So I’ve had it with society dictating who we are, how we should act, how we should behave, what to do, what to eat…. How to live our OWNÂ lives.
I’ve said it so many times, that in this modern world where answers and information is at our fingertips, making life, easy, we’ve now detoured so far from easy, and so far from the obvious answer that is to just ask yourself.
How we should look and the healthyÂ body shape is decided through media, just look at this article on how the “ideal” body image has changed over this past century.
Where we are born and how we have been bought up plays a major role in the type of body we have. So what is the idealÂ diet? We’re all looking for that one super pill, that “easy” fix. Well have a read of Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio’s insightful book.Â What I eat Around the World in 8- Diets. These twoÂ photojournalists decided to research people, their lives, what they do and what they eat in a day across the globe. The photo’s and the stories will open your eyes to just how warped our society is.
To check out more about this study check out this videoÂ
There is a quote in the video above that Peter said; “It’s not what you eat, it’s how much you eat and the energy you burn after.”Â Everyday you’re doing and feeling different things, so really your idealÂ diet is one that can adapt to the life you choose to live each day. Unless you do the exact same thing everyday and even to the extent of the weather conditions; After all on a hot day we sweat more and lose more body fluid so need to replenish this. Your diet is going to have to change each and everyday! If you’re training for a sporting event, you’re going to be training a lot more, you’re going to be sweating a lot more, you’re putting your body through a lot more stress, so your food intake will increase the types of food will have to change to compliment this activity.
To get the answers you’re looking for I want you to start asking the person who knows you best. So here’s my challenge.
Day 1: Instead of looking in a mirror to see how you look, I want you to feel yourself. Feel every part of your body, every bump, every curve, every hair and pimple. Now explore whatever feelings come up.
Now tune in and ask why? Explore whyÂ your body feels the way it does, the child you may have given birth to has left its mark, the food you ate earlier has left it’s mark, the scar you got from playing sport has left it’s mark. Each part of you has a story, and every story makes you the person you are. Accept every part of you. To be able to touch and accept yourself is a powerful thing, opening so many doors to confidence, love, comfort to be able to be touched by someone else. Read my blog Skin deepÂ to get a further insight.
Day 2. When you choose what to wear today ask why? How do you want to feel when you walk out the door? For instance I have a drawer full of bathers, because I love to surf and be in the ocean. I like to have fun some fun with colours, and I like to have a selection of styles depending on surf, if it’s bigger I need something to stay on, if it’s small I want something that’s a little prettier and perhaps less functional. Let your outfit reflect what you’re doing and how you want to feel.
Day 3. Why are you eating that? Are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you celebrating an occasion? Food is a fuel source so as much as we can have sugar cravings sometimes. Ask yourself why? Is it this mad addiction the world has? Or are you starving yourself from good sugars and perhaps need some quality fruit or honey. If you’re tired perhaps you need some good carbohydrates. If you’re hot, if you’re cold, if you’re muscles ache…. Listen to your body and eat the food it needs to function optimally.
Day 4: Write a list of all your favourite things. Then pull out your diary and schedule in time to include them into your life.
Day 5: Schedule in a time to try something new. Whether it be a place, an activity, explore what’s around your community or outside and learn something new.
Day 6: Find an inspiring book. I’ve listed one earlier but a couple ofÂ my favourite authors are Paulo Coelho, Robin Sharma, or recently deceased Waye Dyer.
Day 7: Talk to a stranger. Acknowledge someone in the street, on a train, in the workplace and start up a conversation.
Day 8: Plan a date with a family member you haven’t spent time with in a while.
Day 10: Ask a friend to tell you what they love about you and do the same to them.
Day 11: Get lost. Whether it be the streets of the city or a suburb you’ve never been or in nature just allow yourself to switch off and see what you can find.
Day 12: Turn off the internet first for half a day (when you’re not asleep) and if you can a whole day.
Day 13: Visit your local market and get to know your local farmers, then cook yourself/and your family a home cooked meal.
Day 14: What are you grateful for today?
Day 15: Find a peaceful place and meditate for 20 minutes
Day 15: Look through old photographs and memories and acknowledge who you are today.
Day 16: What’s next beautiful creature? You could write down a to do list of a million things, and i’m sure you could smash everyone of them but maybe it’s time to ask yourself what you need rather thenÂ what you want…Â
I wrote last year a blog on survival when dealing with emotional trauma. (The Ultimate body detox)Â The way I dealt with the loss of my friend to mental illness was a lot through movement. How I deal with any kind of stress has usually been through doing a workout, I was literally running away from feeling any emotional pain. Like this song I wanted to feel I was alive, I didnâ€™t need to hurt but I needed to feel something. I needed to feel anything but the pain I felt internally.
The problem is the effects of this constant physical battle with myself left the emotional trauma unvisited. You cannot expect to function at your best if youâ€™re not completely present and ready both psychologically and physically. Itâ€™s what I preach to my clients yet I wasnâ€™t listening myself. I wasnâ€™t listening to what I needed, what I needed was to feel, I needed to cry, I needed to be supported, I needed to be nurturedâ€¦. I wanted to â€œbleedâ€ I wanted to push. and in doing so Iâ€™ve subjected my body to limits I wasnâ€™t even conscious I was taking it to. To be able to recover properly we need rest. By resting we repair and regenerate muscle and cells, and allow your body to take on the adaptations from your workout.
I was conscious to take time out, to do yoga, to slow down but still I didnâ€™t address what was going on internallyâ€¦. â€œI didnâ€™t have time.â€ A combination of now emotional and mental stress, and dealing with these by adding physical stress. Does this sound familiar to anyone yet? Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™m not the only one who has been here.
Iâ€™ve spoken a lot about social interaction, the need for touch, the need to talk, just like your muscles need to be released through stretching and manipulation your emotions need to be released as well. You donâ€™t always need to talk to someone, expressing how you feel can be done by writing, through art, through music, and through meditation. Anything that will allow you to completely focus internally, and feel whatever it is you need to, acknowledge, process and let go if you can.
Yes movement can be a way of therapy and it definitely helps me feel better but like many things these days, itâ€™s a mask, a quick fix thatâ€™s not sustainable long term. Just like you need rest days from physical stress, we need it the same from emotional and mental stressors.Â This doesnâ€™t mean you have to be in a sedentary position all day as if you were sick with a virus it just means you need to take time each day to express and feel whatever it is your going through. This is a daily exercise. Last year I didnâ€™t have the physical interaction I needed, a hug, a chat face to face I was very much alone and so I internalized everything and tried to self-fix everything. However thereâ€™s only so much of this we can do. We are as humanâ€™s social beings after all.Â The way we evolve and grow is by working and learning together, we cannot do it alone. This is why we always here, that â€œloveâ€ is the answer to most things. That selflessness action of caring, and being empathetic to another. We have love to give but we also need it to be returned.
Start to come back to the purpose why youâ€™re doing things. Itâ€™s ok to want to runaway sometimes but sooner or later your emotions will catch up, and they have to outlay somewhere. Ever wonder why youâ€™re tense so often, why youâ€™re getting reoccurring injuries, why youâ€™re always so tired. Everything is connected, there is no quick fix. To function at your best you have to live in harmony and balance both physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Did you know Adventure PT is a regular guest poster for Mornington Peninsula Fitness NetworkÂ a great page connecting the fitness professionals of the Mornington Peninsula providing you with a great source of current information and motivation. Read below my latest post all about our skin and the powers of touch.
When looking at mental and physical development we often look deep into the muscular anatomy and the brain, but are we skipping ahead? Our skin is the largest organ in the human body so surely weâ€™re missing some answers right where we can see and touchâ€¦.
From birth the initial contact with your mother is the most vital in activating our physiological and psychological responses for both movement and brain development. The skin on skin contact initiates the expansion of the lungs by crying, the ability to rest and be calm decreasing stress hormones in both the child and mother, the movement of crawling and suckling that allows a child to feed, and ofÂ course familiarization, to know and understand who your mother is. To read more about these steps go here.
No matter what age that interaction of touch has profound effects on our mood, stress levels, immune and cognitive functions. To touch products of nature, say a tree or the change in temperature of air to the cold ocean, itâ€™s a way for us to better understand and connect with these things, like shaking someoneâ€™s hand. Touch sends messages to our brain storing these feelings as memories and recognition, to learn, to become familiar and to bond. Some studies have suggested that acne is a result from an increase in stress levels, which elevate both testosterone and cortisol levels. Disconnectedness is then linked to lower participation in physical activities increasing the chance of obesity.
Sexual contact could be one of the best ways to describe that power of touch that skin on skin, which ignites both hormonal and physical responses for all parties involved. With our stress response hormones like cortisol and dopamine, PEA (phenylethylamine) oxytocin our â€œcuddleâ€ hormone is also released. oxytocin has been linked to lowering blood pressure, it can speed up healing and reduce pain from injury, oxytocin can counter addiction and withdrawal symptoms. This hormone is released after sexual intercourse so just holding each other and not even having sex this hormone can still have positive effects. When weâ€™re lacking oxytocin, it has been linked to an increase in aggression, and anxiety, it will also help with cell proliferation to inhibit breast and prostate cancer, and patients with autism have seen improvements with more oxytocin. These are just a few of the many benefits of this hormone that is so easily made just by hugging. Read more about sexual healing and oxytocin here.
Today our skin care professionals are looking a lot deeper into what we weâ€™re doing to influence the changes in our skin. Peninsula local Crystal is one of these professionals and is creating some incredible products with her brand Ecology Skincare, by listening to the feedback of people and what theyâ€™re doing, which will influence their skin response. Even just self-touch can be beneficial in reducing anxiety and assisting healing.
Our skin speaks in a way, we can see the effects first hand every time we look in the mirror we see the impact our life choices are taking on our skin. Like our muscles if there is a reoccurring injury or dysfunction, donâ€™t seek the quick fix, find out why and get to the root. The same thing can be said for your skin, if there is inflammation or abnormalities then donâ€™t just pump yourself with hormonal pills, find out why. Weâ€™re a touch deprived society, always in a rush, and stress is on the rise. Are we simply missing more human, social and natural interaction?
A 9:30 am start I met Suzy for her first session with me at the Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve. The 214ha reserve is home to 45% of the Mornington Peninsulas Indigenous flora species and has over 100 years of military use history from 1886-1979.
Suzy had contacted me worried the previous night that she had no â€œrunning shoes,â€ I had to laugh a little because to be honest I rarely wear shoes in my sessions, and if I am theyâ€™re minimal and I will always encourage my clients to be barefoot as often as possible through their daily lives. This isnâ€™t some â€œairy fairyâ€ hippie business, but part of our muscular development. You can read more in my blogs, here. To give you the jist, just like we have introduced species of animal that can alter an eco-system, shoes are an introduced product that can alter our movement systems. They will weaken our feet which are possibly the most important body part we have, having access to your entire anatomy through each point of its surface, therefore impacting on our postural alignment and how we move and function.
Abby and I got to play the other day without the company of her gorgeous son, allowing us to extend the session and have a little more mama needs focus. Abby asked if we could have a focus on strengthening through her core, a really common request and a lot of fun to play with. Generally when we think about the core we think abdominals right? Well actually your core is made up of a number of things including your pelvic floor, the muscles in your back, shoulders, butt,Â hips and outer and inner leg muscles. These are all working together to keep you BALANCED, maintain posture and assist with your breath movement and function. So a core workout functionally will involve them all! We’ll keep things simple and just look at the picture at hand which has Abby climbing and crawling on a tree. A progression of our development to be able to crawl and balance to activate our brain to muscle communication and challenge our contralateral system body strengthÂ and imagination. I let her play a little here and try out a few different movements. I didn’t just want to say do this or do that, after all it’s her workout, and I feel as the trainer I’m their to guide her body to prevent injury, I’m there to motivate and challenge her but I’m not there to disconnect her from her own thoughts and feelings. So with some prompting to start and of course some extra little challenged Abby came up with a little branch limbo back extension, stepping over to strengthen her legs, glutes and increase flexibility through the hips. Crawling and hanging for shoulder stabilisation, balance control, decompression of the spine and wrists. We also worked on rotation and twisting, activating her side abdominals or oblique muscles, posterior the erector spinae and iliopsoas muscle group working in synergy to stabilise the core and trunk.
Maintaining a strong core is vital for good postural alignment and breath control. Relaxing the hips and opening the chest to let in the oxygen and release tension can be shown in the next picture. For the workout is important but so is the psychological and mental aspect of health, enjoying the full experience. Taking in our amazing location at Sea Winds Gardens. These guys have got their balance control down pat.
Saturday 23rd of August I started the Yoga girl challenge. I’m posting this almost a year later, finding that I wrote about each day but never published it. My life has taken quite the turn around from this once life and it was nice to read back and reflect on my life in Japan but also how far I’ve come since. I was living a life that was extremely demanding mentally, physically and emotionally and doing this challenge helped me so much, giving me a positive intention each day outside of work. We can live so much in our heads sometimes and for other people that it can be such a beautiful thing to have something to ground you and bring you back to what’s really important.
With some links to some great places in Japan and also some tips to manage a busy lifestyle I hope you enjoy this forgotten post.
Yoga every damn day:
I woke up and knew how I would achieve this first challenge, it was time to make yoga a priority in my life. I try to practice every day anyway but itâ€™s more so something Iâ€™ve been throwing in here and there when I had time which inevitable made it rushed and the true benefits have not been able to be reached. So this morning I woke up and made it the first thing I did before anything else that day. It was only 8 sun salutes but I made sure that my thoughts and my body were completely present and from this it allowed me to be present in my other activities that day, I knew what I needed to nourish body and soul and that was nature and adventure. See my blog post.
I didn’t want to leave my bed this morning, I was cosy, I knew I had a lot to do for work and I just didnâ€™t want to face it but I opened my curtains to let in the light, I did my yoga, I worked hard and then found and found a place to completely light meÂ up, it wasnâ€™t an ocean but it was a place I could submerge myself and that was a local pool. It had been so long since I last swam I wasnâ€™t sure if that fitness would still be there, but I ended up not wanting to stop, letting the water cleanse me and complete me I swam 60 laps, by the end I wasÂ more awake than ever and could go back to work feeling fresh and revitalized. Random act of kindness:
I woke up this morning to a message on facebook telling me my friend in England had nominated me to participate and one to the ice bucket Alstrom Syndrome challenge. My friend Elsa and I spoke about this at breakfast on whether I should do it or not with all the controversy about water wastage and the way people were going about it, in the end we agreed it was these people missing theÂ point and what was happening is that many were searching their pockets to give to a cause. The challenge is creating awareness whether itâ€™s silly or not itâ€™s a way of marketing and itâ€™s working, I decided to give to another charity for poverty and starvation as well. We walked to Toki temple I stood by the moat and poured a bucket of ice and water on my head letting the ducks have the water. The challenge is random but itâ€™s working so I say brilliant! Getting rid of a bad habit:
For me this was actually giving myself time to do an hourâ€™s worth of yoga a whole ashtanga practice which i hardly ever give myself anymore. The sun was shining this morning so I found a spot in Toji temples garden, it was my private area for that hour and I managed to move through the whole series. Unfortunately my work motivation left me this day and I was unproductive. Start a new routine.
After my previous days productivity this was exactly what I needed. I woke to do my yoga but this time put my ear phones in blocked out the world and found myself doing dance yoga instead of savasna I crazy danced in my room and swung in my hammock, Bring on what’s next I ticked my boxes and was feeling good.
Today started with a run to Katsugara River, and an active stretch in the park, it was so beautiful and set me up for my day. My house mate was also home working so we took a lunch break together to explore some Kyoto sites researching for clients, visiting the craft museum, trying new restaurants, we went back home thankful to be living the life we do. Yes weâ€™re busy but we have been given the opportunity to live in Japan and in one of the most beautiful and historical cities with new gifts to find around every corner.
I was so excited for today, I had been planning for weeks to attend a guided meditation workshop on happiness that my friend Kaori had recommended. I practically sprung out of bed making myself a delicious green smoothie I did a little bit of work for the early morning and then road my bike to the event. My friend was also there and the yoga instructor Toshi who I had met at a surf film premier so I didnâ€™t feel completely on my own. It was to be three hours and I sat there listening feeling at once how long it had been since I let myself relax, my body felt tense, it was sore, it was fighting this sitting position but I let my breath calm meÂ I let it guide its way through each muscle allowing me to calm and sink in to this position comfortably. As I relaxed further I could now listen to his words, these lessons to have gratitude each day to see the beauty in each day, to see myself as not a name or a materialistic object but of the things I love and that make my best person. The meaning of life is to exist to learn, to live every moment as if it were your first.
I didn’t really know what I needed to forgive today, I woke up feeling slightly hung over after my first night out in 6 months living in Kyoto with my housemate, perhaps I needed to not feel guilty about this little splurge because it is so rare and was so nice to let loose with a friend and make new friends. We didnâ€™t stay in bedÂ all day rather we hired bikes and had a 13 course Kaiseki lunch for work research, which was beyond amazing in the most beautiful temple at Kanga-an. I did not rush home but instead practiced yoga by the River Kamogawa and watched the children play in the small falls, it was so beautiful. Get creative:
It was Monday and after such a relaxing Sunday it was time to get back to work, and so I got creative with my work space. I chose for this to be a great day and I enjoyed the morning at home as the rain fell. I rode my bike for a delicious lunch at a vegan restaurant before enjoying the time to be in solitude and be productive. I had time that evening to go out to the 100 yen store to buy some pastels calming my mind with some art before bed.
Random act of kindness:
As I worked today I felt as if something was missing, my housemate Elsa was with me and she was feeling stressed with work. I went on a cycle that afternoon and stopped to buy her flowers. Itâ€™s those tiny things that can bring the beauty and calmness back to people and our home as our work space became a lot brighter. Get shit done:
Today it was all about creating a system, if you have good systems in place it is so much easier to be organized, to prioritize things, is how you can be most effective youâ€™re your time. This is exactly what I did and set myself a finishing goal and reward. I made my work goals that day then told my boss I would be out that evening before my housemate Elsa and I rode our bikes to the foot of Mt Daimonji and had a picnic on the mountain overlooking the sunset. It was perfect, and how each day should be, balanced with work productivity, to learn, to be active, to be with those you love and to find tranquility. Be fearless:
Today we had thunder and rain all day, it could have been easy to stay in all day but instead, I put on a raincoat and rode my bike to the local pool and did laps. The water will always be my happy place, to calm me, to excite me, to give me strength it is where I feel at home. I removed all the obstacles and gave myself exactly what I had been craving. Clean out-
With a lot of work scheduled today I looked forward to trying out a local studio in Kyoto. After working the morning I rode to the studio TamisaÂ to have lunch at the vegetarian cafe downstairs. It was so delicious and you could see out to the street and enjoy some great art work, organic produce and clothes on sale. They even sold my favourite nakula coconut water. The class was exactly what I needed, of course it was in Japanese but it helped me learn and he spoke in english for any corrections to my postures. The group was so nice and I realized how much I missed connecting in these like minded communities. Living on the Mornington Peninsula it may be quite large but it’s still a small town feeling and especially working with lululemon community has always been a big thing for me. I rode home feeling cleansed so for me, to “clean out” it was to cleanse myself from within. Sweat-
I woke up feeling flat today and sad, whenever father’s day is near it feels like my heart is emptying a little and I miss my dad (dec) so much. I decided to get my hair done to pick me up. Compared to my last experience in Takayama where I became a flaming red head from a blonde the experience was much better. I had four staff working on me, one to cut, one to colour, one for a massage, and one to bring me green tea. Yeah the experience so far was kicking ass! They were hilarious as well and we joked of me being a geisha and them a ninja and samurai. I came out feeling more relaxed with only a more yellow hair colour this time…. Yeah still not amazing but it’s a working progress. There would be a full moon tonight and this week plenty of harvest festivals. I decided to ride my bike to one of my favourite places,Â Arashiyama. Daikakuji temple was holding their annual Kangetsu-no-yube (moon viewing party) on the Osawa-no-ike pond. The autumn colours were just starting and the place was lit with candle light. I took part in a special tea ceremony where matcha green tea would be traditionally made and you could enjoy it overlooking the temple scenery and enjoy a delicious sweet as well. The rain that I had not even thought about had already started to fall however and I sat there at first enjoying it, but as the sky grew darker I was colder in my long skirt and t-shirt. I waited and waited until finally it was decided the weather would indeed cancel the event. I go my bike saturated and rode to a cafe starving and destroyed some dinner. I then rode the 8km back home in the pouring rain. It was exactly what I needed today, I felt alive, I was sweating and man was the night beautiful! I laughed the whole way and slept happier and my heart was more fulfilled that night.
An ironic challenge today being Father’s day. I thought how people say you end up searching for the man most like your father. So I thought a little about who my ideal man would be. In the end all I could think of was adventure, my dad always took us camping and on such great adventures in nature and that’s exactly what I needed today to remember him and give him a gift from Japan. After my bike tour that morning I decided to visit another favourite place in Kisaichi.So 3 trains later from the city of Kyoto you reach a town of forest and rivers. I ran right towards the great suspension bridge, it was phenomenal! You could see that in another month the entire place would be a rainbow of autumn colour. Running back I decided to go a different way but actually had no idea where I was going. I met an older man maybe in his 70’s (you can never tell with the youthful Japanese). He asked me where I needed to go and I told him, he asked me to follow and just like that we were sprinting down a mountain. I was almost struggling to actually keep up, I was so impressed! It was fun as well 🙂 We made it back to the start and looked at each other laughing, I had no words and just high fived him with a lot of “sugoi’s” (Translating to awesome or amazing). Last time I was here I had ran left from the station and swam in a secluded waterfall, so I decided to run back here before night would come. About 5 minutes running and a dude on a scooter pulled up next to me, it was the older man I had just ran with. He asked if I needed a lift, I didn’t but who was I to say no to a ride on the back of a bike, (sorry dad, the don’t talk to strangers or accept lifts from strangers doesn’t apply in Japan). “Ahhhh”Â I felt alive with the wind in my hair around the bends. He took me to the start of the track, and again we were both so overwhelmed with excitement with this meeting so in Japanese style we took photo’s of each other to remember this experience. I ran through the wonderland of forest, of moss growing over the flowing stream and rocks. Leaving the track and rock jumping was my secret waterfall. I let the water cleanse me, and the peaceful air of adventure and nature fill me. “The alter” if this is to represent a commitment of your life with respect and happiness well I promise to myself to always listen to my heart, to be open to opportunity and the kindness of others, and to forever explore and do the things that light me up, the things that make me feel close to my dad and that ignite those treasured memories. I will never forget and only live more years for him.
I love you-
A hard one perhaps when your living so far from all those you love most. That’s the greatest thing about technology, I practiced yoga at Toji temple and then called my grandparents. Perhaps the most memorable call now I could have made because as I edit this the memory of my beautiful Nana who would pass away only a month later brings heart ache and tears to my eyes. On this call I told her of Japan and told her how much I loved her and missed her. I thought for some reason she would be disappointing I was in a foreign country working and with a non existent love life. She wasn’t though, she actually told me, I was still young, that men will come in and out, but those experiences for me I should make the most of, she told me she was proud of me. This call, walking through my Japanese neighborhood and speaking with her I will never forget. My Nana I will love always, I’m proud of her and so happy to have so many beautiful memories of her and her life, she was one amazing story teller, but not those you make up, those of truth and real life events and I will be forever grateful to her for giving me those of my dads childhood and of her. Even the stories of her many boyfriends and proposals before grandpa. I love you always my Nana.
I was looking forward to this one! I woke to have porridge and berries from inside an open coconut. I then took my bike at 7am and rode to the West River in kyoto with my laptop to work. Sometimes it’s good not having somewhere to charge your computer battery, it’s like a race to get it done. I had finished the work I needed before it died and decided to do a research trip to Asuka a place which was named one of Japans first capitols and where I would soon take passengers on trip. It was getting late but I had my running gear and took in as much ground as I could, visiting the tourist office for key info, visiting accommodations to introduce myself and finding key tourist areas, but also those that that they dont speak of in the tourist books. This is the job of a tour guide, and one that a tourist guide like myself has to work very hard at, mentally and physically, “damn I covered some kilometers!” One place I found was an ice cream store, but not just any ice cream, it was the best I have ever experienced in all my life! It was soft serve mixed with seasonal fruits in the mix and man was it delicious. I spoke with the owner and also the bike rental owner next door. Both not speaking much English I managed to get some good info that i could take away as extra info for my group, and I would definitely be taking them here. The trip was short but the ground covered was extensive, and I could not wait to come back, the rolling hills and ancient properties in this area was incredible! Mother nature I will always be grateful.
Random act of kindness-
Time to fly home to Australia for a quick two week tour. I wasn’t sure how I would do this challenge but managed to do my yoga practice in the airport lounge as I waited for my flight. I then realized that by acknowledging people I was actually performing an act of kindness. I kept my head up instead of dodging peoples eye gaze to see everyone as an equal, I said hello, I smiled, and said “thank you” these small things we can take for granted can actually go a very long way to influence someones day positively.
I arrived in Sydney, oh my goodness I may have been far from Melbourne but it was home enough. I had been to Sydney before but it was still “something new” for me. I called my sister on my Australian number and almost broke down in tears from excitement. I walked the city that day, taking it all in slowly, I didn’t want to miss a thing. To see, to listen, we take for granted the ability to understand, I could understand every word from peoples conversations, i could read every sign. Sometimes it takes being in an environment completely foreign to see the “new” or the miracles we can miss that happen in our familiar environments and routines.
I’m so happy I took part in this challenge and stuck to it, having an intention or goal each day can be so rewarding. To give you direction but to also have gratitude to see things with open eyes.
Spending a year working as a tour guide in Japan I came back with many learnings, but as a lover of movement and nature these two I focused on more intently.
We often here of Japan being a leader in technology, or quirky trinkets, strange fetishes, and tradition. To me I saw Japan as an epic adventure a picturesque wonderland not only leading in technology but in mindfulness, nature connection and movement. Could these things be the key to why the Japanese are the healthiest nation and the happiest?
On many of my trips I would often have passengers comment on the number of Japanese tourists visiting places with international guests, or taking time to enjoy one of the oldest traditions of â€œHanamiâ€ (flower viewing). One thing I respected most was the continuous maintenance of their land and history, to have the ability to move forward with modern research but to not forget their heritage and core beliefs.
Another thing passengers were amazed by was the lack of gyms, or even personal trainers. It is more popular to engage in community fitness like run groups or dance groups in parks then to go smash a body part for an hour in a box.
A huge difference I have noticed since being back in Australia in physical activity or even just day to day life is the minimal to no social interaction we have. No matter where I went in Japan, you would be acknowledged. In Australia I have to go out of my way to make eye contact with some people to give a smile or a hello. Why are we so scared of one another?
There was a time when I was doing sprints in my local park and I actually got â€œhootedâ€ and cheered to keep going. You were encouraged to move, it was celebrated from dawn to dusk, with people of all ages enjoying numerous activities from throwing and catching, soccer, dance, running, exploring, yoga, tai chi, jump rope, flying kites, etc. There was no judgement or questions, they moved for the joy and love of moving and motivated each other to continue.
Growing up we are being categorized, youâ€™re either an academic or an athlete, almost forced to choose one or the other and discouraged to do both. Weâ€™re put in boxes again of either being runners, tennis players, dancers and then again discouraged to do more.
What happens however, when we isolate our bodies and minds to do one thing is we develop bad habits both physically and mentally. We lose certain connections with systems and muscle groups and even our human interaction.
Well Iâ€™m a mover, weâ€™re all movers and weâ€™re all thinkers and weâ€™re all creative and we should be encouraged to open our minds and bodies daily for optimal development for all of these will integrate to assist your continuous life development.
I was reading studies today on sensory development and what I found was a lot of research in children and specialised autism groups. Our sensory systems are something that need daily exercising. Our 5 senses are. Taste, smell, touch, sound, and hearing. By categorizing us at an early age into those groups above we can stunt the development of our sensory nervous system. It is the first point of contact fromÂ our environments to our brain thatÂ then initiates the type of response from our body. You can imagine the effects this blockage is having on us. The inability to communicate efficiently, the inability to be present and conscious in a situation, the inability to carry out movements and tasks, the inability to adapt to changing situations.
We are influenced by our senses all the time, the smell of something delicious can direct our bodies to that place, the smell of something bad could direct our bodies away. A sound can excite us, or a sound can make us nervous or scared, we can activate our memories through our senses taking us back in time to another situation or place through thought. To develop these skills are vital for intellectual, creative and physical growth.
I experimented further today with connectivity and spatial awareness. I went kayaking earlier and took notice of my posture and centre of gravity, what happened with my body if my thoughts were directed forward. Did my shoulders roll in, did my jaw clench. I lifted up from my pelvis to improve my posture and breathed deeply into my abdomen to relax my shoulders. What happens when I change surfaces, if I was on sand or if I walked up hill, down or even walk backwards? There is shift in our bodies and our centre and to adapt we have to not only be conscious internally but also to our environment as well. If we are not encouraged to explore outside, touch or taste new things this system cannot be developed. Weâ€™re closing in our minds by closing in our environments. For some, especially as the weather cools down we could easily go from our home to our cars, to an office, to a gym and back to our homes. All controlled environments with little to excite us to assist us in growth to avoid mental health and physical health diseases.
When weâ€™re outside even if you walk the same trail everyday it will never be the same. The weather changes, the sounds of the animals change, our bodies may feel different depending on our emotional state. Be aware, be conscious to these differences and youâ€™ll be amazed at how stress levels decrease, how your body lightens and opens and your mind awakens. It is from the awareness within that we can then shift our attention to our external environment and cues as well.
During your meals are you present? Or do you simply see a time and schedule a meal, inhale the food and continue back to your routine? The way we ingest and digest our food, our fuel source is vital to the energising of our brains and bodies. To nourish all senses you need to be conscious. What does your body crave? Aesthetically how does your food make you feel? This was something that I learnt a great deal from the Japanese who always took such pride in the presentation of the food in front of them. Are you aware of where your food came from? Itâ€™s scary how food is perceived, not just by children but adults in the false belief that the cleanest and healthiest foods come from a supermarket, or say the words, â€œorganic.â€ Eat seasonally, pick your food from your own veggie garden, research a little so we can have something that separates us from the robots weâ€™re becoming. Pills and powders are additives not a meal.
Each day try to include all 5 senses.
Hereâ€™s an example of how you can as soon as you wake up.
Touch- From the minute you wake up feel the warmth of your partner, or heat of the shower on your skin.
Taste- Your breakfast, donâ€™t just pour cereal and munch actually taste the flavours in your meal.
Smell- The fresh air, or the bad breath of your partner either is awakening your sensory nervous system
See-Allow your eyes to adjust. The first thing I do when I wake up is open my blinds to greet the sun and see the colours its reflection makes around my room.
Hear- The day is awaking, do you know many different species of bird is living by you? Can you differentiate the different calls?
In every movement in everything you do be aware.
I love this recent clip from Neurokinetic therapist Old Mate Wellbeing who with his therapy treats the source of pain or dysfunction instead of the symptom. The clip explains the body compass method to perceive your centreÂ of gravityÂ to increase awareness to your bodyâ€™s base of support. Check it out. Body compass demonstration
If youâ€™d like to learn more about spatial awareness and exercising your sensory nervous system I’m loving the Alexander technique for some great guidelines and information. http://www.alexandertechnique.com/
Holidays are here!!! With one week left it’s time to make the most of that precious time with your children and this beautiful weather. Two weeks is hard to keep up with that boundless energy your children have, but is it your responsibility to make sure they’re being stimulated 24/7? Oh hell no! When did becoming a parent mean you have just signed up to a 24/7 watch program? The greatest gift we can give to our children is independent play or unstructured play. What’s this you ask? – Give them your iphone? – Sit them in front of a television or computer screen? – Give them $20 to get out of the house where they then roam the streets eating cold rock and drinking bottles of Fanta? …. PLEASE don’t do any of these things! Our minds are a sponge when we’re young we want to learn, we want answers, we want to test boundaries. These feelings actually continue through our lifetime the more our environments change as well, and it’s apart of our human instinct to learn to adapt and develop from these changes.
Unstructured play is to give your child no prompts or materials for how they can spend their time, to let their imaginations expand and see what they’re capable of.
In an outside environment just in their backyard they could discover the plants growing, create a fortress, perhaps a whole new world. Their eyes will open to the animals that occupy this area, or say hi to the neighbours over the fence instead of chatting to them through a keyboard. In just this example your child has just learnt about social interaction, they have embraced confidence that will be a key skill in many more life situations to come. By creating this new world or a game your child has just learnt to problem solve, they have become a leader. What if they’re bored you say?
Let them be bored.
Why is that our lives have to constantly be scheduled we’re bad enough as adults, but to then inflict this stress onto our children… Wake up, eat this, go to school, sit here, do that, don’t do that, and then it’s homework, and the number of after school activities. I’m not saying team sports or learning and instrument is a bad thing but I encourage you to take a step back and look at just how busy your child is. How does this constant busy lifestyle you as adult live affect your well-being? Do you feel stressed? Are you tired? Are you sick? Are you agressive and moody? Think of how your child feels, are they overworked as well? Leave them alone. Let them figure out what they want without your constant prompting and enrolling. Let them see the world, let them feel this world. If they happen to be out playing so long they catch a cold, well great they just learnt about their bodies, and that they’re not indestructible, perhaps when they start driving this lesson will save their life knowing they have to be careful. If they run too fast and lose balance and fall, great; They just learnt next time how to adjust their steps and body to be more balanced.
Be the example:“Monkey see Monkey Do” right?
What are you doing to encourage your children to live, move and embrace life more? Show them. You’re never too old to begin, if you have forgotten how to explore and play, perhaps it’s time to learn again. Do it together!
These school holidays, my recommendation to you and your child is to take a step back, be creative, be spontaneous, if your every minute is not scheduled well that’s ok! In a world where we’re all plugged in, rewire your child and yourself to the chill the fuck out, (excuse the language).
If you’re free this Monday September 26. Come along to my Mindful Walking group at Mt Donna Buang Summit. The activity is free but you do need to book in. Simply Contact me on 0431302634, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s the link to the event with more information.
Our backyard is a wondrous place so go out and discover.
One of the things that makes me sad about being a personal trainer is the constant dissatisfaction people have with themselves. This constant battle with their bodies, to get visible abs, to lose weight, to have a certain percent of body fat. Some of the most “fit” individuals don’t necessarily look like they are. How many people say awful things about Serena Williams for her muscular and large body type, yet she’s by far the best female tennis player in the world and extremely fit. I’ve trained all kinds of body types, some of my thinner clients have worse strength or respiratory issues then my clients who are overweight. Some of my athletic clients are always getting sick and have no flexibility.
What I’m saying is we’re all born with different body types and we need to work with what we have to live a healthy lifestyle. If you’re constantly under stress about the way you look your body is the one that will be paying the price.Â
A body image is like a fad diet. In the 50’s and 60’s the desired body was to be just like Marilyn Monroe and she was supposedly a size 12-16. Girls are now wanting a “box gap,” men are wanting to look like body builders. Are these image types healthy? Well Marilyn Monroe was extremely unwell with her mental and emotional health. Lets look at the “box gap” something women are going to extreme lengths to achieve and even in some cases surgery. Well if you see the body functionally, our quadriceps and hamstrings are designed to flex and extend the knee needed for us to walk which no matter how sedentary or active we do this several times a day. The other surrounding muscles include your glutes (butt muscles) abductors and adductor, and your pelvis, with one of the most predominant functionsÂ being to support us in a standing position. So what does the “box gap” represent in my opinion; Malnutrition, and weakness for basic day to day functioning. A body builder, are they healthy? Well considering before a competition they are basically starving themselves and needing to completely dehydrate so their muscles become more visible I’d say a definite no.
When I was growing up I was always quite strong I surfed from a young age and my body type shows muscle definition easily. As a young girl these large arms however just made me look overweight compared to my petite friends. I would try all those sneaky things in photo’s to never be on the end or to put my hand on my hip to stick my neck out slightly so you could see my clavicles so i looked more bony. It makes me so happy these days to see so many women wanting to be active and strong, and not being judged cruelly by it.
So how do we know what healthy looks like if we’re all born into different body types, if we all grow up eating different foods, if we’re all involved in different sports?
We feel it!
Eat to feel good, move to feel your best, train because when you do you feel alive.Â
Stress will only create more stress internally. What happens?
When your body feels its being threatened it secretes adrenaline and cortisol making your heat beat faster, your muscles feel tighter, your senses enhance. This can be good thing if you’re being attacked or if you hear that gun shot in a sprint race but if you’re putting your body under unnecessary stress it’s affecting both the mind and body and can bring about anxiety, sleep problems, moodiness, an inability to concentrate, chest pain, susceptibility to illness etc.
It’s scary isn’t it? Who would have thought ourselves as a whole is all connected, that what we do, what we feel, what we eat, everything is playing a part in our overall health, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Next time you look in the mirror see through the image that stands before you, and ask can I sit in a squat position comfortably? Telling me that my hips aren’t tight that my core, back and pelvis are working to keep me balanced and upright. Can I balance on one leg? Can I lift my shopping bags comfortably? Can I push open a heavy door? Can I lift myself up? Am I sleeping well? Am I communicating and thinking clearly? How well am I recovering after getting sick or exercising differently? Listen to your friends, family and lovers the best wont lie to you and will say exactly what they think, but most of all listen to yourself you are always your biggest critique.
Don’t move to follow another fad move to function, move because you enjoy it and it’s what our bodies no matter where we’re from were designed to do.
Do you believe that a healthy lifestyle consists of you smashing your body in an intense workout, portion control and counting calories? Then you need to read this. You’re not getting the honest truth, the truth that will actually give you results not only physically, but will make you happier in all aspects of your life as well.
What if you could look better on the outside?
Feel better on the inside?
Perform better in your workplace?
You can here’s the secret.
Train your body, your mind, and your heart
Not just one but connect with all three of these and this is where you see results, stop trying to isolate muscle groups when you’re training, saying it’s abs day, or butt day or arms, we’re not a Mr potato head, you can’t swap and change certain body parts. Each muscle group is connected to another and therefore you have to train it as if it’s one. By isolating yourself from your surroundings and people, training in a box of four walls, closing the blinds, putting in ear phones we lose that competition, social and fun aspect of training, we lose our sense of adventure. We isolate our minds listen to your instructor, do as they say but do you really know what you’re doing? What are you thinking about when you train? Because if it’s not your breath, if it’s not that movement your performing then you’re not getting the most from that session.
I’m going to tell you a story, an example of how I used everyone of these in one day so you understand how this works step by step.
I woke up Saturday morning opened my blinds to let the light of the day in.Â Connect with your natural surroundings to train-Heart
I cracked a fresh coconut outside and then filled it with warm porridge, blue berries and pineapple and enjoyed the fresh coconut flesh as I went. The other half I used the flesh in a smoothie of spinach, banana, kiwi fruit, egg and coconut water.Â Nourishment- Body
I rode my bike 10km along the river in the morning sunlight, saying “konichiwa” to those I passed to a temple I had never been to before in the North of Kyoto.Â Body-Heart-Mind=Adventure
It was at Shunkoin temple that I was to join a zen meditation class, unfortunately the priest was sick that day, not to worry I strolled through the large Myoshinji temple complexÂ one of the largest in Kyoto looking in at the gardens. http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3961.html Â I entered the sub-templeÂ Taizoin temple, It had only just opened and the morning light was perfectly touching the garden and the autumn Japanese maple. I didn’t need a priest to guide me through a meditation all I needed was this surrounding, my breath and complete awareness. I ordered a matcha tea and drank it peacefully in the tea room with open windows looking out across to what seemed like my own private garden. I’ve never been that good at meditation, I never want to close my eyes unless I’m sleeping, i feel like I’ll miss a miracle. I kept them open watching the carp swim, watching the other people walk through and enjoy the garden, listening to the small waterfalls, the trees and the birds. I listened to my breath and felt my heart beat slow down my shoulders soften and let all the worries of work, all my responsibilities I allowed them to leave me for this private moment in this beautiful space. Â Breathe, connect with nature, connect with yourself, learn new things, explore new places- Body, Mind, Heart.Â
It was only 10am so I cycled to the rooftop of a building to meet new friends and join a bootcamp, my first community sweat session since living in Kyoto I was so excited! The session involved fitness testing, something I hadn’t done in a while. I always try and train myself, push myself but sometimes the mind get the better of you and this is when a training buddy or group of people to push you to that next level is needed. From strength limits, to the beep test it was all about pushing ourselves. This was not a competition but something to understand what our personal limits were. We laughed, we motivated and we shared the pain for this pain was not uncomfortable but a sign we were working and we were pushing our limits. You see there’s a difference to being given an exercise and told a number to complete, given a weight and left to smash yourself. if we can feel our limits personally and be aware of them and use our trainer for guidance of technique and motivation this is where you receive the best quality session. I left feeling fantastic, proud and happy to have shared it with new friends.Â Roof top overlooking Kyoto in the sunlight -Nature connection/heart.Â New Friends and motivation-Helps to teach the mind you can go further. A great whole body workout to sweat- Love your body!
Fitness for your body does not always have to be about particular exercises or a space which is controlled but it can be free and spontaneous, not a care about time but wanting to keep going because you’re having too much fun to stop. My next workout was just this. My friend Shuya Okino as DJ at a jazz festival in Osaka with great people provided me with a space where I danced for 6 hours. This number you would never plan, for the moves used were not judged by technique but completely free to feel the music run through you, to feed off your friends energy and simply let go. I threw my entire body into every movement and felt every body part the next day, but I was having so much fun I could have danced all night.Â Freedom to move for the joy of exactly that activity. Laughter and nourishment of happiness through social interaction and modern technology to engage in an activity that allows you to let go, and explore. Body-Mind-Heart
Check out Kyoto Jazz massive to find out if they’ll be playing near you soon or download their music so you can let go for a boogie as wellÂ http://www.kyotojazzmassive.com/
You see how easy it is to train all these things together, to give yourself completely to a lifestyle of happiness, freedom, strength mentally and physically. It’s this space where you discover your best self and be true to that person each monent of each day.
Give it a go, make these three things a priority, to combine them in everything you do.