October newsletter, 2018: comfort and patterns

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Those of you that read my thoughts regularly know I am interested in the idea of patterns and helping people explore alternative patterns when it comes to movement. We all have patterns (or habits, if you would rather look at it that way). We have a favorite hand to reach with, a favorite foot to balance on, a favorite side to lie on. Patterns aren’t inherently bad, but what happens if that pattern isn’t an option because of the situation? My thought is by exploring other ways of moving now, it creates more adaptability to environments that are out of your control. 

But here is the thing with tapping into alternative patterns- it’s uncomfortable. The first time you try holding your arm in a different way in extension, the amount of work you feel in your triceps can be overwhelming. In a way, it makes sense. You haven’t loaded the muscles in that particular orientation in a long time. Sometimes the sensations are welcome; other times, they are intense and make you feel like holding what looks like a simple position with your arms is the hardest things you have ever done. 

There is a meme I see occasionally that is a play on the idea that life begins outside of your comfort zone.How true that sentiment is, I don’t know, but it could easily be said that fitness begins outside of your comfort zone. It is not easy to gain strength- you have to pick up heavy things consistently and repeatedly. It’s not easy to gain mobility in areas you aren’t naturally flexible- you have to work at uncomfortable end ranges, moving slowly or holding positions. It’s not easy to build endurance- you have to walk longer than you normally do and on varied terrain if you want to be truly adaptable. It’s not easy to change your patterns- you have to think about how you normally do things, which requires being in the present moment when you are doing that thing and doing it differently, probably in a way that doesn’t feel natural.

Change is hard. Patterns are easy. They don’t require any extra effort. But, if your goal is to be able to explore the world in a varied way, you have to practice being a little bit uncomfortable. Having a designated movement practice is a great way to begin finding the balance between experiencing discomfort and feeling ease. I am currently ending all of my practices with five minutes of supine breath work; it’s relaxing and meditative. My practices consist of things that force me to be uncomfortable and things that are familiar and are fairly comfortable. It’s not an all or none principle, but touching the uncomfortable will make you stronger tomorrow.


Studio classes and events:
Beginning Thursday, September 28, Mia Hurst will be teaching a level 1 Foundation Training class from 4-5 and a level 2 Foundation Training class from 5-6. Foundation Training is a perfect compliment to an exercise program, and is designed to help you access your body’s full potential. Level 1 is appropriate for those of all levels. 5 classes: $125. Mia is a movement professional with over twenty years of experience helping people tap into their inner athlete. For more information, or to register, please contact Mia Hurst.

Saturday, October 28 from 9-12: Mobility Training: a 3 hour workshop on understanding mobility practices, with Jenn. Mobility should be trained progressively and systematically. In order to fully understand how to improve mobility, individuals needs to be able to sense the area they want to move and then consciously move the area. Once people can do these two things, basic principles can be applied to improve strength, control, and mobility at certain joints. This workshop aims to clarify these concepts. It is appropriate for personal trainers, movement professionals, yoga teachers, and individuals that are looking to deepen their understanding of how mobility works and why it should be trained in a thoughtful way. Cost: $60. For more information or to register:
*I am capping this at 10 people to ensure quality instruction.

Jules Mitchell Workshop Series Saturday, December 2
I am excited to host Jules Mitchell, M.S., for Applied Asana: A scientific approach to stretching in yoga from 9:30-12:30 and Hip Dynamics from 2-5. Cost: $60 for one, $95 for both before November 10; $75/$125 after. To register, or for more information: 


Beginning in September, Dave Von Ruden is available for personal training and small group training services. For more information on services or availability, please contact Dave.

Other events and workshops:
Sensing, isolating, and integrating: the spine
I will be teaching this four hour workshop at 360 FitHaus in LA on Saturday, October 14. We will discuss the spine's role in movement and exercise. Learn how it connects the upper and lower extremity, how to feel different aspects of the spinal column during breath and movement, and how to create stability and mobility for efficient movement. This workshop is appropriate for Pilates teachers, personal trainers, yoga instructors, or individuals interested in deepening their awareness of this area and their relationship to it. The workshop format will include lecture, partner work, and skills designed to tie together research and practical application. For more information or to register: 

Suggested reading:
Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, by Florence Williams. A journalist, science, and nature. Good read.
If I Understood You Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating, by Alan Alda. This was surprisingly enjoyable, and quite insightful. If you coach or teach, I recommend it.
Is Hip Thrusting Getting in the Way of Your Lifting, by Joanne Elphinston. Great (short) read on the hip thrust during lifting- simple explanation of vectors that can be applied to any movement discipline. Link here
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre People, by James Altucher. Fun read, with some good, practical advice.
Your Personal Definition of Fitness, by Pete Hitzeman. “If you are fit to live, that means you are generally healthy, and have adequate levels of movement proficiency, strength, and yes, work capacity. It means you can carry your own groceries, rearrange your own furniture, get off the floor without assistance, run if you’re being chased, and generally haul your carcass around without undue fatigue or injury...Beyond those basic requirements, your definition of fitness will depend on what you want to be able to do. That makes the definition itself highly personal.” Truth. Article

Where am I?
You may have noticed an absence of work on the website (other than weekly musings). Below are a list of recent articles I have contributed to Breaking Muscle; I also have posts coming out soon on ThinkMovement.net, a collaborative website with content from people with interesting movement backgrounds- worth a look if movement interests you. In addition, the Yoga and Movement Research site is in full swing. Access to content is subscription based and entirely rooted in research. Find out more here: 

You can also find classes and workshops on Vimeo, and through Jenni Rawlings Yoga.

Breaking Muscle articles:

Embrace interoception through body awareness
How we learn
5 ways to progress your plank