Teenage Blood is a song from the album of the same name, the second album for Tom Williams and the Boat from Kent England.
As much as this is a walking, anatomy and yoga blog, I would like more to think that it is a blog about change. And any blog about change is more likely to be focused on our resistance to change which is one of the great forces in our lives.
My whole life I have fancied myself a creative person, with a somewhat laissez-faire approach, but essentially creative. In the course of my fifty-one years I have tried writing, photography, directing theater, cooking, making sculpture and I am sure I am missing a few. I embody the jack of all trades, master of none epithet.
Lately I have been trying none too successfully to take up the guitar.
One of the few things I haven’t given much of a try is drawing, always in awe of what people can do with when it comes to drawing and painting. Also, I have the classic story of a fourth grade teacher who told me to give it up before I began. I was having trouble figuring out perspective and he figured it was best if I didn’t try.
Fast forward forty years and I recently painted a chalkboard wall in my living room to use as a backdrop for the videos I made of the release of the Psoas Release Party! on DVD and streaming video.
It turns out that painting the chalkboard wall has been one of the best moves I have ever made. After the videos were shot, I began a new education in art and we couldn’t be having more fun. I have been learning perspective and having a blast.
And my kids are almost as into drawing on the wall as they are into watching TV. Well, maybe that is stretching it a bit. But I particularly love my son’s dreidel and the leg my daughter drew at the top of her staircase hinting of things to come..
For thanksgiving it turned into a wall of appreciation and now as you can see in the picture above it is a holiday wall.
I have wanted to draw my whole life and I guess the fact that it took fifty years for me to get started is no big deal. Returning to the idea of change that I mentioned in the beginning; it is very easy to get stuck in our habits and patterns both physical and emotional.
With two young children I am trying to show them that change is beautiful and exciting and learning new things is some of the best change you can make.
Last year I recorded a series of interviews with a number of healers and alternative health care practitioners. We collected these interviews into a series called Be Your Own Healer and they are an amazing journey into the insights of some incredible people.
They share their approach to their own work as well as how they work to take care of themselves.
We will be putting up one of these interviews each week for the next few months.
Let’s start with my good friend Brooke Thomas of Liberated Body.
I have done many interviews with Brooke and what I love about talking to Brooke is her curiosity. She’s always willing to dig deeper to discover new ways to access body learning and to share that with her clients. As a perpetual learner as well as a passionate advocate, Brooke’s life’s work is about embracing the body’s full potential. And she wants that for you.
I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!
To listen to the interview, click the link below:
Here is the list of other interviewees:
Jacoby Ballard, Katy Bowman, Elena Brower, Michaelle Edwards, Eden Fromberg, Eric Goodman, Kate Hanley, Lora Krulak, Joanna Lindenbaum, Jill Miller, Lucas Rockwood, Vanessa Scotto, Aimee Gould Shunney, Kate Stillman and Brooke Thomas
Early memories of a strained relationship with a distant father are punctuated by the recollection of the smell of hot chocolate waving under a six year old nose. Prospect Park and ice hockey lessons beckoned at six in the morning and my selfless father had me up and out of the house for a quiet ride to the park with a thermos of hot chocolate in my lap.
Classically collapsed ankles prevented me from progressing far though I loved trying and I especially loved the uniform and equipment. The trip to Herman Sporting Goods in Valley Stream to buy the pads and equipment is another indelible memory.
With age my ankles got stronger and I returned to skating on numerous occasions.
In the 1980’s I lived in Boston and had access to the hockey rink at UMass Boston. I skated every day for a while and met a former college hockey player who took my skills to another level, putting me through some serious paces running skating drills as we had the ice to ourselves day after day.
In the 90’s I started Rollerblading and my skates were practically wedded to my feet from the moment I got them. And I returned often to Prospect Park skating at the old rink that provided me so many good memories.
Now at fifty-one I have a six year old son and both he and my daughter joined me at the newfangled rink that recently replaced the one of my childhood. Circling the ice with their hands in mine has me surfing a tide of joy and reverie.
We were out for two and a half hours on Sunday and buy the end I felt as if I was beginning to get my chops back.
For the last five minutes I followed one of the more advanced skaters doing my best to match his moves and speed. My smile couldn’t have been bigger as I chased around the ice unbeknownst to him.
To be outside in the park on a Sunday morning sharing skating with my kids makes precious memories of my father even more rich.
I descend from a place of rage. My father had it, and my siblings have it in spades. My mother claimed not to have it but she is Hungarian and if you know any Hungarians you can decide how to describe their “passion”. My rage can bubble up within me at a moment’s notice and it is all I can do to keep it down.
What does this have to do with my sub-occipital muscles and my heart chakra? Maybe nothing but then again…
Long before I started doing yoga I knew I had stuff to deal with, like any human being. But when I got to the yoga world and started dabbling in the world of esoterica I learned some interesting lessons.
As it goes I am very willing to give my money to people who say they can help me.
There was the healer who punched me in the stomach and snapped his fingers at me for an hour.
And the dude who dug his elbow so hard into my thighs that I was ready to scream but I was too distracted by his running commentary, “Your Mother is in that leg and we have to get her out.”
Did I mention the woman who tried to get me to give her $2000 so that I could be buried in the desert sand up to my neck and left alone overnight?
Should I continue?
In the middle of the more nutty stories there were reasonable people who did card or astrological readings, or in the context of this post—Chakra readings.
I have been to a number of those. And they all say the same thing.
If you get a particular kind of session the practitioner holds a string, with a small object tied to the bottom, above your chakras to see if they are open or not.
Now I have done these on both coasts with people that didn’t know each other and the same thing happened each time.
The wheel, which spun like crazy at the first second and third chakra stopped dead at the 4th—the heart chakra.
Oh the pain of me!
And what does this have to do with the sub occipital muscles? Well, here we go.
Before I got Rolfed for the first time which is almost ten years ago, I suffered from neck issues and muscle tension headaches. Also I was quite jacked up in the front of the rib cage, unable to relax at the base of my sternum.
I remember one of my yoga teachers telling me that I was one of the warmest people she knew emotionally but I was hard as a rock in my heart (area).
Getting Rolfed was a revelatory experience for me and the main physical benefit was that releasing some of the tension from the sub occipitals seemed to release something at the base of my chest and that gripping or stuckness in the chest dissipated.
One of my essential intructions when I teach is “Go blah”, trying to get people to relax or sigh in an attempt to soften the heart center.
I haven’t been back for a chakra reading since getting Rolfed but I wonder if maybe the little thingy would spin now?
I get most of my music from a dear friend. I have been listening to and loving this record, Fragments of Light by Sensations Fix for a while and didn’t realize it was from 1974. Once I found out it made a lot sense but no one ever said I was all that sharp.
For many years now my most popular workshop is the Psoas Release Party! and I am thrilled to announce the release of the Psoas Release Party! Home Edition.
We filmed the workshop and broke it down into two DVD’s or 19 streaming videos that you can watch online.
There is a ton of information contained within—from anatomy to posture analysis to release exercises—and I hope to provide specific insight into the psoas muscle which can be very tricky to understand.
The Psoas Release Party! is priced at $74.95 but for the next five days, in its initial roll out, we are offering it for $49.95. In addition to the discount in price we have a number of extras that will be available only until Friday at midnight.
Along with the Psoas Release Party! on either DVD or streaming video, you will receive:
- A one hour psoas stretch yoga podcast.
- An audiocast of the release exercises.
- A Psoas Stretch and Release eBook
- A Free live teleclass (available afterwards for download) on January 15h to discuss psoas issues and questions.
These bonuses are only good through the end of the day on Friday so don’t hesitate to act if you are at all interested in the psoas muscle.
I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of psoas release work and I am so happy that I can share this work with you.
Sharon’s blog: DayBooks
So, it’s back to Andalucía, back to the land of the tiles. And if you look down in Jerez de la Frontera, you can be lost. The vertical is ever elusive. I know I obsess about this. I know I come back to these tiles every year. And start trying to pick apart the vestibular implications of following a logical, but totally extraneous pattern. These moorish patterns are geometric after all. (Just like a kaleidescope). Geometry should be decipherable, both mentally and physically. But once the combination is straight and curved and color patterns start reversing. Well, whoah. It feel like free fall all over again.
Several of my friends are suffering from foot injuries (fall-based and/or of mysterious origin) so I’m just going with foot transference, foot rooting.
It’s cold here (well, for Andalucía it’s cold), and the tiles are often icey. That entails a a reflexive resistance to sensing gravity, at least for me. The foot-jerk reaction is to recoil the foot back off the floor before the whole foot explores the contact. I’m trying different kinds of grippy, cut-off socks to let me sink in without a bone chil: chopped off toes and even a little Maryjane effect. It helps. It really is true that the sole is the soul of the foot.
We’ve been traveling in Spain for two months now and, as always, I begin to long for our home floor. It’s funny the things you miss. (I wish I could carry the images of these floor tiles more concretely in my head though. I draw them every year, and get lost in them. And I’m happy to touch wood again when we return to Brooklyn. But I miss the patterns and the flights of fancy they bring to hard and icy reality.
Meditation on gravity.
Freezing Hands are a band from Arizona that I just love. Power pop at its finest. I didn’t know anything about them other than there music until this morning when I went searching around the internet for some information, of which their is precious little.
If you like this song, check out more at their bandcamp Freezing Hands.
And here’s another for good measure…
The video above is one of the first videos I made for YouTube a number of years back and it remains one of the most popular videos that made it online.
Thirty-five years of my life passed without me hearing of a miraculous muscle called the psoas and when I finally did it was a revelation. The story I recount in the video is one that many people would be able to share once they unravel a bit of the mystery that adds up to an adult body.
Ageing gracefully is one of the key themes of my work and learning about and developing a happy and healthy psoas is worth any and every effort you put into the discovery process.
For almost ten years now I have been offering Psoas Release Party! workshops that have helped untold numbers of students work through physical and emotional patterns that can live deep in the core of the body.
While that might be a crazily esoteric statement to make—emotions live in a muscle—but the effects of releasing the psoas are hard to deny when you give it a try.
On that note we are excited to announce next week’s release of our new DVD (or streaming video) of my Psoas Release Party! workshop. The workshop is on two parts—the first half is anatomy and posture and the second half is release exercise for letting go of chronic tension.
This video was a long time in the making and covers a wide range of territory in introducing the body’s most important muscle.