Author Archives: B32 Athletics
Question : How are you?
E. All of the above
Notice how often when you ask this question, or are asked this of yourself, the answer is something similar to one or all of the above. This has become the way of things, the drone of a busy society. The rhythm we have all become accustomed and conditioned to.
Yet deep down we know and likely crave a more connected, slower-paced existence. One that lets joy and peace flow like beer at Octoberfest on a daily basis. An existence that allows us to feel at home, safe, loved, loving and fully present in all our relationships.
Like a heavy bag being carried on your shoulder, you know it’s uncomfortable but you endure, the end is likely in sight in the form of a Friday knock off from work or that long awaited family holiday. The bag of busy, of fast and tired is a reminder of the push and the drive to get things done to deliver us that brief moment of relief- of “ahhh”, when that heavy load has finally been placed back on the ground. It’s the same feeling 3 days into a week long holiday when all the mind chatter and jitteriness begins to drift away. You know the feeling… It’s just plain good!
This brings some respite and maybe just enough of a breather in order to face up to the next 6 months of life, but more than that, consider that perhaps these contrasts are actually showing you another way to be in your every day life. What is all the busy and worry calling you to look at in your life?
Slow down, we’re told, but never really taught.
All the stubs of the little toe, the spelling mistakes on an email, a missed appointment, a mind wandering – these are all signs life throws us to look at but without guidance and some teachings of what these “lessons” are teaching we simply see them as a nuisance or put it down to a “shit happens” passing of the buck. It’s time to pay attention.
We’re taught that slowing down is seen as less, like we may miss out, lose touch or even be seen as giving up. The truth is slowing down allows us to see the limits and illusions of our self created perceptions. It allows us to see and be where we’re at, and move forward from that place, rather than speedily skimming over the details. Sounds heavy, I know, but getting to intimately know the art of slow is a deepening human experience.
The Art of Slow is a practice of Self involvement, Self interest and Self preservation. A practice of compassion for yourself, your body and your mind.
We’re not just going to tell you what to do. “Just slow down!” – where’s the empowering growth in that? You and I know that doesn’t work. It’s just talk. True change takes a more honest look at the way we live our lives and more importantly why we have chosen to live our lives in such a way.
We will be asking some tough questions as to why you need busy, why you want frantic. These tough questions are what makes this workshop so valuable to your health and life journey.
We will be sharing with you practical ways to build the Art of Slow into your life to gently allow you to experience what slow really has to offer. We’ll look at areas of movement, food, breath, lifestyle and Self.
There’s no magical motivational slogan, there’s no secret daily formula. Just you looking at you – that’s where the rewards are to be found.
Are you willing to see?
By Ross Blake
When you’re outside or experiencing multiple sensory inputs, the rate at which your nervous system is taking in and processing information grows exponentially. For example you might be processing 30,000 bits per second performing a balancing exercise in the gym, but when you add in nature and all it’s forces (like moving water, wind and uneven surfaces) this processing might increase to something more like 300,000 bits per second.
This creates an experience that can awaken deeper senses- some survival-based, some pleasure-based. If the experience is too challenging, we see a dominance of survival senses which can actually collapse the CNS – it’s too much too soon. But when balanced with pleasure in the movement experience – dropping into the moment and losing any expectations or judgement of the activity, we allow CNS expansion, recharge and reinvigoration of the entire system.
To extend this idea, to really expand the nervous system is to not only feel a balance of challenge and pleasure in movement, but to feel beyond your fingertips. To tap into & take in all the interconnected pathways in the world around you that exist to support the aliveness of your body. That is true switching on of your central nervous system.
Ever noticed how handstands work better at the beach?
Wondered why when life is good, movement feels better?
Have you felt the benefit of touch or a hand that hovers 1-3cm over a muscle without touching it to help switch it on?
These are all examples of your CNS sensing and taking in the support present in your environment to help it expand and flourish.
To do this with more awareness, gently reach out, calmly breathe and absorb the support that is there for you. You can think of this like grounding into the Earth, or perhaps visualise arcing ropes like Spiderman’s webs connecting you to the nearest tree or rock meters away, helping you move and balance. In this video, Joellle is grounding to the Earth via a barefoot connection with the branch, while sensing the energy of the moving ocean, pulling its energy in. This helps create a sense of calm, stillness, balance, vitality.
You are deeper & far more eloquent than simply your five senses. Breathe, remain still & feel beyond your skin – you can cultivate your innate (and sixth) sense of body in time & space.
By Joelle Collard & Ross Blake
With a crunch that any potato chip company R&D would envy, the sweet, fresh, earthy carrot is often overlooked as nothing more than a colourful addition to the dinner plate. In the midst of more modern popularised high fat, low carbohydrate diets, the carrot has even been placed in the “too dense carbohydrate” pile, and thrown into the occasional foods category – not to be indulged in too often.
However, the humble carrot has some interesting properties that make it a worthwhile addition to the eat often category. Let’s take a look…
Antifungal – the carrot has an antifungal affect on the gut due to a substance it contains called falcarindiol. Raw carrot can be used to help treat conditions like candida (internal, systemic or externally presenting – e.g. tinea). The carrot was initially grown as a medicinal substance rather than a food.
Antibacterial – “Endotoxin, produced by bacteria, mainly in the intestine, disrupts energy production, and promotes maladaptive inflammation.” ~ Ray Peat, PhD. In addition to anti fungal talents, carrots also contain antibacterial properties. These help to balance out gut flora, thus reducing the production of endotoxin (gut bug poo and byproducts) and promoting liver (and overall system) clarity and health.
Promoting hormonal balance and detoxification - the indigestible fibre in carrots helps to protect the intestine, preventing reabsorption of estrogen through the intestinal barrier (and thus, reducing toxic burden on the system.) This process helps promote progesterone and thyroid hormone, reducing cortisol and estrogen.
“Preventing excessive sympathetic nervous activity and maintaining the intestine’s energy production can be achieved by optimizing hormones and nutrition. Something as simple as a grated carrot with salt and vinegar can produce major changes in bowel health, reducing endotoxin absorption, and restoring constructive hormonal functions.” ~ Ray Peat, PhD
- 1 grated carrot, 2 tsp coconut oil, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, pinch good quality sea salt. Eat daily, mid-pm for best gut balance, detoxification and immunological benefits.
- As is – 1 raw carrot, taken daily.
- Roasted carrots with goat’s cheese, toasted almonds, currants and flat-leaf parsley.
Feeling heavy is not a matter of physical weight. It’s weight of mind, life, emotion- a blockage and stockpile of stale energy. And so the key to feeling lighter takes into account the basic principle that energy follows energy- where our attention goes, energy flows. We need to attend to the blockages, the stifles, to get the energy flowing.
Energy blockages can be seen and felt when:
1. Physical objects clutter your space and stop the free flow of energy in one or many of your external environments, such as your home.
2. Your physical body’s vibrational frequency is impeded or muffled. This can happen in many ways, but we’ll look today toward nutrition and movement.
3. You’re being called to attend to a matter of Self via moods and emotions.
Let’s look at some things you can do in these three layers- your environment, your body, your emotions- to help get things flowing again.
1. External Environment
Clear out- The first step is to look at the literal, obvious things blocking your energy. This may be as simple as taking a look around your space. Are the entry points and hallways clear? Are the blinds open and allowing light and air to flow through? Is the house tidy, or crammed and cluttered? Take a little time to clear out doorways, hallways and floor space. Open the doors and windows and allow the air to flow through, even if only for five minutes. Check in and see how you feel.
Get some green- try adding a plant or two to each room to help clear out and move through the energy in the room.
Cupboard clean out- Next, let’s open the cupboards. Are they crammed full of clothes for next season and those jeans from five years ago you’re determined you’ll fit back into sometime soon? Pull all your clothes out into the floor. Anything you wouldn’t pack in a bag for a two week trip (right now) to 1. Hawaii, and 2. Tasmania needs to go. This will ensure only your favourite, most worn items get to stay. If you wouldn’t pack it, pass it on.
Simplify. If you didn’t wear it last season, you aren’t going to wear it this year either. And surely there’s someone else in the world who will actually wear it!
As for those jeans you’ve sworn to get back into. Ditch them. Clothes carry old, stale energy and memories from a different phase of our lives. Attachment to them only tethers us to the past, pulling our attention back there. Besides, buying new jeans is much more satisfying than staring longingly into your cupboard. Go and get some today, in whatever size you need right now.
2. Physical body
Energy can pool up in certain areas and systems of the body. Common areas of energy blockages include the hips, shoulders, gut, liver and throat. You’ll feel it as a tightness, heat or simply a sense that something isn’t quite in harmony in that area of your body.
Move- It’s important to note that we aren’t trying to fight the energy, we need to welcome and massage it back into flow in the body.
One of the most amazing ways to do this is yoga, where a combination of connection to the breath, grounding to Earth and sequenced movements expertly help to free up stuck energy.
You can also try dynamic movement and mobility sequences, barefoot movement, outdoor natural and mindful, flow-based movement to get things rolling again. [If you need some tips, check out our reBalance program.]
Nourish- Consider the quality of food you’re eating. Some foods (namely processed, often GMO, non-organic, irritants) can leave us feeling dirty, slowing down the flow of energy in the body and often causing energy to pool in specific organ systems. Choose organic, clean, fresh foods, as close to their natural state as possible to help keep that flow moving at an appropriate pace. The less hands, machines, kilometres and processes that have touched your food to get it to you, the better.
Hydrate- when you think about the word “flow”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Water. Grab a big glass of water. Drink it. Wait a moment. Now, how do you feel?
Sunlight- Get some. Surely you can feel the difference in mood and “heaviness” when you’ve had some time in the sun… So do it!
3. Self and soul
On a deeper level, any mood is simply the language of soul, an expression of what’s really going on for you underneath the surface. It’s a communication from the often unseeable depths of something you need to know and need to attend to- it’s worth listening.
The ultimate key to lightening up is to tap into those depths and acknowledge what’s actually weighing you down. Beyond the surface layer things, people and situations you may feel are hindering you, consider what’s really underneath the mood you’re experiencing. Ask yourself, “what’s really going on for me here?” Name the thing that comes to mind right before you say “I have no idea”, say it aloud, picture it, breathe it in, and then… Exhale. Make a choice to watch it drift away with your breath. Take another three deep breaths, and let go of a big sigh with each exhalation, just to move those last fragments of energy. Journal what you came up with, noting any thoughts that arise about what you need to do to help move you forward. Now check in with yourself- do you feel lighter? More open?
Ultimately, life is all about energy. Your body, your soul, your world, the world are all about energy. Feelings of lightness, vitality, health and happiness (in every one of those domains) happen when we can keep it flowing through and between them. Paying attention to the moments that make you feel dull, stifled, stuck, will help you to discover what you need to do to keep that flow, and maintain that lightness and vitality.
Before we begin… A disclaimer
Going barefoot is not the magic bullet. Newsflash – there isn’t one. But it may be a piece of the puzzle for you. And if some of this article does resonate with you, then take your transition to barefoot gradually. You wouldn’t take your arm out of a cast it had been in for twenty years and expect to go twenty rounds on the punching bag without injuring yourself, would you? Apply the same logic to your poor feet. Go slow and let the structures adapt gradually over time. And note that this article is NOT about how to transition to barefoot running. There are lots of great resources on how to do that out there (Google is your friend), but this is not one of them.
Now for the juicy bits…
Barefoot. If you’re plugged into the health and fitness realm you’ve probably noticed the term is popping up all around the place at the moment. And if you’ve worn shoes your entire life and the thought of going outside without them on sounds a bit daft, then you’ve probably asked – what’s all the fuss about? Let’s take a look.
The Importance of the foot
As a quick google will reveal, the foot and ankle comprise 26 bones, 33 joints and over a 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. The foot is the start of a myofascial line which runs from your toes to the top of your head – yes, that means your foot has a direct line of influence to your noggin. Every step we take, our foot initiates (unless it isn’t allowed to initiate – more on that shortly) a cascade of muscular actions that flows up our leg and throughout the body. Consider the fact we take an average of 10,000 steps a day, and that in running, forces through the foot can exceed three times bodyweight and you may begin to get a sense of how important this structure is. Given this complexity and interconnectedness then it really should not come as a surprise that the health of the feet has an impact on every link in the movement chain of which it is a part – which is to say most of them.
Almost everyone understands that a tight, inactive and immobile shoulder will lead to poor movement patterns and pain both down the arm and through the back and neck (and beyond). That is just dysfunction in one joint. But we immobilize the feet without a second thought (33 joints remember), wrapping them up in shoes with as much padding as we can, wearing insoles and orthotics to stop the joints moving, and doing our best to stop our feet from ever actually touching the ground. Is it any wonder we have sore ankles, knees and back and need to seek guidance and treatment from health and fitness professionals to get things working again!? Perhaps if we applied the same logic to our feet that we accept so readily for our shoulder, letting them do what they have evolved to do over 150 thousand-odd years, then some of these problems may not manifest in the first place.
The benefits of barefoot
For the foot to be healthy it needs to be able do what any part of us needs to be able to do – move through a full range of motion, to have strong and relaxed musculature and to be proprioceptively switched on (so we know where our foot is in space and we can alter muscular action quickly in response to stimuli).
Full range of motion includes pronation (where the foot rolls inwards towards the midline of the body and the arch of the foot flattens against the floor, and which so many of us wear orthotics to prevent) and supination (rolling outwards) as well as toes that move (including those pesky little toes.)
So if your foot experiences none of these – you clunk around like a baby elephant on flat arches and squeal when they touch anything harder than your comfy explorer socks – then I suspect you may guess my prescription: take off your shoes.
Strong and alive feet will allow you to walk on more awkward surfaces and step on rocks without pain, not because the skin is calloused and thick (although this does help), but because they are able to react and adjust to different surfaces quickly, rather than just thudding onto them. And strong and alive feet will help give all the links up the chain their best chance to be able to react and move like they are meant to. Which means healthier and more resilient knees, ankles and back.
Here are a few things to try to get your feet switched on and stronger. Note that your feet will be sensitive when you first start off, so be gentle.
1. Take your shoes off more.
This is kinda obvious, but think about how many times in a day you could be barefoot and you’re not. Do you wake up and put your shoes on to walk around the house? Do you put your shoes on to go to the letterbox. Why? Take them off. Socks too.
2. Walk barefoot in the grass.
If you haven’t done this for a while you’ll be amazed at how grounding it is and how nice it feels, and the sensations of the grass are great for firing up the nerve endings and bringing your feet back to life. Find some longish, green grass that hasn’t been mown for a while and walk around in it. Leave your MP3 player in the car (also your smartphone, GPS, water bottle, tablet and your to do lists – you can do it). Stop, close your eyes, scrunch your toes up and dig them into the earth and take three deep breaths and see how good it feels. And then realise you can do this whenever you want.
3. Walk barefoot at the beach.
Much like number 2, but at the beach. While you’re there also take the opportunity to walk on the rocks at the rockpools and feel the sensations of the different rocks. Get your feet wet, even if the water is cold. Especially if the water is cold.
Balancing starts to challenge and develop the musculature of the feet in ways that walking will not, and once you get into it you’ll realise how much fun it is. One of my favourite ways to practice my barefoot balancing is simply on the rocks and sleepers in my back yard. I’ve got an obstacle course I’ve figured out that gets me from the backdoor to the compost bin without touching the ground (getting the chores done while barefoot balancing is winning.) Another easy place to start balancing is on the log barriers at your local park or oval. And remember, you don’t have to be high in the air and at risk of falling to your death for it to count as balancing.
5. Combine #3 & 4: Balance AT the beach
Why not get creative and combine a couple at once?! Balancing on wet rock surfaces, washed up wood and tricky-shaped shells at the beach is a great way to get your feet connected back with the earth, and to have them experience some different sensations you don’t get every day.
6. Appreciate your feet
Seriously. Pay them some attention, some love. For most of us, our feet carry us around for 70+ years and through a bunch of tough times – that’s a whole lotta work. Massage and rub your feet, or better yet, have someone else do it for you. Things like reflexology, shiatsu and just general touch will improve the connection of your foot to your body (and you to your foot.) There are even prescriptions where touching, massaging and appreciating the foot can not only get things firing but can also heal injury and ailment in that area. Energy follows energy. Give it a crack.
How did you feel when you woke up today?
Tired and uninterested in what your Monday has to offer?
Find yourself always conking out on the couch each day, only to live for the week end?
Is it time to live your life?
If you experienced Mondayitis today or have ever felt trapped in a life that is less than satisfying – & lets face it haven’t we all at some point – this short documentary with SLOMO may just get some juices flowing in time for ENRICH this Thursday evening. This cat may come across as a bit odd for some, however his message is legit and he touches on some well known (but sadly vastly under-utilised) universal truths on flow with his take on the Zone . Living in the moment reminders akin to The Power of Now and simple Follow Your Bliss statements like “do what you love”.
6 days till Monday (& Mondayitis) rolls around again.
ENRICH. Your life.
“Everyone has the capacity to dream up and believe anything he wants to. The shrinks or the psycho analysts will call it a personal delusional system and you believe it because you choose to” – SLOMO
ENRICH. Your life. – Thursday 6-8pm Thursday 17th July.
So often we hear the lines “just drop the fear”, “take action”, “live your purpose” in the realm of coaching and motivation. These “just do it” ideals are all action, jumping straight to a proposed solution to your unhappiness and inner dissatisfaction without even considering any inner evolution or journey.
It’s all show and surface level. When we attempt to follow this advice, we find it works for a little while, but then we’re back searching for new motivation, new lines, new solutions. If you want something to really change, read on.
There are 4 key questions to ask yourself if you want real change:
1. What is my resistance to change?
2. Where did I learn to operate in limited life constructs and what are they?
3. What is the identity I derive from these constructs?; and
4. Am I willing to let go of who I think I am in order to be my true powerful self?
Without delving into these questions AND doing the hardest work of all – being faced with our Self, we stay in our patterns of suffering with no real, sustainable success. ENRICH will give you the tools to look at these questions, to begin your journey.
A real and living component of any change is the dynamic of doing the hard work while simultaneously supporting yourself. It’s about living a balance of challenge and support. ENRICH helps you see the “why?” in the challenge, helping you to begin cultivating a supporting life in line with your values, your truth. From this place we have growth.
ENRICH is the seminar that shares the tools and insights to living a higher life.
Ross Blake – B32 Athletics Integrative Health Coach.
Thursday 17 July, 6-8pm.
By Ross Blake
A balanced relationship with your body comes not from controlling it for future gains, but from listening to what it requires in the moment.
We all have different biomechanics and different ways of moving that we have learned via repeated patterns in our life. It’s what makes us all beautifully unique. Just look around at your next run at how people move—it’s fascinating to see how we all fall into our own trusted patterns. Some of these patterns serve us really well, and others don’t. The one thing that truly determines whether our individual movement patterns work for us is how well we are able to be in our bodies when we move—our body presence.
Body presence is the internally oriented focus we are able to maintain when faced with a challenge. It enables us to feel, sense and hear body signals—the broadcasts that let us know when we’re deviating from efficient movement patterns. Lose this internal focus and we generally default to using our minds to push beyond our body’s signals, often leading to inefficiency and possibly injury.
Our minds cling to thoughts and ideals, and to how we think we should be progressing during any given moment. This clinging distracts us from hearing what our body requires and often leads to conflict between what the mind thinks and what the body needs. Most often our minds will win this battle, separating us from our body, leading to inefficiency, postural changes and a disengagement from what the body requires to smoothly and successfully move through a physical challenge.
When you move, your body language tells how present you are in your body. Any loud moans, rising tight shoulders, and, head twisting pain faces while labouring up an incline, tell a story of a body in distress—a story of not being present and ignoring body sensations. Such sensations are a communication to change something about the way you’re moving—it may be to ease up a little or drop your expectations, for instance. Ignoring these signals causes the body to communicate a little louder, perhaps to tighten up your back, cramp up a leg, making your movement uncomfortable and inefficient until you tune in.
Listen to these sensations, however, and maintain body presence, and you’ll be able to maintain your rhythm and efficiency, stay injury free and move through your physical challenges much more smoothly.
- Relax, drop my shoulders and breathe.
- Connect, soften my belly and flow
- Move and breathe
- Range, rhythm and relaxation
- Efficiency, presence and focus
- Connect, soften my belly and flow
- Smooth is fast
- Move slow, breathe low
Originally coined years ago as a reminder to relax into our bodies during movement, the phrase “move & breathe” has evolved to become much more than that. It has evolved to become a bit of a theme for life.
Every day, we are called to become a more elegant version of ourselves, through experiences, conversations, challenges, relationships and interactions with our bodies and the world around us.
“Move” reminds us to be open to the shifts and expansion available to us – it reminds us to continually move toward being that ever more elegant version of ourselves.
But with all expansion, there must be support and integration. There must be time to be still, accept and absorb. “Breathe” reminds us to be patient, to sit in the still phases and to enjoy where our current life phase has taken us so far.
Move toward being yourself. Breathe to support that movement. With movement, there must be breath, and where there is breath there is space for movement.
Limited batch guys and girls T’s. $40 each.
by Joelle Collard
Ugh… look at those thighs. I should go for a run.
Can I have that muffin? I’ll work it off later.
Look at her… she has perfect skin; mine will never look like that.
We’ve all heard it. That internal nattering, the thought ping pong we play in our own heads. From breakfast to lunch to that tiring drive from work to the gym, we engage in these battles, compromises, bargaining and judgment – all of, and with ourselves.
Our internal dialogue is like a manic and misdirected screenplay illustrating just how we feel about ourselves. It shows us the battles we’re fighting and where there’s a conflict and longing for something different from what we have right now. It shows us our story of “not enough”. It’s within that screenplay we restrict our true desires, where successfully dampening and controlling them leads to a sense of power and piousness, helping us, for a small moment, feel like we’re enough. Bow to these desires however, and we feel utterly shameful, powerless and low.
… In either case, the control of desire, the stomping on of appetite, the personal punishment we put ourselves through, can only lead to one place… more control. More stomping. More punishment. More “no”. It can never lead to the thing we all truly desire underneath it all… happiness. Gentleness. Freedom. And, above all, love of Self.