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Drawing the bow – Dropping the heels

As a personal trainer it’s important to continue to be a student. If I stopped learning and developing my own practice, I believe I would cease to be any good at my job. In the past 7 days I have been teaching less, because I’ve been in London, but learning more. I got a month pass to a yoga studio and have been making my way through the classes I have time to get to and loving it. I am SO happy to be a student in a classroom and to learn new things; and there is so much to learn.

 

On Saturday I did Qi Gong for the first time. Out of fascination with the name and because I’ve seen a book called Qi Gong fever on my brother’s book shelf for years and always made a note in my head to look at it, but never did. So, when I saw Qi Gong on the studio schedule I got excited to see what it was and booked in. Told my friend and was swiftly told that its Chi gung not Kee Gong 🙂

It’s an ancient, almost 3,000 year old, system of healing from China rooted in Taoism. It gets the fluids moving through the body and stimulates the organs. It claims to ease stress, strengthen the nerves and improve vascular function. What’s not to like. It is also said to loosen the muscles and build power, which I feel in need of as I might overdo the strength and intensive yoga and feel the need to balance it out with something different. This could be it for me.

I had no idea what to expect though and felt nervous – my brain was whispering “what if I can’t do it?”  “maybe you shouldn’t go” Not a feeling I have very often, but lately I have been pushing myself out of the comfort zone less and less as I’ve become busier and busier.

When I first moved to Berlin I was doing new classes all the time and there was a point when I first got my Urban Sports Card and set up You Me Body Bliss that I had a rule to try a new class at least once a month (this resulted in both pole dancing and Brazilian Ju Jitsu related injuries), but I have been so busy that this rule fell by the wayside. Until this week, I got back in it and have done 3 new classes (I’ll write about the others soon).

 

I was surprised by how much effect the movements had on my body. It’s not that they were small, simple or easy, it wasn’t yoga and I was sceptical. It wasn’t so anatomically aligned and concentrated on muscle groups like yoga can be and so honestly I just didn’t think it would be ‘all that’. But once I got into it I remembered of course it’s not yoga, it doesn’t have to be, there are other completely amazing and valuable traditions of mind matter and movement out there that are good for you! I just have my thing and tend to do that because I love it. Somewhat blinkered eyes.  But it really did something for me – I really loved it.

 

The one clear similarity and something that I really felt familiar with was the attention to breath and the instruction to match the flow of movement to the breath. I felt myself completely connected to my new movement sequences, breathing and concentrating deeply. I found the flow state I so often seek in life and I loved it. I hadn’t expected to.

 

The movement sequence was called the 8 brocades and our wonderful teacher Tom Watson at Triyoga clearly and confidently took us through the sequence and gave us theory throughout the class. It was a perfect balance of practice and knowledge for the beginner like me.

 

When we did ‘Drawing the Bow’ I felt a pull across my chest and through the middle of my arm that I haven’t felt in a long time. The ‘lifting the heels’ left me invigorated and I wanted to keep on dropping my heels back down onto the floor, so ‘simple’ and so satisfying. It reminded me of a video I saw about an Osho yoga practitioner who said it was an arousing thing, to stomp the heels down into the floor and it had stuck in my mind.

 

At times I felt like a ballerina with graceful movements and long limbs, pulling and stretching and softly floating lines in the air. But it wasn’t easy. I had waves of heat, at one point I felt nauseous just turning my head left to right as we swung our arms at the start. Perhaps it was my stagnated chi? I don’t know what but it jostled my system.

 

Since the class I’ve woken up and gone through the sequence again and when I woke up this morning I did it instead of my sun salutations which I decided to leave until later. I felt peaceful in the movements and it seemed like a good pre yoga warm up, meditative alignment. I will continue for a while to do it first thing and my yoga afterwards and see how it goes.

 

My morning ritual is ever evolving and this new addition is exciting.

 

I hope I will get a chance to do another class before I go, otherwise I will find one back in Berlin.

 

Do give it a go if you can! Try something new, let the body move in new ways and keep an open mind.

 

Find out about Qi Gong and it’s history here

I’m in it and I told them I’d dance to this song.

You know the moment when you’ve been lost in the flow of the dance, moving along with the rhythm on autopilot and then the music stops, the beat changes or the lights come on, you stop and feel startled, not totally sure what to do, can’t quite get back into the new beat, try, feel out of it  and do the awkward dance for a while or just walk away to get a drink until something else comes on.

That’s this week for me. Nothing bad has happened, but the song has changed and my usual daily pulse is lost and I’ve been thrown off kilter. Can’t leave the dance floor though. I’m in it and I told them I’d dance to this song.

I didn’t realise how systematised my habits and body has become until I came to London to do a new job and yesterday by 7pm I was balling tears into the fridge at my brothers house claiming I wanted to go home; I couldn’t do it. I wanted my bed, my love, my home and all the things I am used to.

I can do it and today I’m fine, but I was startled and overwhelmed – this isn’t what I’m used to anymore and it’s taking me some days to adjust.

I’m getting woken up at 5am for various reasons, I’m sleeping on a sofa next to a main road with police lights flashing at my shut eyes, but I can still see the colourscape in my mind. The cat nibbles my toes. I don’t have my guitar for creative relief; I have none of my home comforts and kitchen condiments. My phone barely works and I’m reliant on over priced inconsistent London transport without the freedom of my Berlin bike. I’m inside all day as opposed to being out and about in the elements. I’m sat at a laptop and standing, watching, not moving, making, stretching and climbing like I’m used to.

This is tough for me, but when I put it down like that I know how small and so minor it is comparatively when you look at all the people in the world who are thrown from their homes for reasons beyond their control, when they didn’t choose to, to new countries, fleeing war, violence etc. I only came to London for a job and I’m struggling. I can’t even begin to imagine the feelings of the Rohingya of whom almost 500,000 have fled their homes since Aug 25th. It puts it into perspective and helps me ‘get over it’ and smile and make the most of what I’ve got, and I’ve got alot, but it’s still tough. It’s relative.

My body and system are confused. My hunger is striking, and my sleep is restless and my mind is anxious. I had sought, for years, for the habitual home-based nature of my current life, the one I’ve been carving for myself since 2015 when I jumped Circus space ship and settled in Berlin. I had never had consistency or healthy patterns. I craved it deeply and as much as I can sometimes complain that my life is too ‘regimented’ I have grown so used to the groove that it has become my foundation and it keeps me in check. I like the rhythm, and I just fit my madness, fun and adventures in between the givens of rest and sleep and food and movement.

But, this little break in pattern and trip to my old home has thrown me. I used to live like this, a nomad, with fewer possessions, in other people’s spaces, in squats, on floors, on couches, caravan floors and studios made in articulated circus lorries. I feel like it’s not for me anymore. Am I too old? I thought I would be OK and I will be, but it takes some readjusting. Luckily I am very conscious of what makes me feel OK and what I need and what I like. So, once my work is done and I’ve done what I’ve promised, I must prioritise those things that keep me ticking and smiling.
Sleep

Food

Fun

Communication

Movement

Creativity

 

The first thing – sleep – can be resolved more easily. Ear plugs and an eye mask. Early to bed and get my full 8 hours.

Food requires some better planning and more regular trips to M&S. I’ve packed double portions today so I’m not left wanting and frantic.

Fun can be simply looking at my brother as he cracks me the fuck up. HA.

I have sent out messages to my clients today to stay close and in communication and will call my mother tonight and see an old friend tomorrow. This will keep me full – I thrive off of people and hate being disconnected from my nearest and dearest.

I will go to another early morning Ashtanga at Triyoga this week, do a yin session tonight and try and move more throughout the day when I can.

I will try and track down a guitar to tinkle on or just go for a long walk and a sing. Something to get my musical mediation time in – feeds my soul.

This is so progressive for me though!! I never used to know what I needed. I was so out of touch. I had NO idea what made me tick, what made me feel good or bad or sad or revived. I was clueless. I couldn’t look after myself and constantly set myself up for unnecessary stress and misery. Years of investigation, challenging my norms and behaviour patterns has paid off and now I have literal lists that clearly state what I need, what I value, what I want and what I enjoy, because I forget and need reminding sometimes.

So,  yesterday when I panic-stationed and freaked out, I calmed myself down my talking to someone about how I felt and thankfully they were supportive and listened.  I did some deep breathing, let myself feel how I felt for a while but didn’t let it consume me, I just said – I feel like shit, I’m hungry and tired and want to go home – I didn’t ignore it, I had a massive cry until it was gone and then, I looked at my list of what I need to feel OK, sat down and made a plan about how to go about getting all of them. And boom. Things are better. Crisis averted. I didn’t run away like I felt like doing or lash out at someone or go to the pub. My old tactics. I have been building new frame works for dealing with life and they are paying off.  So far so good. Today is way better than yesterday. Winning.

The journey continues.

“Don’t assume your students want to be touched and/or adjusted”

I went to a yoga class last week where the teacher came from behind me and rubbed tiger balm mixed with something icky all over my neck and it splogged on my toe. I felt really annoyed because she didn’t ask and I didn’t like it. The guy next to me was visibly watering at the eyes as his dose had been too strong –  we spent the rest of the class looking at each other’s burning eyes in despair. Hoping she wouldn’t come back and do it again.
Even with my longest standing clients I ask if they want to be assisted or mind me touching them or not as some days they feel OK and some they don’t.

Part of the initial assessment process is a questionnaire we go through in person or online which helps me to understand what things might make someone feel uncomfortable, what people like, dislike, have experienced in the past and to highlight any areas of my practice that might be sensitive to the person. Each person has had very different experiences and what is OK with one, will not be OK with another. Nothing can be assumed or taken for granted.

Before we even get to the touching I have to see how they feel about me being in their personal space, their flat and home, then being in their personal space and then, only then, touching.

It is a process and journey getting to know another person and how to work with them and even when you think you know, you must stay open and aware of how moods and feelings might be different from day to day. The work we do can put people in a vulnerable position emotionally as they work with their body in new ways and try to break old habits and put themselves out of their comfort zone.

I can resonate with this article as I have some issues myself where certain things will trigger a panic reaction in me, and they can be seemingly simple things that someone else might not be aware of. We shouldn’t go around on tip toes scared to upset people, but body work is a sensitive area and we should be compassionate towards others and take these things into consideration.

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/09/3-things-yoga-teachers-must-stop-doing-right-now-daniel-flynn/

What is it? Beets me.

Roasted Beets

 

Cook Time: 35 Minutes

  • 2 medium beets, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil/ghee/lard
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • Pinch of pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°c
2. Top the beets with melted cooking fat, sea salt, pepper and rosemary.
3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until soft 🙂

 

Mmmmm

What’s in your soup? Not NAIL WIZARDS

Probably not bone broth, gelatin rich soupy collagen goodness either. No bone based soup – not anymore – that died with my Grandma, but the health benefits of bone broth, gelatin, collagen, liquid protein, is making a comeback. Paleo people have been banging on about it for years already. It was a wave in the alternative health scene a while back that seemed to peak and peeter out. So let’s recap.

I bring this up now because my memory is pretty shoddy at times and it’s only when my bike breaks under my butt cycling to work that I remember I was meant to get it checked and fixed, when my card doesn’t work I remember I didn’t deposit my cash, when my nails start cracking and breaking I remember I haven’t been getting my gelly gelatin in.

If you want to fix brittle nails – first, eat gelatin.

“Forty-three of fifty patients with brittle nails who ingested gelatin daily for three months showed improvement in their nail structure.”  Gelatin use study

6 weeks ago my nails were flaking away (like they did the whole time I was a vegan) and I was dismayed and like holy shit how is this happening again, I thought I had this nailed 😉 and spend 2 days cutting them shorter and shorter, watching them bleed cause they crack up into the fleshy bit and want to cry a bit cause – wtf – how did I slide back into brittle finger lane – and then, days of confusion later I have a brain alert that goes “OI, your collagen powder ran out and you didn’t get anymore and haven’t been making bone broth – course your nails and weak – you forgot to keep doing that thing you were doing that was working – do it” And then I remember, oh yeah. That works, I know that works.

If you want the general gist of why you should consider getting this anti-inflammatory elixir into your routine for more reasons than just nails then check out this article that explains it quite well from http://www.paleoleap.com

photos of Collagen powder and beef bone broth care of my Mother Kim

@paleo4one (Instagram)

What I love.

I love my clients truly madly deeply. They work hard, open up, sweat, cry, laugh, shake, jiggle and challenge themselves.

I am so proud to know them and get to know their passions, loves, lives and get an insight into how they became who they are by listening to their stories and sharing time together.

I love waking up and getting ready to spend my day cycling around to see them all – I find joy in my work and I never thought that would happen for me. Sometimes the days are tough and all we can do is roll on the floor or drink a coffee in the sun, sometimes we push and push and sweat and pant and sometimes we pretend we’re ships in the mist howling out fog horns with our resistance bands on. Sometimes it’s a hug, sometimes just to get the moan out of the system. The results aren’t always six packs – it can be some lightness when the world is feeling heavy, a reminder of why we should be kind to ourselves, a nudge when you start to fall back into bad habits and a high five when you overcome challenges and meet goals.

This isn’t a bootcamp, this isn’t a military weight loss program. This is human to human, helping supporting, sharing, caring and encouraging. Being there and helping clear the leaves from the path that can be so hard to see sometimes.

Love . Movement . Compassion . Bitches . x