Saturday, October 8, 2016

As Yoga is the longest lived barefoot exercise and as the Yogic lifestyle involves going barefoot often, we dig Yoga articles.

Yamas of Yoga-Satya

The second Yama of Yoga is Satya which translates in English to "truthfullness"

The famous, former US House Speaker Tip O'Neill is credited with saying:

"Always tell the truth, that way you have a lot less to remember"

Or something very similar. Of course, O'Neill was speaking with reference to politics, not Yoga. But as Yoga means the connection and union of all forces and all things in proper measure, we can contemplate the Speaker's quote quite handily.
Image result for tip o'neill
Former House SPeaker Tip O'Neill, right, shakes hands with former President Ronald Reagan. While O'Neill was a harsh critic of Reagan, he became famous for working across the political aisle to broker successful and fruitful political compromises.

Being truthful protects us from being roiled in scandal that can come from lying; scandals can range from political issues at work to conflicts with clients in business, and problems with friends and family.

Often, what makes it tough to be truthful is the timing of a specific situation. Sometimes, it is more proper todelay the truth in order to avoid doing harm, especially in a truly grave situation. This tactic can also backfire, say, if we lie to someone and later tell the truth while also saying:

How often has someone told us: "I lied becasue I didn't want to hurt your feelings" ?

It's happened at some point, to each of us. We've either done it to someone or had it done to us, or both.

This tactic will always backfire, because you've already hurt the person's feelings by lying, and by trying to do right by truth telling at a later time, you hurt that person double fold.

It's easy to learn from mistakes involving other people, quite simply, because after making this type of mistake, people react and want to push you away. You get lonely and you feel like a schmuck and don't ever want to feel that way again.

So what does this have to do with your Yoga practice? Without digging deeper into dogmatic moral contexts, let's look inward to ourselves.

Without other people to scrutinize our thoughts and actions, it gets tougher to tell how truth telling can be beneficial or negatively consequential.

The tenet of truth is to be honest with yourself, always. When dealing with your inner self, you need only be able to forgive yourself and love yourself. There's no timing involved with that; there are no political or social situations that are at stake when we are dealing with our own selves only.

Be honest with yourself and you won't create situations of denial that cloud our ability to see who and what we really are. When we see our true selves, and act in honest accordance to that knowledge, then we don't make clouded decisions.

When we don't deny who we really are, we are better to see who we are really talking to and interacting with, and we're far less likely to speak or act in a manner that distorts the truth.

Be truthful to yourself, and you'll have less trouble seeing the appropriate boundaries of truth with respect to to others with whom we share our world.

Image result for om

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Leading Instructors Say Barefoot Fitness Is Just Getting Started

It's been seven years since Chris McDougall's book Born To Run turned the world on to barefoot running. The barefoot running craze seems to have sputtered a bit since the hype has calmed down, but five famous fitness gurus say barefoot fitness training is in its infancy. 

"To be sure, the fitness industry did not teach foot awareness until recently, despite the numerous claims that fitness starts from the feet up," says instructor Lawrence Biscontini, MA, winner of 19 major fitness awards since 2002.

Biscontini is internationally known for his blending of mindfulness techniques with many excercise methods. The recognition of barefoot fitness, and how icredibly effective it is, is still in its infancy, 
despite seven years of exposure, he says.

"Many readers who worked as fitness professionals in the last century will recall male and female muscle diagrams where the feet were cut off from the illustrations, or were shown with shoes and no labels. Today’s take proves different," 
says Biscontini is an article he wrote for American Fitness Magazine's 2016 summer issue.

Lawrence Biscontini, MA
The article included comments from other well-known instructors, among them, Stacey Lei Krauss, owner and founder of the The willPower & Grace Method®. While Krauss's empire is not as large as Biscontini's, her Denver, CO-based stuio is thriving. Meanwhile, Krauss travels the world teaching and her method is becomming nationally-known as more and more fitness instructors train in her patented program.

“Working with foot fascia is the new black,” says Krauss in Biscontini's recent article.

Far away in Hanoi, Vietnam, AFAA Fitness Instructor Yuri Rockit is also touting the benefits of barefoot fitness. He talks of the benefits of the well-known Vibrahm Fivefingers shoes. Krauss is also a Vessibrahm Advocate and is a direct representative of the product.
Stacey Lei Krauss demos a Couger Lunge in a willPower & Grace fitness class

Baring this in mind, fitness sans shoes doesn't mean getting rid of shoes altogether, and a good program can include a combo, says instructor Peter McCall of Mesa College in San Diego. So does Fabio ComanaFaculty Instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Yoga teacher gives good reason to go barefoot more often.....

Here are three ways to do better balancing poses in Yoga....and it starts with your feet, even if you're upside-down. 

Go barefoot more often

For you to have good balance, your feet need to be able to assume their natural shape. Wearing shoes conmpresses the feet. The bones are pushed together and the muscles and tendons get squeezed out of shape and can't fully function. The resulting effect is instability in your stance and your walk, which will also lead to problems of the ankles, knees and hips. Even flat sandals such as flip flops can cause some drag on the soles of the feet and result in restricted movement.

The solution: go barefoot when you can. When you get home from work, get out of your shoes and socks. If you have high atrches, you'll have to build a tolorance for being barefoot and you'll feel fatigue more quickly. You might need to put on your Birkenstocks or running shoes after you've been barefoot for a while.

Going barefoot will help most directly with standing balancing poses, but will help with all balancings, including handstands and arm balances. Tight muslces on one end of the body always affect the body elsewhere.

Learn to Fall

This is something I tell every Yoga client in every class, no matter what. I don't mean hold the pose until you fall over. What you need to do do is practice falling out of the pose-properly. Take a pose such as Salamba Sirsasana, or supported headstand.

The obvious, and sage advice, is to practice the pose on a wall. The wall will prevent a major accident; but many students become physically capable of getting into the pose and holding it without needing the wall, but hesitate to move away from it. The issue they have is that they have not intentionally tought themselves how to fall.

What one needs to do is practice repeatedly dropping the feet back to the floor-a.k.a. falling properly. Also, one must talk herself through the whole process of movement.

Talk yourself through the movement

Talking yourself through the process of moving into a balancing pose, and falling properly out of the pose isn't any different than doing so in any other pose. You move slow enough that your conscious mind, and your consious heart have time to "see" the movement by way of feeling it. Before even trying a balancing pose, take a moment in a more-basic pose, such as Virabhadrsana-Warrior pose.

In Warrior pose, we distribute our body weight between our feet by adjusting every muscle from the toes, ankles and legs to the torso, right up through our shoulders and arms.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

New Minimalist Runners Need Not Take Too Long to Transition

The founders of the original minimalist running shoe are people I trust. After all, I was part of the original experiment circa 2009 that ultimately led to the creation of Xeroshoes, the first barefoot running sandal to hit the market-yes, the one on Shark Tank.

How fast can I transition to minimalist running, or running barefoot?

An article on their blog says that one should take the instructions to "transition slowly" with a grain of salt. What they're really saying is: don't be nuerotic about the time table.

  • It's true that if you start running barefoot all the time, your feet will get big blisters and you won't be able to run at all, at least until they heal. Of course, the only way to toughen up the soles of your feet is to keep running barefoot. If you decide to run with Xeroshoes or any other minimalist shoe, this won't be an issue.
You do need to pace your transition, and here's what that means.

  • World-famous runner Michael Sandler, who tought me much of what I know through his classes and lectures, does advise gradual transition, The first timeyou try it, do it at the end of your run. Take off your shoes and run the last 100 yards, he says in his book, Barefoot Running, cowriten with his wife, Jessica Lee Sandler. 
  • As with anything, if you stick to it, you'll get better and better. Sandler's book does offer a 12-week plan to transition, but it's nothing like a boring 12-step plan, and it's geared for going the full gamet- that is, running completely barefoot. The instructions in the book will work for any budding minimalist runner, with or without shoes. The book, by the way, is a very fast, easy read, and it is the one how-to manual on this Earth that isn't boring. 
  • Your transition to minimalist running really depends on how you focus, not on how much time.
  • It's also a matter of perspective. 

  • "Many of the other instructions about how to run barefoot are really just cues to help you get the correct foot placement and use less effort. For example, the idea that you need to run at 180 steps per minute — it’s not a magic number. It’s that picking up your cadence makes it easier to place your feet under your body, at the correct speed, and with less effort. You can’t “plant” your feet, when they have no time spend on the ground.

  • "Rather than “landing” on your feet, think of your feet as something that only touch the ground for as little time as necessary, and have them moving at the speed you’re traveling across the ground. Your feet should contact the ground more like a wheel that just rolls over it, than like a stick that gets planted and pulled out," is one example of perspective provided by Xeroshoes."

  • Don't do "No Pain, No Gain" It doesn't work here.
  • If you find yourself making progress and you're not in pain, then you've found a good pace to transition.
Read the whole article from Xeroshoes, and shop for some very cool running sandals by clicking HERE

Get Michael Sandler's book, and learn lots of cool things by clicking HERE

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Barefoot Dancing In Russia-Bollywood Style?

Image result for olga gavva
Olga Gavva, Owner of Dance Company Chakri

When it comes to dancing, Russia may be best known for ballet.

A Russian dance company, the Dance Company Chakri, is changing all that. Among the many performances by this company based in St. Petersburg, are Indian dances with popular Bollywood themes that have taken off.

Funny that that the name "Chakri" would suggest this, since the "Chakra" is an Indian word. (Chakras are part of the system and science of Yoga, also created in India 5,000 years ago. Since Boolywood dance is the focus for Chakri, we can guess the name wasn't a coincidence.

It's likely no coincidence that the choice todo Bollywood might have been influenced by lifestyle.

Traditional Indian dances are performed barefoot, which might have helped motive Dance Company Chakri's owner, Olga Gaava. Olga goes barefoot all year round, yes, even in winter in St. Petersburg.

Video of Russian dances performing traditional India dances.

Image result for olga gavva
Olga, left, makes no shame of her practice of going barefoot

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Barefoot and Powerful-Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick Yoga 2:
Danica Patrick in Sirsana Pinned by Mark McKay

Danica Patrick does call herself a "girly girl", and she said she was also a cheerleader, not exactly descritption that would be given to a woman who's bringing change to the patrarchal establishment. 

NASCAR hasn't banned beer or tank tops, but it has seen Yoga be introduced by popular race driver Danica Patrick. Other race drivers do yoga, but few who have such a high profile. Patrick has also appeared in adds in Yoga Journal for various health products while posing in lotus.

Patrick, who is now 33, said she started doing Yoga when she was 19. Doing the math, that takes us back to 2002, a year after then-iconic super model Christy Turlington appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in Rooster pose. Time's article about Yoga also talked about how Madonna had become Yoga's other celeb spokeswoman.

Like Madonna and Turlington, Patrick was already ingood shape before taking up yoga. Her bigger challenge was the more subtle aspects of the 5,000-year-old athletic discipline.

"It's relaxing. It's calming to me, and the challenge to me is really the breath. It's hard for me to use one breath to get to one pose and exhale getting back out of it, but that is my practice, and that's what I have to work a lot on," Patrick told TonyFabrizio in February. Fabrizio was writing a story on Patrick's yoga practice for 

Barefoot and Bendy with Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick maybe best known for auto racing, but lately, she's made a bigger splash doing yoga on a boat. While the boat included a crew of partygoers, Danica's yoga is as serious as her racing.

Posted viaInstagram by Danica Patrick (left, in Wheel Pose) with Katylin Sweet (right, in Camel Pose)

Maybe its that the NASCAR crowd isn't so into Yoga, and that's why Danica gets so much attention. It doens't hurt that she did her latest yoga poses for the public in a bikini. She's posted pletny of Instgram pics of her posing in, well, regular Yoga clothes. 

She was described earlier this year as "rediculously good at yoga" by USA Today, and as far as the physical practice goes, the proof is in the pose pics. Of course, any practitioner of yoga knows there's more to it, and so does Danica, when she talks of breathign exercises being essential to her yoag practice. 

“Breath is the one thing that I really do use from yoga in the race car,” she said. “When things get tense it’s in through the nose, out through the mouth. Inevitably it calms your heart rate down. It calms you down. I by all means use breath in the car, which is something that I’ve used in yoga, 

-Danica Patrick to USA Today Sports, Ferbuary, 2016.

She'll no doubt add the Yoga helps her avoid the aches and pains that come from all the sitting and driving.....Namaste!