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Better Movement Series : Spine Health

There are numerous ways movement can improve the health of your spine.

Here are some tips when using a movement approach to spinal health

  1. Explore the Range of Motion: the spine can Flex / Extend / Rotate / Lateral Bend + any combination of the four.
  2. Reduce Pain: pain changes how you move, stay a 2 out of 10 in discomfort. Excessive tension should not be used, stay relaxed.
  3. BREATHE: match your breathing with your movement. This increases connection and Flow.

And Remember,
Work from the ground up – Always start with easy exercises on the floor and progress up to more challenging exercises while standing.

Here are my Top 3 spinal mobility movements:

>> 1/2kneeling Lateral Stretch

>> Torso Rotations

>> Jefferson Curl

Here are my Top 3 spinal stability movements:

>> Supine Leg Raise

>> Side Plank

>> Bird Dog

Each of these exercises have “easier” and “harder” variations. I would suggest starting easier than you think, because the time you put into the fundamental exercises will pay off own the road. This is what I mean by starting from the ground up. Once you find your starting place expect to get better every day for the first couple weeks. Eventually however you will have to change it up. Using some kind of test – retest protocol is recommended.

Try this out and let me know how it helps.

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The Importance of Strength

Hello my friends!

This is why Strength Is Everything

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Our Strength determines the quality of our time here on earth.

Our physical experience matters – how we function in our skin and how we interact (with others/ environment) is related to our ability to express our Strength.

In general – a Strong individual is more likely to be happy than a Weak one

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Human anatomy has evolved in conjunction with the physical labors of finding food and building shelter for over million’s of years.

Aeons of evolution has created physical needs for the human body as well as the human mind – Needs that cannot be overlooked due to the invention of desk jobs.

It is unfortunate that in today’s age physical labor is seen as an inconvenience….

FACTS:

> Physiology tells us that our physical bodies have a high potential for developing strong muscles, tendons and bones –

> Neuroscience tells us that our physical bodies also have a high potential for coordination and the development of tremendous skill.

> Age, Disease and other factors eat away at our physical capacities.

> Nutrition, having a movement practice and other factors directly impact our physical and mental capacities – these actions however, are highly variable from individual to individual.

If you think about the above statements enough you realize that our physical and mental capabilities will decline as soon as we stop getting better / stop learning.

> Therefore we NEED exercise in order to stay alive and healthy – Body and Mind

Strength is a result of pursuing health, perfection and living fully.

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A Few Questions:

Do you want to play with your children or grandchildren?

Do you want to see them with clarity and move with ease?

How can you expect to moving with ease then, if you don’t even moved with ease now?

A Few Suggestions:

What you need is a reservoir of skill or ability, to draw upon as you age.

What builds up this reservoir is practice – intense (ideally perfect) practice.

What is important to note is that all these processes (aging, disease, physical ability/skill etc) take TIME

There is no fountain of youth in exercise, only the opportunity to maximize ones physical (genetic) potential.

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With all this in mind,

Have a great day.


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Martin Colangelo : “The Better Movement Specialist”

– Blog Author

*contact me for a consultation

 

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FLOW Knowledge: Flow Fun, Flow Family.

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Flow Fun! (Games)

Roger Caillois:

Psychologist and anthropologist – divided all games into 4 categories:

Agon

Games that are competitive in nature, like most sports and athletic events, participants pit skills against skills.

Alea

Chance is the defining feature; Aleatory games are enjoyable because they give the illusion of controlling the future.

Ilinx

Consciousness altering experiences via by scrambled perception – Any activity that transforms the way we perceive reality is enjoyable.

Mimicry

Activities in which alternative realities are created; dance, theater, the arts etc – make us feel part of something bigger than ourselves.

 

All games provide a sense of transporting one’s self into a new reality, much like how Flow has been described.

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THE AUTOTELIC PERSONALITY

The question at hand is this;

Do all people have the same potential to control their consciousness?

And if not, what distinguishes those who can achieve Flow easily from those who cannot?

 

Here are a few things to think about-

  • Attentional disorders:
    – when a person cannot control their attention they cannot attain flow
  • Schizophrenia:
    – Schizophrenic individuals have ‘over inclusion’ of stimuli due to a neurological pathology.
  • Chronic Stress:
    – attention is too erratic to get involved and enjoy a moment.
  • Self-Centeredness:
    – attention is too tightly controlled around the image of the self.

 

WHEREAS;

  • Individuals who can enjoy themselves anywhere have the ability to focus on what is important at the time.
  • These people pay close attention to minute details of their daily lie and environment, and in this way they are able to discover new and unique opportunities for enjoyment, or Flow.
  • The actions these individuals choose are ones suitably challenging for whatever situation they find themselves in,
  • These individuals constantly monitor their progress through some sort of feedback.
  • When adversity strikes, these people invest their attention in areas that are positive and constructive -they are not motivated by external factors, but internal ones.

 

 “The most important trait of survivors is a “non-selfconscious individualism,” or a strongly directed purpose that is not self-seeking.”
– Bruno Bettelheim

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THE AUTOTELIC FAMILY

Optimal experience in a family setting is not impossible, try to incorporate these five characteristics and you will be well on your way to Family Fun!

1) Clarity:

  • Children need to know what is expect from them—goals and feedback in the family interaction are important

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2) Centering:

  • Children need to think that their parents are interested in what they are doing, in their feelings and experiences.

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3) Choice:

  • Children need to feel they have a variety of possibilities to choose from – this includes breaking rules (as long as they can also accept that their actions have consequences).

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4) Commitment:

  • Children need to build trust in others, which allows them to feel comfortable enough in a given situation to become totally involved in whatever they are interested in.

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5) Challenge:

  • Parents need to be dedicated enough to provide increasingly complex opportunities for their children. Just like how a good coach adjusts the challenge for their athlete day by day.

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> These five characteristics parallel the dimensions of the Flow Experience <

The child who grows up with clear goals and good communication / feedback will also have a feeling of control over their lives.

Setting up an Autotelic family life will encourage focus and increase intrinsic motivation, over and above their increased access to the Flow Experience.

Furthermore these families conserve a great deal of energy by making it possible to increase enjoyment in all aspects of life. (i.e. less fighting!)

 

“Children who know what they can and cannot do, who do not have to constantly argue about rules and controls, who are not worried about their parents’ expectations for future success always hanging over their heads, are released from many of the attentional demands that more chaotic households generate.”
– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

You are now armed with some valuable knowledge.

With the basics of what makes games fun you can turn LIFE into any game of your choosing.

More than that, you can choose to set up your life such that it positively affects the ‘Flow chances’ of those closest to you.

What more could you want?


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Martin Colangelo : “The Better Movement Specialist”

– Blog Author

Owner / Instructor @

*contact me for a consultation

 

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an introduction to: Biofeedback


BIOFEEDBACK is using our own mind to control our physical body. 


It is being able to monitor physiological signs of the body and “think” them into different states.

For Example; the ability to slow a racing heart rate or relax excessive muscle tone (tension).

Understanding how to use Biofeedback will have huge implications to overall health – whether it’s to reduce pain or increase physical performance. 

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There are various types of biofeedback therapy: 

  1. brainwave
    – this method uses an EEG to monitor brain wave activity.
  2. Respiratory
    – sensors around your rib cage and abdomen to assess rate of breathing.
  3. Heart rate
    – this type uses finger or earlobe sensors connected to an ECG on your chest, lower torso or wrists and monitors heart rate variability 
  4. Muscle
    – this method uses EMG sensors on skeletal muscle to assess muscle tone and force of contraction.
  5. Sweat glands
    – this method used and electronic Dermagram to assess perspiration on the skin alerting to anxiety.
  6. Temperature
    – a sensor at your hands or feet (extremities) measures a drop in temperature which is usually indicative of stress levels rising. 

Why?

Biofeedback, sometimes called biofeedback training, is used to help manage many physical and mental health issues, including:

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • Chronic pain
  • Constipation
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Motion sickness
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Stroke
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Urinary incontinence

Biofeedback appeals to people for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s noninvasive.
  • It might reduce or eliminate the need for medications.
  • It might be a treatment alternative for those who can’t tolerate medications
  • It might be an option when medications haven’t worked well.
  • It might be an alternative to medications for some conditions during pregnancy.
  • It helps people take charge of their health.

How?

During a biofeedback session, there are electrical sensors attached to different parts of your body. These sensors monitor your body’s physiological state, such as brain waves, skin temperature, muscle tension, heart rate and breathing. This information is fed back to you via cues, such as a sound, vibration or flashing light.

Biofeedback teaches you to change or control your body’s physiological reactions by changing your thoughts, emotions and or behavior.

For instance, biofeedback can pinpoint tense muscles that are causing headaches. You then learn how to invoke positive physical changes in your body, such as relaxing those specific muscles – in order to reduce pain. 

The cool thing is that even without sensors, many of the bodies physiological states can be monitored by your own awareness!

If we take a second to just stop and feel our bodies we can usually discern if we have tense muscles, a fast heart rate, feel cold or hot, are breathing improperly or are sweating.

The Brain is where everything discussed above originates. Neural / Brain wave activity is just as receptive to biofeedback as muscle tone, respiration and all the rest form the list above.

Techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can alter our default brain wave patterns and allow us to become more restful and alert. This allows you to tap into our parasympathetic branch of our nervous system, reducing stress (cortisol) and increasing enjoyment (testosterone, flow).

Hope you enjoyed this intro to Biofeedback!

Let me know if you want to learn more about this subject – and as always – Stay Strong Folks <

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TYLER LEES-SCHMUT

Co-Owner / Instructor / Author @

Contact us Now for a Free Consultation*

 

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The Phenomenology of Flow (HAPPINESS and FLOW series #3)

NOTE – this one is a bit long….

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The Phenomenology of Enjoyment, or FLOW

This is what we went over last time….

The Phenomenology of Enjoyment, or FLOW:

One

  • Must we have a chance of being completed (appropriate skill level).

Two

  • Must be able to concentrate.

Thee

  • Task must have clear goals

Four

  • Must provide immediate feedback.

Five

  • “One acts with a deep but effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life. “

Six

  • There is an increased sense of control over one’s life.

Seven

  • Concern for the self disappears, yet paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger.

Eight

  • Sense of time is altered.

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This Image Represents How To Maintain A ‘Flow’ State Of Mind:

NOW,

Let’s clarify each of the 8 points of the phenomenology of Flow, with help from our visual!

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ONE – “Appropriate Skill Level”

  • The action you chose must have a spectrum of skill level opportunities
  • You must begin at a level specific to your own skill set.

TWO – “Concentration”

  • Learning disabilities and attention disorders inhibit the chances of Flow.
  • External distractors should be minimized (at first).
  • Internal distractors must be dealt with beforehand, or will melt away with the onset of Flow

THREE – “Purpose”

  • Goals must be set, clear goals are better but some is better than none.
  • Arbitrary goals are legitimate when enjoying leisure – wok and personal goals should be well thought out.

FOUR – “(Bio)feedback”

  • The action you chose needs a medium for feedback,
  • Immediate feedback is best, the longer it takes for feedback the lower the chances of Flow.

 

This is when it gets a bit harder to track…

 

FIVE – “Lose Yourself”

  • points One – Four: open up the possibility to loose oneself in the moment
  • And also allows one to cultivate a growing sense of ….

SIX – “Mastery”

  • Growing your sense of control over potentially dangerous sources improves your quality of life by reducing stress.

SEVEN – “Losing yourself, Improves yourself”

  • This process concerns (Five) losing oneself in the moment so intensely that it seems like you ‘are the ball’ so to speak – you become one with the action you’ve chosen –
  • This process also improves our skill level, as well as our ability to concentrate and appreciate life; making you an ever more Extraordinary person!

EIGHT – “Time Fly’s When Having Fun”

  • As a side effect, TIME itself is altered in one way or another – from your ‘Flow’ point of view.

 

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Explanation of the Visual

If ‘A’ is bored and wishes to be in flow again, all ‘A’ has to do is to increase the challenge:

Set a new, more difficult goal that match your / ‘A’s skill level – and ‘A’ is back in flow.

>

If A is anxious, flow can be achieved again by practicing hard to increase your / ‘A’s skills.

Technically you can reduce the challenge to return to flow – but such backward action would not contribute to becoming a more extraordinary person!

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Thoughts on the ‘Flow’ state of mind

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The Flow experience describes a task at hand as seemingly effortless, whose justifications is itself.

Flow itself is not bound by any morals – it is just a state of being, a mental state – but the activity you chose may very well be looked down upon (so choose wisely!).

“Water can be both good and bad, useful and dangerous. To the danger, however, a remedy has been found: learning to swim.”

– Democritus

 

The goal, then should be to enjoy daily life as much as possible, without diminishing the enjoyment of others (as much as possible).

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Activities that produce flow often occur in situations in which the ‘safety nets’ of society and culture have been removed. – like courting disaster and surviving.

  • With this comes a growing sense of control over dangerous and chaotic forces. i.e. a sense of Mastery.

Flow activities fully take over consciousness, distorting our sense of time and completely distracting us from daily life – no irrelevant thoughts.

  • This sense of control over entropy can be addictive, and only becomes a problem if these activities are no longer done with conscious choice and interfere with the enjoyment of other activities.

To speed up your path on becoming an extraordinary person and becoming good at a chosen activity is to actually chose an activity that will provide you with lots of opportunities to practice your skill.

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Flow is an Autotelic Experiences:

Autotelic translated literally from Greek means ‘SelfGoal’.

It refers to a self-contained activity that is done for its own sake.

When focusing on consequences of actions instead of focusing on them for their own sake, it is called an Exotelic Activity

  • Shifts form autotelic to exotelic experiences occur due to shift in perception and external influences
    • For Example; some children when forced into a sport or activity, may find themselves hating that activity later in life.

Autotelic experiences reinforce our sense of self and our sense of control.

Exotelic experiences dissolve our sense of self in the service of external goals.

The most common Autotelic activities are games….(learn how to get the most out of games, next week – stay tuned – )

Stay informed, stay strong and stay tuned!

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Martin Colangelo : “The Better Movement Specialist”

– Blog Author

Owner / Instructor @

*contact me for a free consultation