Movement: Feeling the Pulse of Life

October 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise

flying_without_wingsTo close this series on movement and exercise, I offer you this video montage that I have put together.

It’s called Movement: Feeling the Pulse of Life, and it sums up the essence of everything I’ve tried to explain about movement and exercise and its ability to help us feel lighter of body, mind and spirit.

Watch the video and as you do, see if the spirit moves you to get up and start moving. Even if you don’t start moving, see if you start feeling the flow of energy through your body as you watch it.

Movement can help you live a Low Density Lifestyle because it helps you feel the pulse of life course through your body, and can help you get in the zone.

Img214269253We are all kinesthetic.  All you have to do is find what type of movement fits your temperament, and then just go do it.

Maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s tai chi, maybe it’s Nia, maybe it’s running barefoot, maybe it’s singing and dancing like Elvis.

But whatever it is, just remember to move. Cause then you’ll be feeling the pulse of life.

Dancing Through Life with Nia

October 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise

In this series on movement and exercise, I’ve written about yoga and tai chi, two movement forms that fit in well with a Low Density Lifestyle approach to movement.

niaAnother movement approach that is oriented towards enhancing the flow state, and as such is another Low Density Lifestyle movement approach is Nia, which is a lifestyle and movement practice.

Today’s article is guest

Katie Capelli

Katie Capelli

written by Katie Capelli, who is a Certified Nia Black Belt Instructor and who has been sharing the joy of Nia with students for 11 years. She has created a holistic movement studio, Bloom, that offers classes in Nia and other movement techniques. She is also a Certified Nutritionist and co-owns a Natural Foods store with her husband in upstate NY.

Here is Katie’s article:

In contrast to a fitness philosophy that pushes us into pain and discomfort to achieve results (“no pain, no gain”), sits the choice of Nia. An expressive movement and lifestyle technique based on a philosophy that Through Movement We Find Health, Nia is guided by the sensation of pleasure.

Nia-Feature-artNia embodies “The Body’s Way” – that is, everything we do in Nia is supported by the unique design of the body’s own elegant neuromuscular systems. Through this practice we learn how to foster our own body awareness to make movement choices that let the body say “aahhh” in response.

As a unique blend of technical precision and free-form expression, Nia offers the body, mind, emotions and spirit an integrated balanced state of health and is based on nine traditional movement forms: from the healing arts (Yoga, Alexander Technique, The Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais), from the dance arts (Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, Jazz Dance) and from the martial arts (Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, T’ai Chi).

The goal is not how deep, how fast or how much we can do in class but rather how aware we can become of our own physical sensations. We become our own personal trainers.

5StagesLogoAs this awareness or inner voice begins to direct our movements, we then are free to adapt the movements to our own body potential. We explore how it feels to move from sharp to fluid, from large to small, from high to low. We learn to listen to our body while having fun, as it tells us how to adjust the movements so we will feel pleasure and joy.

Nia is adaptable to meet the unique needs of all ages, sizes, shapes and fitness levels and acknowledges that the body requires movement and energy variety. Practiced barefoot to all kinds of music, Nia is truly designed for every body.

Through Nia, it is possible to achieve mobility, flexibility, strength, cardiovascular conditioning, agility – all of the components that lead to whole-body conditioning. Most importantly, Nia leads us to a loving, sensory relationship with our own body, a body that holds an innate intelligence on how to live and be healthy.

To learn more about Katie’s Nia work and her studio, check out Bloom, A Movement Space.

And here’s another video that shows you Nia in action:

Nia Promotional Video 2005 from Nia Technique on Vimeo.

Tai Chi – The Power of Chi

October 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise

I’ve talked about yoga for the last few days, as yoga is a movement approach that can help enhance the flow state, and as such can allow you to enter into Low Density Lifestyle mode.

Another movement form that is a true and abiding Low Density Lifestyle movement approach is Tai Chi.

tai-chiWhy is that? Because Tai chi is first and foremost about cultivating and enhancing the flow state, both in your practice of Tai chi and in everyday life.

And if that isn’t a Low Density Lifestyle approach to movement and to life, then I don’t know what is.

So let’s look at Tai chi and what it is.

Tai chi, or as it is more formally known, Tai chi chuan, is sometimes referred to as moving meditation or meditation in motion. It is an internal Chinese martial art often practiced for health reasons. Tai chi is typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: its hard and soft martial art technique, demonstration competitions, and as a longevity practice.

When you practice tai chi, you move your body slowly, gently, with awareness, and with deep breathing.

Tai chi is regularly practiced in streets and parks in China.

Tai chi is regularly practiced in streets and parks in China.

Some of tai chi chuan’s training forms are well known to Westerners as the slow motion routines that groups of people practice together every morning in parks around the world, particularly in China.

Today, tai chi has spread worldwide. Most modern styles of tai chi trace their development to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu and Sun.

As the legend goes, tai chi’s origin is credited to Chang San-Feng, a Taoist monk. The monk developed a series of 13 exercises that mimic the movements of animals. Meditation and the concept of internal force were emphasized by the monk.

Tai chi adopted the concepts yin and yang (opposing forces within your body) and qi (vital energy or life force). Tai chi aims to support a balance of yin and yang, ultimately aiding the flow of qi.

There are various movements in tai chi – and each flows into the next. Posture, movement, concentration, and breathing are essential elements of tai chi.

The longer you do tai chi, the more capable you become of achieving the flow state in your movements, not just in tai chi but in everyday life.

The tai chi symbol

The tai chi symbol

There is a saying in Chinese philosophy that it takes 10 years to become a beginner. The same can be said of tai chi – that it takes 10 years to become a beginner, to really embed the flow state in everything you do.

This way of thinking is antithetical to the West, where we expect to develop mastery in a weekend.

But that’s not to say that tai chi doesn’t have benefits for the person who has not been practicing for 10 years. Studies have shown that tai chi has many health benefits, and that most of them are felt in the early days of doing tai chi.

It is known to improve:

* physical condition
* muscle strength
* coordination
* flexibility
* balance
* pain level and stiffness
* sleep
* general well-being

Furthermore, specific research has stated that tai chi can help with numerous health problems.

tai chi 4 wellbeingResearchers have found that intensive tai chi practice shows favorable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in both healthy elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

Tai chi can also be good for weight loss, as its gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing.

Other studies have shown that:
1) tai chi has reduced levels of LDLs 20–26 milligrams when practiced for 12–14 weeks.
2) tai chi showed the ability to greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee.
3) a pilot study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, has found preliminary evidence that tai chi and related qigong may reduce the severity of diabetes.
4) tai chi boosts and strengthens the immune system.
5) tai chi can help with stress management and improve mental health – it has an effect on noradrenaline and cortisol production with an effect on mood and heart rate.
6) tai chi reduces the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

So if you’re looking to get into the flow and feel more peaceful, calm, balanced and centered; if you’re looking to cultivate better health; and if you’re looking to live a Low Density Lifestyle, then tai chi may be for you.

One other thing: tai chi is considered the most powerful of all the martial arts because it teaches how to use your chi, your body’s energy system, in forceful ways. The catch to that is that you have to have practiced tai chi a long, long time to develop that power.

To show what I mean, below is a video of Master Shr, a Chinese master of tai chi. The video comes from the television program The Mystery of Chi, which appeared as a segment of a program Bill Moyers did called Healing and the Mind.

You may not believe what you see in the video, but believe me, this is real: this is the power of chi.

Yoga Humor

October 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Humor, Movement And Exercise

Zombie Yoga!!!In the last few articles during this series on movement and exercise, I’ve discussed yoga and its relationship to living a Low Density Lifestyle.

I gave you 10 outstanding yoga videos, and then in the next article I explained the history of yoga.

yogastretchToday, I will continue talking about yoga, but I will switch gears and have some fun by offering up some yoga humor.

Now you may remember that a few months ago, during the series on humor, I discussed how humor and laughter were things that helped you to feel lighter of mind, body and spirit, and thus were great tools for helping to get into Low Density Lifestyle mode.

So in that vein, I thought it’d be a good mix to combine yoga with some humor. Now, although Laughter Yoga is a form of yoga, that’s not what I’m discussing here.

So let’s start it off. First, if you watch the above video, you’ll see Zombie Yoga, with a very large Zombie Yoga class. If you’re a zombie, or considering becoming a zombie, you may want to watch how they do yoga, so that you can do the moves on your own.

Next, courtesy of The Onion, here are the top reasons Americans are doing yoga – and could it be true that Americans are doing yoga so that they can tap into the ancient wisdom of Californians?:


Next up, are some yoga jokes:

Question: How many Iyengar yogis does it take to replace a light bulb?
Answer: Only one – but he will need a sticky mat, a backless chair,
five blankets, a bolster, six ropes, two belts, six assorted benches,
three weights, and a certificate.

Question: What did the sign in the window of the yoga master searching for a new disciple say?
Answer:  Inquire within!

Question:  Why did the yogi refuse anesthesia when
having his wisdom teeth removed?  Answer:  He
wanted to transcend-dental-medication.

relig_yogaWhen teaching Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) by putting a ball
between a student’s knees so they will not splay the legs apart,
this was said to a male yoga student:  “Wow!  You could fit two
balls between your legs!”

Yoga is excellent for un-kinking the muscles and the spine.
It is great if you’re really kinky.

The Yogini says to the hot dog vendor:
“Make me one with everything.”

I always wanted to be somebody, but now I see that I should
have been more specific.
–   Jane Wagner

The Ananda Yogi says to his pupil: “Do you understand that you
don’t really exist?”  The pupil replies, “To whom are you speaking?”

Eternal nothingness is okay if you’re dressed for it.
–   Woody Allen

If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question?
–   Lily Tomlin

funny-pictures-cat-gives-you-instruStudent Exam Bloopers

1) A student wrote, “The universe is a giant orgasm” (instead of organism).  At the end of the student’s essay, the teacher riposted, “Your answer gives new meaning to the Big Bang Theory.”

2) “Involuntary muscles are not as willing as voluntary ones.”

3) “When you breathe, you inspire. When you do not breathe, you expire.”

When two Behaviorist Yogis met, one said:
“You are fine.  How am I ?”

A young woman who was worried about her habit of biting her fingernails
down to the quick was advised by a friend to take up yoga. She did, and soon
her fingernails were growing normally.  Her friend asked her if yoga had
totally cured her nervousness.  “No,” she replied, “but now I can reach
my toe-nails so I bite them instead.”

And last on the yoga humor list is a video that comes from the folks at Yoga Journal, and is about Ogden, the Inappropriate Yoga Guy:

Yoga: The Divine Union

October 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise


In yesterday’s article I gave you 10 outstanding yoga videos, all of which were excellent.

Some of the videos were historical in nature and traced back to the roots of modern yoga, showing some of the modern masters of this ancient art. There was a video from 1938 of Krishnamacharya, the grandfather of modern yoga. And there were two others video with his disciples, BKS Iyengar, founder of Iyengar Yoga, and Sri K. Pattahbi Jois, founder of Ashtanga Yoga.

The aim of yoga is to help the practitioner enter into the flow state, and as such it is a movement approach that definitely can be a strong aid in helping to live a Low Density Lifestyle.

I thought it would be nice today to look at the ancient roots of yoga, in order to help give a context for understanding the wisdom of this traditional modality, whose aim is to create a divine union between body, mind and soul.

Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.

Raja Yoga meditation

Raja Yoga meditation

Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition.

Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

The Bhagavad Gita (‘Song of the Lord’), uses the term yoga extensively in a variety of ways. In addition to an entire chapter (ch. 6) dedicated to traditional yoga practice, including meditation, it introduces three prominent types of yoga:

* Karma yoga: The yoga of action
* Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion
* Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge.

The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj,” meaning “to control,” “to yoke” or “to unite.” Translations include “joining,” “uniting,” “union,” “conjunction,” and “means.”

Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a yogi or yogini.

The Indian sage Patanjali

The Indian sage Patanjali

It was the Indian sage Patanjali, who lived in the second century BCE, who is widely regarded as the founder of the formal Yoga philosophy. Patanjali’s yoga is known as Raja yoga, which is a system for control of the mind. Patanjali defines the word “yoga” in his writings, specifically the second sutra of what became known as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Hundreds of years later, yoga’s evolution continued with the development of Hatha Yoga by Yogi Swatmarama, in 15th century India.

A Hatha Yoga pose

A Hatha Yoga pose

Hatha Yoga differs substantially from the Raja Yoga of Patanjali in that it focuses on shatkarma, the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind and prana, or vital energy.

Compared to the seated asana, or sitting meditation posture, of Patanjali’s Raja yoga, it marks the development of asanas into the full body “postures” now in popular usage. Hatha Yoga in its many modern variations is the style that many people associate with the word “Yoga” today.

mokshaThe goal of yoga ranges from improving health to achieving Moksha. Within Jainism and the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism, the goal of yoga takes the form of Moksha, which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara), at which point there is a realization of identity with the Supreme Brahman.

In the Mahabharata, the goal of yoga is variously described as entering the world of Brahma, as Brahman, or as perceiving the Brahman or Atman that pervades all things. For the bhakti schools of Vaishnavism, bhakti or service to Svayam bhagavan itself may be the ultimate goal of the yoga process, where the goal is to enjoy an eternal relationship with Vishnu.

Yoga also helps your body maintain a stable relationship with itself while going into a calm, neutral state of peace.

So whether you see yoga as a form of exercise that allows you to move in a more flowing way, or as a way to achieve a higher state of consciousness and a sense of liberation, either way, by practicing this ancient art, you will find yourself on the path of living a Low Density Lifestyle.

10 Outstanding Yoga Videos

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise

yogaI have talked about movement and exercise as a way to help you achieve more of a flow state.

Yoga is an excellent way to help cultivate the flow state.

With that in mind, here are 10 outstanding yoga videos that you can watch right here – feel free to watch one or all.

They can all help you to realize the flow state.

1) A guided meditation with Bridget Woods Kramer, a leading Anusara yoga teacher, filmed on the clifftops of Cornwall, England.

2) The breath and body move as one in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition. This classical path harnesses the power of the postures to reveal the pure awareness, freedom, and depth of all that is yoga. Renowned teacher Richard Freeman masterfully guides you through this precise union of breath, alignment, and flowing postures as taught to him by master yogi K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India.

3) Intro to Ashtanga with Richard Freeman.

4) Yoga for Beginners with Patricia Walden.

5) Vinyasa Flow Yoga Intro with Seane Corne. Vinyasa Flow Yoga is an experience to reconnect you to your personal sense of Spirit and strengthen mind and heart, as well as your body.

6) Morning YogaTara Stiles shows a yoga routine that is great for waking up in the morning.

7) Everyday Yoga: Letting Go of Tension – with Rodney Yee.

8) A silent film of Krishnamacharya, granddaddy of modern yoga, in 1938. He was the teacher of BKS Iyengar and Sri K. Pattahbi Jois.

9) Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, in 2002 at age 87 in London teaching an Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series Class. Here he helps a student in GarbhaPindasana while counting in Sanskrit…

10) B.K.S. Iyengar 1938 silent newsreel. Here is a young Iyengar doing advanced poses that constitute the advanced A & B ashtanga series. This is well before Iyengar dropped the vinyasa aspect from his practice and rebranded it as “Iyengar Yoga,” putting greater emphasis on alignment.

Can You Move to the Groove Like a Little Baby?

October 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise

I’ve been talking about movement and exercise for the last week, and I’ve been saying how the best type of movement is one that allows you to feel that you’re in the flow.

That’s the Low Density Lifestyle approach to movement.

Movement that enhances flow is best

Movement that enhances flow is best

It’s movement that is oriented towards enhancing the mind/body unison, and feels natural and joyous and it increases your mind’s awareness.

Now that’s not to say that exercising in a gym – cardio work or strength training – is not the best approach. It’s all good, and all important.

I am saying that movement that allows you to feel in the flow is essentially spiritual in nature – it allows you to get in touch with the pulse of the universe.

That is the aim of movement forms like yoga, tai chi, some of the martial arts, pilates, and dance, and other approaches that have a similar orientation.

The aim of these approaches are to help you to move in a way that allows you to feel lighter of body and mind. That is why these approaches fit in perfectly with the Low Density Lifestyle.

dancing-baby-clip-artSo can you move to the groove like the baby in the above video? Chances are she hasn’t taken any dance lessons, yet she knows how to move her body effortlessly and without impedance.

She is totally in the flow, as she dances to Beyonce’s song “Single Ladies.”

So why don’t you try moving in this type of way? If the little baby can do it, so can you.

You’ll definitely then feel lighter of body and mind.

Exercising: Is Six Minutes a Week All You Need?

October 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise

exerciseHow much exercise is needed to feel fit and healthy? It’s really not absolutely known what the right answer is, and you hear estimates of anywhere from 20 minutes three times a week to an hour four to five times a week.

It depends on what your goals are and the mindset you bring into it. As I pointed out in the original article in this series on Movement and Exercise, the best approach to movement is one that allows you to achieve the flow state, that state of heightened awareness and increased focus.

This approach would be one that pays attention to the mind/body unison. This is also the Low Density Lifestyle approach to movement.

Just 6 minutes a week? No way! Or could it be true?

Just 6 minutes a week? No way! Or could it be true?

So what if I told you that all you needed was six minutes a week? You would probably say I was crazy.

But there are researchers who have come to that conclusion. Now if this is true, that doesn’t mean that you can be sedentary for the other 10,074 minutes that make up the rest of your week.

Instead, you can move in ways that seem natural and more flowing, as I pointed out in the first two articles in this series on movement and exercise.

But let’s look at this six minutes a week concept a little closer. What researchers who have been studying this subject have been looking at is whether humans can increase endurance with only a few minutes of strenuous exercise, instead of hours.

Could it be that most of us are spending more time than we need to trying to get fit?

It started a few years ago with researchers at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan. They put rats through a series of swim tests with surprising results. They had one group of rodents paddle in a small pool for six hours, this long workout broken into two sessions of three hours each. A second group of rats were made to stroke furiously through short, intense bouts of swimming, while carrying ballast to increase their workload.

This rat will never have to exercise as much again

This rat will never have to exercise as much again

After 20 seconds, the weighted rats were scooped out of the water and allowed to rest for 10 seconds, before being placed back in the pool for another 20 seconds of exertion. The scientists had the rats repeat these brief, strenuous swims 14 times, for a total of about four-and-a-half minutes of swimming.

Afterward, the researchers tested each rat’s muscle fibers and found that, as expected, the rats that had gone for the six-hour swim showed preliminary molecular changes that would increase endurance. But the second rodent group, which exercised for less than five minutes also showed the same molecular changes.

“There was a time when the scientific literature suggested that the only way to achieve endurance was through endurance-type activities,” such as long runs or bike rides or, perhaps, six-hour swims, says Martin Gibala, PhD, chairman of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. But ongoing research from Gibala’s lab is turning that idea on its head.

In one of the group’s recent studies, Gibala and his colleagues had a group of college students, who were healthy but not athletes, ride a stationary bike at a sustainable pace for between 90 and 120 minutes.

Pioneering researcher Martin Gibala of McMaster University

Pioneering researcher Martin Gibala of McMaster University

Another set of students grunted through a series of short, strenuous intervals: 20 to 30 seconds of cycling at the highest intensity the riders could stand. After resting for four minutes, the students pedaled hard again for another 20 to 30 seconds, repeating the cycle four to six times (depending on how much each person could stand), “for a total of two to three minutes of very intense exercise per training session,” Gibala says.

Each of the two groups exercised three times a week. After two weeks, both groups showed almost identical increases in their endurance (as measured in a stationary bicycle time trial), even though the one group had exercised for six to nine minutes per week, and the other about five hours.

Additionally, molecular changes that signal increased fitness were evident equally in both groups. “The number and size of the mitochondria within the muscles” of the students had increased significantly, Gibala says, a change that, before this work, had been associated almost exclusively with prolonged endurance training. Since mitochondria enable muscle cells to use oxygen to create energy, “changes in the volume of the mitochondria can have a big impact on endurance performance.”

In other words, six minutes or so a week of hard exercise (plus the time spent warming up, cooling down, and resting between the bouts of intense work) had proven to be as good as multiple hours of working out for achieving fitness. The short, intense workouts aided in weight loss, too, although Gibala hadn’t been studying that effect.


Getting into shape might be easier than you think

“The rate of energy expenditure remains higher longer into recovery” after brief, high-intensity exercise than after longer, easier workouts, Gibala says. Other researchers have found that similar, intense, brief sessions of exercise improve cardiac health, even among people with heart disease.

There’s a catch, though. Those six minutes, if they’re to be effective, must hurt. “We describe it as an ‘all-out’ effort,” Gibala says. You’ll be straying “well out of your comfort zone.” That level of discomfort makes some activities better-suited to intense training than others.

“We haven’t studied runners,” Gibala says. The pounding involved in repeated sprinting could lead to injuries, depending on a runner’s experience and stride mechanics. But cycling and swimming work well. “I’m a terrible swimmer,” Gibala says, “so every session for me is intense, just because my technique is so awful.”

Meanwhile, his lab is studying whether people could telescope their workouts into even less time. Could a single, two- to three-minute bout of intense exercise confer the same endurance and health benefits as those six minutes of multiple intervals? Gibala is hopeful. “I’m 41, with two young children,” he says. “I don’t have time to go out and exercise for hours.”

More of his research findings should be available later this year. To know more about Martin Gibala and his work, here’s his university web page.

Baby We Were Born to Run (Barefoot)

October 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise

You remember Bruce Springsteen’s classic song “Born to Run?” Of course you do. The chorus of the song had the lyrics, “Baby we were born to run.”

I’ve amended it to include the word “barefoot.” Cause baby, we were born to run barefoot.

jackson_runningChildren don’t think twice of running barefoot – it just seems like the natural thing to do.

And let the truth be told – it is. You could also say it’s the Low Density Lifestyle way to run.

Which means we were not born to run with the latest in foot apparel. Yes, you can now ditch your Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Converse, Saucony, etc. Just think of the money you will save.

The reason I say this is that a growing body of research says that barefoot is the way people should run. And so, many runners are doing it.

Strong evidence shows that thickly cushioned running shoes have done nothing to prevent injury in the 30-odd years since Nike founder Bill Bowerman invented them, research says.

Some studies show that running in shoes may increase the risk of ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis and other injuries. Runners who wear cheap running shoes have fewer injuries than those wearing expensive trainers. Meanwhile, injuries plague 20 to 80 percent of regular runners every year.

Chris McDougall, who is featured in the above video, and is the author of the recent book Born to Run, goes further. “If this were a drug, it would be yanked off the market,” he said of running shoes.

McDougall, as he states in the above video, says that years of running in shoes caused him injury, and it wasn’t until he started running barefoot, after learning of a tribal people in Mexico that did this, that his problems cleared up.

Famed marathoner Zola Budd going barefoot

Famed marathoner Zola Budd going barefoot

“People have been running barefoot for millions of years and it has only been since 1972 that people have been wearing shoes with thick, synthetic heels,” said Daniel Lieberman, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University.

Lieberman’s research into human and early hominid fossils suggests that the human body, including the foot, is well-adapted to long-distance running without shoes. He theories that early humans didn’t need speed so much as endurance — just enough to run down herd animals until they collapsed from overheating.

He’s sure that running barefoot or with minimal footwear is the way to avoid injury. After all, we evolved without shoes.

“If a third of runners had gotten injured in the Paleolithic era with runner’s knee or plantar fasciitis, you can bet that natural selection would have weeded them out,” Lieberman says.

Just do it!

Just do it!

If you’re interested in trying out barefoot (or nearly barefoot, meaning very thin soled shoes, such as flip flops) running, here’s a common sense approach to beginning, as it may take your body a little while to get used to it.

Start slow, with quarter-mile runs at most, and build up very gradually.

Listen to your feet. Don’t try to run with the same gait you use in shoes — shorten your steps and land on the forward part of your foot.

Keep your head up and your body vertical. Your feet should be hitting the ground almost directly underneath you, not in front of you.

Keep barefoot running to no more than 10 percent of your weekly regimen, especially at first.

If you’re running completely barefoot, run on a mix of soft and hard surfaces to give your feet time to toughen up.

Finally, don’t try this if you suffer from diabetes or another condition that would affect your ability to feel and respond to sensations from your feet.

“Like any part of your body, you have to build up very, very slowly,” says Lieberman. “If you really pay attention to your body and build up slowly, you’ll be fine.”

If you would like to know more about barefoot running, check out Barefoot Ken Bob’s website.

And of course, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t end with the Boss doing Born to Run.

If Only Elvis Stuck With Yoga

October 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Movement And Exercise

Ah, Elvis. You were the King. At one time you were so young and nimble and moved with such grace and agility. You shook those hips and moved in ways that could make young girls swoon.

But what happened? Towards the end of your life everything you once were vanished, leaving you a shell and a parody of who you once were. You were bloated and addicted to drugs. You lived your life in a drug-addled haze.

You lived the dream and everyone worshiped you. But obviously, something was missing.


And now, 32 years after your death, the truth can be told.

You sneered at yoga.

Yes, you sneered at everything, but even more specifically you gave the raised lip to yoga.

If only you stuck with it, it could have changed your life. You could have been healthier, happier, and even more importantly to your legions of fans, still alive.

And you could have become Yogi Elvis, the guru of country and western, rockabilly, yoga loving fans everywhere.

And you would have been an inspiration to all those yearning to live a Low Density Lifestyle.

But instead, you got sucked into a High Density Lifestyle.

And all because you refused to take yoga seriously. You had your chance, but you walked out the door when yoga beckoned.

If you don’t believe me, watch the above video and see for yourself.

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