Weekend Mashup: February 28th

Here is the weekend mashup, a collection of links of articles from the last week or two that didn’t make it into blog posts.

I realized that I tend to put up a lot of men doing their core thing so let’s start with a compilation of free running women.

I love archery. And I love historical novels which are often filled with takes of archers (knock,draw, loose) and recently watch an excellent Korean movie, The War Of The Arrows, that I highly reccommend.

I have been teaching this pose, Fallen Warrior, from Angela Farmer for many years and incorrectly calling it Dying Warrior. Whatever the name, I love the shape, and simply love the way Farmer moves in this and all of her videos.


weekend mashup

I like simple things that might give me relief. Learn to massage your ear.


Let’s finish with one of my favorite videos of all time. We used to watch this routine before class at my old yoga center. The good stuff begin at 1:00. And good stuff it truly is. For wahtever reason contortionists found a home, for a time, in 1940′s musicals.




Walking On Ice: The Penguin Walk

walking on ice

Walking on ice is fierce. While I actually appreciate the extremity of the cold this winter, I feel for the older people in my building who seem consigned to the indoors for the season.

Walking my dog the other night the street and sidewalks were a stunning sheet of treacherous ice full of slipping pedestrians.

A friend sent me this infographic on Facebook and I appreciate it though I think it get it all wrong. My response when I first received it was that we all need to walk a little more like penguins so I thought I would elaborate on this.

A different approach to the same graphic is that we should all be walking, not more like penguins but as if we are always walking on ice. In an earlier post about walking on ice I wrote that everyone tends to fall backwards on their butt because their posture and movement patterns are always pulling us backwards, hence the falling backwards.

The infographic suggests that walking correctly won’t work on ice which strikes me as a little silly. It is our poor movement and posture patterns that cause us to fall while walking on ice.

The idea isn’t really to walk like a penguin but to get our legs under our hips and our trunk properly over the pelvis. We can be upright while the penguin can’t due to the miracle of the lumbar curve of the spine.

We aren’t the only bipedal creatures but we are the only bipedal animal with a curved lower spine.

It is the curve of the lower, or lumbar, spine that bears weight and absorbs shock to allow us to be upright.

But the curve of the lower spine is also what allows us to habitually lean backwards and fall on our butt while walking on ice.

Such a conundrum.

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An Interview WIth Joanna Lindenbaum

joanna lindenbaumToday’s replay of last years Be Your Own Healer interviews  finds me talking to Joanna Lindenbaum, the creator of Soulful Coaching for Busy Women.

Joanna is on a mission is to encourage entrepreneurs to have the success they desire and deserve – and she provides the tools to make it happen.

Though she’s focused on business success, I wanted to speak with Joanna  because her work is not just about the practical and concrete. Through a combination of inner and outer work her clients are able to break through the blocks that prevent them from achieving their goals. That is a healing process in and of itself!

I learned a lot from speaking with Joanna about her process and the deep work she does with her clients.


Listen to the Joanna Lindenbaum Interview 


You can download all of the interviews by clicking on the button below.

Download the Be Your Own Healer Interviews

Here is the list of other interviewees:

Jacoby Ballard, Katy Bowman, Elena Brower, Michaelle Edwards, Eden Fromberg, , Kate Hanley, Lora Krulak, Jill Miller, Lucas Rockwood, Vanessa Scotto, Aimee Gould Shunney, Kate Stillman and Brooke Thomas.


The Muscle Formerly Known As Peroneal

peroneal musclesperonealThe fibularis muscles, formerly known as the peroneal muscles, are of particular interest to me as they tend to be a huge issue with so many posture and pain problems. The word peroneal derives from Greek while fibularis is Latin.

For whatever reason, the lower leg is often left out of the narrative when talking about tight muscles. The hamstrings are a perennial favorite, but the gastrocnemius and soleus of the calf, and the fibularis, formerly peroneal, are often ignored in discussion of limitations due to inflexibility.

The fibularis are the muscles on the outside of the shin, connecting to and running along the fibula bone before attaching to different bones of the foot. There are three of these muscles—brevis, longus and tertius.

Fibularis tertius is an interesting muscle that is rarely discussed. It appeals to me as a muscle likely related to walking on two legs because this muscle isn’t found in many other primates.

Everyone I work with, whether walking client or yoga student stands before me barefoot. I can teach people to walk in shoes or sneakers but feeling the feet on the ground is something that we all need more of. (As an aside, you can’t imagine how many clients I have, that have been told never to walk barefoot again?????)

When someone is standing in front of me unshod, I find that most everyone bears their weight to the outside of the feet. In yoga I am always watching the inner foot in students at the bow forward over the legs. When the fibularis muscles are tight the inner foot tends to roll up and to the outside.

Though this is exaggerated in the forward bend, when people are stand the same pull to the outer foot is often still evident.

This pull to the outer foot is often related to tight and from my perspective, dysfunctional fibularis, formerly peroneal, muscles. I have put up many exercises to develop these muscles over the years and

I’ll hopefully have a video up tomorrow that illustrates just how essential these muscles are to good posture and movement patterns.

Download Your eBook Why Walking Is the Answer For You


Sunday Morning Music: Mathew E. White

matthew-e-whiteMathew E. White is coming to town next week to BRIC in downtown Brooklyn. His new album on the Spacebomb Records just came out and it sounds great, though I have only listened a little bit. This video is from the exceedingly groovy first album Big Inner.

I have also been enjoying another excellent record on the same label by Natalie Prass.

Here is a paragraph from the Spacebomb website:

We are a record label shaped around traditional models and time-honored ways. We are a house band, a unified crew of arrangers and musicians, artists, scribes, vibe-gardeners and business men who feel it takes a village to produce a record. Only our village can make our records sound like they do. With experimentation, courage, and love, we bring our craft to the studio and make a noise that is the choir of our imagination. Spacebomb makes regional music, folk music, modern music — music brought to your ears by Richmond, Virginia.

I am very excited to see them live and in action.


A Tiny Arch In The Lower Back

arch in the lower back

As a yoga teacher I repeat myself endlessly. For months at a time an instruction will get in my head and I’ll repeat it ad nauseum. Some of these instructions have lasted for longer periods of time than others.

For the past few months I have been audio taping my classes and we are getting ready to offer them on the website. The nice thing about recording and editing is that I can cut out dead space, my lip smacking, my coffee drinking, my endless repetition of the words, like and really.

Once I edit a class my wife has been doing the practice in our living room which always freaks me out as it seems anytime I pass by she is scribbling notes on her legal pad for me to receive later.

Sometimes I’ll be in my office and hear her say, while I am intoning in the background, “I have been standing in Tadasana for two minutes.”

Her latest comment was been about one of my ubiquitous phrases “put a tiny arch in the lower back”.

“What does that mean?” She asked incredulously.

“It means that you want to have a small curve in the lower back.” I said evenly.

“Well you might know that but you say it all the time and I have no idea what you are talking about.”

Never let it be said that I can’t take a little criticism, so I took my case to the class I was teaching the next morning.

Mentioning that my wife Caitlin was doing the classes that I am taping and she mentioned that a tiny arch in the lower back instruction. Everyone started laughing. “Oh yeah, we have no idea what that means.”

The next class I taught afforded my another opportunity to bring it up. Without missing a beat a student said, “I have been meaning to ask you what that means.”

I have been saying this same phrase for years. Over and over again. And I will never say it again. And I would have happily stopped saying it long ago if someone had said something.

Today my wife mentioned that we might need a glossary of my phraseology that carries meaning for a grand total of one person—being me.

For what it is worth, a tiny arch in the lower back simply means that we want a curve in the lower back at almost all times and we want that curve to be as small or as long as possible.


Get your hour long mp3 yoga class with Jonathan FitzGordon


Old Injuries Do Not Go Away

old injuries

Working to diagnose current injuries is often about uncovering old injuries that led to the immediate issue. And it is amazing how often a present situation directly relates to a forgotten about injury or accident.

Sometimes injuries are forgotten about because they are dismissed as inconsequential or sometimes we very simply forget. Many times clients don’t remember an injury from their childhood, or ascribe it meaning, until a year or so into working together.

Some injuries are acute and obvious—if you fall down the stairs and break an ankle, you have something very concrete to heal. When you suffer, in some cases, due to life-long compensations it can be much harder to unwind.

It requires a certain amount of detective work to uncover many of these connections and then it is often a years-long process to unwind the negative patterns associated with healing a prior injury.

This is the reality that I work with day after day, which I find fairly exciting,  because you never truly know what you are working with The actions and accidents of life stick around and change who we are and how we move throughout our lifetime. It can be easy to simply accept this as who we are and part of the process.

And while this is true, because we are highly adaptable, we can also work with the process. Unless you were born with a structural or nerve related problem, you have a pretty amazing machine to start off.

If you pay attention to always getting it back on track after injury, you can keep the machine running well for years into the future.

Download Your eBook Why Walking Is the Answer For You


An Interview With Aimee Gould Shunney

aimee gould shunneyIn today’s replay of last years Be Your Own Healer interviews I talk with my friend Aimee Gould Shunney, a Naturopathic Doctor. who offers a full range of clinical support and specializes in women’s health.

She knows that we all could use some accountability when we’re trying to heal. We talked about the challenge that comes with making change— I know I would love it if I could just feel better without any effort. I see that with some of my CoreWalking clients, too. Thankfully, there are people out there like Aimee who can help encourage anyone on a quest for health.


Listen to the Aimee Gould Shunney interview


I loved reconnecting with Aimee, who was an essential part of our lives when my wife was pregnant with our first child. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.


Download the Be Your Own Healer Interviews


You can download all of the interviews by clicking on the button above. Here is the list of other interviewees:

Jacoby Ballard, Katy Bowman, Elena Brower, Michaelle Edwards, Eden Fromberg, , Kate Hanley, Lora Krulak, Joanna Lindenbaum, Jill Miller, Lucas Rockwood, Vanessa Scotto, Aimee Gould Shunney, Kate Stillman and Brooke Thomas.


Should You Use A Tongue Scraper?

tongue scraperHere’s the thing about a tongue scraper—when it comes to your health there is probably no better low cost solution that provides so much bang for your buck. For less than $10 you can have a full-on detox program happening in your bathroom every morning.

The first thing that the Chinese medicine doctor I see looks at is fingernails and tongues, as a diagnostic tool for what might be happening deeper inside.

Have you looked at your tongue recently? The different colors that your tongue might show can be indicative of other issues.  Is it covered with a white film? A thin white film might not be bad but a thick heavy layer might reflect problems with the digestive system. A pale tongue might indicate a lack of energy while a bright red tongue might suggest a vitamin and nutrient deficiency.

Different schools of thought ascribe different qualities to the coatings of the tongue but they all consider tongue health to be essential and often an accurate indicator of other problems.

It is good for general tooth maintenance as well. Brushing your tongue with your toothbrush is an option but not nearly as effective at getting into the nooks and crannies that house bacteria.

The tongue, especially towards the back, covered with taste buds and papillae, which give the tongue its texture but also forms an environment that rolls out a red carpet for bacteria. The purpose of the taste buds is self-explanatory while the papillae are involved with the senses of touch, taste, and smell.

Tongue bacteria will also affect tooth and gum health so if you are serious about brushing and flossing there is good reason to add a tongue scraper to the mix.

Who knows why, after months of dormancy, I picked up my tongue scraper and started using it again? It never goes away but for some reason I use it in waves. One thing is for certain though. I am always shocked by the sludge that comes off of my tongue.

Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner, Stainless Steel


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Sunday Morning Music: Sturgill Simpson

I saw Sturgill Simpson this past Wednesday at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan. It took me back to the Lone Star Cafe in the 1970′s when there was no such thing as getting carded to go into a bar. There aren’t many venues in NYC if you like country music, which I do well enough.

The show was pretty great though I didn’t love the guitarist but you can’t have everything. Simpsons voice is truly something else. Even though he clearly was suffering with a cold, he sounded amazing.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from his Wikipedia page that provides some insight into this very interesing character. I haven’t thought about Terrence McKenna in a long time.

In 2014, Simpson released his second album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music to positive reviews.The album’s lead single is “Living the Dream”. The record fleshes out “a deep and unconventional relationship between traditionalism and new ways of thinking,” and deviates from Simpson’s more traditional hard country debut. On that, Simpson said he focuses on his “[n]ighttime reading about theology, cosmology, and breakthroughs in modern physics and their relationship to a few personal experiences I’ve had led to most of the songs on the album. “Simpson said that: “Recording and mixing was done in five and a half days for about $4,000. I was pretty proud about that.”

On the meaning of “Metamodern”: “The metamodern idea… I read this guy… I read weird shit. This guy called Seth Abramson was talking about oscillation between naivety and our current culture’s love for nostalgia. It’s exactly what I see happening in Nashville right now.” Other influences on the record: “Dr. Rick Strassman’s book The Spirit Molecule was extremely inspirational, as were a few recent highly visionary indie films and a lot of Terrence McKenna’s audio lectures. The influences are all over the place but they culminated into a group of songs about love and the human experience, centered around the light and darkness within us all. There have been many socially conscious concept albums. I wanted to make a “social consciousness” concept album disguised as a country record.”