What has been called “The Enlightenment” in the Western world, was basically the ascendance of reason and rationality as the main instruments of human knowledge. It was a natural response to the primacy of religious dogma and faith, which had dominated most of the world with an iron fist, for centuries, if not millennia before. Over the course of time, this ascendance brought about most of the modern advantages of medicine, politics, and technology. The power of this method to elucidate information about the world and universe around us, simultaneously provided the opportunity to intercede and control our physical and social environments. This progress and the fast changing environment which followed in its wake, eventually led to push-back against the impending reign of science and reason, coining such familiar pejoratives as “scientific materialism” and “reductionism”.
But one of the more legitimate criticisms of the age of Western...
The biggest support network of our entire Life, yet the one that receives the least notice and regard, are the feet. Comprised of 28 individual bones, and about 33 joints, the architecture of the foot has evolved for hundreds of millennia to traverse the variety of natural terrain provided by the earth.
It was not until the invention of footwear, and the subsequent industry built upon its manufacture, that the foot has begun to lose the natural function which has been a staple of human ability for eons. The late podiatrist Dr. William Rossi, pioneered the perspective of how the design of modern footwear is undermining the function of the foot, and the the resultant pathological consequences of conditions like osteoarthritis of the hip and lower back pain. Dr. Rossi described how the rigid, thick soled, and narrowed toe box of most modern shoes, inhibits the contact, perception, and articulation of the feet on ground surfaces. Dr. Rossi described how a minimum of two-thirds of...
Health and Wellness is a collaborative project that includes everything from the sacred, to the mundane activities of everyday life.
The main reason that New Year's resolutions, diet fads, and makeovers do not end up becoming the new norm for many people, is because the changes are predicated on removing something from one's life, instead of replacing it with something else.
The reason this has been so ineffective is because people do not like to let go of the foods, habits, and comforts that they have grown to love. We develop a fondness for things that are otherwise unhealthy because it brings some, even if just a little bit, of joy and pleasure to the fast-paced busyness of our lives. Ice cream, beer, sugar, binge-watching Netflix, and etc..are all just playing on the very same biological pleasure networks, that an intelligently configured/constructed lifestyle plays on. These pleasures confer an important psycho-emotional benefit that helps attenuate the effect of the most...
Whether you are an athlete or a couch potato, gravity is the force that your body is always contending with and resisting against. It is known in physics as indispensable to the space-time continuum, it allows us to walk around and stay connected to the planet without floating off into outer space, and it is absolutely essential to the structure and integrity of our physical frame.
But like anything else, excess leads to adverse effects.
There is a great verse in one of the Yoga Dharma's essential texts "Bhagavad Gita":
That which seems like poison at first, but tastes like nectar in the end, is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. It is generated by the pure intellect that is situated in self-knowledge
Which is attempting to convey what most people already have at least some vague intuitions about, that is the arithmetic of balance, and the intermediary between the two extreme ends of the spectrum.
We know that water is essential for health, but too much will put you...
What makes Yoga so alluring to most of us isn't just its promised peace of mind and tranquility, but the mechanical intelligence we develop along the way. As we learn how to execute postures with precision and subtlety, we become more enthused about performing feats previously thought unachievable. Our flexibility, strength, and dexterity improve, and further reinforce our motivation to practice.
Yet the distinction between ability and sensitivity isn't always obvious when a new posture/technique is being implemented. When an individual executes any movement, most of their attention is consumed by the commands that the mind issues to the muscles, especially if the movement has not yet been hardwired into the subconscious mind, as is the case with something like walking. When the mind is so acutely and rigorously engaged, it is difficult to be sensitive to deeper and more subtle aspects of one's body. These deep and subtle sensations offer insight into the mechanical...
This YouTube tutorial briefly explains the etiology of the most common presentation of neck tension.
In a world addled by technology and the prevalence of sedentary habits, many individuals' postures have devolved to a dysfunctional state that places an inordinate amount of pressure on the neck. It is because the anatomy of the neck is continuous with the anatomy of breathing, the neck's tension is magnified when the body attempts to breath deeper.
Reversing the adverse effects that sedentary behaviors place on the body, is the ideal and most functional way to deal with the pain and discomfort associated with them.
Please watch the Full tutorial below and let me know how it goes for you
The imperative to eat healthier in this day and age has received a lot of attention, yet consensus on exactly what that means is far less forthcoming. Everything between the whole food plant-based, and the carnivore diets, seem to have an expert proclaiming its own utility, to the exclusion of all else. The purported degree of differences between one individual's nutrition requirements and another's have been overstated. Although there are some physiological differences between people, these differences need not be played out in the landscape of meal construction.
Fortunately, despite anyone's food preferences there are some reliable universals that have the advocacy of nearly every nutrition expert, despite what side of the fence they sit on. By using the Venn diagram approach to what different nutritionists and dieticians extol, we can be encouraged to invest our resources in those measures that almost every authority seems to converge on.
The primary characteristic of a...
In parts of the modern Yoga culture, props have been seen as crutches that should eventually be removed. The misunderstanding that once enough dues have been paid, and a daily committed practice has born the aptitude to perform postures without any outside assistance, props will naturally become obsolete. Unfortunately this has created an environment where students interpret the use of props as a demerit to their level of skill. The problem with this interpretation arises out of the Spiritual/metaphysical foundation of Yoga. Unlike learning to play a piano, the inability of an individual to execute a posture, can be interpreted as a spiritual deficiency.
Although there is a correlation, which is to say a relationship, between the health and state of one’s body, and their psychological wellbeing, it is important to be nuanced in this understanding enough to see that this does not imply a causation. This is afterall one of the main maxims of the scientific method,...
I want to return to last weeks breakdown of Virabhadrasana 2 (warrior 2) to outline the relationship between the ankle/foot and the hip.
The reason that it is imperative to understand how one part of the body influences another, comes down to the definition of “functional movement”. In another post (4/19) on kinetic chains, I attempted to describe how the musculoskeletal system is organized to produce almost any single movement with the participation of the entire body.
When the body is seen from this standpoint, it becomes fairly obvious as to how critical the foundation of any action is. The foundation can simply be understood as where the body is directly interacting with the external environment. It is the external environment that we stand on, push off of, or embrace, to accomplish everything from our yoga practice, to virtually everything else in our lives. In a very primary way, the objective of learning how to move better is essentially to...