Showing posts from October, 2010

JAG Fitness US West Coast Tour, October 2010

I don’t remember how I heard about the HTKA seminar in New Jersey, but  I just liked that these guys had this seminar called “How To Kick Ass” and it was one of those moments when i just had a feeling that there was something about this that i needed; so I signed up for it without even knowing who either of these guys were. As it turns out, one was a pitching coach and the other was a wrestling coach. And they both have very successful businesses and wanted to share how they got them that way. The guys created a fraternity of about 30 like minded guys ready to bust balls to make their business a rocking success. And the room was filled with testosterone.  In fact, after the seminar, I had to get back to teach class in Manhattan, but all the guys had a bonfire on the beach and partied like fraternity brothers. The seminar was filled with great ideas for reaching more people, turning more potential leads into clients and retaining clients for longer. And now, two weeks after the seminar…

Gil Hedley, Somanaut


I just spent a day in Carpinteria with Gil Hedley, who gave a full-day presentation of his work. He dissects human bodies to learn about them, but his approach is one of great respect and reverence.  He calls himself a somanaut. Soma (body) and Naut (sailor). He in an explorer of the inner space of the human body.  He strives to keep the integrity of each system as he removes them layer by layer.  His first step is to “unzip” the skin.  He removes the entire skin coating intact. And one of the things that he says is that there is really no such thing as the skin.  It is a manufactured construct invented by anatomists to categorize our body parts.  But in actuality, the tissue that we know as skin doesn’t end, it gradually transforms, cell by cell, into the tissue below it.  Going in with a scalpel is really the only way to differentiate the “skin” from the underlying layers, but it is imposed.  There is really no actual delineation that can be noted.  He reports that it didn’t seem…

Breathing during Exertion

A reader sent me this question:

I know that one is supposed to exhale on the heaviest exertion of a movement or exercise (right?)….But can you say more about breathing and moving; breathing and exercise; breathing and stretching? What is the science behind this breathing? Great question, thanks. Yes, the common belief is that you should be exhaling when you exert. There is no scientific, chemical reason why you should be exhaling, it is all about the mechanics. When we exhale, it recruits the muscles of the core. The abdominals the obliques and the lower back muscles can all be involved in a vigorous exhale; the kind that is recommended during a strenuous movement.  The reason this type of breath is recommended is simply for the recruitment of those muscles to support  your spine during the exertion.  Another factor is that when we are exerting it can increase the pressure inside your body.  It is instinctive for people to hold their breath during an exertion because this further increas…

Arrived in Santa Barbara

It’s a strange experience being back in Santa Barbara after so many years away.  I was born here, went to school here and lived here for my first 27 years before leaving for Seattle.  After 8 years in Seattle and 10 in NYC, I’m coming back to learn that although the town is basically the same, a lot has changed.   I arrived by train last night and went directly to Yoga Soup, where I’ll be teaching my Super Nia Immersion playshop on Sunday.  Ken Gilbert was just finishing a Nia class there, and afterwards he took me to his home where I’ll be staying the weekend with him and his wife, Bonnie and three cats, Lucy, Ghost and Nubbin. I was surprised by the weather here; I expected to see the sun.  But instead it has been foggy and overcast the entire day, and from what I’ve heard, will probably stay this way all weekend.  This morning, I took a Pilates class taught by the wonderfully gifted Ken Gilbert, and he exposed me to basically the same weakness and disconnection that was exposed by Gle…

Is the Gaiam Reversible Travel Yoga mat the answer?

I work out hard. Not only that, but when I do exercise, I sweat profusely. What I’m getting at is that I’m very hard on my yoga mats. When I’m done, there is enough water left on the mat to make a splash if I dropped a dime on it.  I try to remember to wipe the sweat off as soon as possible, and I sometimes use a spray cleaner or hydrogen peroxide / water mixture to wipe it clean. I’ve also tried putting my mats in the washing machine and I’ve put them in the bathtub with water and bleach.  But despite all of these efforts, I just can’t seem to keep a mat for more than a few months without destroying it. It isn’t destroyed physically, but it smells mildewy. I thought I had solved the problem when I found the Gaiam Reversible Travel Yoga Mat. I was also thrilled that it solved another problem I was having. I have always found yoga mats to be ungainly and hard to carry around and store. This mat folded up into the size of a T shirt and folded out and became a nice, but very thin, yoga mat…

Human Movement

Greetings from the road. I’m still on the first leg of my JAG Fitness West Coast Tour 2010.  In Santa Monica today, I attended a very inspiring workshop taught by Glenn Black. The workshop was called Human Movement and it went over some of the basics of how our joints should optimally move. For example, I discovered that maintaining proper spinal alignment while raising the arms overhead or while deep squatting is a lot harder than it would seem. And sitting with the shins stacked one on top of the other requires a great deal of external rotation in the hip (more than I have). Glenn’s Human Movement workshop exposes some of the movement shortcuts we take and forces us to deal with our limitations by being impeccable with our movement. Laying down, sitting, standing and walking, says Glenn, are our basic movements and most people do all of them incorrectly.  Poor posture will deform your body over time and lead to imbalances which could hinder performance and eventually lead to pain. The w…

Water: Before, During and After

I just got this question from one of my blog followers... Q:  I know that it is important to drink water before, during, and after exercise. But can you say something about why this is so? What is the science behind this? A:  Water serves many important functions in your body.  I recommend you read my blog entry The Power of Water: The Wonder Liquid where I break down many of the great things this important nutrient does for us. For example, water is the main ingredient in something called synovial fluid, which is a slick substance in between your bones that assures your joints move smoothly.  If you are dehydrated, you will have less synovial fluid, or the amount that you have will be more viscous and less efficient at protecting your joints.  This could lead to discomfort and injury. So if you have been drinking the proper amounts of water throughout the day, there is actually no need to drink extra water before you exercise. It is more important to make a regular habit of drinking wa…

Cold for the Road

Greetings from LAX

This morning, I set my alarm for 4:30am.  I was leaving on a 7:45 flight to kick off the JAG Fitness West Coast Tour 2010. About three days ago, I started to notice that my throat felt a bit raw, but I contributed it to abusing my voice in Sunday morning’s Nia class.  Sometimes, when I get over excited in class, I forget to use my voice properly and my throat can feel raw for a few hours afterwards. But the next day, it was still raw.  Not terribly painful, but noticeable. And then I was talking on the phone with a friend and he asked me if I had just woken up, or if I had a cold. I didn’t think much of it, so I just told him that I had just finished irrigating my sinuses with my neti pot and that sometimes makes me sound stuffed up for a few minutes afterwards. And then yesterday, my throat was still sore and my head was still a bit stuffy and I started to get that weird, tingly feeling of having a cold. I believe it’s a histamine response.  So it seems I need to face t…