Daily What? Daily patterns, rules, actions I'm using every day to create a flexible web framework in my life keeping me in check.
Keep the structure & I keep the balance. Keep the balance & I can find freedom. Find my freedom and I can finally meet myself.
These don't usually change often in my life but I will change what's posted in this section and not planning on keeping an archive so check it out now and check back again:
Water, first thing in the morning. This one is really just best explained by talking. Click on video above.
I Was pretty flexible as a kid and I stayed that way as I got older because of certain sports I played and hobbies I had like martial arts.
Have had some ups and downs with how mobile I've been – usually losing some range of motion when I gained bodyweight but even at 300 pounds I was quite the spectacle attempting the splits and not being too far off.
But I always needed to warm-up, and warm-up a lot, before this flexibility was "available" to me. I still always struggled to get into positions when I'd start my training. Seemed like a losing battle trying to stave off daily stiffness that came with regular lifting. I had good movement patterns through full ranges of movement and still, it would take me forever to warm up for movement and training. I never really felt like I was just ready to go.
After the hour-long warm-up, I could use my baseline mobility but the stretching/mobility drills I did after training or later in the day never seemed to improve my overall movement and mobility on hand without a long drawn-out warm-up. I’d just go back to feeling as stiff as I was the day before after.
This went on for years, until I added more movement, and more specifically until I made movement something I did first thing in the morning when I’m most tense and bound up.
Seems simple. It is, but no one does it. I didn't. Moving through different stretches, poses, whatever first thing in the morning has finally moved that dial up. I can do more, with better range of motion, and less warm-up later in the day.
Now if anyone asks how to be more flexible, I tell them to do this one thing. Keep doing it and even when you feel your tightest, you’ll have more range of motion than you did. And that’s the point.
BUT you have to do it consistently. That’s why this is a DAILY of mine. Doesn’t have to be a lot, doesn’t have to be complicated, anything is good because it’s something. This is mine.
Breathing - The change that changes everything
The Earth is tilting in the right direction for us in North America. It’s warming up and the sun is getting through those clouds that seem to just sit over us in the Northeast all winter long.
This time every year, I’m moved by the great outdoor spirits to do something physical with grass and dirt under feet and the open sky overhead. I had more years than not inside, as a young adult, lifting weights under neon lights and four walls around me holding stale, recycled air. I loved my training for many of those years though, and I’m still glad I dedicated the time to it.
I did feel stifled though, so I eventually started my outdoor exploits. It started with a hike or a short run. But as my interests in my own physicality shifted from only wanting a specific strength to wanting a mastery of every way I could use my body, I found that if I brought a kettlebell or two with me outside, I could make a time of it.
Doing exercise outside created an alert attention to myself, to what I was doing, to everything around me. It was an exercise that made me feel alive.
Think about why we do exercise. We do it because our bodies crave it, and so do our minds and spirits. We once had to move to live and experience, to get food and to find or make shelter. Where were we when we did all this? We were outside. It’s why I think I feel more awake and alive when I move outside, doing my artificial work that we named exercise.
Not everyone needs this attaching to nature. But if you think you might feel what I’m describing give it a try. Because more people need it than they think. There is more of an archaic footprint on us than our individualistic collective worldview would admit.
Go There and Do Exercise That Makes You Feel Alive
Nothing needs to be complicated. Take a kettlebell, couple of dumbbells, or heavy medicine ball to a park or some open field. Go for a walk, a hike, or a run and then do a quick workout like this (I explain some other ideas for outlining these quick sessions in the video below.
8 minutes of work. Get through as many rounds as possible without sacrificing movement quality (rest as needed):
A1)KB or DB Swings or High Pulls x 10 reps
A2)Plank w/ alternating shoulder touch x 6 reps ea side
A3)KB or DB Snach x 8 reps ea side
A4)Hollow body hold x 10 seconds
Find a park, find something that’s not concrete where you can see the open sky and hear some birds chirping in the trees. You don’t need to drive an hour out of your way like my crazy ass. Go there and do exercise that makes you feel alive.
I got a little panicky my first time trying it. I slowed down, I might have even stopped. I can’t completely remember. It was a foreign feeling to me. An airy, unsteady sensation that I’d always avoided. For no clear reason, I’d always been paranoid of passing out. It was most likely because I’d never actually fainted so I was just afraid of something I’d never experienced.
This was my first try at sitting to take 30 of the biggest breaths I could manage, inhaling and exhaling the biggest volumes of air I could control without pausing.
It’s something I do now almost every morning. And every morning I feel new again because of it. I’ve thought about it, and I think this impression of renewal comes from losing sight of myself while I breathe and immediately after.
After 15 breaths, there’s no me causing it anymore, there’s just the breath happening. After my last exhale, I sit very still and I notice what I was afraid to find when I first tried this. That is that the voice, that told me to slow down and stop, is gone. With it gone, I can sit in meditation with an inner posture that I’d never have been able to find without the breath.
I’m glad I tried again and didn’t keep listening to that unsettling voice. I’m glad I can tell everyone who will listen to do the same so that maybe all of those voices will go away and we can finally just sit with each other.
Breathwork can be done to adjust physiology and increase a whole set of positive functions. It should be practiced for that, I teach people that. But I do this particular morning practice to help make myself completely well, and I hope you will too.
Hover over each number to go through the steps:
Find a comfortable place to sit and keep your back flat and your torso upright
Start with the exhale and take 30 full inhale and exhales. I like to inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth but however you do it just make sure that your entire lower torso (including your back) is widening with the inhale and narrowing with the exhale.
Clothes your eyes if you want and focus on the quality of each breath. Don’t shorten the exhale, finish it until the end. Relax the belly on the inhale, feel the air.
Once you reach 30, exhale and sit without air for as long as you feel comfortable. When you want to breathe, then breathe. You don’t have to force yourself to sit longer. It’s not a breath hold and there’s no utility in doing that. Just notice what you notice while you sit there without air.