From climbing the sacred, majestic Mt Fuji three times, to leading a tour in down under in Australia and snorkelling the Great Barrier reef witnessing all its glory, beauty and rare natural wonderment this touring gypsy is back in her second home of Kyoto playing in the officeâ€¦
What you canâ€™t imagine me working in front of a computer all day, literally from 7am to 8pm? Yeah me neither, so like all things in life you make them appealing and you make them fun, so my office days are split between working from my hammock, my swiss ball lying in parks, or by rivers and plenty of breaks. Fitness has never just been about my health for me but itâ€™s a way for me to express my freedom, it makes me feel alive, it makes me feel happy itâ€™s my meditation to empty my mind and be present.
Simply taking an hour every few hours for you is vital, not just for you balance and sanity but also for your productivity. By running, doing yoga, going for a walk, simply immersing myself in nature or playing has a dramatic role in my well-being and work life.
If you have the time, if you set your goals, and checked your boxes and find yourself with a cheeky half day free turn off your phone, disconnect your internet and go out and explore, because itâ€™s sounds like your about to have an adventure.
Today I did just that 🙂 I woke up and did half an hour of yoga to loosen my body and clear my head to help me set my goals and intentions for the day. The first thing I do when I wake up is open my blinds and window to welcome my day, and this morning I saw blue skies and it was already heating up, I had been working hard this week and was feeling on top of things so I planned to finish all major jobs by lunch and set out to a new place in Kyoto. By midday from starting at 6:30am I had boxes ticked and was feeling on top of things so it was time for my reward, I looked up Kisaichi and planned by route.
Do you ever have those days where you canâ€™t stop smiling because everything that happens seems like a miracle? Today I did. I was running through forest by small waterfalls, dodging lizards and spiders, crossing board walks, jumping rocks and moving around boulders, I had caught a train to Wonderland. I had left my wifi at home and had no map so I had no idea where I was going so I thought Iâ€™d just try every trail and see where it took me, running was my way of travel so I could cover longer distances in a short amount of time. First trail I hit a pond with families and nets, I couldn’t see what they could be catching but it looked like a fun family activity. Heading up the hill and to anyone that has been to Japan you will share my shock for what I found because it is very rare to simply stumble across a golf courseâ€¦. The landscape and space of Japan simply doesn’t accommodate for this sport hence the prices, but this one was beautiful hidden on the hill in the opening of a forest. I ran back and this time went right, up another hill to a mushroom valley with no logic as to why they were there I continued up the hill to the peak overlooking this place I had been exploring the past hour. Across tree tops and in the distance a city which seemed so far away now, one of my favourite things about Japan is that it can be so populated, so busy yet you can still find so many places so close that you could be the only one there. Back down and climbing ropes and chains this obstacle course took me to another spectacular lookout, but I had plans before I would leave Kisaichi so I didn’t stay here long. Back along the creek, running quickly now manoeuvring my way across the rocks, there it was a hidden cave with a flowing waterfall. I had no bathers and had seen people here and there so couldn’t go skinny dipping so thank goodness I was wearing all lululemon for its fast drying fabric, I stripped off into my underwear and let the cool water flow over me. Thereâ€™s something about waterfalls that feels a gap in me that I’m missing being away from the ocean and surf, so every time I find one a euphoria of happiness fills me and cleanses my soul. I dried quickly and made my way back home, for everyone who worries, about leaving their computer and work for a few hours when I returned I was not missed, the e-mails could be answered later, I was not behind but rather still ahead and I had given myself a half day to be FREE.
After a not so pleasant wake up call with my room shaking and my emergency earthquake alarm going off at 4:30 am I set off to meet my good friend Shigeo-san paralympic gold medalist in the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. Â Our original plan was to volunteer and participate in the Tokyo disabled surfing event. For it is earlier this year at the Ocean grove Disabled surfing event that we first met. (you can read previous blog about what this incredible organization does in Australia.
Unfortunately the surfing event was cancelled due to the high surf after affects of Typhoon Neoguri so Shigeo-san invited me yo join the weekly run group for the disabled at Yoyogi Park.
This group gets together every Saturday at 8:30am meeting at Harajuku station at the Omotoesando exit, I was early and welcomed as if I was just another friend showing up Shigeo-san had already let everyone know I was coming so my name was ticked off and I chatted I said Ohayo gozaimasu to those already there. when Shigeo-san arrived there were already so many people and he said they usually get about 100 people every week, I couldn’t believe it, what an incredible thing to do.
We walked over to the aid station at Yoyogi Park and again i was welcomed like an old friend and Shigeo-san’s friends explained to me the process of being a “guide runner.” I was nervous looking around there were so many people many wearing shirts that said they had participated in marathons before and Shigeo-san even told me that one 88 year old lady had been one of the best runners in Japan. Most of the people here were blind and had bought along friends or there were just volunteers that loved to run that put their hand up to be a “guide runner.”
It was time to hit the turf so I watched first how it was done with each person holding a rope, the guide standing on the dominant side of the runner, their arm movement and feet would then have to be in sync as they ran. It was my turn and my arms were all over the place, it was harder then it looked. finally Shigeo-san and i got into a rhythm but I was concentrating so hard I wasn’t talking, he laughed and said that “chatting is also fun” haha damn it. Shigeo-san didn’t speak much English and my Japanese is still very minimal so we managed to teach each other new words as we made conversation, it was so nice catching up.
It was already over 30 degrees and the humidity was so high so we made a pit stop at the aid station drinking mugicha roasted barley Japanese tea to hydrate, they also had watermelon sprinkled with salt to replace the electrolytes from the ridiculous sweat build up that was happening. We continued on for another 5 laps of the 1.7km course listening and watching the many people enjoying this summers day either running, walking, dancing or just lying in the park. It was suggested that I try mask running…. This would involve me wearing a blind fold and having my own “guide runner” to experience what it is like being blind. It was amazing how quickly my senses adjusted my sense of smell and hearing heightening especially for the fresh roses. I was so scared all I could see was black, but we started slow and I trusted my guide and then it became smooth, i even wanted to up the pace, because I couldn’t see where I was going I was more in tune with my breath and the movement of my body I actually didn’t even feel fatigued any more I could have kept running for ages. Before finishing my masked run my cheeky guide decided to up the difficulty asking me to go backwards and then up stairs, haha damn it I shouldn’t get so cocky. Everyone was now finishing up their runs also and at 10:30am it was apparently beer ‘o’ clock, with wine and sake also on the menu and CHEESE yum! Everyone sat around chatting and laughing and they all wanted to meet me and find out more about disabled surfing in Australia and how they can be involved, I also got a few boyfriend proposals which was nice, but sadly had to decline.
I had the most incredible experience and will definitely be going back, this is something I would like to start in Australia when I return so please if you have any questions or would like to be involved either in Australia or here in Japan please let me know. You can e-mail me at email@example.com
I think my boss thinks of me as a new toy, like oh sheâ€™s fit how far can I push her? What can I get her to do next? Damn it I accept these challenges so today I caught the train to Saga Arashiyama one of my favourite places in Kyoto.
I think I’ve also gotten used to the reactions of the Japanese when I tell them I want to run somewhere at first they try and persuade me to catch public transport, then they say how hard it is, then they say an estimated length of time it takes to walk, finally they give up and say â€œGambatte Kiotsketeâ€ (good luck and take care). I set out through the famous bamboo forest which no matter how many times I go through there it blow my mind with its beauty every time, continuing North in the direction of Kiyotaki. I ran down to the flowing river to find many Japanese folk and families enjoying the relief from the heat having picnics or simply just playing by the water which was beautiful to see. I hit the bottom of Mt Atago the tallest mountain in Kyoto at 924m high and 4km straight up. I started the incline and man was it steep, my calves were burning already, I knew this would be a run walk trek. Thank goodness for the signs marking each 100m they pushed me to be faster and keep climbing. It was raining softly today and I was so thankful for that cool moisture adding to the sweat to cool my body down from the very humid and hot day here in Kyoto. The track was muddy and surrounded by trees and old ruins, and my favourite Jizo leading the way. Jizo the embodiment of Bodhisattva vow with the aspiration to cure all being s from suffering and is the protector of women, children, and travelers in the six realms of existence. The Jizo have a few meanings on is that they are trainee monks and is a guide to travelers through both spiritual and physical realms, hence you see them at intersections. Another meaning is they are the protectors of pregnant women or children who have been lost in childbirth so you will see them dressed with the sacred red coloured bibs and perhaps donations of toys around them.
Winding through the trees I think that first half of the climb was the hardest and the treat to a view of Kyoto city and Katsgawa river, the trees stretched far through the mountain and it amazed me that I could be living in the third most populated city in Japan and still be able to be so close to all this nature. A quick break for photos and continued my climb, with a cheeky flat bit for 200m that was a nice relief at the 3km mark the donated barrels of sake were looking very appealing.
It was surprising to see so many hiking on such a wet day but nice at the same time as everyone you passed would happily say â€œkonichiwaâ€ I saw one lady that looked like she was just going to the shops to buy some milk rather than climb a mountain wearing her weekend best and carrying a hand bag it was very strange but we both smiled and said hello as she walked down and I continued up up and up.
The last kilometre was interesting as I took notice of the song that was being repeated in my head pushing me up, and then I realized Iâ€™d been singing in my head Eminemâ€™s â€œLose yourself.â€ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmXumtgwtak Yeah boy!
I reached the large torii gate welcoming into the Atago shrine and what was to be the peak, thank goodness! No wait letâ€™s just throw in another hundred steps for you to climb, â€œblast you Japanese pilgrims blast you!â€ the shrine was magnificent you could still smell the wood as if it was brand new, there were carvings of animals that reminded me of the carvings in Nijo castle. The shrine is worshipped as a protector against fire and damn were my legs on fire. After taking in the shrines beauty and giving myself a rest I started the running decent, I think I have also gotten used to the Japanese and their shocked remarks when they see me still standing let alone running as they say â€œsugoiâ€ I laugh awkwardly and continue down, I even passed the lovely old lady with her hand bag. It had stopped raining now, but the path was muddy and slippery so I was careful with my foot placement kind of playing as I jumped from rock to rock and step to step, it felt like a small massage in my five fingers.
When I made it back to Kiyotaki I thought maybe I would catch the bus back to Kyoto but a 20 minute wait was just not ideal so I ran back to Arashiyama feeling that Iâ€™d definitely just ran up and down a mountain. So much for the 5 hour hike the information lady had warned me about just from the bottom of the mountain I just smashed the 15km in an hour and 45 mins take that!
Tip for all of you lady runners out there: Do not wear a thong when running long distances on a hot day…. Just sayin.
Itâ€™s not often I have passengers that put their hand up to join me for a morning workout so when they do I want to make it worth their early rise and try to make it a trip highlight. From Tokyo to Nikko, this is quite the contrast, 30million people in Tokyo and Nikko a population of 17000, Tokyoâ€™s sky scrapers and Neon lights fill the sky and traffic and technology can be heard but here in Nikko the sky is lit by the stars and the moon, with old cedar trees stretching high, many of them protected themselves for their age, and you wake to the sound of the Daiya rivers flowing rapids outside your room.
We arrived in the night so this morning at 6:30am would be the first time Natalie would see Nikkoâ€™s beauty and how lucky we were with blue skies, and the ground and plants moist from the previous nightâ€™s rainfall it almost shimmered in the sunlight. We ran North heading past the grand gardens of the Imperial Villa and up into the mountains. The rivers calming sounds followed us the whole way up getting louder as we ran higher almost calling us to keep going, small shrines would also guide us forward through the winding steep forest. Then there it was, an old Tori gate indicating we had reached a shrine and its stone steps led us up to its peak, as we looked over we had reached the calling sound of Jakko waterfall. It was more powerful then I last remembered from the rainfall of this wet season. Natalie and I stripped off our sweaty running gear into our bathing suits, we balanced our body taking each step with caution over the slippery rocks, the cold water shot through our bodies, (the best kind of alarm) to wake us completely body and mind we were completely aware. A tree branch lied across the front of the waterfall so we could step directly under it and still feel secure to hold onto the tree, the cold water continuing to energize us like electricity flowing through each segment of our tired bodies. We laughed with joy, this girl I had known for less than 24hours and now sharing this beautiful experience with. We decided to take our time back down, leaving our shoes off to walk over the rocks using it as a reflexology walk to calm and open our senses to the earth, connecting brain to body and trusting the messages being sent to adjust our postures and movements for each step. As we ran down the air was thick filling our lungs. What was only an hour felt like so much longer, I soaked in the onsen warming my body, my heart still beating steady from my morningâ€™s adventure. Bring on the day and bring on more adventures to share and deliver to my new group of passengers touring Japans wonder.
This gypsy guide is on a new trip and one with a fit family of 3 from Phoenix Arizona, we met in Tokyo shared sake in a tiny 60â€™s bar in Golden Gai and our friendship was sealed thatâ€™s until I took them on a 20km bike ride around Tokyo the next day exploring back streets, shrines and all of Tokyoâ€™s beauty thatâ€™s not always in the brochures. We hired bikes from the underground facilities of Naka Okachimachi in Ueno but you can find these underground rental places all over Tokyo depending on where youâ€™re staying and hire for 4 hours, a day or even a few days, one day is 300yen http://www.bikeoff.org/design_resource/dr_PDF/dr_facilities_transport_uenonaka.pdf
The ride was beautiful with the sun shining and the streets relatively quiet with many locals inside watching the first Japan match of the World Cup that day.
It was 30 degrees however that day and although flat most of the way it had been a while since this fit bunch had been on a bike so to regain my popularity with them what else can you do but shout ice cream for all! Back in the good books.
The next day started with an outrageously early start and unique experience that can only be privileged by those crazy few who wake at 2:30am, this my friends are the lengths you take to be first in for the Tsukiji markets auction of the biggest tuna you will ever lay your eyes on. The auction itself is so fast paced I'm not even sure you could understand if you were Japanese but to see the detail they go into checking each fish, to the average person they all look the same but if you have an interest in fish or just want to see what goes on in the worlds biggest fish market I highly recommend it.
We were on the road that day to rest and head to one of the most beautiful places in Japan, with views of the stretching coast on the way there our excitement levels were rising each minute. We arrived in Izu Shimoda the coastal town with a lot of History being the port for which fish would be delivered to Edo in this period and where Japanâ€™s trading and diplomatic contact with the US and Russia ended their isolation in the 1850â€™s.
We were met at the station by Ken from Aloha bike tours, who then prepared some very cool mountain bikes for us to cruise around the island in style. Following the coast we went past the only floating aquarium in the world to marvel upon enormous turtles, captivity however never quite does it for me and I took my eyes away from here to the bay around the corner to see free dolphins enjoy a frolic in the ocean it was so beautiful. After climbing up hills, with most being their first time on a mountain bike everyone made it feeling on top of the world, and almost literally as we ate afternoon tea freshly made by Kenâ€™s wife overlooking the magnificent coastline, small islands and listening to the waves crash on the shore. Adventuring through valleys of tall grass we made it back to finish this amazing ride.
Our accommodation here in Izu was nothing less than a dream paradise, we were greeted by the young Soma family, Kaizu a very good surfer and wind surfer and Tobu a hot yoga instructor (yes she was good looking but she teaches yoga in a heated room). Their house was high on a mountain overlooking the ocean for perfect surf checking, and surrounded by trees growing fresh fruit and a farm of fresh vegetables. I cooked a Japanese/Australian Bbq for all to enjoy and Kaizu made us some of his eggs freshly laid eggs to enjoy for dessert. Before bed we all tested our balance skills on their slack line in the moonlight.
I woke early to meet Kaizu for a surf before my passengers woke, he let me borrow his sick single fin and he took out his quad, we drove down the hill to the beach my heart almost bursting from my chest in excitement for it had been now 2 months since I last surfed. We checked the conditions, but to me it didn’t matter I just wanted to be out there, so I put on Kaizuâ€™s wetsuit which was conveniantly a perfect fit we paddled out to the 1ft waves rolling through. I sat in the water feeling at home, feeling whole, feeling alive, I looked at the beach the Torri gate marking a shrine on the cliff top and the burning seaweed cleaning the beach on the shore. Then it came, a set, my eyes became focused, I started to paddle, these small waves had some push in them and then it was like there and been no time that had passed between waves, I was riding along feeling free, this board got some speed and I could manoeuvre my turns quite easily. Kaizu and I stayed out for 2hours of solemn bliss, teaching each other English and Japanese in between sets, we had found something that we both knew the language to and so a friendship was born and I was reborn in Japan. We showered outside and I prepared breakfast for my passengers in the garden with fresh fruit and yoghurt. My entire body and soul had now been nurtured.
Our next group adventure was guided by Masashi from Surface kayaking, a beautiful man full of joy and passion for what he did and eager to teach all he knew to his passengers. Masashi took us weaving through rock islands testing our skills, we felt like explorers and were the only ones in the water it was magic. We paddled to a lighthouse for a veggie curry lunch and my active family frolicked on the rocks spotting crabs before walking to the lighthouse, unfortunately the day was overcast so we could not see out to the islands but the view of the stretching ocean was still picturesque.
My energy levels were becoming weary towards the end, it had been a long few days, so paddling to Shimoda beach to check out the surf which hadn’t increased in size since the morning, I jumped into the water before heading to shore to wake meâ€¦ A very good choice.
From the ocean to the mountains Kamikochi the Japanese alpine national park would await us. The sun was shining this time and the mountains looked if possible even more beautiful than a couple weeks ago I had been here last. I took my passengers past Myojin pond to see the mountains reflection and colours mirrored in the pond, it was divine. We then took the route to Tokusawa, but with so many peaks around we thought we would test our physical skills and try to reach Yookoo, this however may have been too ambitious, as we hiked for two hours the mountain only kept increasing and our energy and strength was declining. We had views all the way up and the nature was lush and green, still with snow to be seen as we climbed hire but it was time to go back. The onsen that night may have been the best bath we had ever had, healing our muscles with the baths natural minerals and relaxing heat.
And like all great adventurers it was this oneâ€™s time to end finishing the way we started on bikes, but this time in my home base of Kyoto. It was amazing to see the changes within my passengers, their energy, their smiles, their strength, they may have been tired and sore but they pushed through the whole way, they came together closer than before as they had seen each other at their most vulnerable and their strongest. Their respect for one another had grown and I could not have been more proud of all of them.
To train and set a goal and work towards it is one great thing but to enrol the people you love and do it together, to motivate one another, that is a special experience that will bond a family closer than any other activity I feel.
Step outside of your comfort zones, experience another culture, another world, find an equal ground and watch as you grow more in one week from sweating together reaching goals, and opening your eyes to possibilities physically emotionally and environmentally that you never thought possible.
Tsukiji fish market http://www.japanvisitor.com/tokyo/tokyo-area-guides/tsukiji
Surface kayak guided services with Masashi http://www.the-surface.com/
Aloha bike tours with Ken http://www.alohabike.com/onroad-ride-en.htm
Izu Shimoda Villa Shirahama http://www.villa-shirahama.com/
Kamikochi mountains http://www.kamikochi.or.jp/english/
Maybe itâ€™s because Iâ€™m in Tokyo but things have been busy this week! Iâ€™d like to share my morning run today though. For me itâ€™s so important for me to move in some way in the morning, it helps to wake me up, it clears my head so I am more productive for the rest of the day and itâ€™s my favourite time of day when the streets are quiet and I just get to think about me.
I set out running along the streets filled with lanterns, and the city only just waking up, I ran to my favourite park in Tokyo, Ueno park, perhaps a place some may skip on their trip to Tokyo with so many other places like Asakusa, Akihabara, Shinjuku and Shibuya offering a lot more for the easy access, weâ€™ve got everything districts. For me though if I didnâ€™t know what season it was, I could look at this park and it would tell me, it offers the biggest change every time I come back here before a trip. From my first experience, calling my sister and singing â€œdo you want to build a snow man because the whole place was covered in white, then the cherries were out with trees filling the place and the pond reflecting soft pink beauty. The reeds took over as the mornings were lighter and then now the entire place is a field of green, the lotus absolutely taking over, and life been reborn in this pond.
I stopped to see what I could find and noticed turtles sun bathing, and carp with their freaky mouth looking up for food, the birds and ducks taking flight or simply enjoying a cruise. I wasnâ€™t ready to run back so I found my favourite spot on the jetty which overlooks the whole park and was treated to a womenâ€™s divine voice as she sung and welcomed the day, I let her voice guide me through my morning vinyasas. I felt relaxed, energized, strong, and ready for this beautiful day as I ran back. Another thing I love about training in the morning is when you start the day with exercise you have then given your body a fresh start and it then wants to keep this good feeling, so foods you then crave are healthier and usually more nutritious, you are more in tune body and mind to all that you need.
I woke this morning to the sunlight beaming through my window already Kyoto’s summer humidity rising at 5:45am battling with the idea I pulled myself up to meet my friend Healy for a morning workout. The 1km run to Umekoji park was even a struggle, clearly the ice cream and pastries the day before did nothing good for my body today, amazing how when you are in tune with your body you notice the differences your lifestyle choices make. I love this park located about 10 minutes walk from Kyoto station it reminds me of a small version of Yoyogi park in Tokyo where there is always something going on, whether it’s just people training, playing, doing group exercises, markets and there is also the Kyoto aquarium where you can often see the dolphins jumping into the air during shows.
I had prepared a session with a mi of strength, flexibility and cardio and introduce Healy to the exercises.
1. Burpee to bear crawl- How it’s done: Jump and don’t forget to use your arms and bend your knees to increase the power and reduce the landing impact. Jump down into a plank and perform a push up then for the count of 5 walk on all fours. Do this for 1 minute
2. Partner leg press- In our case Healy started lying down on the ground with knees bent , i held on to his feet, the closer I stood to him the heavier the resistance for him, so oppositely if my feet were further away I would be lighter and the exercise would be easier for him, (we did not want this). For one minute Healy then pushes me away so his legs are fully extended, then as he bends his knees I come back and taunt him so he wants to push me away again. The perfect partner exercise. Swap over after a minute and adjust accordingly for your partner.
3. Air boxing combo for cardio. Jab, cross, uppercut, cross. When boxing you are not trying to be like popeye and just work yours arms so work it like a salsa and get your hips involved, bend your knees, get loose, shoulders down and elbows stay in with arms high at the chest, fists always protecting the face. Do one set then lift your leg like a dog to a tree ready to pee opening your hips as your partner crawls under, then extend your leg so they can jump over; you can raise your leg adjusting the height to make the jump more difficult. Do this to both sides then box again and then you do the same for your partner. Do this for a minute.
4. Shoulder stand to boat pose to oblique twist. Sounds complicated but what it’s mixing is pilates and yoga exercises to release tension through the back, work your core and activate all your abdominals so rectus as you roll onto your shoulder blades and lift your legs to the sky then slowly lower the legs and roll up into a seated boat position, either extending the legs out or keeping the knees bent and hold this for a count of 5, then lie back down stretching your arms out to the side with your shoulders inline with wrists and again either with bent or straight legs, keeping the knees and ankles together lower them to one side and then the other activating your transverse abdominus and obliques as you twist. Do this for a minute.
5. Lunge and hamstring extension (one for all the footballers). Step and lower the back knee to a hover just above the ground maintaining good posture, (no slouching, or pushing down on your front leg to help you up) activate your glutes back to standing and then extend the back leg out in front as high as you can to add in a balance component and activate your hamstrings. Repeat on the other leg and do this for 1 minute.
6. Partner single leg squat: Cross arms and hold on like a Hercules hand shake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1boSFqgAHVg Partner steps in close to balance as the other squats as low as possible (ideally to the ground) then engages glutes, (be careful not to use your partner to help you up) and rises to standing. Do 15 seconds on each leg and swap.
7. Hip opener push ups: Perform a normal push up except open up your hip by abducting one leg away from the body with a bent knee and look to that side, then go down and do the other side, so you end up moving forward as you do this. 30 seconds. A great one for shoulder mobility, core strength, hip flexibility and leg abductors and adductors.
8. Sprint 30m use a tree branch or a bar and do a chin up, whilst also lifting your knees to chest, then jump down into a squat. Do 3 whilst your partner is in a plank position then swap. Do two rounds so you end up doing 6 chin ups each.
Repeat it all again.
My favourite thing about exercising with your friends is you get the socializing motivation, they push you harder, but then you can also have fun with it and have a laugh so sometimes you’re working hard but you could simply be going out for a dance you’re having fun with it, which is how all movement and activity should be.
To finish we walked barefoot on rocks, pebbles and sand through the parks small stream. Otherwise known as a reflexology walk this can have many benefits to your body and mind. Triggering pressure points in the feet has the ability to release tension through other parts of the body muscularly and internally.
Some benefits listed by Chinese medical theories include:
Stimulates reflexology areas and pressure points in your feet that correspond to all major body organs and areas.
Stimulates vital energy and blood flow throughout your body.
Relieves stress, improves balance, enhances physical and mental well-being.
Allows you to control the length and amount of stimulation, e.g. short, light walks on smooth stones, or longer walks on thinner, sharper-edged stones.
Also, cobblestone walking reflexology for elderly people and anyone in poor health or recovering from injury or illness is particularly beneficial as it’s a gentle yet deep-working therapy.
Read more here http://www.chinese-holistic-health-exercises.com/reflexology-walking-paths.html
Walking on stones or uneven surfaces for me will calm my mind as acts almost like a meditation to lower my heart rate and relax my breathing. For those wanting to transition between wearing foot wear and adopting a more natural barefoot technique this is a great way to strengthen your feet and open up the pathways from your foot receptors and nerve stimulation pathways to the brain.
Healy and I left ready for breakfast, feeling relaxed yet stronger as we kept our shoes off and took a light stroll back home to prepare a feast of a breakfast with fresh fruit yoghurt and a little caffeine 😉
Happy days here in Kyoto for this glorious Sunday. https://www.dropbox.com/s/odxn0fqt48o5zvv/IMG_8601.MOV
I am starting a written journey of my adventures as I explore Japan as a guide for Venture http://www.ventureea.com/
Venture lead a variety of trips, from family based, culture, food and the more physically demanding active trips. With my background being in exercise science and my passion for fitness my intention of my writing is to give you an insight into active travel, how you can get involved and just how incredible this country of Japan is.
So here we go Day 1 of my active gypsy lifestyle brings me on a research trip to the beautiful Kamikochi, before the 19th century the area was used as a logging area until British missionary Walter Weston hiked the area and fell in love with it, he lobbied to protect the area and since then it has been used for recreational use and is now a protected national park. Kamikochi is a mountainous wonderland of rivers waterfalls, forest, snow and some of the highest peaks in Japan. It’s about 5 hours from Kyoto and can be accessed via a shinkansen to Nagoya, scenic train to Takayama for a possible quick look at some of the old houses, renowned carpentry work and some delicious sake breweries, you can then catch a bus to Kamikochi.
I woke at 6:30 am with my japanese breakfast waiting fueling me with rice, egg, mountain veggies, salad and miso soup for the day ahead. I told my accom I would start with a hike to Dakesawa valley, they looked worried as it was raining outside and this was a tricky hike up the mountain to where snow would await as I went higher, I assured them I would turn around if it was too much and started my run to the entrance.
It started off fine and a lot of fun, there was flowing creeks, the sounds of birds and planks of wood laid out to cross over.The track was beautiful and so green, even more so in this wet weather and not a soul in sight. As I climbed higher the air began to thin and I saw my first patch of snow, how strange this was after two weeks in Kyoto of over 30 degrees, I’d forgotten how cold it can be in the snowy mountains. I came to a clearing with rocks everywhere and the most spectacular views as I looked up of Mt Oku -Hotakadake and Mt Mae-Hotakadake, when I looked down I could see beyond the cloud cover Kappa Bashi bridge and what was the entrance into the park. I climbed further noticing the beautiful summer flowers beginning to bloom, but I would soon come to a new difficulty…. The snow got even more deeper, I tried to hold on to a rope and climb up the mountain, but as soon I tried to climb across the snow got deeper and took my leg with it. I made the difficult decision to turn around and abseiled my way back down to the path. Legs feeling more like jelly now I made it back to the road and ran into town for a delicious apple cake and coffee.
It was still early and I had heard of the Nirringso flower at the end of Tokusawa so I ran back to Myojin pond and headed towards Tokusawa, stopping to acknowledge the many snow monkeys in trees and walking along the road.
I followed the river with it’s calming and wild sound next to me, and it wasn’t long until I would see a sea of colours with many tents set up.
I decided to continue on to Yokoo Ohashi. Stopping for a hot cocoa from the vending machine I took in the beautiful 80m long Shinmura bridge overlooking the river and mountains.
My legs were heavy now I had already hiked and ran 18km and it would be another 3 up the mountain, but I started the steep journey. The rocks were slippery and I had to climb many wooden ladders, I was so high that I reached the clouds, a thick smog blocking my view as I got higher, and there it was that blasted obstacle of snow yet again, I was so close with only a couple of hundred metres to the peak but as I stepped my foot sunk, I tried again but it was so steep and I could see myself slipping down the mountain, the way my legs felt now it was an appealing thought if it wouldn’t bring me to my death, so again I made the trek back down. It was a slow descent, the rain had taken it’s toll on this track and I slipped more than once. I can not stress the importance of adding balance exercises into your workout routines each day, I was also wearing my minimal five fingered shoes so my brain was quick to respond to the environmental cues to quickly adjust my body to the changing and challenging terrain.
Feeling exhausted when I reached the bottom I fuelled up on some nuts and decided to run, I was ready for my nice hot bath and despite the pain in my body now I picked my feet up for a steady pace back. Perhaps my slowest running performance I made it back to my accommodation with staff happy to see I had survived the 9 hour day and 25km up, down and across the mountains of Kamikochi.
Accommodation was a Kammon the 130 year old hut, Kamijo Kamon was the guide for the famous Walter Weston and helped change history to preserve this spectacular area, I drank local beer ate fresh caught fish with the owner and descendant of Kamijo Kamon by the fire and would highly recommend to stay here. Staff were so friendly, meals were brilliant, very traditional, and comfortable, it felt like I was in a family home which was nice. http://kamonjigoya.wordpress.com/
If you want to know more about Venture and their trips you can follow them on facebook https://www.facebook.com/VentureEA
I will also be posting a photo diary of my adventures on Adventure PT’s instagram account “adventurepersonaltraining”
and of course our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AdventurePersonalTraining
Adventure PT is beginning the Ultimate Body Detox.
After the loss of my beautiful friend Elle to mental illness, there are a lot of people I know including myself that are now needing some healing. This program will be perfect for anyone looking for a fresh new training program and it is guaranteed to be one you will want to continue with.
I don’t believe in waiting for the perfect time to start because time is already always limited so drop the cookie and start your journey!
Step 1. Self-healing/cleansing:
You’ve lost connection with yourself and your needs and your mind is constantly racing, you’re lacking motivation and could easily stay in bed…. Not today, I want you to start slow, yep long term results begin slow life does not need to be rushed. What you’re trying to do is to connect with yourself so take a walk, go for a light swim. This morning I practised yoga. Youâ€™re trying to tune in to your needs, what are you feeling? Now return your acknowledgment of your needs with actions and begin to nurture
Change your diet to foods that will ease your pain, make you feel lighter and fresh. Look for coloured, fresh foods and fruits.
That’s day 1 Good luck and be sure to ask if you have any questions or need anything.
Day 2 of your ultimate body detox.
Your mind is racing, set out on your own either running, walking, cycling and go somewhere you’ve never been before, find a new route. The idea is to use your brain, all of those other thoughts wonâ€™t be a priority when you have to work out where you’re going, or you keep thinking and get lost and discover new things anyway. You should be doing things that get your heart pumping so you can feel your blood moving that you can feel you’re still alive, that your body is functioning. Now you can feel what’s going on in the inside you can be more in tune to your emotions and understand why they’re there, understand that every single one you’re feeling is ok and normal. Once you have acknowledged what is happening on the inside you can start noticing where you are and the beauty and wonders of this new surrounding you have entered. No excuses get out and explore!
Day 3 of your ultimate body detox.
Be strong now, within yourself and your goals youâ€™re doing a good thing to take care of yourself. To strengthen our muscles we create a personal body guard around our vital organs.
In this clip I demonstrate how you can use rocks as weights and how to perform exercises using this weight safely. So choose any weight, it should be heavy enough to feel like a challenge but light enough to lift over your head without needing to recruit your back, remember you must use your belly and leg muscles to support you here!
I have only performed two reps to show you how to do the exercise but a good starting point would be 10 of each and 3sets to get your heart rate really going. Have fun!
Ps. sometimes you just want to throw something so feel free to bend your knees and add the throws in as well.
Day 4 of your ultimate body detox start climbing!
Find a hill and run, skip, jump or walk. Mentally and physically hills are a must, picture your goal up the top and get up that thing and capture it.
Hills will train your fundamental muscles, and actions which you need strong in everyday activities. A strong butt and strong legs; Hills will also help you to train your breath and lung capacity to stay calm, so open your chest and draw your shoulders back for good posture. It is also maybe the best way to teach run technique, it is impossible to land on your heals as you will be imbalanced, therefore training your core stability and balance. You will find you will naturally land on your forefoot and the next step will feel a lot more fluent and spring you to the next step. So there are a few why’s on the health side of things, here is a clip to help you on the motivational side of things. “Aint no mountain high enough” my friends, believe you can and kiss the sky.
Day 5 of your ultimate body detox:
Go to a playground and use swings, trees or bars. Try to do each exercise 10times and 3sets.
1. Bend your knees and jump up to a tree branch or bar, pull your chest up then slowly go down release your hands and fall into a deep squat.
2. Both hands on the swing chair and standing tall, start to push the chair way, forcing your arms to lengthen out you should finish in a plank, then slowly bring the chair back towards you (go to the challenge limit where you still have control, you should feel this in your abs and lengthening your triceps and upper back muscles.
3. Find a park bench and perform a push up then when you come up lift up one arm to the sky and open your chest up. Bring your hand back down to meet the other wrists in line with shoulders and do another push up and then open to the other side.
The opening will help to create space in your chest, giving you a stretch as well as strengthening the back.
4. Lie on the ground with your feet on a park bench seat or swing chair for more of a challenge, keep your knees bent, then tilt your chin to your chest and lift your upper back up off the ground and reach your hand to your knees to do a sit up, lie back down and lift your butt up off the ground into a bridge position.
You are working your abs as well as your butt in the bridge and working on alignment and pelvic stabilization.
That’s all for now enjoy!
Day 6 of your ultimate body detox.
Testing what you think you can do and then going a little further because you can.
Run 500m at your normal run pace, then skip (even without a skipping rope for 1min) teaching your foot placement and reaction time.
Then do 10 inch worms so standing tall then slowly roll down hands close to your body once they reach the ground (you may bend your knees) walk them out away from you so you end up in a plank position then do a push.
Then 20 squats feet hip width apart and drop your bum keeping your chest proud as far as you can before using your legs and stomach muscles to lift you back to standing.
Then run another 500m this time faster than before.
Repeat the skipping, inch worm and squats.
Run another 500m this time faster again.
Repeat the skipping, inchworm and squats.
Run another 500m faster again.
Repeat the skipping, inch worm and squats.
Stretch and walk to finish.
Day 7 of your ultimate body detox and part 2 of self-healing.
Grab a friend, you’re not alone and never have to be, you have a deeper understanding now of what you’re feeling and how to embrace these emotions for strength. Now find the strength to communicate. By talking and encouraging each other you will heal yourself as well as your friends and notice they’re feeling the same things as you, the same worries, frustrations, dreams you can help each other.
Share a goal with your friend and help make it happen!
A couple of weeks ago these were a few of my friends that I got active with, that I love with my all my heart and that helped me to see light in darkness.
Day 8 of your ultimate body detox and Part 2 with your friends.
You’ve set your goals now start actioning the plans and helping to make them a reality.
Workout and mindfulness of support use your friend’s weight as your resistance and lighten the load of worry from your mind replacing it with joy and laughter. In the picture below Brainy and Coen demonstrate body carries along the beach. There are so many partner carries that can be tried.
1. Use the picture and 20m distance sprint
2. Wheel barrow walking with one person walking on their hands whilst the other holds onto the legs (be careful of your back, if you’re tall you may need to squat a little lower) added challenge can be adding a push up every 6 hand steps
3. Piggy back sprints.
Day 9 of your ultimate body detox.
Grab a friend and go do something exciting, some you’ve both never done before, that will make you nervous, that will make you laugh, the emotions, and feelings that bring you closer together. It was a while ago now that Amy and I explored tree surfing in Redhill but it was a day I won’t forget, we could be big kids and test our limits and bodies all at the same time. Check out tree surfingÂ inÂ Redhill, orÂ choose your own adventure as well. Have fun with your Adventure!
For my people of Melbourne, I hear it’s a little wet on your side of the Pacific Ocean wellâ€¦
1. Who cares, get outside and put a raincoat on or use an umbrella.
Its day 10 of your ultimate body detox so I say we dance.
Who hasn’t danced around their house before like a crazy person when no one is around, well, at No light’s no lycra on a Monday Tuesday and Wednesday night locations in the city offer a public space where you can do your crazy dancing with other people, no pickup lines, just you some fun and random tunes and man do you get your sweat up for an hour. If you cannot get to the city this is still my workout for you today, I want you to dance flay your limbs about and dance, free movement is the best workout, where there is no plan just you and your body, it’s always the most fun, and you’re relaxed so injury rates decrease.
This is my beautiful friend Elle, wherever she went those crazy long limbs were everywhere, and I think some of our best memories were dancing with her. Enjoy!
Day 11 of your ultimate body detox: Time to check in with your goals and how you’re tracking, how can you cross these life hurdles?
Your body is one awesome machine so today your challenge is to run, jump, crawl, skip, cartwheel, and climb. All these things train your body and mind, increase flexibility, strengthen this is how we get to the next spot, this is how we reach goals.
So 30 seconds jumps- you don’t need to jump over anything just making a line and trying to increase the distance or height is fine.
30 seconds climbing- find a tree, a pole a rope, get your arms and legs working together.
30seconds of sprinting try and change directions pick some points and race your friend then change. I find a game of “tag” is always fun.
30 seconds of crawling- Great for upper body, core, legs and hips.
Repeat these, change them up and get creative a big cardio session so try for half an hour but an hour to really get exploring would be best.
Day 12 of your ultimate body detox.
Fitting exercise into your daily routines despite work, children and other obligations.
There’s always an excuse but as you’ve seen throughout these posts and hopefully felt you really don’t need a lot of time to give yourself a good workout and gain the benefits with it. Could one of the reasons so many successful people are in that position because they have this work, health balance? Take at least 30minutes from your day to get active and go outside. I know it’s getting colder in Australia but that fresh air is still going to wake you up, clear your head and make you feel so much better for the rest of your day, plus getting your sweat on actually warms your body up… win!
So today’s challenge, step away from your work and busy lifestyle to take at least 30minutes, to run, play a game of footy with friends, breathe and simply meditate or do yoga or give this little workout a go.
1. Start by waking yourself up and going for a short run.
2. 20 squats front and side squats (shift your body weight to one side and squat down)
3. Stretch your arms up over your head then slowly bring them down to the ground walking them out into a plank position and perform a push up, walk them back to the body and lift yourself back to standing. Do 10.
4. Find a bench and do 15 tricep dips.
5. The same bench or seat prop your legs up and leaving your shoulder blades on the ground lift your butt up into the air to a bridge position pulse for 5 breaths and lower. Repeat this 20 times, keeping your hips aligned.
6. Cycle sit ups for your hamstrings and abs, as one leg extends the other is bent towards the chest, your head is lifted looking towards your knees, and shoulder blades slightly lifted off the ground also. Do 20.
This workout is a mix of stretches, strength and cardio to assist posture if you’re at a desk, to help with alignment and to get your heart pumping to increase the movement of oxygen through the body and brain to energize you for the rest of the day and energize your mind.
Have fun being awesome!
Day 13Â How are you feeling?
If I am honest I am still a roller coaster of emotions. Your body could be strong but if your heart and mind are still messy then your body will not function at its optimum and vice versa. So as we look forward to the weekend, my challenge to you is to not rush into it but first slow down nurture your entire self to ensure nothing gets left behind this weekend and you can enjoy it to its fullest with no distractions. I have attached a photo of one of my great friends and highly regarded yoga instructor Sarah Elise Yoga Sarah does many classes around the Peninsula so follow her page and contact her to see how you can get involved.
First love and nurture your body, mind and heart as one for optimum power, function and balance.
I apologize for my late post for your 14th day of your ultimate body detox after 2weeks on tour I had some time today before starting my next trip so thought Iâ€™d have an adventure of my own.
This will be my final post for this challenge, hopefully with the support of your friends you have helped each other to reach your goals or gotten closer to them. Now I let you go to “spread your wings” going outside of your norm and what is comfortable and trying new things… Scary? No way exciting! What have you always wanted to do but made excuses not to? Have a think it’s Saturday and the possibilities of what you are capable of are limitless.