Thoughts

MEDITATION FOR THE MIND & BODY: Theta Brain Waves & Your Fasica

MEDITATION FOR THE MIND & BODY: Theta Brain Waves & Your Fasica

Many of the questions I am asked from clients and interested parties in what is “corrective movement,” what is “fascial based YogaFORM? and “what is the right “state” of mind that will make a difference to how my body relaxaes?”

Our body is like a computer monitor, the mouse, the keyboard, the software that you visually see, it’s  the visual representation of what the CPU or harddrive uses to interact with the world and with you the user. Therefore, the CPU or harddrive is like your brain, and this harddrive holds thousands of programs so that you run efficently. Like a computer, your brain has certain frequencies where it runs specific programs like everyday tasks that are goal oriented (beta waves), times when you need to conetemplate and rejuvinate the body with exercise (theta waves), times when your body needs deep relexation and sleep (delta waves), times when you are completely asleep and your brain is processess and filing your day (alpha waves) and at last, times of deep introspection, and enlightenment (gamma waves). We looked at all of these states in our last post “Ride Your (Brain) Wave: Neuro-Synchronicity and Your Human Potential. Therefore, does it not make sense to utilize the most out of your day, your task, your well-being and “tune it in” to the right frequency. The answer is YES!

“The person who is most flexible will always have the power to change. Flexibility of the mind determines flexibility of the body and will”

Our bodies undergo daily changes, challenging events, and sometimes trauma, throughout our lifetimes, forcing it to continually adapt to new stresses, new environments and new patterns of thought. These challenges and circumstances constantly challenge our mental and physical well-being on a daily basis, and as a result, our bodies compensate, re align and shift, but not always for the better. Somtimes our bodies shift our of necessity and become un-balanced.  Our fascia system plays a significant role in how our body shifts, because it is interconnected to every muscle, bone and organ in our body.

Our Fascia System – 3 Layers

Let’s review our fasica system for a moment. We have 3 distinct layers that permeates and connects all our systems. Our visceral fascia envelopes our organs and is what holds them in place. Our superficial fascia acts as our initial layer where our skin is the terminus. It covers our muscles and transverses our adipose tissue. It’s softer and more malleable than our third layer, our deep fascia. Our deep fascia is thick and is the connective tissue that acts with our muscles, deep layers that attach to the muscles and bone. For example our thoraco-lumbar fascia.

The next question is how can meditation and accessing the right brain wave frequency offer us a chance to balance our body and reduce stress. For clients who have chronic pain and find it hard to move, or clients whose fascia and nervous systems are functioning at high sensory; this can be challenging, but it is achievable.

Theta Brain Waves – Meditation and Relaxation

Given the popularity and effectiveness of meditation as a means of alleviating stress and maintaining good health, there is a pressing need for a rigorous investigation of how it affects brain function.  Whether we are mentally active, resting or asleep, the brain always has some level of electrical activity. During meditation, theta waves were most abundant in the frontal and middle parts of the brain.

These types of waves likely originate from a relaxed attention that monitors our inner experiences. Here lies a significant difference between meditation and relaxing without any specific technique. Previous studies have shown that theta waves indicate deep relaxation and occur more frequently in highly experienced meditation practitioners. The source is probably frontal parts of the brain, which are associated with monitoring of other mental processes.

When we measure mental calm, these regions signal to lower parts of the brain, inducing the physical relaxation response that occurs during meditation.  Alpha waves were more abundant in the posterior parts of the brain during meditation than during simple relaxation. They are characteristic of wakeful rest.

During meditation or deep relaxation the mind can wander, this is very normal and a part of our mental process. Spontaneous wandering of the mind is something you become more aware of, and familiar with when you meditate consistently. This default activity of the brain is often underestimated, as it represents a kind of mental processing that connects various experiences and emotional residues, puts them into perspective and lays them to rest if needed.

During theta frequency it’s important to stay “alert,” but as the observer, keeping your mind slightly active, but non directly. Nondirective meditation yields more marked changes in electrical brain wave activity associated with wakeful, relaxed attention, than just resting without any specific mental technique

Theta Brain Waves Meet Somatic Fascia Healing

One of the barriers of progression can be found in the cells memory banks and the limiting beliefs in our subconscious mind that prevent us from moving forward. A simple and effect method  that allows time and space for the mind and body to meet in middle ground, is to include theta brain wave beat frequency into your practice.  This influences the cellular structure at both the conscious and subconscious levels. The mind can filter and process without distraction. This lowered frequency allows sets the tonal vibration within the body, at the cellular level, to release.

The relaxation response corresponds to a physical portion of the brain (located in the hypothalamus) which—when triggered—sends out neurochemicals that almost precisely counteract the hyper-vigilant response of the fight or flight response. When we take time to meditate, practice controlled, slow movements, we can start to elicit the relaxation response more efficiently and we can predictably measure its benefits on the body. These include: a decrease in blood pressure, diminished respiratory rate, lower pulse rate, diminished oxygen consumption, increase in theta, delta and alpha brain waves (associated with relaxation), and in many cases, an improved sense of mental and spiritual well-being.

The relaxation response is a physiologic response, and as such, there are many ways to elicit it, just as there are many ways to increase our pulse rate (another physiologic response). The key to deriving the benefits of the relaxation response is to practice it daily.

Ride Your (Brain) Wave: Neuro-Synchronicity and Your Human Potential

Ride Your (Brain) Wave: Neuro-Synchronicity and Your Human Potential

In today’s modern society, we can easily forget that we are the controllers of our reality and how we build our model of the world. Moreover, that “our reality” is not made up of  outside influences, but that it actually consists of our thoughts, beliefs and mindset. Those outside influencers are an experience, but it is how we “choose” to process them that forms our reality. Everything on our little planet (and beyond) are all energy; which means, tapping into energy can allow us to experience a deeper…well… experience.  Understanding brainwaves is the first key to unlocking our subconscious. It’s time to dig deep.

Most people understand that brainwaves have something to do with the electrical activity of the brain, but understanding some of the basics of your brain and brain wave states is very useful as well. By understanding how your brain goes in and out of certain brainwave states, you can learn to take advantage of each state; to be more productive, creative, and even to be able to learn how to relax and restore the body, mind and spirit.

All brain cells communicate via electrical signals (hence the waves). Your brain contains about 100 billion neurons, which is well over the number of stars in in the sky. Each neuron is connected to about 10,000 other neurons, making for about 100 to 500 trillion neuron-to-neuron connections in the brain; which at the present moment science still does not fully understand. What we do know is this… “The neurons that fire together, re-wire together.” Thus, what we think, we become. The brain has the power to change.

Brain activity has a pulse, a beat, or frequency that corresponds to it’s level of current activity – much like a flicker of a light. These brain beats, or brainwaves, happen at a variety of speeds. For example, during deep sleep,  the brain will flicker or beat about 3 times per second. During high-focused thinking, the brain might flicker or beat as much as 50 times a second.

Modern technology allows us to tap into brainwave frequencies and or “patterns” and with a little auditory help, we can learn to use our brain more efficiently – to restore, rejuvinate, build our internal vision boards, etc. Different brainwave frequencies or breats have been shown to connect to different “states of mind,” which corresponds to a spectrum of subjective experience. If you can access the right state you can also experience and illicit suggestions like “you are currently experiencing excellence,” or “go forth with confidence,” or “you can succeed with ease and grace,” – this is what we call a  guided experience. You can ask your subconcious or you can have a coach guided you, either way the lower more relaxed states are easy to tap into if you know how.

Your brain naturally cycles through the brainwave states during the day. It is not as if, we are stuck in one all day or at any one time. Every 90 minutes or so, your brain requires a break or a shift let’s say and it must slow down its activity.  This cycle is known as the ultradian rhythm, or basic rest and activity cycle (BRAC).

A well known technology used since the mid 1900’s is known as “Brainwave entrainment” or “brainwave synchronization,” which is any practice that aims to cause brainwave frequencies to fall into step with a periodic stimulus having a frequency corresponding to the intended brain-state, like falling asleep or inducing relaxation. This stimulus can be known as binarual and monarual beats.

This effect is produced in the brain, not in the ears as with monaural beats. Thi is produced by the neural output from the ears and created within the olivary body within the brain, in its attempt to “locate” the direction of the sound and creates a subjective experience.

The slower the beat or frequency, the more relaxed you will feel.  These frequencies are generally classified into 5 groups (from slow to fast): delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma.

The 5 Brain Wave States:

Beta (14-40Hz) : Our Waking Consciousness & Logical Reasoning State

Beta brain waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and a heightened state of alertness, logic and critical reasoning. Now, this sounds like a great place to be in, and it is if you are a high functioning induvidual, but it can also be the state that increases stress, anxiety and can lead to depression and mental health problems if you are in this state too much and for too long.  Hence, we need to learn how to tap into various states to properly maintain balance.

Delta (0.5-4Hz): Deep Sleep State


Delta brainwaves have a frequency of about 4 beats or less per second, as if the brain is breathing slowly and heavily. The brain generally only enters the delta state during the deepest stages of sleep, appropriately known as “slow-wave sleep”.

Theta (4-7.5Hz) : Light Meditation and REM Sleeping State

Theta brainwaves are associated with dreaming and REM-stage sleep and sometimes light sleep. This is where brain activity beats anywhere from 4 to 7 times per second. But theta also occurs several times throughout the day. If you’ve ever “zoned out” while driving or otherwise went on mental “auto pilot”, that means you entered theta.

In running, when you are in the zone;  that’s also theta. Deep meditation is another example of this deep trance like state.

Theta can be used for creative flow states, where ideas seem to come effortlessly. During accelerated learning programs theta is the state that coaches usually want thier students to be able to tap into because this is where idea generation can stem from.

Alpha (7.5-14Hz): Deep Relaxation State

Alpha brainwaves have a frequency of 7 to 13 beats per second. The alpha wave state is a sign of deep relaxation while awake. Like theta, it can be used in hypnosis (trance work) and accelerated learning. While in deep meditation, you can notice that just by deep breathing and tapping into lower energy, you can lower your frequency to the alpha and theta states, and sometimes even increase the frequency to beta states.

Gamma ( above 40Hz) – The Deep Introspective & Insight State

The Gamma  range is the most recently discovered and is the fastest frequency at above 40Hz. While little is known about this state of mind,research shows Gamma waves are associated with bursts of introspection, enlightenment and  insight and high-level information processing. Long periods of meditation and internal processing can lead us into a deeper state or states of consciousness. While this sounds very “kumbaya” it is scientifically proven to improve all areas of both our internal state of being, our physcial form and how we present ourselves in the world and how we respond to the changing environment. In short, it leads to personal evolution!

Ride the wave:

Most of the time your brain is firing at different frequencies; therefore, the goal isn’t to achieve one frequency, it’s to establish a synchronicity between frequencies and establish an equilibrium.

Brainwave synchrony measures just how well coordinated the different parts of your brain are. A brain in which all its neurons tend to fire at the same frequency would be highly synchronous..  The 3 main states involved with levels of relaxation, introspection and calmness are; delta, theta and alpha frequencies.

My Waves: Beta and Theta

After careful R&D, I have come to realize that the majority of my day is in Uptime or Beta and Theta and nearing the end of my day I am still quite… high strung. Does this sound familiar? In order to re pattern and bring more balance into my own life, I have realized that I need to carve out more time in my day to relax.  Once way to better understand these relaxation states is before bed or during times of meditation. For me, this is my 20mins in the morning of slow movement and yoga and an hour before bed. What has helped me prepare for sleep and utilizing more of my potential in delta and alpha (even more theta) is through guided brain entrainment and neuro synchronization.

To experience this, try these neuro-synchronizers before bed or for meditation. Not only will then help you sleep, but they will also “suggest” to your brain to process and filter for improved sleep, relaxation and overall well-being:

. 1.  Neuro-Synchronization-  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xRYmP1WAF4

2. Binaural Deep Sleep – http://youtu.be/1l13TSFrNgM

3. Binaural and Monaural Beats – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOGw7zNEhQw

 

Sources:

Thought Models NLP – http://www.thoughtmodels.com/

Brain Entrainment / Vibrational Sound Therapy:

Chronic Pain & Real Time Process:

Adrenal Glands 101: Mindful Restoration

Adrenal Glands 101: Mindful Restoration

The effects of adrenal dysfunction can be devastating and aggravating: fatigue and weakness; lowered immune system, susceptibility to colds, and other ailments that healthy  individuals aren’t as likely to get like; muscle soreness, moodiness or hormonal imbalance are all signs that your body is not in a balanced state of equilibrium. In today’s hyper active society, the hustle and bustle of our routine and over stimulated lifestyle, can lead to many compensations; both physical and mental. One way our body compensates is by increasing levels of cortisol, suppress the immune system and create adrenal dysfunction.

The good news is that adrenal fatigue can usually be relieved; Yoga and meditation can be instrumental in re setting the body’s physical and hormonal balance by establishing an environment where the body and mind can recover, as well as offering the opportunity to work on mindful strategies to deal with circumstances when negative stress arises. Outside of the postures and “asanas,” Yoga can offer the time and space to work on new behavior patterns if the stressors that trigger your stress are within your control.

Let’s look at the relationships between stress, high cortisol levels, and adrenal fatigue; and then we’ll look at how you can give your adrenals more support.

The adrenal gland has two parts. The first is the adrenal medulla; which secretes epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). These are the hormones that make your heart pound, raise your blood pressure, help ensure your muscles contract, and put your brain on high alert. The adrenal cortex secretes cortisol and other hormones. Cortisol is a natural steriod that raises your blood sugar level (so the muscles have plenty of fuel) and suppresses inflammation, but it also suppresses the immune system; which in times of high stress tricks the body into thinking this is a good thing.

Adrenal Glands 101:

To understand how adrenal fatigue develops, it is important to understand the original and historical function of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands original role was to save your life  The basic task of the adrenal glands is known as the “fight or flight” mode; with the fundamental role of  increasing production of adrenaline and other hormones.

When healthy, your adrenals can instantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your energy stores for immediate use, slow your digestion and other secondary  functions, and sharpen your senses, but when these basic functions are altered, it changes your hormonal balance.

This response by your adrenals takes priority over all other metabolic functions, but it wasn’t designed to be a process that lasted continually.  Thus, in today’s society of high stress, hyper activity and go, go ,go mentality, a large percentage of our population is nearing adrenal fatigue.

Cortisol:

What is cortisol? In its normal function, cortisol helps us meet these challenges by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen, and counteracting  inflammation. For a short time, that’s okay. But at sustained high levels, cortisol gradually tears down your body.  Cortisol is destructive to the body. Sustained high cortisol levels destroy healthy muscle and bone; slows down healing and normal cell regeneration; co-opts bio chemicals needed to make  other vital hormones; impairs digestion, metabolism and mental function;  interferes with healthy endocrine function; and weakens your immune system.

Modern Day Challenges:

Every challenge to the mind and body creates a demand on the adrenal glands.  The list of challenges is endless: lack of sleep, a demanding boss, the threat of losing your job or expectations, financial pressures, personality conflicts, yo-yo dieting,  relationship turmoil, death or illness of a loved one, skipping meals, digestive  problems, over-exercise, illness or infection, unresolved emotional issues from  our past or present, and on and on. The result is adrenal glands that are  constantly on high alert. The list of life’s unpredictability is endless, and as the age ole statement goes; “life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it.”

Here is where the Yoga comes in. To recover from this exhaustion, you need to do things that turn off the adrenal hormones and promote secretion of anabolic hormones, such as growth hormone. Growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland almost exclusively during the deepest stages of sleep (slow wave sleep).

To help turn off the adrenal glands and calm the mind, practice restorative yoga postures daily in a warm, dark, quiet environment.

Outside of Yoga, here are some easy ways to start the recovery of process:

  • Listen to your body. Not every case of adrenal fatigue presents the same symptoms or has the same exact preconditions.  The adrenal glands are overtaxed, but that can come about from a number of causes. Modern life is so full of stress that the adrenal glands end up producing more stress hormones than the body was designed to handle.
  • Remove Stressors. Take a look at your current lifestyle, and make whatever changes you need to promote the things that make you happy and reduce the parts of your life that do more harm than good.
  • Reduce overall stress levels. Some stressors in life are unavoidable, but we can begin to address them in new ways that reduce their drag on our life and reduce the causes of adrenal fatigue.
  • Relax – Simply set aside some time each day for yourself and your overall well-being. Actually take a break during your work breaks.
  • Dietary changes to enrich your nutrition – The cortisol produced by the adrenal glands has a significant effect on blood sugar levels, and so eating habits play a major role in moderating the condition. Stay away from highly
  • processed foods, refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol.
  • Exercise – including moderate exercise and taking more time can be helpful to reducing your stressors, especially those that are constant.  No matter what is going on in your life, it will become  easier to handle if you set at least 30 minutes a day for exercise.
  • Breathe – Follow the optimal breathing technique to help reset your body’s adrenal function and stress receptors.
Neuroplasticity: The Power of the Mind

Neuroplasticity: The Power of the Mind

“THE BRAIN CAN CHANGE ITSELF. It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience since scientists first sketched out the brain’s basic anatomy, this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging. The brain is not, as was thought, like a machine, or “hardwired” like a computer. Neuroplasticity not only gives hope to those with mental limitations, or what was thought to be incurable brain damage, but expands our understanding of the healthy brain and the resilience of human nature.” – The Brain That Changes Itself

 

Neuro is for “neuron,” the nerve cells in our brains and nervous systems. Plastic is for “changeable, malleable, modifiable.” Our journey starts here… neuroplasticity.

The first discoveries of neuroplasticity came from studies of how changes in the messages the brain receives through the senses can alter its structure and function.

For decades, the dogma of neuroscience was that the adult human brain is essentially immutable, hardwired, fixed in form and function, so that by the time we reach adulthood we are pretty much stuck with what we have. The doctrine of the unchanging human brain has had profound ramifications. For one thing, it lowered expectations about the value of rehabilitation for adults who had suffered brain damage or or about the possibility of fixing the pathological wiring that underlies psychiatric diseases. And it implied that other brain-based fixities, such as the happiness set point that, according to a growing body of research, a person returns to after the deepest tragedy or the greatest joy, are nearly unalterable.

But research has overthrown the dogma. In its place has come the realization that the adult brain retains impressive powers of “neuroplasticity”—t he ability to change its structure and function in response to experience and stimuli. These aren’t minor tweaks either, they can long lasting sustainable results. Even if one suffers a great trauma in their adult life, the brain has significant power to overcome and “re-wire” itself to improve “internal living conditions.”

In the TIMES article “The Brain: How the Brain Re-Wires Itself,” written in 2007, Sharon Begley states “When signals from the skin or muscles bombard the motor cortex or the somatosensory cortex (which processes touch), the brain expands the area that is wired to move, say, the fingers. In this sense, the very structure of our brain–the relative size of different regions, the strength of connections between them, even their functions–reflects the lives we have led. Like sand on a beach, the brain bears the footprints of the decisions we have made, the skills we have learned, the actions we have taken.”

Even more profound, the discovery showed that mental training had the power to change the physical structure of the brain. We seldom stop to realize that our world (our model of the world) is shaped by how our mind views reality. We experience reality within our minds, through sensory filters based on biology, cultural conditioning and personal interpretations that are based on experience and education.

Yoga and Mindfulness can play a significant role in the evolutionary process of neuroplasticity and re –wiring the brain. Neuroscience has proven to demonstrate that the neuroplasticity of the brain, and when there is sustained, focused attention …”mindfulness,” it can change the wiring of brain neurons.

 

If we look at the word itself …”Mindfulness” this means “the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment;” which can be further broken down into four acting components; regulation of attention, body awareness, self-awareness and regulation of emotion. Previous research on mindfulness meditation has shown that it aids in lowering blood pressure improves immune system, reduces stress and anxiety, improves mental health and brain function and minimizes pain sensitivity.

 

While the human brain has apparently underestimated itself, neuroplasticity isn’t all good news; it renders our brains not only more resourceful but also more vulnerable to outside influence. It is by understanding both the positive and negative effects of plasticity that we can truly understand the extent of human possibilities. Change is constantly happening in our inner and outer worlds. Through the practice of yoga including the use of breath, movement, sound, and meditation we can influence the direction of these changes.

 

“We can learn that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy” – Norman Doidage

Sources:

TIME Magazine: “The Brain: How The Brain Rewire’s Itself”

Book: “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidage, M.D

 

SUPERHERO PARTY SUPPORTS INNER CITY KIDS

SUPERHERO PARTY SUPPORTS INNER CITY KIDS

They are Vancouver’s most precious resource.

The are our city’s future. 

They ARE our Inner City Kids.

On October 27th Join us for a night of Superhero Activism AND Hallowe’en Party like no other – with proceeds going directly to CLICK.

This is CLICK’s (Contributing to the Lives of Inner City Kids) mission statement, and I agree. The truth of the matter is this – BC has the largest child poverty rate in all of Canada, with 137,000 families living under the poverty and on low income. That’s 1 in 6 children in BC; where 49% are immigrant children and 40% are Aboriginal. In the bright and beautiful panoramic city of Vancouver, hundreds of our children are living in 3rd world conditions. And in a civilized city, such as ours – this just shouldn’t happen.

Many of you may not realize that there are children all over our city that go to school hungry and whose families have little to no money for safe out-of-school care. Many parents cannot afford food, basic necessities, clothing, bus fare and school supplies, let alone opportunities important to childhood development.  And around Halloween and the holidays, this time of merriment and celebration, many families aren’t as merry. No kid should be denied the festivities that bring our cultures and communities together; they should not be denied their basic rights in Canada.

CLICK (Contributing to the Lives of Inner City Kids) is a registered community centered charitable foundation that exists to fundamentally ensure that inner city kids in Vancouver have the opportunity to have a bright future and can contribute to our community. By raising funds for services, they allow kids to realize their dreams.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? Can you remember that far back, or maybe it is such a great, everlasting feeling that it feels like it was yesterday…

For me, it was to be an athlete or a Superhero – well actually I wanted to be both.  Some of those Superhero qualities included; lightning speed, ninja like reflexes, a fearless tenacity to live by a moral code of conduct and community compassion (aka much like a Police Officer) and the ability to use telepathy to understand the psyche and change behavior. I was 8, what can I say!  However, some things do not change, even in adulthood.

After2 decades of researching the human condition and behavior modification and speaking to hundreds of children and adults –  two “childhood” professions have stood out:

All children dream of being two things:

  1. An Athlete
  2. A Superhero

 

The Modern Day Superhero

Superhero qualities are not merely qualities reserved for those iconic characters we idealize, or the modern day mainstream movies we watch as entertainment. We believe in them because they demonstrate a dedication and unwavering balance towards facing fear and unjust acts, and are relentless at the pursuit of truth and justice for all.

The qualities that drive both that athlete and the superhero are paradoxically similar. Both the SUPERHERO and the ATHLETE are human qualities we all have, most of us just rarely aren’t conscious of when we use these qualities.

Let me enlighten you – if you are good – then you use them every day. Superhero qualities reside within all of us, and it is when we are children where the first seed of superhero-ism is born. Kids are the epitome of imagination and creativity. They are the cultivators and ideators of tomorrow and they fluctuate at the highest caliber of energy.  Our environment and our experiences play an integral role, which allow us to realize these qualities within ourselves.

This is why it is so important for all children to experience what it’s like to be a superhero.   Children living in poverty, rarely have this vision because there are no opportunities, but….

If you continue to read on, you will see that YOU have the power and opportunity to give a child THAT opportunity. To be a Superhero.

Are You A Superhero? What if YOU could improve the lives of children living in poverty? Would you do it?

This is where CLICK comes in. CLICK is a registered community based charitable foundation that exists to ensure inner city kids in Vancouver have a bright future. CLICK raises funds for programs and services that make a critical, daily difference in the lives of inner city kids.

On October 27th, Nicole Yamanaka, founder and owner of Le Physique Personal Training Studio is the master mind behind the “Superhero Hallowe’en Trivia Night” (with a little help from me bringing up the community investment side) and this night is a bonifed chance for you to let loose, put on your superhero costume and join the party of like-minded-community-oriented people of greatness. Did we mention it’s a party – YES! A mingle fest of superhero awesomesness.

On this night we celebrate superhero’s and at the same time raising funds and awareness for kids who deserve the same opportunity.  Come and eat, drink, play trivia, win some prizes AND proceeds from the tickets go directly to CLICK.

Your support could help inner kids be superhero’s.

Superhero Hallowe’en Party & Trivia Night

Theme: Superheroes and Villains

Location: Kingston Taphouse and Grille, 755 Richards Street Vancouver

Time: 730pm – Late

Trivia: Starts at: 830pm

Perks: Live DJ at 930pm, Prizes and Awards for Best Costume, Trick-O-Treat, Superhero Trivia.

Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 at the door

* Tickets at the door are limited* * Tickets also include a beverage*

Meet CLICK – board members will be in attendance!

 

How does CLICK help Inner City Kids?

CLICK raises money to help fund local organizations that provide critical programs, activities and resources for inner city children and families – including food programs, out-of-school care, programs in literacy, sports and arts and culture; which fill the gaps towards opportunity and experiences where they can be – Superheroes.  They provide a safe alternative to streets and they build life-long skills towards a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem.  All of CLICK’s board and staff are all volunteers  and are connected to Vancouver’s most vulnerable families.

For more information on programs and CLICK, please visit – http://www.clicktokids.ca/

Join our facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/388719584529970/?fref=ts

NLP Part 1: “Anchoring” Your State of Mind for Success

NLP Part 1: “Anchoring” Your State of Mind for Success

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.  – Thomas Edison

Last week I started my first 2 day (of a 9 day course) in NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) with Thought Models, a local company specializing in providing clients with the tools to positively change their world and bring about success.

NLP is what is called a “meta discipline;” which is the study of the structure of subjective experience and what can be calculated from those experiences. It is an approach using models of excellence, communication, personal development and some applications found in psychotherapy – but it is NOT therapy. The title refers to a stated connection between the neurological processes (“neuro”), the language we use to navigate our environment (“linguistic”), and the behavioral patterns which sums up the human condition. All of this plays an integral role that we learn through experience (“programming”) and can be organized to achieve specific goals in life. Or more simply put; Thought Models sums up NLP as such;

“Neuro: The Mind-Body: how we function; physiological and mental states and activities.

Linguistic: The language we use to describe, categorize, communicate about and make sense of our world; how we communicate our experience to others.

Programming: The stories we use to interpret experience; repeating sequences of behavior and patterns of thought that help us or hinder us; strategies that get us what we want.”

 

In NLP a person can learn to develop their skills at communicating more effectively and perhaps even learn a “technique” to broaden their own scope of process and perception within their own model of experience.  In Harry Nichols, most recent blog post about “modeling” he puts it quite simply as; “Modeling is a process used to discover and codify patterns of excellence as demonstrated consistently by top performers in any field.”

I would like to feature an application that has proven to be very effective in my own life and in my motivational seminars and public speaking engagements. It all has to do with setting an intention, building a vision and setting goals. It’s called learning to anchor, or anchoring.

Anchoring are those “triggers” or “buttons” that can decide the fate of our day. Those subconscious thought or emotions; which, can be positive or negative and will untimely determine the level of our success as we move through our day. Anchors can be very powerful and purposeful tools for managing our emotional states. Anchors are stimuli that call forth states of mind – thoughts and emotions. Anchors can be visual, auditory or kinesthetic. We are affected by anchors throughout our lives.

 

Pavlov’s Dog: The Birth Place of Anchoring

Remember Pavlov’s dog! In the 1950s a Russian scientist, named Ivan Pavlov researched the connection of the use of dogs, stimuli and the ringing of a bell.  Anchoring is reminiscent of Pavlov’s experiments with dogs. Pavlov sounded a bell as the animal was given food. The animals salivated when they saw the food. After some parings of the bell and the food, the bell alone elicited salivation. This stimulus and response, and later on he would call this research “Pattern Matching” or “Stimulus-Response.”  Pattern Matching is a primary brain process, which is used to make sense of the world, a learned response to experience, where we create positive or negative habits, as well as the place where we develop addictions or chronic conditions.

 

Pattern Matching:

Every time we have a new and significant experience, our subconscious – the brain, does a database search for a similar experience and then stores that new experience in the same category. This is called a neural network, where our brain filters and files away our daily sensory feedback into “implicit memory”. Pattern matching is directly linked to most of the phobias and panic related conditions that are so prevalent in today’s modern world. Take the spider for instance, one “panic mode” I know quite well. My earliest memories of a spider incident was seeing my father jump up on the couch and scream…”spider, damn he’s a biggin.” So naturally, I jump up on the couch at 7 years old and think…. “spider’s bad” and the feeling of “scared or fear” which also thinking back brings up the feeling of laughter and some of my funniest moments on weekends at my dads.

 

For example the dreaded spider:

  • See a spider = mass freak out
  • Read the word spider = mass freak out (my brain brings up the image)
  • Feeling something on the skin that could be a spider = mass freak out (my brain brings up that physical creepy crawly feeling).  = PHOBIA and PATTERN MATCHING.

Now, without pattern matching, learning would be literally impossible. Therefore, it’s not the pattern matching that is the issue here, it’s the meaning in which we place on that experience that needs to be “re-patterned.”  It may be difficult, but not impossible to “re wire” or “re pattern” some of these networks and depending on the vested connection with the experience, anchoring can help to either reduce the “phobia” if it’s a negative pattern or bring about a positive state by anchoring that experience to a direct result.

How do you Anchor?

First we need to define a “state.” In Tony Robbins Ted Talk, “Why We Do What We Do.” Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions and simples says the 2 invisible forces that decide peoples destiny or success:

 

  1. state – in the moment
  2. state – long term.

Robbins then takes it further to then ask 3 questions once these states are more clear and they are;

  1. What am I going to focus on? (feeling/ past, present, future)
  2. What does it mean? (thought)
  3. What are you going to do? (Action)

If we can tap into the right emotion and state you can change behavior.  We start by giving a “state” a name – thus we give it meaning and we pattern match to a positive anchor.

Identify the emotional state you want to focus on and then write them down. Choose 3 states you know you will use in the very near future, and ensure that these states are clear of any negativity or uncertainty. They must be states that have served you a successful outcome. Choosing to feel powerful and enthusiastic is specific and something you can work towards using the NLP Anchoring technique.

 

The Steps to Anchoring

Select a desired state i.e. specifically how you want to feel. Recall a particular time in your life when you felt the desired state. Pick a powerful example.

Simple Tips:

  • Only anchor an intense state, one that evokes a strongly felt experience.
  • Pick an experience that is pure and not mixed with other feelings.
  • Use unique anchors so the state is accessed at will.
  • Timing is crucial, fire the anchors before the peak and release before the peak declines.

For example, in the class I chose 3 states that will serve me in starting a new position with Copeman Healthcare and Fit to Train Human Performance Systems and that state is “Focus.” I then chose a state that reflects my new relationship “trust’ a state that is the foundation of all relationships, even the one with our-selves. Then I chose “compassion,” a state to keep me balanced which is the grounding force of many of my decisions and how I visually represent myself to the world. These 3 states will serve me over the next few weeks as I build my practice in a new clinical space.

How to access an anchored state; requires four skills:

  • Access a powerful state
  • Recognize when to set the anchor
  • Anchor the state as specifically as possible
  • Fire the anchor when required

One final thought I would like to leave you with. Working in the health and sciences field, one of the largest obstacles I come up against is the age old “excuse cycle.’ We all make them and we are always establishing “anchors” as to why we cannot achieve something or fit it into our life. It’s the age old conundrum of the modern human condition. Tell me if these sound familiar:

  • I can’t afford it (money)
  • I’m too busy (time)
  • I don’t want to travel that far (time management)
  • I don’t have the experience (experience)
  • I don’t have the right contacts (contacts)
  • I don’t want to wake up early or stay later (time management)
  • It’s just to hard, I don’t have the energy (time)

These are all linguistic anchors we create every day that prevent us from achieving our goals, and they also place blame elsewhere by pointing the finger in another direction…away from where it should be pointed and that is towards the “me,” because quite simply the only thing preventing you from change – is yourself and your actions (or lack of).

Robbins speaks of “resources vs. resourcefulness,” where we continually blame a lack of resources, rather than turning that negative anchor into an opportunity for positive change. I won’t sugar coat this for you – the reason you can’t is because you won’t. Let’s turn that into you CAN and you WILL. Some of my favorite “excuses” or “anchors” that do not serve you in your path to success are:

 

Resources vs. Resourcefulness:

(I don’t have) Time >>>> (I do have) Creativity >>transition>> (24 hours in a day)

(I don’t have) Money >>> (I do have) Determination >>transition>> (budget 2 less Starbucks a day)

(I don’t have) Contacts >>> (I do have) Perseverance >>transition>> (network. make connections)

(I don’t have) Experience >>> (I do have) Passion >>transition>> (experience is a skill, passion is a trait)

 

For the next week, I would encourage you to observe yourself and others and start thinking about what anchors you have established in your life that may hold you back. Once you recognize these anchors, you can then start the process of detaching from these anchors and establishing new anchors and patterns to replace them, so that you can harness a state that will serve you better towards your goals.

Over the course of the next few months I will be featuring a review of each of our NLP training workshops. For more information on how to get involved in NLP please click on this link and contact master coach Harry Nichols with Thought Models!

 

Sources:

THE BIO MECHANICS OF DANCE: THE LUMBO-PELVIC HIP COMPLEX

THE BIO MECHANICS OF DANCE: THE LUMBO-PELVIC HIP COMPLEX

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”  ~ Martha Graham

 

The Stats:

85% of people will suffer lower back pain at some point in their life

5% become chronic and unremitting

70% of reoccurring symptoms and compensations

20% of LBP (low back pain) patients also have SI joint (synovial portion) as a pain generator

 

Truth be told, these stats are just for the basic population; many of whom play recreational sports on the weekends and many of whom rock the role of “Desk Jockey” as a professional study or in the corporate world. However, this post takes into account the above stats as well as sports specifics and in today’s post we focus on the sport of dance.

 

Introduction

With sport, comes a new gambit of neuromuscular training and adaptive skill sets that, if not implemented correctly or at the right times during the athletes training cycles can lead to breakdowns in the body, some of which; could result in long term discomfort.

Over the course of the last few years I have been compiling case studies on the consistent patterns I have been noticing in today’s population.  Clients who participate in the same sport, or have similar professions all exhibit similar movement breakdowns and somatic pain; yet they experience them very different (based on unique mechanics and their reflection of the world).

One specific group of clients I have noticed over the years who exhibit early onset of lumbo-pelvic dysfunctions and low back pain are dancers. Much of my work in this area has been observing the fundamentals of dance and the specialized movement patterns to deduce consistent patterns that can lead to breakdowns in dance.

For this post I have limited the information to Western Contemporary and Classical Ballet movements, however, it should be noted that many forms of dance can be applicable, such as; the Classical North Chinese dance of Niuyangge, as well as the Classical styles of Indian Dance; Bharatanatya, Odissi, Kathak and many others.  These fundamentally arranged groups include; alignment, plié, relevé, passé, degagé, développé, rond de jambe, grand battement, forward stepping patterns, elevation and break falls and other motor dance specific patterns.

For this post I would like to restrict my thoughts to Alignment as this gives a broader scope of how alignment directly relates to the common place “lumbo-pelvic dysfunction” and ‘back pain” featured in this article. It is where a coach should start observing the student and then start to breakdown each movement into specific mechanical sequences.

Alignment:

Although this word will have varying definitions to some researchers, clinicians etc, and the generalization of the word is pretty common place. Alignment is based on the arrangement of the body segments and skeletal structure in a vertical column with respect to the line of gravity.

The Pelvis:

A biomechanical research paper on dance by Donna Krasnow, MS, a professor and head of the Department of Dance atYorkUniversityproduced a study outlining early research in this field.

“One of the early research studies investigating alignment was a master’s thesis by Bannister (1977),3 which examined the interrelationships of pelvic angle, lumbar angle, hip mobility, and the correlation of alignment to low back pain. Participants were 8 male and 55 female university dance students. They were photographed from front and side views, next to a plumb line suspended from the ceiling. Measures of flexibility were taken for hip flexion and abduction in a seated position, and pain was assessed by questionnaire. Analysis consisted of t-tests and Pearson product moment coefficient of correlation.

Bannister concluded that the four variables (lumbar angle, pelvic angle, and flexibility in hip flexion and abduction) do not predict low back pain and that posture, flexibility, and pain are independent. (Biomechanical Research in Dance: A Literature Review, Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers, by Donna Krasnow, M.S, M. Virginia Wilmerding, Ph.D., Shane Stecyk, Ph.D., ATC, CSCS,MatthewWyon, Ph.D., Yiannis Koutedakis, Ph.D. – March 2011).

Instability of the pelvis can be noted in observing some of the more repetitive movements in classical ballet, such as; relevé (pre and post turn out with full execution), passé (unilateral balance and weight shift), degage (forward stepping, pre and post turn out), ronde de jambe (adduction at the hip joint and unilateral weight shift), as well as the bottom positioning in the plie. All of these movement patterns allow for observational analysis that directly relate to the fundamental movement strategies in dance and the lower limb mechanics and relationship connection from the hip to knee to ankle, as well as the reverse relationship of the pelvis to spine to shoulders and head positioning.

The Spine:

The spine and it’s segmental make up are key indicators to how the body loads and distributes weight efficiently in the body. For dancers the spine must be flexible and have Tensegrity to properly move and react. Spinal deviations in verticality, primarily in the upper spine, lower spine, and total spine are common, and these breakdowns in movement strategy and pelvic stability can be easily observed.  When there is a lack of mobility, or in the case of dancers; a lack of stability in the spine this energy will be re distributed to the pelvis of shoulders.

When we combine the alignment of the spine and the alignment of the pelvis we can then begin to observe some of the preliminary breakdowns that could be resulting in the somatic pain in the lower back that the dancer is “feeling” and exhibiting.

When there are mechanical breakdowns in hip stability, dances will normally feel referral into the spine.  There is an area of increased stress where the rigid thoracic spine joins the flexible lumbar spine, and a second area where the lumbar spine joins the rigid pelvis below. Both of these areas can have problems. Stability and Strength conditioning are key to ensuring this relationship is well balanced.  These dancers may need to work on their upper-body strength to help prevent this injury.

The majority of back problems come from the lowermost segment of the back—theLumbosacral spine. This area is put under extreme stress when performing grand battements, port de bras, arabesques, and attitudes and is prone to muscle strains, disc disease and stress fractures later on as the dancer/ client ages. To build on this; our fascial systems, plasy a significant role in the tension, compression and release within movement and in rest. In relation to the spine and LPHC the thoraco-lumbar fascia is the barer of energy load, re load and distribution. It is the epicenter from which all other lines intersect, cross over and move. In dance ensuring the fascial lines are balanced is also key. Our fascia and connections become stiffer, as this is a normal response to age and the protective barrier of our superficial and deep fascial lines.

 

Lumbo-Pelvic  Hip Complex (LPHC) and Dysfunction:

In the publication “Corrective Strategies  for Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Impairments” by Canadian Sports NSCM introduces LPHC THE lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) is a region of the body that has a  massive influence on the structures above and below it. The LPHC has between 29 and 35 muscles that attach to the lumbar spine or pelvis.  The LPHC is directly associated with both the lower extremities and upper  extremities of the body. Because of this, dysfunction of both the lower extremities and upper extremities can lead to dysfunction of the LPHC and vice versa. In the LPHC region specifi cally, the femur and the pelvis make up the iliofemoral joint and the pelvis and sacrum make up the sacroiliac joint. The lumbar spine and sacrum form the lumbosacral junction.

Collectively, these structures anchor many of the major myofascial tissues that have a functional impact on the arthrokinematics of the  structures above and below them.

Above the LPHC are the thoracic and cervical spine, rib cage, scapula,  humerus, and clavicle. These structures make up the thoracolumbar and cervicothoracic junctions of the spine, the scapulothoracic, glenohumeral, acromioclavicular (AC), and sternoclavicular (SC) joints

 

How LPHC dysfunction can relate to dancers?

Dancers with lumbopelvic/hip dysfunctions are incredibly challenging for sports injury professionals to diagnose and treat because there are so many working parts to observe.

Firstly, as movement coaches we no there is no such thing as “isolation,” Therefore; the lumbar spine, pelvis and hip should never be considered separately: a complex interplay exists between them, as we are integrated system. Subtle changes or inadequacies in one area will have a definite impact on the surrounding areas.

Secondly, after determining the “somatic pain” referral points, we then steer the client away from this focus. The key word here is “refer.’ The pain is merely where the energy is being blocked, but it is referred, not the point of origin. Focus less on identifying painful structures and more on the mechanical dysfunction, which requires a thorough understanding of the function and structure of the lumbopelvic hip complex. This applies to both the ‘normal’ function, as in, the client’s day to day movement AND the mechanically specific functions for dancers, which is considerably different in terms of range of movement and muscle control. We need to account for both of these ranges.

Under-active muscles vs. over-active muscles and how they interact with each other, plays a significant role in movement pattern execution and motor control efficiency. There are a number of muscles in the upper and lower extremities whose  function may be related and have an effect on the LPHC, all of which help to restore and maintain normal range of motion, stability and strength, as well as eliminate any muscle inhibition. Each dancer will exhibit his or her own specific mechanics in relation to what muscles/systems are over and under active.

 

How to prevent and or treat LPHC Dysfunction and somatic pain in dancers:

The key is a balance of mobility (functional mobility for your sport) and stability and strength, so that the joints and connective tissue can properly respond and react when loading and unloading the skeletal structure.  Overall conclusions can be observed as such:

(1) Somatic and neuromuscular training can be effective in improving alignment and retaining improvements. This includes strength and stability exercises patterned to the movement control.

(2) There is day-today alignment variability that needs to be taken into consideration

(3) Pelvic positioning and spinal alignment are key determinants and observing their relationship in execution of dance specific motor control and day to day motor control will allow the coach and client better understand the movement strategies needing to be applied ,

(4) Dancers use different strategies for differing conditions. Understanding the clients motivators and learning style are key to success
Sources:

  1. NSCM “Corrective Strategies  for Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Impairments – http://www.nasm.org/uploadedFiles/1/CES_II/NASM_CES_LPHC.pdf
  2. “Biomechanical Research in Dance: A Literature Review”, by Donna Krasnow et al – http://www.citraining.com/Biomechanical-Research-in-Dance.html
  3. The National Ballet of Canada- http://national.ballet.ca/thecompany/about/
September 21: International Day of Peace, Let’s Keep it Going!

September 21: International Day of Peace, Let’s Keep it Going!

Celebtating the weekend of International Peace. Friday marked the day of international peace. Around the world on September 21 nations and people of all walks of life, lay down thier arms for one day in solidarity. Each year the  International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The  General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals  of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Sustainable Peace…

This year, world  leaders, together with civil society, local authorities and the private sector,  met in Rio de Janeiro,   Brazil for the  United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to renew political  commitment to long term sustainable development.

It is in the  context of the Rio+20 Conference that  “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future” is the theme chosen for this  year’s observance of the International day of Peace.

There can be no sustainable  future without a sustainable peace. Sustainable peace must be built on  sustainable development.

The International Day of Peace offers people globally a shared date to  think about how, individually, they can contribute to ensuring that natural  resources are managed in a sustainable manner, thus reducing  potential for disputes, and paving the road  to a sustainable future, the “Future We Want”.

I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite TED Talks that focus on sustainable change and peace.

 

Jeremy Gilley: One Day of Peace

Here’s a crazy idea: Persuade the world to try living in peace for just one day, every September 21. In this energetic, honest talk, Jeremy Gilley tells the story of how this crazy idea became real — real enough to help millions of kids in war-torn regions.

Filmmaker Jeremy Gilley founded Peace One Day to create an annual day without conflict. And … it’s happening. What will you do to make peace on September 21?”

Video: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jeremy_gilley_one_day_of_peace.html

 

Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead

Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so.

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and blogger who thinks about the marketing of ideas in the digital age. His newest interest: the tribes we lead

Video: http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html

 

Jacqueline Norvogratz: Inspiring a Life of Immersion

“We each want to live a life of purpose, but where to start? In this luminous, wide-ranging talk, Jacqueline Novogratz introduces us to people she’s met in her work in “patient capital” — people who have immersed themselves in a cause, a community, a passion for justice. These human stories carry powerful moments of inspiration. (Recorded at TEDWomen, December 2010, in Washington, DC. Duration: 17:46

Video: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/en//id/1076

 

 

Sources:

For more info please follow this link: http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

WAITERS, TAKERS AND EARNERS

WAITERS, TAKERS AND EARNERS

Thought precedes physical form and that “the action of Mind plants that nucleus which, if allowed to grow undisturbed, will eventually attract to itself all the conditions necessary for its manifestation in outward visible form.” ~ Thomas Troward

Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha was the first true guru of modern day positive thinking. Modern day being 483 BCE, yet his teachings on “what you think, you become,” has been passed down for centuries in the teachings of Buddhism, as well as adopted by those who choose to practice another (or sometimes no) religion. This post isn’t about the teachings of Buddha, but it is about the ideology of behind his most quoted phrase and the importance of the “self” in success.

There are 3 kinds of people in this world;

  • those who wait for success to come to them
  • those who take success
  • and those who earn the right to achieve success

This is the conundrum of our overly processed, socioeconomic age.

THE WAITERS:

The quote “All good things come to those who wait,” is usually misinterpreted to mean “do nothing,” and those who wait usually lack the understanding behind what it means to truly succeed. Why? Simply, because they were not part of the process and without being part of that evolution of that success and connection to it there comes a lack of understanding, lack of value and personal responsibility. The word “entitlement” comes to mind. In the 60 Minutes segment titled “Generation Y: Entitlement Generation” we can see the socioeconomic archetype at play; where more and more young adults are coming out of University sheltered an d expectant of high salary and work right away. When in actuality we have a higher percentage of youth unemployment than ever before.

In the 1997 book The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe, the authors outline Generation Y as “Millennial’s” who belong to the Hero category, featuring a deep trust in authority and institutions; being somewhat conventional, but still powerful. Meaning they grew up during an Unraveling cycle with more protections than the previous generation (Gen X) due to a world fraught with chaos and disorder. Yet, with this security there is a lack of understanding that value and position are not just a given.

Nonetheless, no matter what generation or socioeconomic re positioning that takes place, universal abundance and law of attraction will always state “like attracts like,” and those who do nothing or play the waiting game of expectation, will likely achieve just that – more waiting.

THE TAKERS:

Those who take success usually do so at the heart of “ego” and at the plight or fall of another. Instead of seeing the glory in the process; and the understanding that none of us can truly succeed on our own, we must connect with others to succeed – they are blinded by the idea that they are owed success. The ego is the part of the human psyche that controls the “me,me, me” syndrome of the brain. The ego constantly strives to be always right, always superior, never wrong and never inferior. The ego is at the center of our psyche that will always manifest recurring pain (past experiences we have not yet let go of), self doubt & powerlessness and manifest a visceral response of anger, judgement and negativity. The taker has a constant need to pull away from interdependence with (and of) the world to the tune of just one (him or herself) and constantly demands to be satisfied and satiated usually through power, negative thought, judgement, criticism and by dis-empowering others along the way.

In the book the “Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle says the ego is; “a mental image of who you are, based on our personal and cultural conditioning.” Those who take do not fully understand that your ego, can also be your ally. It can act as a catalyst and a constant reminder for when life presents a radical change in thought and action. When there must be a transformation in human consciousness.

 

THE EARNERS:

The Law of Attraction can be dated back to the early 1900’s. Napoleon Hill’s greatest quote (in my personal opinion) was fundamental in this area of R&D; “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Those who earn success have a deep driving force because the evolutionary process has been embedded in the very fabric of their soul. They live and breathe the goal and if they bump up against adversity and failure; it is merely a stepping stone to a learned response towards a higher form of greatness. Why? Simply, because they are living their potential, they are free from the over use of the ego. Keeping in mind “ego” and “self-confidence,” are distinctly different. They understand the value of the journey, not just simply the destination and hard work is part of this process. Historically, anything worth achieving in the world has come with hard work, dedication to a goal, connection with others and respecting the responsibility that comes with obtaining that goal. When you earn success, it’s much more meaningful.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY = OWN IT.

The reality is that at some time in our lives, we have dabbled in all 3. Through cognitive development as children and youth we explore the waiter, the taker and the earner; as this is a natural state of learning, processing and evolving. As we age and become more aware of life outside of our 3 block radius and we come to terms with the exchange of work and value (or at least we hope). As adults, we understand that work leads directly to success and that the longevity of this success is in direct proportion to the hard work, dedication and passion put forth, on-going, to maintain the caliber of the result. The BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to never lose sight of 3 things along the journey and after success;

1) Practice your personal responsibility – Success is not just earned, the act of achievement is repeated over and over again to maintain balance. To keep you, you must practice greatness.

2) Pass on your knowledge – influence and motivate others to understand the value and the process of achievement. History repeats itself, but we have the power to honor the path of choice.

3) Check your ego at the door – your ego is your internal “emotional intelligence” temperature gauge. It can be your ally but do not let it overpower your judgment, your logical rationale, or your connection to others.

MANTRA

Most of my personal success has come from hard work, dedication and never losing sight of all the opportunities that have been offered to me. We do not get there alone. We may put forth grueling hours in the gym, on the track, in the office, in the school etc ~ but nothing is ever achieved alone because success is an exchange and if you are lucky if you repeat this exchange enough times, it will become habit and that, my friends, leads to integrity in mind, body and soul.

Happy Earning!

ARE YOU A MODERN DAY SUPERHERO?

ARE YOU A MODERN DAY SUPERHERO?

Deepak Chopra’s “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Superheros”


 Superhero qualities are not merely qualities for those iconic characters we used to read in the comic books as children, or the modern day mainstream movies we watch as adults for entertainment. Superhero qualities reside within all of us, if we so choose to identify with them. Last year I spoke at the [email protected] Talk in Vancouver called the “Re-Invention of the Modern Day Superhero,” and since then I have been obsessed with superhero “powers.” This basically means, I have been hard at work sourcing out my own quest in life and striving for personal greatness…. and you can too. For mer personally I do this through my RUN4ACAUSE and through my advocacy work in my community.

My RUN4ACAUSE goal is simple: to showcase the direct impact WE can make by empowering our youth to transform their world by mobilizing them to engage in cultural exchange, gain a global perspective, and create and lead social change through the art of SUPERHERO sport and play. Today I wanted to present a couple great articles I have stumbled upon this week and hope that they inspire you, as much as they have me.

Last week I read this amazing post by By Andi Saitowitz, a certified Life Coach from The Adler Institute and I felt I had to share it! This post is a slight deviation from my usual posts regarding corrective movement, fascia stretch and yoga, but it does pertain to my other passion – Superheroes. Okay, not really superheroes, but people in our community who go above and beyond the call of duty to be superhero”like”

I AM University of The Heart

“US HUMANS HAVE THESE 7 SUPERPOWERS

Good news! We have a few superpowers that no one can take away from us. That’s right! And just when we thought we had to live much of our precious time in “survival” mode, anxious about the competition, safe-guarding our rights and resources, and breathing on edge each day with the notion that for us to win in this lifetime, the people around us have to lose because there’s simply just not enough to go around.

1. We have the power to make choices in every single situation.

 
This is an incredible gift, often called “free-choice.” In every decision, circumstance and opportunity presented, you have the choice of how to interpret it, what to feel as a result, and inevitably how to act and behave accordingly.
 
2. We have the power to seek and find good – even in the bad. 
 
This strength of character is what makes the optimist rise and remain in a realm of possibility where there are always alternatives and where challenges, difficulties and even “failure” are just part of growth. This power enables new lessons to be learned,  new paths to follow, and deep changes to take effect.
3. We have the power to lead by example and become a role model to others just by behaving with integrity. 
 
How amazing to realize that our children, our friends, our partners, our clients — anyone we interact withcan become inspired in some small way by our actions and deeds — no matter how natural and unassuming they may seem. The values we convey by our daily habits and behaviors give us incredible leadership potential and we owe this much to those we love and to those we want to see win.
 
4. We have the power to do the very best we can with all that you have. 
 
No one can take away your ability to give 100%. This power is commonly referred to as “will-power” and unfortunately, the unwritten contracts we have with ourselves are usually the first ones we break. We think twice before letting someone else down but move on quite comfortably from letting ourselves down. We deserve to give ourselves 100% and invest 100% of what we have into the things that matter most in our lives.
How amazing to realize that our children, our friends, our partners, our clients — anyone we interact with can become inspired in some small way by our actions and deeds — no matter how natural and unassuming they may seem. The values we convey by our daily habits and behaviors give us incredible leadership potential and we owe this much to those we love and to those we want to see win.

 
4. We have the power to do the very best we can with all that you have. 
 
No one can take away your ability to give 100%. This power is commonly referred to as “will-power” and unfortunately, the unwritten contracts we have with ourselves are usually the first ones we break. We think twice before letting someone else down but move on quite comfortably from letting ourselves down. We deserve to give ourselves 100% and invest 100% of what we have into the things that matter most in our lives. 
 
5.  We have the power to treat others with compassion, dignity and love. 
 
The way we speak, the way we advise, the way we parent, educate, manage, love, and work can all be handled with care and thought. We have the power to give the benefit of the doubt if we want to. People will always remember how we make them feel and we have an unbelievable amount of influence in all of our interpersonal relationships.
 
6.  We have the power to do 1% more today than we did yesterday. 
 
With clear goals, we have the power to do more and be more today than we were the day before. No one said change is easy and no one ever claimed that real transformation happens overnight. Small disciplines over time, as little as 1%, lead to lasting and deep improvements which ultimately get us closer to where we want to be.
 
7. We have the power to focus our time, energy and resources on the things in our life that bring us health, happiness,  joy, and fulfillment. 
 
We all battle with the guilt that “giving to myself and following my dreams and ambitions is selfish.” The universe wants us to be ourselves, and the world will benefit far greatly once we are aligned with our passions and feel whole, healthy, and strong. It’s a win-win for everyone when we live with purpose, direction and meaning.
uperheroes don’t merely exist in movies, cartoons and comic books. We each have tremendous natural superpowers that are always available to us should we wish to use them to do so much good in this lifetime.”

By Andi Saitowitz, Published April 8, 2012 at 4:30 PM
HOW TO DEVELOP 9 PRACTICAL SUPER POWERS
Full Article line here – Full Article here – http://www.iam-u.org/index.php/how-to-develop-9-practical-superpowers
In this article Bair gives you real time exercises on how to develop 9 specific superpowers that allows you to face the every day challenges of life. Some of these are courage, compassion, bravery – powers that each of us posses. He mentioned that his greatest teacher is that he learned that meditating on your heart is an incredibly effective way of developing these powers.
There are so many amazing leaders in today’s world who are embracing the superhero mentality, with me included. While I am not be a leader yet, I am surely an influencer of many (as we all are). In this post by Asatar Bair at the Institute for Applied Meditation, he talks about ways to control certain “superhero” qualities and direct them for the greater good – your own personal growth. My favorite is “Have Faith in Yourself”

“Faith in yourself. Another word for faith is self-confidence. If you believe in yourself, you have a source of power that is truly awesome. When you have faith in yourself, others have faith in you. They may help you with something that is beyond your ability to do on your own. Self-confidence comes through in everything you say and do, and in the way you hold yourself, like this drawing of Wonder Woman. She is in a reflective moment, but you can see the confidence in her posture and the way she holds her shield.

Bonus power: the ability to believe in yourself when others that you care about don’t see the value in what you’re trying to do, or don’t think you can do it.

How to get this power: When you meditate on your heart, you come into contact with the power of your heart, the flow of emotions within you, and by experiencing deep and intense emotion in the context of sacredness, you come to feel that your heart is larger and more powerful than even the most intense feelings. This gives you great faith in yourself.”  – Asatar Bair, June 14 2012

 

Doesn’t that make you wanna be a superhero?

Sources:
[email protected] “The Re-Invention of the Modern Day Superhero” – 

Institute for Applied Meditation – http://www.iam-u.org/About.html
Deepak Chopra “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheros” – http://deepakchoprabook.com/superheroes/
Corrective Movement Un Covered: Primitive Patterns, Myths and Strategies

Corrective Movement Un Covered: Primitive Patterns, Myths and Strategies

Corrective movement is a modality within the health and wellness realm; which we like to call the “transition zone.” Corrective movement opens the door for coaches and professionals in the fitness industry to screen, assess and correct breakdowns in a client or athletes movement mechanics.

In my practice I use this style of training to either (a) pre screen a client who may need to see a physiotherapist or medical professional or (b) the client has been referred by a physiotherapist or medical professional and thus, my role is to “transition” the client from the clinical to the coaching again.

The following video selections are favorite videos I have chosen from the FMS library for you to be become more familiar with Corrective Movement, common mistakes and myths in the industry and the written portions of the article is direct excerpts from Gray Cook’s website and movement book.

 

CORRECTIVE MOVEMENT MECHANICS:

“Movement Competency: The ability to employ fundamental movement patterns like single-leg balance, squatting, reflex core stabilization and symmetrical limb movement.  This can also include basic coordination with reciprocal movement patterns like crawling and lunging. The central goal is not to assess physical prowess or fitness, but to establish a fundamental blueprint and baseline of quality not quantity.

Physical Capacity: The ability to produce work, propel the body or perform skills that can be quantified to establish an objective level of performance. If movement competency is present at or above a minimum acceptable level of quality, deficits in physical capacity can be addressed with work targeting performance. If movement competency is not adequate, it would be incorrect to assume that a physical capacity deficiency could be addressed by working only on physical capacity.

Growth and development follow the path of competency to capacity, but how many fitness and athletic programs parallel this time-honored gold standard of motor development? If screens and standards for movement competency are not employed, we are programming on a guess. Furthermore, if our testing does not clearly separate movement competency tests and physical capacity tests, we exchange a guess for an assumption.

In the Movement book we emphasize the importance of movement competency through screening and assessment, and we further separate movement categories to help the exercise and rehabilitation professional categorize movement deficiency in clients and patients.” – Gray Cook

COMMON MISTAKES & MYTHS:

Exercise professionals too often overlook the fundamental movements because highly active individuals can often perform many high level movements without easily observable deficits. The Functional Movement Screen was first introduced to give us greater relative insight into primitive patterns by identifying limitations and asymmetries. The FMS screen is a way of taking it back to the basics and recognizing that these patterns are fundamental; a key factor is that they are common during the growth and developmental sequence, and thus taking it back to primitive movement, we may be able to overcome some of these common compensations.

 

VIDEO 1: Gray Cook:  Common Mistakes Made in Corrective Movement vs Strength Movement

Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75-c_xYHZHQ&feature=colike

 

PRIMITIVE PATTERNS: BACK TO BASICS

Consideration of primitive patterns can help make you a more intuitive, and intelligent exercise professional. Very often we become experts in exercise without considering growth and development, which is where the fundamentals of movement were first established. As explained in this video, these fundamental movements include rolling, pushing up, quadruped, and crawling. This foundation is often neglected in the approaches we take to enhance function and/or performance through exercise programming.

The first rule of functional performance is not forgetting fundamentals. In order to progress to movement we first learned to reflexively stabilize the spine, in order to control movement more distally in the extremities, this happened naturally during growth and development. However, many individuals lose the ability to naturally stabilize as they age due to asymmetries, injuries, poor training or daily activities. The individuals who do this develop compensatory movements, which then create inefficiencies and asymmetries in fundamental movements.

VIDEO 2: Gray Cook and Lee Burton: Secrets of Primitive Patterns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxRy55CeoQg&feature=share&list=PL77D5203810F6A356

 

THE FMS SCREEN UNCOVERED:  

Here Gray talks about how to do a self movement screen. It can be done and assesed by a Pass or Fail marking scheme. It covers 7 important movement patterns, which are the Deep Squat, In-Line Lunge, Hurdle Step, Rotation, and Active Straight Leg Raise, as well a 2 clearing tests to asses spinal extension and flexion in a fixed position.

Modern fitness and training science has bestowed upon us the ability to create strength and power in the presence of extremely poor dysfunction. This dysfunction means that fundamental movement patterns are limited, asymmetrical or barely present. Just because we can make people bigger, faster and stronger on top of this does not make it right. Seated, fixed-axis equipment perpetuates the illusion of fitness without enhancing functional performance. Utilize all of your tools to uncover an individual’s dysfunction and then work to correct it. The result will be an individual who moves more efficiently, thereby creating a foundation for more effective strength, endurance and power training.

VIDEO TWO; Gray Cook: Self Movement Screen:

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8G6jkEf1uI&feature=related

Here are a couple quick techniques you can utilize to observe primitive movements, checking for asymmetry and limitation in rotary stability and how to learn to fire the core!!! Everyone’s favorite:

 

The “Core” is the Foundation to Primitive Patterning: We call it Trunk Stability

Gray Cook; Sequence of Core Firing

Video: http://youtu.be/gEIHeaNmSok

 

Sources: The Importance of Primitive Movement Patterns

Gray Cook, MSPT, OCS, CSCS and Lee Burton, PhD, AT

Website: http://graycook.com/?m=201104

Somatic Healing Meets Corrective Movement

Somatic Healing Meets Corrective Movement

Soma – The word soma describes the everlasting constantly flowing array of sensory feedback and actions that are occurring within the experience of each of us. A somatic experience is when we viscerally feel connected usually brought on by movement. Even in meditation and states of rest our body and internal experience is always moving. It is an internal representation of our energy force.

Movement – Movement is the language that the nervous system understands very well. Gently guiding a client through a series of small movements allows the body to highlight muscular and systems integration on the voluntary level. It is a communication portal that showcases integration from the muscles, fascia and bone to the client – when the client is open to listening.

Lineage of Somatic Education:

Somatic education emerged during the twentieth century, but has been practiced in Eastern traditions for centuries. Western science classifys somatic healing and somatic education; a term used interchangeably, as an internalized learning process which is initiated by a teacher who guides the client or student through a sensory-motor process of physiological change.

When we speak of self-teaching, self-learning, self-healing, and self-regulation, we know that this is a somatic process, and as coaches and teachers we must guide our clients to the understanding that these are genetically-given capacities intrinsic to all human beings. As practitioners our roles are to merely offer the means to help “turn on” the ability to self manage somatic healing on and off the mat. In essence the client actually teaches themselves, we merely aid in offering the verbal and sequential tools.

Somatic healing is much like corrective movement in this way. When there is a break down in movement or movement patterning; much like in an athletic injury, there can be trauma and compensation patterns that take over proper and once efficient patterns. When this happens the client feels as if they do not have control over their body’s responses, contraction and control over that particular area of their body, muscle group and to an extent this is true because the body’s protective response is to contract and quite frankly.. protect. In somatic medical terms we call this somatic trauma and/or SMA (sensory motor amnesia; which is the worst case scenario.

This somatic trauma can pull the body into what we call somatic reflex. It is the reflex of pain avoidance. Cringing, for example, is the overt manifestation of this reflex. For instance, in boxing when blows occur to one side of the rib cage, the muscles traumatized will go into chronic contraction. Prolonged pain can attribute to chronic contraction, which we see in runner knee and a myriad of load responsive micro trauma. This alters the body’s ability to recover and to properly manage movement.

The internal compensation process is to selectively dis-engage that sensory input and motor control of muscle function and then establish a compensation pattern.

“Pain is impressively humbling. Your regular ambitions and thought processes come to a grinding halt. Emotional factors creep in and generally exacerbate matters. It can even become difficult, if not impossible, to make decisions in your own regard. Yet in this human community, we are never truly alone. Family, friends and professionals come to our aid. And, short of that, or in addition, in my system of belief, we are constantly ministered to by intelligences and forces of orders beyond our normal frames of recognition. Lean into these resources no matter how bad it gets. Relief will come.” ~ Gil Hedley (Integral Anatomy Series)

 

Primitive Patterning and Somatic Healing:

We know that somatic trauma can occur from injury or prolonged discomfort, but somatically we can also harbor emotions within the tissue well after the injury has healed. Depending on the nature of the injury and the emotional context from which the injury was viscerally felt can still be present at the soma level. Sometimes these somatic reactions are linked to our childhood many years or decades earlier. These visceral triggers can creep up over time and continue to cause bio mechanical breakdowns in the future.  This is one fundamental reason why somatic healing and corrective movement are so closely linked.

When we talk about corrective movement there are two pillars that FMS coaches will focus on (1) Primitive Movement Patterns and (2) Foundation Movement Patterns.

Primitive movement patterns are used to describe those movements most humans explore during growth and development. When we look at pediatric development this includes movements that are supine, prone and hand and knees (all fours).  As we begin to learn how to crawl, then squat and stand and then walk we form foundation movements. The development of fundamental movement is the foundation that leads to effective functional movement.

Somatic education can include taking the client back to these primitive and foundational movements to better break through somatic trauma and or related visceral connections that still hold negative movement and reactionary patterns.

Gray Cook, co-founder of the Functional Movement Systems, looks at corrective movement is very similar way; which is much like describing somatic re patterning and healing. They are very closely related in the foundational thought and intention process …

“Patterns and sequences remain the preferred mode of operation in biological organisms. Patterns are groups of singular movements linked in the brain like a single chunk of information. This chunk essentially resembles a mental motor program, the software that governs movement patterns. A pattern represents multiple single movements used together for specific function. Storage of a pattern creates efficiency and reduces processing time in the brain, much as a computer stores multiple documents of related content in one file to better organize and manage information. Common strengthening programs applied to muscles with the stabilization role will likely increase concentric strength but have little effect on timing and recruitment, which are the essence of stabilization.” ~ Gray Cook, FMS

In order for the client to regain pattern control it is an internal process; where new sensory information is introduced into the sensory-motor feedback loop through specific movement sequencing and pattern re training, allowing the motor neurons of the voluntary cortex once again to control the musculature fully and to achieve voluntary relaxation and contraction properties.

We see forms of this somatic trauma in today’s corporate world, but it is masked by “stiff muscles”. 80% of those over the age of forty have pain and stiffness from spines that are chronically contracted from the pelvis to the neck and naturally have spent decades in this compensation pattern.

Therefore, understanding the connection between somatic healing and corrective movement can greatly affect your health and wellness and longevity of your chosen sport – even if you classify yourself as just a weekend warrior.

A REVIEW: THE INTEGRAL ANATOMY 4 PART SERIES BY GIL HEDLEY

A REVIEW: THE INTEGRAL ANATOMY 4 PART SERIES BY GIL HEDLEY

 

“The Integral Anatomy Series” by Gil Hedley

Gil Hedley, is a Ph.D. and founder of Integral Anatomy Productions, LLC, and Somanautics Workshops, Inc. Hedley’s 4 part series of dissection of the fasciae, allows the viewer to gain a deeper understanding of the fascia system and grants us different kinds of access and insights, as well as enhances our ability to see certain tissues through the highlight of the multiple layers of the deep fascial lines and the superficial fasciae lines.

Each part of the series presents the anatomy of human form, layer by layer, from an integral, whole body perspective, not isolation. Now, these DVD’s are not for the faint of heart, but if you feel comfortable with paying tribute to those who have offered their bodies to science after they have passed and are interested in the dissection process of our multiple layers, then I highly recommend this 4 part series. It is quite frankly – fascinating.

A Short Intro into Visceral Fasciae:

Visceral fasciae (also called subserous fasciae) suspends the organs within their cavities and wraps them in layers of connective tissue membranes. Each of the organs is covered in a double layer of fascia; these layers are separated by a thin serous membrane.

Gil Hedley dates back the two means of fascia from Greek times of dissection, meaning:

1. Broad Sheet

2. Wispy and cloud-like

Understanding viscera and somatic healing offers the framework for how fascia works.  It allows us to also investigate relationships with our internal and external environment, to increase our awareness of continuities both intrinsically and extrinsically and heighten our sense perception as we build on the framework of our integrated system.

The onion and tree model is a functional simplification of the human body and is used as a metaphor to visualize this webbed matrix of myofascial layering. Each layer is significant with braches (much like a tree) that permiate each layer with those layers getting thicker as we reach its core (much like the human body) of the fascial lines of superficial vs deep.

Superficial Fasciae and Viscera:

We can reference the whole mass of the viscera as a deep layer, much like the deep layer of an onion or branches of a tree, as with the case of Neurovascular trunks and limbs.

The skin is the terminus of those visceral branches from the neurovascular trunks, as they interface directly with the external environment of the body. The primary form of our shape – is via our superfiscial fascia, that ebbs and flows and holds our tissues in a concise manner. It is the shaping layer in conjunction with our skin. Keeping in mind; the skin is our largest organ; which is resilient, strong and has fantastic integrity. When  we use the onion-tree model we can see that the skin and superfiscal fasciae have a special relationship and work as partners to give the human body shape, as well as the shape of the organs. The skin of the organ is known as the visceral layer and visceral fascia is less extensible than superficial fascia and plays an integral role in communicating the sensory input from our nervous system and sensory impulses.

A comprehensive understanding of these deeper layers requires a thorough understanding of the more superficial ones. Due to its suspensory role of the organs, it needs to maintain its tone rather consistently. If it is too lax, it contributes to organ prolapse (2) Ref. Wikipedia

The Superfiscal fascia is a great suspensory web of perception of a particular frequency range, in which the neuromuscular pathways branch out amongst the yellow finery of our sensory fleece. We can separate out tissues, layers and pathways of connection which we hold dear due to our mental conception of the body.

Deep Fasciae and Viscera:

The viscera are not limited in their physiological function or anatomically extent to the thorax, abdomen or the cranium but mentally we need to divide these lines up in order to understand the conceptually. From an integral viewpoint the visceral are meant to be non local phenomena , they are co mingled with all the tissues of the body. We can speak of the visera of the arm or leg – but there is no disconnect. When the heart beats, the movement and balance of pressure is not solely felt in the viscera of the chest, but through the whole body – all tissue is integrated.

The deep fascia can be a more thickly woven set of fibers and has a different texture and tone of the superficial fasciae. It is thicker and we can usually see more fiburous white striations and/or lines like the rings of a tree outlining the muscles and bone.

These thick layers of the deep fascia leverage tension and compression in the body. Through movement we can create vectors of “pull” and at the dissection level, watch the translation of the movement in the fascia, with the restrictions of components like, scar tissue. Scar tissue is not smooth, nor is it easily manipulated. Its structure is hard and tense; therefore we can assume that this will, no doubt lead to increased tension in the fasciae in the surrounding tissue.

What can we learn from fasciae dissection?

The largest benefit I have taken away from this 4 part series is the integration of all the systems that contribute to our form, the contours and comprehensive over laying structures that work together.

One interesting factor in dissection is seeing first hand the interplay of the superficial fasciae and the wispy interconnection of the adipose tissue just under the skin layer; which we cannot get from books, anatomy charts/maps or real life movement patterns.

In Yoga and corrective movement understanding the framework and connection of the fasciae system to the musculoskeletal anatomy is one of the most beneficial additions one can make to their professional resume. Understanding the tension and compression pulling factors on the multiple fasciae lines, in association of the kinetic chains can directly influence a client’s success on and off of the mat.

 

Sources:

Gil Hedley’s 4 Part Seiers “The Integral Anatomy Series”

  1. Skin and Superfiicial Fascia
  2. Deep Fascia and Muscle
  3. Cranial and Visceral Fasciae
  4. Viscera and their Fasciae

Take a quick peek at an intro to each video here – http://www.gilhedley.com/ghvideo.php

Upcoming workshop in Vancouver (Squamish, BC) in Dec 2012 – http://www.gilhedley.com/index.php (I’ll be there).

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