April 27, 2010

Right Now & Moving On~

4 days left in Kaua'i. Damn I'm gonna miss this place. People have said, "why don't you just stay?" I say, "I don't know, my home is in New York (or New Jersey)." Sure the air will be dirtier, the food not nearly as fresh, the people a little more aggravated and the pace A LOT FASTER. But, it's my home, so that's where I will be, for now.

Moving on, this blog will serve as a place to learn about alignment and yoga, and the humor and wonder of taking the philosophy of yoga (remember it's not just postures) out into the world with our people in our lives.

BUT, I promise you I will continue making videos of smoothies and fruits and foods that serve the yogic lifestyle of simplicity and wholeness, as well as other fun ones, just because. AND, I will be in California and Oregon until May 13th, so you will get to see more adventure and fun along the way, and hopefully some videos of me working with, I don't know, you!?

Let me know if YOU would like a session to check out the amazing benefits that YogAlign provides for feeling light and free in your body. It really is the bomb. We'll work out the details later.

Right now I am teaching a man for 4-days who has been a yogi for longer than I have been alive! He knows a lot, but what I am finding is that just because one practices yoga doesn't mean one doesn't have pain. It's amazing teaching Roberto, hopefully he will write in on this post and share. I'm almost in as much disbelief as he is witnessing his quads opening more than he has ever felt. Ever! Or seeing his face as he experiences his psoas (or hip flexors) opening up, he seems as though he is in shock! This work really does work, wow.

Mahalo for reading, B~

April 26, 2010

Echo The Dolphin, Echo's of Sharks.

As I look down the barrel of my final week here many emotions surface. One of them is and has been fear. As a yoga teacher in the making, or a yoga teacher already being, fear is part of our vocabulary to overcome. One of the fears I overcame today was that of swimming with sharks. My teacher Michaelle, Cree, her boyfriend Kabien, Heidi and myself along with Captain Brad (who was awesome, thanks Brad) took a boat to the Nepali Coast today. Wow. Just getting into the water and going out into the bay in the very small, but humble vessel had me worry about the ocean, the great unknown, right?

That quickly passed but as we talked about swimming with dolphins my fear of sharks showed up, it was right there. 'To get into the ocean, not near a beach and swim in it!? Really!??' It just scares me. So, of course we're about an hour into the trip, about 8:00 am and a huge pod of dolphins are swimming our way. Everyone gets so excited, Heidi is freaking out ecstatic. I'm the last one in the ocean. I almost didn't make it in. I actually thought for a second, "it's not a big deal to swim with them, I can see them fine from right here and this alone is amazing."

But one of my mantras of late has been "go towards the fear." Once I brought that into my being, well-that was it. I couldn't let this opportunity go by. Brad dug out the last pair of goggles sans snorkel and I could only do what there was to do: jump in. Once I was in, fear left and the excitement of experiencing a new opportunity came over me in, well-a wave. It was amazing. I mean, first of all- the sharks.Tthere were no sharks of course or I would be talking about that WAY along time ago. But of course the presence of them was there, but only for a minute, and it wasn't fear. I was more like a peaceful awareness. 'The sharks have the WHOLE ocean to swim in and it's not like every time I get into the water they will be there.' That was one thought. The other was, 'sharks don't like to eat people,' and it's true, they don't. I have a myriad of information on this which I won't tell you about now, but ask me later because it's super interesting. 

Looking under the Persian Blue waters and seeing Blue Dophins play and make their way along the coast was as connected to the ocean and its' life I have ever been a part of. Well, second best. Diving the Great Barrier Reef 25 feet under takes the cake. But this experience was different. It was more raw. It was about me swimming in the ocean with the newly discovered fear of sharks that I noticed since coming to Hawaii. There were only 6 of us and no gear, no guns or spears to protect us. It was us and them: them being the everything else that exists in marine life. This pod of dolphins was huge. Maybe 50 dolphins coming in droves of 10 and 12 at a time. It was a rare encounter, one only hopes for. I can still see them swimming together so gracefully together, so peaceful. The sharks in my mind have left. And I can fully own that my relationship with the ocean has forever transformed. 

Fitting too, because on this last week of yoga teacher training a transformational experience occurred as only they can when practicing yoga. Yoga happens off the mat, not just in the studio. Take what you learn in class or in any arena of practice you gain spirituality in, and take it out into the world. For yourself and others.

April 25, 2010

Becoming a Teacher.

I will be a yoga teacher in one week, kinda'. So many things to say about this. I knew in 2006 at Burning Man that I was a yoga teacher, it came to me in a tent of 50 or so yogis practicing in the desert of Nevada. I just knew it then. It's been 3 and half years since that moment of incarnation and now, after that period of time searching, listening, practicing, procrastinating I have reached a point where I can say; I want this, and I did it, almost...

Sure, I may have been a yoga teacher all along, a Michaelangelo's 'David' so to speak, stone carved around the 'not yoga' teacher so I can envelop and embody the being of yoga teacher. And now, this week, I get to practice on real live human beings!

Starting tomorrow we will have our own clients coming into the studio to work with over a 4-day practicum period as we transfer, download and upload what we know into the consciousness of another, for the sake of healing and making a difference for them.

This yoga is a combination of traditional asana-tweaked in some cases to support the natural alignment and curvature of the spine and 'sipping breath' naturally aligns the body with therapeutic stretching and PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) breathing to heal their aches and pains. It's the best of both worlds. I promise I'll show you. 95% of pain comes from misalignment according to Cedar Sinai Spinal Institute in Los Angeles.

It's also my final week here in Kauai. Hm. Not sure what I want to say about this whole experience so far. So much of it is touching me on a deep personal level. People in Kauai are here to do the real work on themselves. The same game I played in NJ/NY doesn't work here. I'm learning to live from my heart and the island is showing me to overcome fears and avoidances in a way I didn't expect. That's all I'll say for now, I gotta keep this post somewhat short. Tune in tomorrow for my brush with sharks and dolphins, all in the water, without a beach anywhere close by.

 -Mahalo, B.

April 19, 2010

The Language of Judgement, The Language of Love.

What comes out of our mouth is 100% consistent to how we view our world. I have to acknowledge my lack of foresight on my last post. I really have no idea if the subject in the picture doing wide legged standing forward bend felt constrained. While it doesn't support the natural flow and alignment of the sacrum and spine, maybe it works for the person doing it? Maybe she feels good? I don't know?

Irregardless, the point of this post is that my language noted something different. As a yoga teacher, and as a person, I don't want to say someone else's way of doing things isn't worthwhile to them on their journey. Yesterday I was at a coffee shop in Kapa'a (getting coconut water). I met some people and we all started talking about consciousness through music and sound vs. how music is taught in theory. Anyway, it was a good conversation-not for now. What is for now is that Kristen said something that really made sense.

"I think judgement is confused love." Wow. What a statement. I couldn't agree more. Anytime we react to a situation or certain people that does not support what we want (I piggybacked on the comment) is us being judgmental. Think about it for a second before you react.

So, is our judgement really just confused love? Because if we could give up judging everything- all the time, and totally accept the moment, would we be open to love as something that's possible for us? From that I agree that all judgement stems from a place where we either weren't loved before or weren't taught to accept.

This is all very new processing, what do you think?

Getting back to my language, I have to watch it. Because by me saying this is the way, even though those weren't the exact words that came out of my mouth, Alicia-a yoga teacher trainer from YogaWorks, saw it as that. Did she see it as judgement? I don't know, maybe? It doesn't matter to argue or question. If we are going to be good yogis in the world, we have to all get along and see each other's points-of-view. I'm in a teacher training program, and it takes a village. All yoga stems from the same source and in my opinion can lead to source.

By openly looking at our language, we have the divine power and opportunity to enable ourselves to transform who we are now, for who we want to be. Which I believe are loving, peaceful people on the planet who do good for each other.  However, we have to be willing to look at ourself first, and really be honest, because despite thinking we may be right, our words impact people.

That's all I have to say about that... for now.

Mahalo~ Brandon.

April 17, 2010

Kauai Is Fruity

Now, a post solely dedicated to the funky exotic fruits of Kauai. Eating local produce is one of my top pastimes here on island. On this page I will be bringing you up close and personal to these tasty morsels which I heart to devour as often as possible, and the people who provide them.

12 bananas, 3 guavas, 3 chico sapotes, 2 avocados, turmeric, an orange, lemon and an egg-fruit.

What's Yoga? What's Yogalign?

  Let's get to the yoga shall we. I figure it's time to share the style of yoga that I'm learning vs. the yoga I have been practicing for the last 6 and half years.  First. What is yoga? Basically, and I mean, REALLY basically (b/c my blog would run on forever just defining what yoga is with all the metaphors and interpretations I can come up with) yoga literally means "union."  Satchidananda Ashram, the editor of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra's describes yoga as "the understanding and complete mastery over the mind" and later says yoga is the study and science of the mind to master its reactions and behaviors, or to become one with what is going on outside of us so we are connected to each other and what is-is in the moment. 

  Most people think yoga is just a bunch of physical postures to become more flexible or strong or limber, what have you.  This blog is about yoga being on the mat and off of it, which is why I practice, so I can be happy and with my body in any pose (situation) without trying to control it or wish it was different or wish I was different, etc.  Instead of being in two places at once, you know-my mind is in one place and my body is someplace else. Make sense? The physical practice is a practice for living.  Ok, moving on.

HP_216_PrasaritaPadottanasana_248.jpg  Yogalign, the method of yoga I am studying is going to give some people a real test to what they think yoga is. For instance, the traditional yoga posture, pictured here, Prasarita Padottanasana is supposed to benefit the spine, knees, back, hamstrings, etc. according to Yoga Journal. But how is it doing that? Because in this picture the knees are hyper-extended and the sacrum is rounded and possibly crunched. This is not supporting natural alignment and doing this will train the body to move out of it's natural integrity. And, for most people, they'll never get here, but they'll try really hard, and that's not good. 

  Michaelle always says "You can't get comfortable by being uncomfortable." And, "You can't get in alignment by being out of alignment."  So, why are we doing it this way when thousands of years of traditional yoga says otherwise?  Here, you will see our variation, which Michaelle calls 'Surfers Stretch.'

  We bend the knees to keep the curve in the lower back so our sacrum isn't getting crunched which can cause all sorts of injuries like nerve problems and disc problems. We are consciously breathing and feeling how the ribs and diaphragm move too. Because we are in this variation of wide legged forward bend we can also laterally stretch the side channels of fascia and lattisimus dorsi (the lats). It feels so good, I have never felt that whole lat muscle stretch this way before, its a real side and back opener-all in body integrity. 

  We are literally training our brain to put our body in or out of alignment, might as well do it correctly, right? If we are more aligned in our body, we are more aligned in our life, more able to pay attention to details and can be more attentive to the subtleties in our life, so we can pick up on the messages and signals and become more powerful human beings. And also so we can feel good! So many of us are in pain. 

  When you practice yoga next time, think of your spine, think of your sacrum, think of how you're breathing and ask yourself, "do I feel good right now?" "is my body supposed to be here?"  If your answer is something different than your yoga teacher has been telling you, ask them about the anatomy of the body. And if you are hurting or want to try something different, then I'll be home soon to help!


April 15, 2010

Into my wild.

I have 25 minutes before class begins and I just feel like writing. I also want to keep a blog post somewhat 'blog-like' and keep it simple and concise. So, this will be that post. I have 15 full days left on island and from there I will be heading to California and Oregon to visit friends for a few weeks, then-back to the East Coast to be with my family at my brothers medical school graduation.  I was watching Into The Wild last night and got a new idea after hearing Christopher 'Alexander Supertramp' McCandless say new experiences are the source to a man's existence in life.

And that idea was not knowing how I'm going to get from San Francisco up to Portland? What if I hitched up? What if I got a bike and rode up!? What if I walked up? What new experiences would this bring about? I remember when I used to travel in my pickup truck in 2004. Sleeping in the back of the cab most nights and just being on the road provided a new sense of courage and adventure that I will always have with me, why not revisit this?  Here are a few photos from that trip when I was hiking the Appalachian Trail, hitchhiking near Asheville and camping on the beach in South Carolina.  To the memories of adventure, and to the ones we haven't experienced yet.

April 13, 2010

Going With The Flow. (but what's my flow?)

We've all heard the saying, go with the flow, right? I've mostly heard it when people have told me to do so in times when it was clear I was noticeably not going with the flow. But how do we know we're going with the flow when no one is around to point it out to us?

I was listening to local Kauai radio (which I will definitely be on this saturday night)this past weekend and the deejay was playing a recording from Abraham who, for those of you that don't know, is a non-physical entity surmising all total consciousness channeled by Esther Hicks (you MAY want more info on this. Click here for an audio clip on wellbeing). She was mentioning how a woman at one of her recent seminars asked a question brought to her by her young daughter. 'Why are grown-ups so grumpy?' was the question, and Abraham thought this was the best question of the weekend. It's been on my mind too, I mean, here I am-in Hawaii, paradise and I find myself grumpy. So, what's up with all of this?

For me in this training so far there have been times when I just want to speak up, mostly when there is something going on that I think shouldn't be going on, like people showing up late and not saying anything about it? With the training I've received at Landmark Education I now know what it looks like to be my word, be in the flow of integrity, stand up for what's possible in the world and that when people show up late, they aren't connected to the view that they make a difference, so being late doesn't matter, because 'I' don't matter. Not to mention that they don't get the impact their not being present- on time has on others.

Yet, I find myself biting my tongue. Today in class the women were talking about relationships and about men. IT wasn't all good, I'm sure you can imagine, which isn't the point of this section here. They did say something that got me good though, I mean, really triggered me. A woman said, "but you're not like most men, you're nice." Later in class my teacher was mentioning that I'm "getting rave reviews as a neighbor because of how 'nice' I am." Well, I got mad. Would you believe it!? I even responded by saying, "I'm not always nice." One of the girls looked at me funny.

I do know I am a nice man and when being hosted show utmost respect and consideration, I was taught that, thank you mom. However, I know when I'm not saying what I need to say I wind up being nice instead of saying what I think won't be nice if I speak up. That's why I got triggered. Back to going with the flow.

Abraham feels going with the flow is a function of letting go. It described the flow as a series of never ending messages pointing us in the direction we are asking to go in. Over time, as we grow up and become adults, everything starts moving faster and we get ourselves stuck, therefore resisting the flow of the universe and what we want. Then we become grumpy adults, people who in language speak of things we think we cannot have, both tangible and intangible, that is the pitfall. Conversely, we have become excellent at swimming up-stream. According to Abraham our civilization has built its foundation on the accolades of those who have successfully swam against the current. Our history books and awards are all geared towards our salmon-like conquests. Because, somehow we think that going with the flow looks lazy? But what if life was meant to be easy and effortless, why are we working so hard? And who likes being grumpy anyways?

My question over the weekend was simple. What is going with the flow when there is no one but us to discern it? Specifically for me in yoga class, was it just going with the what is-in the environment of people showing up late and not starting on time despite my withheld opinions on the matter? OR, is going with the flow my internal voice and guiding light pointing me in the direction of speaking up and saying what has to be said?

I just heard Abraham mention that going with the flow is about being in your own personal freedom and joy, in every moment, or something like that. I take this as meaning as if there's something internal that needs to be said, then say it, then I am going with my own flow. And maybe that's personal, self expression is a biggy for me. When I have the space to speak up and say what's on my mind, I feel better. I don't do it all the time b/c that would be obnoxious. It's a balance, and one that has to be cared for. But, if imbalance occurs, well, you'll know it because you just might be suffering. My teacher says 'only say what is necessary and kind.'

Summing up, if I adhere to the flow of the world out there without participating in life (aka-not sharing my own truth in the moment), then, to me, well-there ain't no flowin' going on. What it manifests into is resistance and learning to swim against the current as I watch myself not letting go of my own chains that I bound myself by, and I really don't want to be a salmon. Is this making sense?

What do you need to let go of that would give you more freedom in your world? 
If you did let go of it, what would be possible for you?
Can you really be with the natural flow that your universe is showing you?   

I'd like to know!

April 11, 2010

If you haven't gotten enough of me already,...

Then you can see more of me, here.


YouTube - Easy Star All-Stars

This is just a really great song I've been listening to. If you don't listen to Radiohead then you won't recognize this number. If you do, then you will probably love it. Either way, this song, by the reggae dub band, Easy Star All-Stars covers this Radiohead song, with Aloha~ B.

YouTube - Easy Star All-Stars - Subterranean Homesick Alien - Radiodread

Here's Matisyahu and Easy Star All-Stars covering a Beatles classic..

April 09, 2010

Wrapping up and moving on-I'll be on the radio!

I'm about to eat lunch and bike down to one of the beaches, but of course, I have to post first.  Lunch is gluten free flax bread with almond butter and homemade grapefruit jelly made by a friend from class. I'll probably slide some local Arugula in between too.

To finish on this whole tensegrity (the body's integrity of structure) fascia conversation, I wanted to point out that the image I last posted with the bands and beams is how our body is held together, which I mentioned. What I forgot to say was that anytime we have a pull on one end of the tensegrity model, the other side is also constrained.  So that neck stiffness you have ain't coming from the neck, check your hips, sacrum or even your feet! Review the last 4 entries of this blog to catch up, if you haven't read it yet, do it. You just might learn something about your body!

Now, onto the weekend, I'm off for the week and I'm gonna go study some asana to find specific injuries I can work with people on if they are hurting, the weather has broken and I'm going on my first hike this weekend, work with a partner on Yogalign-maybe from the top of a mountain and then tomorrow night.... I will be making my community radio debut on a show called 'The Get Low Show' which highlights music from the best players around. 

Laura, my classmate is taking me on the air! I will be on KKCR Kauai community radio, from 10pm to midnight (Kauai time) where apparently we will be doing some partying too. You can listen in too, live streaming.

Have a great mahalo mamish aloha weekend.


Wikipedia describes as, "Tensegrity or tensional integrity is a property of structures with an integrity based on a balance betweentension and compression components."

Also, "Tensegrity was a term used by Carlos Castaneda to refer to some movements called magical passes (a series of meditative stretches, stances and movements) that he said were developed by Native American shamans who lived in Mexico in times prior to the Spanish conquest.

The concept has applications in biology. Biological structures such as muscles and bones, or rigid and elastic cell membranes, are made strong by the unison of tensioned and compressed parts. The muscular-skeletal system is a synergy of muscle and bone. The muscles and connective tissues provide continuous pull[2] and the bones discontinuous push."

This is how the human body is held. Look at the image and imagine the bands of string that are holding the tubes in place as your fascia, the beams, or your bones are completely held without being connected to each other, here Tom Meyers explains,

Fascia is the fascinating biological fabric and glue that holds us together.  Long ignored, the fascial system is now getting its rightful due of attention, from both therapists and researchers.

Tensegrity is a model for understanding the geometry of the body, on both a micro- and a macro-cosmic scale, that leads to many new insights in terms of body connectivity, the relation between stability and movement, and how we can develop what might be called “Spatial Medicine”. 

This is what I have been posting about throughout the last three entries.  Is this starting to make sense? Please, let me know!

April 07, 2010

We're 3D (pt.3)

  Listening to Thomas Meyers talk about the fascial system today in greater detail continues to puzzle me, but in a good way. In a way that is expanding my conception of how intricate the human body is and how meticulously created we are. Like, literally down to the cell. The reason the arm cannot extend beyond 180 degrees at the elbow is because a series of arteries and capillaries and veins are running through the arm. If the arm did extend beyond that point, they would rupture.

  Here's what I do want to talk about. Remember my post a few weeks back on proprioception? No? Ok, I'll review. Proprioception is basically, in my own terminology, how our body remembers to move, and does move in every situation, both physical and emotional based on how we record, store and process information. In other words, we are the physical manifestation of every experience we've ever had, to put it-bluntly.

  An example could be something like this. A teacher yells at a 5-year old in kindergarten when trying to grab for second helping of cookies from the cookie jar. The child was startled, shocked.  In that very moment, chemicals excreted from its' glandular system rapidly oozes and secretes and fear becomes known. The child shrugs the shoulders towards the ears and sinks the chest inward to protect the heart. From that moment on every time the child would receive desert from the teacher, the body would recoil in some fashion, fear was the past experience as the body replays the motions. As the child grew up and would be around an authority figure or let's say the lunch lady or a parent ready to give out desert, the body would in some way twitch towards this structural movement. It became ingrained. This is proprioception. This is of course a fictitious example and exaggerated, but not one that is far fetched. We all have these structural integrations that have been set neurologically. When this happens the fascia that connect the muscles and runs throughout the body become set to hold the body in that way.  Proprioception could also be something as passive as sitting at the computer in an irresponsible way. Irresponsible to how the body naturally is aligned, which will set the motor of the body to remember this position and repeat it over and over again.  Proprioception. Got it?

Ok, now I can move on. Here is what I wrote in my notes today while watching and listening to how the body's fascia, which is it's pliable, fibrous structure, like wrapping to taffy and is like a network which downloads all kinds of environmental information to hold the body upright, works.

'So the fascia is a moving neural casing or web that runs the length of the body and is directly related to our proprioception. So, by breathing in newly and with correct alignment, with a clear mind thinking positive, affirmative thoughts can open up and replace tight proprioceptive posture and reprogram the body, it's thoughts and emotions towards what is possible for the individual. We will now be able to move more freely in life without, not only physical restriction, but mental, emotional and psychological blockages as well. We will be reformatting the fascial system and reprogramming ourselves so we can come closer to achieving our highest potential.'

So listen up. If you have pain, if you have trauma, if you have doubt, fear or insecurity, or even if you have poor posture and your neck just hurts, you will need to realign your own structure and melt away the old fascial network holding your muscular system in place.  Because it's the fascia that is directly channeled to your systems make-up which gives you your posture, or how you show up in the world, just as you are-right now. Is this blowing your mind!? It is mine. You can literally melt away old fascia that no longer serves you by working the fascia itself.

That's the work I'm doing over here. It's not just yoga, its structural realignment and body transformation. I'll be soon posting videos showing you how to do this for yourself. It's magical. Just today Michaelle worked with me on my sacrum and at lunch all kinds of buried emotional stuff came out. You have to start relating to your own body as a storehouse for it's emotional make-up. The reason I couldn't open up my lumbar spine and sacrum was in part due to what I was 'holding' in it. That's all for now.

We're 3D (pt.2)

I have about 10 minutes to post this, actually-less than that. I woke up this morning and washed all my underwear and realized I didn't have any to wear in class this morning in yoga. That's not good when I am now the only man in class. So, I had to do some creative thinking which took blogging time.

But I do have time to briefly wrap up the body and fascia system for you. When we last spoke I was telling you how everything is all connected right, and that there is more to the body than our muscles and that the fascia is the structure that holds us together. Many people think its our bones, but what holds that up? The muscles right, no because our muscles are mostly made up of water. And if we are mostly water and space, and the muscles held us together and upright then we would be falling off our bones.

What holds us together is our fascia. Consider it to be the wrapping paper to taffy. It runs all around our body from foot to skull. There is fascia that runs superficially on the front and back of our bodies, just as there is fascia that runs through the center, called the deep front line, opposed to the superficial front line. We also have fascia that wraps around bone and that weaves diagonally across our bodies.

So, what's this have to do with anything? Well, next time you notice your hamstrings are tight consider stretching the back line of fascia that runs over your posterior thigh. It's connected from the bottom of your foot and runs all the way up your leg, through your pelvis, up your sacrum and back to your occipital skull (base of your skull) and up over the crown of the head to your forehead.

This means that maybe instead of trying to overstretch your hamstrings, which never really seem to work, we should try to work the foot, or the head, or neck. Because that could very well be what's causing that leg of yours to cramp and strain, make sense? More coming later. I'm going to post something that Buckminster Fuller created in the 1960's which will give you a visual of all of this, for now, I'm off to class, Mahalo~

April 06, 2010

We're 3D (pt.1)

  Forget about Avatar, we're the ones that are 3-dimensional.  My mind is beginning to break apart. I always thought that the body was composed of muscles, each individual and separate to the next.  When I would go to the gym, for instance, I would say something to myself like, "I'm going to work my triceps (triceps bracchii) today," and then would proceed to do my workout through a series of arm extensions which would contract my triceps, thus building muscle by straining it.

  It makes sense that we go about compartmentalizing our muscles, our bodies and our lives in such a way. We mostly want to know that everything in our lives fits into a certain category, it's easier that way, right?

  Well, I am grateful for being able to study a modality like Yogalign which combines inspiring practice of body and movement with breath (yoga), in conjunction with a therapeutic massage therapists mindset in studying anatomy and how we move, connect and are put together.  Because, now I have found that...-get ready.

  That when I work out at the gym, the triceps brachii I think I am singularly working is hardly the case at all!
First of all, it's made of 3 muscles (duh-TRIceps), and connects to the scapula and two of its' muscles, teres major and minor, which leads towards lots in the back.  One of the muscles of the triceps, the lateral head connects to the deltoid muscle, which is like this artichoke looking meaty muscle on the cap of the shoulder and originates on a bit of the scapula, called the 'spine of scapula'. The scapula connects to muscles like the trapezius, rhomboids, and levator scapula, to name a few. Then these muscles are connected the lattisimus dorsi (the lats), which connects to at least the last 3 to 4 ribs, and now that you know this, the ribs are also held by the erector spinae group which runs vertically from the sacrum to the base of the skull and connects to ALL the ribs.... WHEW! Are you out of breath, I am.

  So what's my point. When you work out your arms next time remember that you really are engaging everything. And the mistake is to think that we can only work one muscle group at a time. We actually can't. Just like in life, everything is connected and the illusion is that we are all separate, just like the muscles in our body. There is no such thing as one muscle. The groups (there are 639 named) are just for us to classify and compartmentalize, causing us to say, "I don't really want to work my legs today, they're kinda boring." Ha. Guess again. The impact is, that our health is compromised as is our lives as we actually think an action, any action we take, whether its a squat, a curl or doing the dishes the next morning instead of right after dinner doesn't make a ripple out into the world, or have any impact at all. It's almost to say that we're not responsible for how the world is. What do you think? 

  To take this a step deeper, I haven't even mentioned the fascia system, which getting back to my Avatar reference, is a 3-dimensional web of interconnecting muscle fibers which act like a giant support structure that hold us together. Yes, the fascia hold the body together.  This would be like the analogy of the metaphysical supernatural world of our bodies. Oy! This post is gonna keep on going, I just want to come to the computer and write a paragraph or two, and go to bed, which I have to do. Now. Because the roosters are gonna start roosting in precisely 4 hours from now, which is a whole other story in itself. 

  So, tomorrow, a continuation of this post with more of the fascia system and how incredibly amazing and important it is for us to know about when coming to moving our bodies and staying pain free.  Because as my teacher Michaelle says, "we're mostly made up of water and space, the denseness we feel is a result of the mind."  I'm not too sure if you can grasp that yet, but for now, sit with it.

April 05, 2010

Traveling Back To The Future.

  Its been 2 weeks since I have gotten here. What's really amazing is the view of life that is opening up, that a life outside the box which I've been in is possible. It's the life of a child, I will explain. There's no traffic, smog, people hurrying or pushing by each other. Kauai is truly a holistic place to live. Organic farming, community atmosphere and hitchhiker friendly (yes, I have- last Thursday).  Not to mention there's only one main road that connects about 80% of the island. Some of Kauai, the Western side, has no roads and isn't developed.

  But really, it is. It's been developing, naturally, over time. It's funny how I type the word 'develop' and instantly think of yellow bulldozers and cranes knocking down nature to build up concrete. No. It's divinely developed, trees, air and sea enveloped, developed. Perfect as is, and what's great is that here, man doesn't want to finish the road around the island. Locals are happy to have a rare piece of 'un'developed  land to call their home, this is their Kauai.

  What else keeps boggling my mind is that no one uses the (808) area code before giving out a phone number. It's not posted on signs, said over the radio, shown on television or anything. The only time someone would give out their area code would be to announce their visitor status. There is a sense of Kauai island pride to only dish out 7 instead of 10 digits. How nostalgic is a place like Kauai in this regard. I remember when I was a teenager in the early 90's and everyone made 'the area code'  switch. It felt so alien.

  Last night I drove with new friends, people whom I never met before, that took me to the town of Kapa'a where a dance party was taking place at the Bikram Yoga studio. I was supposed to get a ride from this guy I met through one of my yoga friends. He called me to let me know he couldn't get me, but arranged a ride for me. How sweet. Heading there in the back of their van I noticed the wet roads and country-like scenery. It reminded me of when I was growing up in semi-rural Bucks County, where there was stillness. The dark roads not only looked like my childhood, but they felt like it. I felt home.

  One thing Michaelle says to us in class is that Yogalign gets us back in our "kid bodies."  The body where we can just sink in and evoke that sense of play and being that only being a kid could produce. What we used to feel when feeling good was being in our bodies, and being a kid. I think this is what could be happening. I think I'm actually going back in time.

  I'm Going back to my kid body and my kid feelings where everything is reminding me of 1987.  I'm moving away from the New York life, the life of hustle and bustle to get ahead towards "the day which never arrives" spoken by Chilean poet Nicanor Parra in his poem 'The Final Toast." Instead I'm easing backwards in time to a place where I once loved to be, where life was simple, the weather was sweet, the food was fresh and people were good.

April 03, 2010

We Shouldn't Judge What We Want.

 A teacher of mine used to say, "You should always do what you want, and never do what you don't want. But the flip side is that you should never not do what you want." I use this saying when applicable, like the action that took place today.

So much for community living. I've moved housing locations and I'm so happy I have to tell you about it! Let's recap, briefly. 13 days ago; Brandon moves into very large and plush house in a what looks like a carbon copy of a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood circa 1977, introducing-Princeville. A rich town on the North Shore of Kauai embedded with 'no pedestrian' golf courses and outdated condos that survived the real estate boom 25 years ago. I meet my roommates, 2 of which move out instantly because it's not clean enough. The ones who survive, myself included, endure a psycho-gauntlet of processing throughout the last 2 weeks as we all adjust and get to know each other. It wasn't the typical roomy situation. I have lived with MANY people before in many housing situations. This was one of the most challenging.

I kept trying to tell myself 'this isn't a bad situation', 'I should be happy where I'm at', 'Don't run away from the fear', 'do the work, Brandon, stop focusing on what's not working.'  Blah. blah, blah. My heart would hurt in yoga during the first week of study as I was generally annoyed. I had to deal with expectations, as I wrote about in earlier entries.

Although after processing and being open and giving myself to the moment in our house, what kept ringing louder than a foghorn was the fact that I wanted my own space, that what I wanted to create while I was here was stillness, clarity and that physical space where I could practice, read and learn yoga.

After the last two weeks living in the yoga real world house, even though it was getting better and I was understanding myself and my own limitations clearer, I learned about group energy. The energy of a house is consistent to what the individuals who live in it put out. In other words, I realized that after class each day I would come home and veg-out, play guitar, shoot the shit, surf the web and go to sleep. Then, repeat the next day. It kinda sounded like my life I had back home. And it wasn't the life what I wanted to create for myself here, in Hawaii. It was all of us living in our new home hangin' out.

What I noticed was I wasn't able to pull myself away to do self-study and reflection. I kept seeing that I wanted still mornings in nature and calm evenings of reflection. I wanted to hear the breeze shake the palm trees and meditate to the sound of rain on the roof.  What I had was a suburban party house, so to speak, surrounded by golf courses.

In life, there are basically two things we usually do. We can count our blessings or complain about what we don't have. I wanted another option, create what's missing, the presence of which would build my dream. I did this by stopping judgement on what I wanted, 'but I'll have to pay more when I can stay in my current house and save my money.' Gosh darn-it if I notice anymore times where I become a martyr for my happiness so I can save a few bucks I'll go insane.  So there was that, and what my roommates would think, 'oh, they'll be upset if I leave, they'll say this and that, blah, blah, blah.' Yeah, I stopped that and started to talk OUT LOUD in class, around everyone and let them know what I wanted.

I want to move and live in my own space and be in nature. After one day of putting that message out to the Kauaiverse one of the participants in class, Ilsa, a retired anesthesiologist said, "I know of a cottage right across the road from here (the yoga studio)." During our lunch break I called the neighbor, who was literally right across the dirt and gravel road from the school I have been studying at, met Dave, the owner and saw the 1-bedroom cottage. That was two days ago and as I write this, I am all moved in.

There are no street lamps, no traffic, no cookie cut-out housing and definitely no golf courses. What there is, are wild trees and plants, egrets and chickens, mountains and lots and lots of space. This is the country-side farm land of Kauai. This is my new home, I feel abundant and I love it. I even went out and got a new didjeridoo too, so I can sit, breathe and play.

What I have been noticing is how alive I feel when I go for what I want, because life is always wanting to provide for us, all we have to do is trust what we want and go for it. I could have stayed in the house for any number of made-up reasons, but as my dad sometimes says, "you either have results or the reasons why."   Thanks Dad.