Yamuna Body Rolling Week #3

Core Stability is vital to your health and well being. All the sit ups in the world don’t necessarily give you the experience of a 3 dimensional stable foundation. The primary principle here is to imagine a connection from the front of your body all the way through the stomach to the front of your spine and then to the back of your spine.
Add the breath to this foundation, and you have the beginnings of being able to lengthen and strengthen your core. Breathe in, then press back in to the ball, imagining the press starting at the front of your body. Breathe out as you press in. Curl forward, so your head is moving toward your feet.
Sit ups tend to contract the stomach muscles, so you can look scrunched over. The space between your ribs and your hips can get smaller. And you end up looking a bit fatter, since your stomach is squashed in to a smaller cavity.
Body Rolling can help give you a sense of spaciousness.
Watch the video. And let me know what you think.
Do you have a Body Rolling practice? Any daily body oriented practice? I’d love to know about it.

Happy Mother’s Day

Welcome to Florida signHanging out with my Mom in Ft. Myers. She lives alone in a gated community, with golf course and swimming pools. My Mom is 85. I was worried that she might not be able to take care of herself anymore. I’m not sure what it’s called, but all the folks I met over 80 all seemed to be wasting away. There’s a kind of concentration camp look to them all.

It was fun hanging around with them. They were mostly physically active, playing golf, swimming, and lots of book reading. I was surprised at how much we had in common! I would rather be doing yoga, but in general, the activities were very similar.
And the conversation was very similar. Gossip, books they were reading, meals they were cooking, what they had done so far today, the weather. Relatives.

And even though my mom’s hands look mangled, it’s amazing what she can still do. It seems like she can pretty much do most things you have to do in a day. Her lifting capacities are diminished, but she can still cook, clean, wash dishes, put things away and take them out. And her mind is still doing well, as it was for most of the people I met. Being in warm weather is helpful for the joints, and the heart also does better in warm rather than cold weather.

No Trader Joes here, no Whole Foods. I was shocked! I think it’s the next generation that is into these food chains. Most of the people here are still basic meat and potatoes kind of folks.

I’ve been here about 6 days. And I’m just getting into a routine. I leave in 2 more days. Going somewhere for less than 2 weeks doesn’t really allow me to dig in and really experience a place. But life does require most of us to be “home”. I saw a sign in front of a church that said  “Home is where Mom is”. I could totally relate.

What I’m leaving with is a sense of how important diet is to one’s health. And how much massage can keep me flexible and healthy. How important weight training is. And the routines I do to keep my feet and hands flexible.

The Soul Of Storytelling

Body Tales is a way of accessing our Personal Stories through our bodies. I first saw it in San Francisco many years ago. At one point, one of the performers left the stage and went over stage left and joined the other performers. They encircled her and gave her a group hug. I never forgot that. The sense of being a part of a tribe. Of coming back to the tribe and being embraced.

A few weeks ago, I moved mountains to get to one of the group’s weekend retreats. Most of the work is done just with women or once a week throughout the year in San Francisco.
Olivia Corson developed the work. Sylvia Castro has been with her for a large chunk of that time. All I can say is that the work filled in a lot of holes for me. If my personal expressive practice was a puzzle, Body Tales filled in many of the missing pieces.

Storytelling is an integral part of the human experience. We’ve been doing it since our beginnings here on planet Earth. As we’ve evolved, so has our story telling. Now that we are in the technology age, we tend to talk a lot. About ideas. The concept of moving and making sounds as part of the story is virtually non existent. For me, those aspects just transform the process. I watched one person after another get up and share their stories, and I sat there mesmerized. Because the stories were so real, so unique, and emerged from the person’s beingness rather than some concept.

Merce Cunningham just passed away. It was a huge loss to humanity. The man was instrumental in the direction that dance has taken. After spending a week honoring the loss and grieving, I have to say that I was never a fan. I just have never loved watching movement just for movement’s sake. I need some juice. Why are they doing what they are doing? One of Merce’s signatures was that the choreography, the musical score and the costumes didn’t come together until dress rehearsal or the first performance.

It’s a great idea. But so what?

Anyhow, Body Tales is on the other side of the spectrum. The work is very personal. And I love it.

Thoughts About Work

So many people i know are struggling now, being out of work, and trying to make ends meet. At the other end of the spectrum, i was just talking with Joey a few days ago. He is a carpenter, and I’ve been waiting for a month for him to come over and give me an estimate on some work i need done. He has enough business already to keep him busy until Christmas. I suggested he might want to find some help.

Well, he began to tell me a story about how hard it is to find help these days. His point of view was that it’s so easy now to “be on the dole” that no one wants to work hard. Guys will come on and work a few days and then just not show up. It’s easier to collect from the government and sit home and watch TV. And his wife is experiencing the same issues with her restaurant. She can’t seem to find people who want to do the work necessary to keep a business going.

It’s amazing to me how polarized these stories are, and all of the people really do believe that their experience is the only reality. Personally, I put myself in the “survivor” category. I’ve always been able to find work. After holding hundreds of positions, and working for small businesses, corporations, schools, the government, I have my own opinion. I don’t know how important my opinion actually is to you. Let me know in the comments section below.

What i would like to suggest is that if you are out of work, you ask yourself “how much of my time am i dedicating to making money?” Not complaining, but actually taking steps to either generate income or reduce expenses.

Brainstorming is a valuable tool to open your mind to potentially new and innovative ways to create revenue. Things like trading with neighbors or friends, barter, asking people what they could use help with.

If we can move out of ourselves and see what those around us need, it really opens up the playing field.

Let’s all take a moment to close our eyes, breathe in a sense of fullness and prosperity, and breathe out any thing that is an obstacle to that occurring.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the subject.

Wi-Fi Kills Trees

Oh my, i hate to be the bearer of bad news, most of you are such positive loving souls…this just broke my heart. Not sure what to do about it; i don’t use my cell as much. i’m trying to break out of the inertia that seems to be happening of busy busy busy, multiple streams of input and very little body to body. I’m sitting more, cultivating the pleasure that streams easily and effortlessly.

Summer Cleanse

Life seems to be moving faster and faster. I have had some profound experiences in the last 4 weeks. I started a 6 week cleanse 4 weeks ago; it’s called Arise and Shine. I’m not much for going without my favorite foods, especially in the summer. But Cass Phelps, a movement teacher (and much more) emailed me to say that he was tele-coaching people through the experience.

I have been lucky lately to be able to just follow what is being presented, to say yes to life as it unfolds. So I said yes. It has been a very easy and enlightening experience. I’ve lost 23 pounds and about 8 per cent body fat.
And I have watched my moods change, and my sense of well being and connection.

And I’m looking forward to eating a healthier diet. Doing something like this really let me see how powerful our food choices are. The literally determine how we see the world.

The reason the cleanse is 6 weeks is that we spend two weeks strengthening our intestinal flora. And being careful not to binge. The hardest part for most people is the re entry. They tend to binge.

If you asked me what the one most powerful thing a person could do to change the world, I would say it would be to become a vegetarian. That’s the short answer. It ends up we kill 10 billion animals a year to eat.

The amount of land needed to produce a one-year food supply for a person who has to support a meat-eating habit is 3.25 acres. The amount of land needed to produce a one-year food supply for a pure vegetarian is 1/6 acre. As cited by John Robbins in his book Diet for a New America, Lester Brown of the Overseas Development Council has estimated that if Americans would reduce their consumption of meat by only 10%, the amount of grain wasted on animal feed that could be diverted for direct human consumption would be sufficient to adequately feed every one of the 60 million people who die from hunger each year.

Production of meat also wastes precious water resources for watering and cleaning livestock animals and their equipment and facilities. Producing one pound of meat requires about 2,500 gallons of water.

Not to make things too complicated, but there is a caveat here. There also seems to be a link between our Blood Type and what kinds of foods we can tolerate. And how our body processes those foods. I am a type A, which is conducive to being a vegetarian. Type O’s, on the other hand, need meat. And their body processes meat very differently than mine does.

Just to say that I’m not talking about a ban on meat eating. Just a reasonable approach that acknowledges our basic needs and not our tendency to super size our lives.

Summer School

I’m in Seattle, studying Skinner Releasing. A group of 10 to 20 people come together every summer in Seattle to deepen our relationship to the work.

Skinner Releasing has at it’s foundation the use of imagery to powerfully affect the way we sense our bodies and the way we move.

I still remember the first time I was introduced to this work. It was in San Francisco. I left the dance studio feeling like I was walking on air.

Coming Home

Thank god for accountants. I don’t know what life would be like having to do taxes every year. It seems like such a torturous process.

I was thrilled to be able to work with Stephanie Skura last Sunday at Performance Works NW. I was amazed that there were four of us in the room who had been involved in the arts scene in New York City from ’71 to ’80.

So much of my work now is about coming home – being in my body, trusting my body, allowing my body to rest and receive. It’s so easy to get caught up in doing.

My big challenge is trying to get to bed earlier. I’m noticing that I get a second wind around 10:00 PM. From an Ayurvedic perspective, this is a common experience that needs to be overcome. It’s time to go to bed then.
It’s now 11pm, so I better follow my own advice. Nighty night!

Being in the Eye of the Storm

Last night I was reading another article in the New York Times about the economic chaos going on in the world. I could feel myself getting anxious, and depressed. I do what I often do when I feel myself going into a funk – I called a friend. I’m lucky to have some amazing friends. She reminded me that my life purpose is helping people and that this is what I should be focusing on.

Anything that causes anxiety might not be a good thing to continue doing. There’s not much I, or most of you, can do about what’s going on in the world. I want to encourage you to spend time in silence and with loved ones. It’s a great time to remind each other of what’s really important. Stay away from people, places and things that cause you turmoil.

The news right now is breeding fear. The truth is that your life is probably a lot like mine. I have money in the stock market and I chose to leave it there. That’s the only decision I really have to make – get in or get out. Once that’s done, my life is pretty much the same this week as it was weeks ago.

The financial markets are in chaos, but our economy hasn’t really changed much. That is an important distinction.

You can consider this a horrible thing, or you can look at it as an opportunity. This is a time for us to focus on the way we want our lives to play out. I’m part of an incredible community. We take care of one another. Reach out to your community.

I was at a meeting on Sunday about the unraveling that’s happening. There was a woman there who was beaming as she spoke about what’s happening. Someone commented on how, when a hurricane happens, the eye of the storm is amazingly still. How can you maintain that sense of equanimity and peace amidst the chaos?

This is an opportunity to stand for what really matters to you. Living in fear has big consequences to our physical and mental health. We are the change we yearn for.

For me, it includes supporting local merchants and farms, maybe even growing your own herbs, fruits and vegetables. If you do believe things are going to get worse, stock up. The local markets usually only have food for 72 hours worth of shopping – and that’s when there’s not a panic. So, having canned foods, preferably organic, and water stocked up is a great idea.

I can’t tell if the government knows something we don’t, or if they are trying to stir up more fear, but there was a commercial on the radio last night talking about stocking up on food for an emergency. For more info, go to www.ready.gov.

New Instructional Videos

I’ve been back in the video studio and recently uploaded several new massage tool and exercise equipment instructional videos for you on You Tube:
movie clapper

My aim with these videos reaches beyond basic instruction to helping you learn how to listen to the clues your body gives you. The more insight you have into your body, the better you are able to make these tools work for you.

After viewing these videos, please feel free to add your comments on my blog.