Our programmed minds work fast. A lot of things are coming at us, so we do need these trigger fast default values that we place on things. Helps us to process and deal with the world. We can have defaults that work for us and that hold us back. I believe our default value of “bad” for the adjective “dark” doesn’t serve us well. Light and Dark The darkside Anger as being dark The dark wolf (or black) The Dark Side of the Force ??? Black magic (they totally jacked up the word “black” with that one) The Dark Knight ??? Black cats Nightmare (night didn’t do anything bad ...) Black hearted Disney’s Hercules depicts Hell as dark (The Underworld) I could totally go on a tangent on how we thing the light is GOOD and the absence of light is bad, but Newton would beg to different and maybe some of the scientist and yogi’s too. Some think that the process of things (in a BIG picture) requires the cycling through light and dark (expansion and contraction) (sun to black hole ...) blah blah blah. Back to my point ... which is ... I think we do ourselves a big fat disservice when we default to anything with the adjective “black” or “dark” instantly gets a “bad” wrap. For all of my life, I have been scared of the dark. Not like .... “scared” but more like “fight or flight” heart rate is now “160 thank you and panic is ensuing”. Like PTSD. Hahahaha. You all are gonna start to like I need a straight jacket. An example of how I use to live with this ... I use to live in a house that the washer and dryer were in the basement (one of the quad level houses with 1/2 a basement with scary creepy steps ...). The basement light was a bulb with a string on it, the basement wasn’t finished, etc. So when I would be climbing (crawling) up the stairs with my laundry, if I was going to adult well and turnoff the light, I would have to exit in the dark. I would have a mini panic. Each and every time. My smart brain would say “Bk, you’re stupid. You KNOW there is nothing in this basement that would hurt you.” And the badass voice would say, “you could probably kick their ass even if they were here ;) ). Anyway, one of the voices would be “you are not safe”. That one is a hard one to deal with (or silence). In my coaching and life experience, we don’t heal (silence some voices) but having an underlying thought that it’s “bad”. When I tore up my right AC joint, that shoulder didn’t get better until I stopped calling it my “bad shoulder”. It lots lots better when I called it “bambino”. I tell people now .... “don’t slap the baby”. This goes for either dealing with hurt hamstrings, plantar fasciitis ... or the soft spots of the heart. It. Is. All. Energy. All of it. More of the point BK .... So the thought of doing night diving in Ecuador was sort of an interesting one. I’m pretty fearless and if there is a “reasonable amount of danger” involved ... I’m in. I guess I like living on the edge. I’m usually well prepared and what not tho. ;) I have an adventurer’s heart, which in this case just about completely won over my fear of not being able to see what’s around me. To lay in a bit of backstory ... not to beat it like a dead horse, but .... I have copious amounts of glorious stories from my childhood that explain why the heck I’m a touch cray cray. This is a good one. I might have been taken to see Psycho when I was ... way to young, 8 maybe. When Norman got the part about whacking his mom over the head with a shovel ... I finally ran out of the theater and sat (by myself) by the doors until the movie was done. What makes this super funny .... in a really ironic (perhaps f’ed up) way .... years later I had to visit my dad in Iowa for a month during the summer. He lived in this house ... that no joke ... looked EXACTLY like the Bates’ house. Ancient, creaky, 200 years old .... fill of dusty antiques, secret passage ways between rooms .... I shit you not. Hahahaha. I type this and what to laugh my ass off and cry at the same time. I stayed in the north room for years, which had the attic door, which lead to the attic, which housed a big ass colony of bats. Let your mind wonder for a bit. This house was the bomb really. It had a spiral back stair case and and and ... lovely. I finally got to stay in a better room that was a bit less .... anyway. I ended up 40 completely scared of the dark. **Back to night scuba diving** .... So the adventure voice was fully in charge until I was sitting on the edge of the boat to **fall backwards** into the “**not filled with light**” ocean in the “**no sun to be seen**” sky. But I know how to tell the scared one “shhh” it’s ok. Really. And that generally works anymore. As an aside. In the yoga world, we teach that back bends in general are filled with “fear” from not being able to see what’s coming next. hahaha. So this flipping over the side of a boat definitely pushed me WAY outside my comfort zone for a moment. “BK, what the f are you doing???” “Do we really have to do this?” I know exactly where these voices come from and that gives me power to shush the voices enough to get through until the adventure’s voice is loudest again. Or the warrior’s voice ... that ones pretty loud too. (as well as working towards those parts of me not needing to express themselves so much. Healing the soft parts.) Flipping off a perfectly good boat in the “unlight” .... I won’t lie. I sort of messed up the flipping business a little bit and ended up doing a somersault in the “can’t see shit” cold water. (Yeah yeah. It’s the ocean. Cold. I had a lot of neoprene on too. Add that in for those that know). And this is what the voices had to say. 1. Nice job BK! You are going to drown because you screwed that shit up and you can’t use your flashlight right now because you have no idea which way is up and you FOR SURE can’t blind anyone use your light wrong and being a jerk face. 75% 2. BK. STFU and figure out which way is up. 23% 3. HOLY F ME. Scared. This was just a feeling, but it’s intense. (The kind that you pee. Lizard freaking brain). 3% Looks like the snarky voice won out on that. And can apparently get shit done. ;) Once I got myself righted and my light on. All was good. GREAT actually. Like maybe voices said “F$ck YEAH!” This is way cool!!! It was surprising very serene, peaceful. There was something about without the constant site of those I was diving with ... I felt totally at peace with the ocean. I was INVESTIGATING. So cool. Our guide took us to a shallow cave where we saw and chilled with a sea turtle that was sleeping. I was at peace. And stupid excited to be experience this beautiful piece of the earth. Super glad that I didn’t let legitimate fear and issues stop me from experiencing that moment. That’s the point?! There are beautiful things in the darkness. The dark places aren’t necessarily “bad”. That dark wolf is a needed part of being badass. That’s your warrior. You don’t/won’t heal your soft spots saying they are broken or bad. Don’t let anyone tell you different. (ps. I'm not afraid of the dark anymore.)Read More »
This morning .... I didn't want to get up. But the loudest voice in my head said ....
GET UP! IT IS TIME TO HUNTA bit about me. I'm your classic HOT MESS train wreck. I stub my toes daily. Whack my new apple watch on a wall corner, repeatedly (daily). Break stuff because I don't read instructions and just roll through life a complete hot mess. Smart but can't spell, caring but a little loud and straight forward. I'm fine with who I am. I say the F word. A lot. And I'm ok with that too. I do try and ... not offend anyone, but crap ... sometimes it just rolls out my mouth like water in a mountain stream. I live by hope and faith. I LIVE OUT LOUD, DREAM BIG and always try and help those in front of me. I have acknowledged and come to know the voices in my head. I lovingly refer to them as the "voices at the roundtable". I try and get to know each one, give them respect and acceptance. They all seem to have something valuable to say at various times. I usually end up getting myself into a place in life that I become exceedingly unhappy if I try and ignore or quiet one of the voices. ( .... no, I don't have a personality disorder ... ) ( ... or maybe I do and I'm in denial.)
TODAY I experience .... ZEN. HARMONY. BLISS.
A huge moment of clarity. God talking to me.
The Universe lovingly holding me in my space.
A miracle.2016 and some was stupid hard. I can not believe the amount of stupid mistakes that I made. The places that I allowed myself to go. I will love and cherish the day when I look back and say to myself .... "I wouldn't change a thing." I am not at that place. But I will get there. Where ... I can look back and say ... ok, I learned that and that. And by learning I mean ... I saw the lesson, I worked on it and I made a permanent change so I didn't repeat it. I Evolved. At the beginning of 2017 I decided to make some serious changes. Put my money where my mouth was and do the things that I coach people to do all the time. Mostly to honor my values and dreams. Change the things that are holding me back. Be strong. So .... I moved to a different city. Back to where my friends and tribe are. I got a divorce to clean up some personal stuff. And I decided that I wasn't going to play small anymore and try to stick with the things that I value instead of doing shit half-ass because .... of blah blah blah. In all this work ... I needed to do some clean up. Pay some prices and what not. Well ... the other day I went in to see my cardio doc. And yep, what I had suspected, was true. I had broken my heart. Yes granted, it seems that I have a genetic disposition for getting these heart issues that are kind of a big ass deal. Atrial rhythm issues suck, are in your face and F me, are kind of scary. And lets just say it OUT LOUD. It's your heart. The soul of you. All the time I was living 1/2 ass and what not, I knew in the back of my head I was paying a big price, but was too chicken at the time to pony up and do what was needed. Pause on the "don't be too hard on yourself" thoughts. You don't know all the details, and sometimes we really do need to take responsibility for our part in stuff. Learn the lesson. Make the changes. Move forward. Evolve. Holy crap, BK, heavy stuff .... where's the BLISS moment .... So today ... instead of letting myself sleep in and rest, waiting for today's call from the heart doc telling me when he's going to fix my heart next week, I GET UP. Because that STRONG voice, the WARRIOR at the roundtable, the DARK WOLF (who I love and adore), tells me to ...
IT IS TIME TO HUNTAnd the white wolf, (the magic maker and create-er) whispers along side ... it's time to evolve BK. Do it different. So I get up. And I'm glad that I do. I get into the pool. I start swimming. I have this love/hate relationship with circle swimming. Usually I'm the slower one, and always holding people up. Well ... seems that I'm getting faster in the pool and that isn't the case anymore. Which is awesome. It was hard tho ... the new heart meds make you a different athlete, so ... it was like swimming in a stranger's body. Sort of. But ... I adjust and do the best that I can. And log in the back of my head that maybe I need to do better warm ups before I get into the H2O. Everyone leaves. I'm still swimming. The busy-body voice that is yacking about getting stuff done says to hurry up and get done. But ... something caught my awareness. I'm not quite sure what it was. I've NEVER experienced it in the pool last night. Now thinking about it ... maybe it was the by-product of practicing the Ganesh mantra in my quiet-time bath last night. Or the meditations that other luvies are sending my way. It was so profound tho .... A bit of back story. I almost drowned when I was little. Ha. It's funny that I've always said that I was raised by wolves, meaning that in a negative context but .... I very closely identify with wolves as ... who I am. Ha. So I was raised by wolves. And coincidently, I have been drawing them a lot lately. Uh. Anyway, my story with swimming has been a complete train wreck sprinkled with many panic attacks, kayak rescues and such. And I'll throw in that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ocean and for most of my life I have been sooo afraid of the water. Such a big fat lie I've been carrying around forever. I WILL BE SURFING in 2020 after IM New Zealand with my peeps! So for me to be COMPLETELY CHILL in the water having this .... PROFOUND and GRACE FILLED moment is truly a miracle. During a time that I'm getting ready to roll into heart surgery. Letting someone put me under, control the fact that I'm alive or not and selectively burning my heart ... to fix it. THIS moment was filled with .... thoughts of complete safety. And lets just say this out loud. I have not felt safe. Completely safe. EVER. Maybe a brief snack here and there. Today tho .... thats the only thought that was really in my head.
YOU ARE COMPLETELY SAFEWhile swimming. hahahaha. So ... I swam and swam. And swam some more. To soak it in. I literally felt like I was bathing (and more) in ... maybe that is what a little person feels like in there mommas womb. It was that intense yet gentle and peaceful at the same time.
PEACE. SAFETYIt was so cool. And most definitely what I needed for my soul today. I know that it's the Universe. Has my back, as always. Hope and Faith. My PEOPLE praying and meditating for me. My coach being there for me. Who's sort of like my big brother. My decision to be faithful and hopeful. And who knows what else the Universe mixed in there for me. I have faith that it's good and true tho. The feedback was most honored, tells me the decisions made yesterday are on a true(er) path. Thought I'd share. I hope that if you need peace and safety, you find how to open yourself up and allow yourself to experience it. ~namaste #nmf Read More »
[box] There are a number of very LEGITIMATE reasons why we can feel ABSOLUTELY DONE. Stress, life events, illness and the list goes on and on. Here are some small signs that you need to take action to improve your health and energy levels. [/box]
1. You forget what in the world you were doing almost immediately. Drawing blanks.Did you know that when you are under stress, the stress hormones actually counteract your abilities to recall from your memory. It's a brain thing. Add in maybe not sleeping well. "During sleep, your brain replays whatever you learned that day and moves it into long-term storage." ~Sandra Ackermann, PhD (University of Zurich). Meaning if you are sleeping and have been stressed out all day, this process just doesn't happen.
2. Your cuts take longer to healWe are talking about a little cut or maybe something bigger. The healing process includes producing collagen, forming blood clots and recruiting cells to protect against germs. However, when you are stressed, your body has higher levels of chemicals called glucocorticoids, which suppress your immune system. Think about it like this, when you are stressed, your body thinks it needs to fight or run, not spend energy worrying about healing. So this makes your little ouchies heal more slowly, giving you a small sign that you are stressed out and your adrenals are in hyperdrive.
3. Ladies ... your cramps are AWFULStress can make your period late. And awful. This is because the hypothalamus, the regulatory center of the brain, senses that your body is RUNNING ON EMPTY, and so delays the release of the egg. I mean, really, why release an egg if you're not going to be able to support a pregnancy? Or you feel super frazzled during "that week". Studies have shown that women feel way more frazzled and out of control, due to the adrenals not being able to produce hormones in balance, so you FEEL CRAZY.
4. Your digestion is a MESSReflux. Constipation. IBS. blah blah blah. Stress can alter gut secretions and slow or speed up digestion cause lots of issues. The good bacteria in your gut takes a hit. Everything gets off balance. Why do we care. Nutrient absorption. You really need to be using what you're eating. Your immune system is mainly in your gut. You're gut is your second brain. Imagine how you would be doing if your brain was filled with crap. or empty. or chronically inflamed. All due to stress.
5. Scratch scratch scratchDid you know that the skin's nerve endings release chemical signals called neuropeptides that communicate to the brain "something is wrong" in response to trauma or other stimuli. This is a form of inflammation that can leave you super itchy.
6. Your dreams are wackyPeople you are sleep deprived (quantity and/or quality) can have crazy dreams. The super smart people really aren't sure why. They think that maybe it's related to your brain prioritizing REM sleep, the most restorative stage, but also where dreams occur. Also, the fragmentation of the REM cycle can cause you to remember more and for you to pop in and out of REM, instead of the cycle we are designed to go through. [divider style="double" top="20" bottom="20"] CONCLUSION: Look for the little signs. Knowing that "stress" is a real thing, not just a word to be thrown around. And it causes real issues in the body. Left unchecked in the early stages, you get bigger issues. Fertility issues. Depression. Big Digestion Issues. Fibromyalgia. Other autoimmune issues. etc. etc. etc. These energy / stress issues don't have to get you. And it's not a realistic idea "let's cut out the stress. It's not the external stress that's killing us. It's what we do with it. So fixing these issues MUST be done on a multi-level approach. Heal whats going on. Crowd good stuff in. Work on dealing with life in a more positive and productive way. WANT TO TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THIS WITH ME? LET'S DO A FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION! [button color="blue" size="big" link="/health-discovery-form/" icon="" target="false"]Get Started Now[/button] Read More »
Yoga Nidra: Just a way to connect the mind, body and spirit.Intention: What would you like to place in that very quiet space...where your beliefs are? I am Calm. I am STRONG. I will do that swim in a FANTASTIC fashion. I am at EASE. Try out this simple practice. You might be amazed at how easy it is to make changes. [audio m4a="http://www.bonniekissinger.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Yoga-Nidra-1.m4a"][/audio] Read More »
Hamstring imbalances, one side compared to the other, is very common and can be a source of a lot of issues for the athlete.So lets be super general here. This is a BIG FAT TOPIC. Let's go with the imbalance as a matter of anatomy and habit. A lot of the times, one leg is dominate. One quad is dominant. Stronger. So the other leg, a bit weaker, etc. This creates imbalances that have affects with both hips/ball and socket joints. They come habit, how the hips function. This concept is generally why one hip hurts more than the other. One is "less centered" in the joint than the other. For me personally, my right leg is dominant. As a soccer player for years, you can imagine the fascial patterns and muscle development. Not to mention the wear and tear...It wasn't until I started seriously practicing yoga that I really became aware, aware of why and aware of what to do about it. Pretty soon found myself pain free. So off I go learning more. Now I know that I pronate more on one foot more than the other, which has affects along the kinetic chain. Little things like driving in a car a lot. Sometimes your putting more pressure on one hamstring than the other. Due to how the seat is built. Or you're sitting in the seat with bad posture. Pressing the gas pedal with the same foot all the time has affects. Sitting on one leg habitually at work has an affect. You get the point. Your physical habits have a big impact on our training. Sometimes it isn't the training, it's the lazy habits, and the training brings up the affects in a BIG FAT WAY. So is it your run form, or your desk form. :) Let's chat a second about the pelvis. Think of it as a bowl. It can tilt in four directions. It's not a stable as everyone thinks. And can get "stuck" fascialy speaking due to this and that. Moms, you know what I'm talking about. The heavy baby on one hip is classic. Heavy purses on one shoulder. So it's not as "stable" as what we think. Let's put the "back" into this conversation. If you have one hamstring tighter than the other, generally speaking, the opposite side of your back will be tighter. And since I can resist, the opposite shoulder/neck of that (generally speaking) will be a troubled spot as well. BECAUSE ITS ALL CONNECTED. The back is trying to straighten things out. As the picture above shows you, the pelvis can tilt laterally. The back will try and straighten it out. Which causes the shoulder/neck to go the opposite way. So things get tight, and tighter and tighter. BOOM. Disc issues. Spine issues. Inflammation. Herniations. Pain meds. Loss of quality of life. MOST FROM SOFT TISSUE IMBALANCES Easy thing is .... YOGA has the means to help you identify the issue. Yoga has the means to help you address it in a smart way. HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT! Try this video out! [embed width="853" height="480"]https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z-RawDwT_00[/embed] Read More »
Yin yoga can GREATLY benefit the athlete and tight hamstrings.What's YIN YOGA you might ask. Think of it like the really SLOW yoga. And then you say..."OH GOSH, yoga is boring enough as it is...". Well, those that tend to run faster say that. But seriously, keep reading... So YIN YOGA, you can nutshell it to, is holding poses longer. A lot longer. Yin Yoga is very COOLING yoga. Everything that the triathlete, runner, busy person does is very heating. "Do this." "Do that." "Check that off." "Must get that done." "Hit that pace." "Do that hill workout." All of this is very heating. Yes, for that workout moment, but also just in general, energetically, for the body, long term. And especially if you are the personality that has the tendencies to be the "Get it done." mode more than not. Yin Yoga is relaxing, calming and cooling. And it's a great place to stretch parts that get chronically tight. Think about this...how many minutes or hours is the hamstring asked to work. Or whatever...to cause it to be tight. A LOT. So, just be mindful that you might need to invest a bit of time to help them stay longer. And consider this, due to the nature of the anatomy, slowness/caution/gentleness is a benefit. You really don't want micro tears at the knee attachment points or the butt bones. Those stink! So quick anatomy lesson. Surrounding and supporting the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments is FASCIA. It holds you in place. So it must be stronger and hold things more. As a result, it stretches slower. So you must hold the stretch a bit longer (more gently). NO BOUNCING in stretching. Also, your brain sends muscles signals to help the muscles relax. Holding stretches longer helps enough signal get to the muscle, so it finally decides to relax and let go. If you are being too aggressive with stretching, thinking you need to "fix something", then it really doesn't work well. And you end up with micro tears in places. BE GENTLE. BE PATIENT. (I know, right!) Here are the things to keep in mind when doing YIN YOGA.
- Connect in with YOU
- Help the position out, use props (pillows, blocks, etc)
- This means, if you are doing the first video below, you can use a pillow to prop up your torso, relax of it. The intent is to focus on the legs, not stress the back out.
- Do not put up with pain
- Try not to give up on the pose if you've done #1-3
- Good time to practice the breathe
- So if you get "bored", focus on your breathing. Count the inhales and exhales.
- Be mindful of what the stretch feels like
- "Watch" it move around as things loosen up
Yoga is a great tool for preventing injuries.As a sports lover, you know that injuries come with the territory. You know that injuries, whether caused by repetitive motion, imbalances in your biomechanics or both, can be painful, frustrating, and limiting. Through a combination of active and passive stretching, yoga can be helpful to keep you injury-free. One of the most common injuries for athletes is plantar fasciitis.To prevent plantar fasciitis, practice this yoga pose on days you train or workout. Perhaps at night before bed.
Reclined Leg StretchWhat it Does: Reclined Leg Stretch provides a safe stretch for the hamstrings and the tissue that runs along the back of the hip, thigh and calf, which tugs on the sole of the foot when it gets tight. How to Practice: Lie on your back, legs together. Strongly extend through the heels. Keep the left leg pressed on the ground as you bend the right knee to the chest. Place a strap around the arch of the right foot and hold the strap loosely in both hands. Exhale and extend the right leg straight up. Walk your hands up the strap until the elbows are fully extended. Keep your neck relaxed and make sure you are not throwing your head back. Lengthen the back of the leg between the buttock bone and heel. Try not to be overly enthusiastic about pulling your leg toward your chest. Instead, emphasize the grounding of your left leg as you draw your arms back into their sockets and lift your collarbones. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Breathe evenly and then slowly release. Repeat on the left side. Read More »
The yoga practice of mindful breathing and meditation can greatly help with the areas that the athlete struggles mentally. Like if being in the water really scares you. Or you let yourself mentally quit before you are physically done. Or you doubt yourself, not reaching higher. Here's the skinny on breathing/meditation and I even want to talk about "mantra". They are meant to help you get back to your most awesome self. Because you know what... YOU ARE FLIPPING AWESOME!!! Breathing practices help the athlete to manipulate/use the nervous system; to calm yourself or get yourself going. Meditation helps us to learn to turn the volume down on life and live in our Awesomeness. Manta, which literally means "mind protector" is a crazy easy way to put positive thoughts into our being. Helps us to live in our awesomeness, not the silliness that we sometimes believe to be true. It's not weird stuff, it's the same as positive affirmations, praying, etc. Just a different language/word for a universal truth. Here are things easy ways to practice.
- Breathing practice:
- Sit, stand, lay, walk, bike, run, skip (whatever). Just count the breath. Inhale "1", exhale "1", inhale "2", exhale "2"..."10", "9"..."1", "2"... Over and over. When the thoughts pop in say "oh hi" then back to "1", "2"... It's a powerful mental muscle to be able to sit with the breath. The heart rate goes down. Blood pressure down. Cortisol down. Good stuff.
- Easy meditation practice
- Walk around where you can relax. Focus on your feet. Barefoot is best. Everything else is fine. Concentrate on your feet. How they feel as you walk. The heel strike, how the ground feels, the temp, texture, etc. When the thoughts come on, move back to the feet.
- Simple mantra
- Find a saying that you want to embody/color your whole being with. For example, for those athletes who struggle in the water; with each stroke repeat to yourself "I am long, I am strong." Other possibilities, "I am enough" "I do not quit" "I will make it". The key to this one, SAY IT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.
"The bravest thing to do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly." ~Corra HarrisEat Clean, Live Well, Be Awesome Read More »
No no, it's not what you think... I actually have an awesome attic/man/pain cave! A cross between a fully-fledged modern gym and the entire 3rd floor (roughly 1200 sqft) of a 150+ years old Victorian New Orleans home which has never been finished... On my DFB schedule for today my coach slipped in YOGA for the first time! YOGA! What in the hell: I am a 45-year-old grumpy, old, French man...yeah, right... Well after a 30 minutes session of yoga for runners from Coach Bonnie I am sold! I have been training pretty seriously now for about 5 weeks or so and I am now realizing that I totally needed the stretch. It's really eye opening for me! I feel relaxed and something tells me I am going to sleep better tonight. So Namasté my fellow athletes! ~ Samuel ProkopRead More »