldowns while I was fresh. I usually do this with lighter weight and focus on form. But it was the close-grip pulley rows (picture of Arnold above) that got me. The weight was still light since it was the first set. I pulled back strictly until my elbows were fully back. Then, I only came forward half-way. So I did 3 half-way pulls to elbows back and then released all the way forward for a rep. Then pulled 3 half-way again and did that for a few sets. Lastly, I released all the way forward allowing my shoulder blades to pull far apart from each other getting a good stretch. Then I pulled back and pinched my shoulder blades together.

Know what? I almost didn’t count these in my training log. I ran out of time and only did one-set. But I’m glad I did because my back is jacked. I really need to rethink this and start doing more body work. I’m certain it will do wonders in building mass and hopefully that will translate into strength.

Live and learn!

Life is a Miracle

prehistory
Do you ever wonder how certain creatures are stuck and have not appeared to evolve?

What about crocodiles? If you look at pictures of what people claim are pre-historic, why do they show crocodiles?

How about pelicans? If you look at pictures of Pterodactyls, I would say they are pelicans.

What about ferns? Why no seeds? Where seeds? Why don’t they start producing seeds? What’s wrong with them?

We see pictures of changes in life. We don’t see the changes happen.

Do you remember the adage, “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”? Much of it stems from human embryonic development. At some points in development in the womb, you can see a salamander with a tail, a fish with gills, maybe a bacterial blob. And just because you can picture each of these stages, the hypothesis was that each stage represents a different creature in its evolution. That theory has been wholly debunked.

But we still have these pictures and say that one creature came from the other. In the sciences I’ve studied, we depend on replication of experiments. Sample size, error rates, all the statistics that matter come into play. Yet how does scientific reasoning apply to these pictures? Somehow we get lost in comparison and contrast; cause and effect; correlation versus real relationships.

I would propose a few experiments. Let’s change a common squirrel into a chipmunk. Or let’s change a crocodile into an alligator. Is that too difficult? How about something simpler. Let’s change Escherichia coli into Salmonella typhimurium (bacteria if you didn’t know). Show me the study and evidence and then let someone else recreate your study in another independent lab. Do that, and I’ll give you a Nobel Prize.

Walletless

fat wallet

I used to wear a hat everywhere. I was wed to my wedding ring; well, really to my wife. I’ve stored the ring as a keepsake and kept the wife. I have a drawer full of watches over time, and useless batteries should the watch go dead. And wallets. Don’t get me started on wallets.

Today, ball caps give me a headache. Rings hurt when I do pullups and I’m afraid of catching on something when working on stuff. And I have an iPhone that keeps time pretty well, so I don’t wear a watch. I didn’t mention shoes. I barely wear shoes since I teach yoga and other activities that allow me to go shoe-less. Its all about the feeling of freedom these days. Unencumbered is the way for me.

So my recent thang is the wallet. I started to notice that a thick wallet full of credit cards, IDs, and bills is affecting my spine. Adding 1-3 inches of thickness to one side of your butt can’t be a good thing.

So I’m trying out an iPhone case/wallet. It only has 3 slots, so I carry my work ID, driver’s license, and a credit card. I’ve learned at an early age to consolidate to one credit card. Its easier to manage and you’re less likely to spend willy-nilly on things you don’t need. Oh, I’m debt free too. I save for big purchases like vacations and vehicles. I’m replacing a roof this year, which will cost $11,000. Yeah, I’ll pay it with cash. Not because I am especially wealthy, but I save well. I’m a penny pincher. One credit card, used rarely and with lots of rewards for purchases. That’s the way for me. Its safer and more efficient.

Healthwise, I think being Walletless will make a difference in my body. I’ll not be tilted to one side for 8 hours of work everyday. Or driving in my car or sitting in meetings somewhere. I can keep an ID wallet secure in my vehicle with other cards, like Sam’s Club and Autozone. And I may go to a money clip for bills. Like a nice stylish one that is fun to carry. We’ll see about that. Its the little things in life that make you slim, trim, and healthy.

Stands With A Fist

stands with a fist
There is a character depicted in the movie “Dances With Wolves” with the name given to her “Stands With A Fist”. She was a Caucasian woman taken in by the Lakota Sioux for a reason I don’t remember. She had been with them for so long that she no longer spoke English. Apparently, she was given this name because she didn’t take any gruff from anyone. She wasn’t a weakling of a person who sought special privilege. She Stands with a Fist. You have to admire a person like that. Someone who isn’t looking for a handout. Someone who makes the most of every situation.
When you are proud, you try to do things yourself. You appreciate help, but you don’t seek it. It is about personal responsibility and value of self-worth. In that time, a Native woman would wander off to a lonely place in the woods to give birth. It was a completely different mindset. Don’t get me wrong. I like all the accouterments of modern life. But you have to admire the mind of someone who does something on their own. Its why I like to fix my own car. YouTube is good for that. There is nothing that we are incapable of doing these days if we have the courage to put our minds to it.
It doesn’t take the government, or some official, or a college degree to tell me if or what or when I can do something. I will do it. And always on my own if I have the tools to do it. We should all learn to Stand With A Fist!

Meditation with a Mala

Tibetan-Buddhist-Hindu-Rudraksha-Mala-Meditation-Beads-7

I have read many methods of using a Mala for meditation, but I’d like to share you mine. A Mala is a beaded necklace, or bracelet, that is used for prayers in various faiths. A rosary is a similar device used in Catholicism. The one I use has 108 beads, which is a significant number to many. Other forms are divisions of half or a quarter of that number. For instance, a mala bracelet may have 27 beads, or one-quarter of 108. There is often a head bead that has a tassel or other design that lets you know when you reach the end.

The method I use for meditation usually ends after yoga practice of opening stretches allowing you to find a better seat, or asana. I may use blocks or a Zafu/Zabutan cushion to sit on. I may light a candle or find a place that is serene. It may be a boat dock or someplace that is private and quiet. I wear enough clothes to keep a comfortable temperature.

I will sit cross-legged in Siddhasana, but you may choose Sukhasana, Lotus, or half Lotus. My spine is erect and my hands are open in front of my knees. I keep my head balanced on my shoulders with eyes closed. I take the Mala in the peace fingers of my right hand. I find the notch next to the head bead. Then I begin my breathing, or pranayama. If I rate the sound of my Ujjiya breath from 1 to 10 with 10 being the loudest, I’ll take maybe 1-3 level for meditation.

Now, I focus on an intention. It may be a specific word or short phrase, or mantra. It could be the word “peace” or “love”. Or it may be a self-affirmation, like “do well today” or “be in the present”. My breath is continuous except at the bottom where there is a natural respiratory pause. In that pause, I silently state my intention to myself. Only, I must have complete focus on that intention in order to advance to the next bead. If my mind wanders, I don’t move forward. If I have time, I’ll go through the entire 108 beads. Other days, it may be half or a quarter of the beads. Whatever I do, I make sure I end on the head bead. I don’t want to have to open my eyes to see how far I’ve gone.

It is such an incredibly satisfying and grounding practice to meditate. My other favorite method if I am in a class, at the end of a weightlifting workout, or if I’m out on a run is to sit in vajrasana (thunderbolt pose). I place my hands in my lap in dhyana mudra. In this method, I’ll focus on my breath with my eyes closed, but focused on the tip of my nose. Then I’ll imagine colors, cool blue air as I inhale, and red hot air as I exhale. It is so refreshing. Try meditation and find the peace you’ve been looking for.

dhyana_mudra_geste_de_la_meditation

I Like Big Butts…

Over and over in podcasts and my readings, everything comes back to the butt. Think about the major places where bodies bend: elbow, knee, ankle, wrist, shoulder, hip. The hip is where the largest and strongest bend occurs in the body. The largest muscle in the body is the gluteus maximus and all the associated muscles in the buttal region. At the cellular level, mitochondria is the engine of the cell. It is where energy conversion takes place. Bigger muscles, mean bigger muscle cells, means more mitochondria, means more fat burning, means less fat on your body.

Long story short—

If you want to burn fuel, build more ass muscles!!

I’m not saying that is all you should do. But everything starts with the squat. If you don’t have time for anything else, do squats and lunges. Everything else will fall into place after that.

I’ve heard excerpts from Christmas Abbott’s book “The Badass Body Diet”. She has a very ass-centric view on health and fitness. And people like Cory Gregory, President of MusclePharm, are advocates of Squat Every Day. You can see my previous post on Lunge Every Day for more on that. Think of Olympic weightlifters who squat every day because it is the primary mover in getting weight from the ground to overhead. And when you get old, do you know how you die? You die when you can no longer get up off the toilet (aka squat). It is very unhealthy to not be able to squat anymore.

See dudes walking around with a bony butt with a ghost-like presence in their jeans? Don’t be that dude. And girls, yeah you may get a bigger butt by squatting a lot. But guess what, keep doing it and the fat will melt away leaving you with a toned, leaner-than-ever, bikini butt.

It all starts with the butt! So get after it! Get up and do a few lunges and squats. Right now!