Knowing the Breath

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Out of all the primal inborn elements that we live with on a daily basis, none is more essential to our capacity for life, then the mighty and humble breath. Without food you can survive for weeks, without water only days, but without breath - you can live merely minutes; a few difficult, agonizing and painful minutes.  There are many different techniques, protocols and tools at our disposal, that can assist us in our quest for wholeness and vitality, but breath work in its many manifestations - may be one of the most powerful. Its power has been utilized by practically every religious (in the form of chanting), trans-formative, shamanic, martial and psychosomatic path; there is no mistaking the usefulness of consciously working with the breath.  

We are all born with the capacity for a full deep breath and a complete exhale; many aspects of stress, sitting and trauma can eventually remove this capacity. The abdomen and often even the diaphragm itself - will become tight and restricted, effectively preventing this full breath. The average person takes between 17,000 to 23,000 breaths in a day! Now imagine that every single one of those is restricted from being complete and true. It is like over eating a food which has no calories and no nutrition, starving- while in an abundance. When we inhale, the diaphragm, a large dome shaped muscle located underneath the lungs - moves downward (it also expands in other directions, but less so) and when we exhale, the stored elasticity, allows it move upwards compressing the lungs. This up and down motion has a side effect of massaging the organs in our visceral cavity, helping them function an their optimum.

 

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The mechanical aspects though only touch the surface of what full and complete breathing can do your vitality and state of mind. To get a better grasp of what that means, it is necessary to understand certain aspects of our nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is divided into three branches; the sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight or freeze), the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and the enteric (gut based nervous system). This autonomic nervous system controls automatic functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, breath rate and digestion. Normally, these functions continue on without a need for us to focus on them. In this automation, there is a yin and yang, whereas the sympathetic nervous system excites and raises, the parasympathetic calms and lowers. The point here is that the breath gives us a direct route to the manipulation of these two broad and far-reaching polarities. 

Many aspects of sub-optimal vitality can be traced back to an imbalance between these two branches of the nervous system. If we are constantly stressed then, our SNS (for short) is constantly in this low-level activation, which leaves us always "on" or idling. This low-level activation will cause us to have higher stress hormones, higher blood pressure, impaired digestion, immunity issues, chronic infections and fatigue. Whereas if there is too much PNS activation and not enough SNS tone, then you may be tired all the time, sleep long hours and not feel rested, not be able to deal with fast-paced situations well and feel like a "zombie". If you want to take an elemental approach, one is too much fire and the other is too much water. There are many ways to address this balance, but the breath is the cheapest, most innate and one of the most powerful. 

 

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The key to "knowing the breath" is to also understand that different activities require different breathing methods and there is no clear cut "this is the way". Knowing how the various aspects of the breath affect our system and using that knowledge in a variety of ways is the goal of this branch. In truth, having access to a full breath, as well many different techniques for various purposes is what is important. . This way you learn to work with this innate power house on an intuitive and organic level. By providing an alphabet of breathing, you can learn to express its potential by owning the ability to "write" with it as needed. 

 

The Hunter Gatherer: Ancestral Nutrition and The Yoga of Eating

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Humans are Hunter Gatherers which implies a very powerful concept and that is that we are what we eat. Often we here this saying “we are what we eat” and think only of its implications to our personal individual diet and its quality. In many ways a species is defined by its diet, because diet determines an animals nature; it decides it's place and effect on the ecosystem in which it lives. Such as how apex predators deeply impact the health of the environment or how herbivores keep vegetation under control while also acting as food for the carnivores. In many ways diet determines everything from the size of brains in relation to body weight, to the daily patterns the animal lives with; herbivores spend a large part of the day eating in small quantity while carnivores and omnivores eat more sparingly, but in larger quantity. So food is no small thing and to live is to consume other life. Regardless of what type of diet you do follow, if it is inspired by natural whole foods, while removing "food stuffs", than you are tapping in to the ancestral core whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or an omnivore. Here at Healing the Human Animal, we focus on educating individuals on how to apply the principles of eating like a wild Homo Sapian without trying to imitate one. 

Food in a natural setting (the wild) is a time consuming endeavor and it forms a large percentage of what our (jobs) would be; the hunter goes out and hunts while the gatherer gathers. The survival and more importantly, the thriving of the species depends on organic substances acquired within that context. Without nutrition there would be no science, no philosophy, no parenting and no productivity. 

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 Acquiring food is of extreme importance because without food we die, so a large part of our psychosomatic energy has evolved to get food. It has long been known by leaders and dictators that if you control the supply of food - you control the people. In today's modern agriculture driven world food is easily available, taste amazing and is in abundant supply. The hunter and gatherer is hardwired deep into our make up having been in our programming since the dawn of the modern human species and its ancestors. This disconnect between the hunter gather and the farmer is at the root of a host of the health issues we face today.

Nutrition is an extremely complex subject that is at the mercy of the context it is put within. For instance, dietary concepts can stem from biblical sources, biological sciences, political biases, morals, pathological disorders, epidemiological studies and anthropology. So having a consistent reference point is quite a challenge! Thus our world view as a whole deeply influences and is simultaneously influenced by what we believe is meant for consumption. As said above, in spiritual practices what we eat is often a consideration;  everything from Abrahamic religions to yogic philosophy, from Pagans to Buddhist. It seems to be understood that what we eat and the state of our spirit is connected. Which really does make sense as our bodies (the temple's) are food. An alligator can make a meal out of us as surely as we can make one out of the alligator.  

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Food, whether of a specific type, the exclusion of a specific food, or a complete restriction (such as in fasting), has been considered to play a powerful role in mental, emotional and physical evolution by many traditions. For a long time, the link between what is consumed and the experience of the spirit has been a recognized truth. With that said, the specific reasons for dietary observations in any culture would be both a mixture of practical necessity and of the goals being pursued by their school of thought. Often if the focus becomes the "purity of spirit" at the exclusion of the body, then the diet becomes less grounding by restricting animal foods and the overall quantity of it is kept small. The diet is made to be less "heavy" by these changes. In the same vain the most grounding diet possible is one based off of traditional omnivorous hunter gather diets. 

However, there is currently a fad, which is referred to as the "Paleo Diet" and while well meaning, it is in fact impossible to follow in today's world. We do not live in the paleolithic era. There are pollutants and other man made chemicals spanning the entire globe that is now a part of our food supply. If we were to kill a mastodon with spears, crack open the bones and suck the marrow out with a side order of sour wild berries that no longer exist, then we would be eating Paleo. Cavemen were not eating a five course meal of peppered beef, hybridized spring veggies, gluten free bread, some chicken eggs and 5 different type of nuts at every meal. We can not and should not, try to base our diet off of eating a puritan Palo diet because such goals are an illusion. What we can do is understand the "principles" which ancestral meals were built with, then apply them to the contemporary world and viola, you have the peppered beef and 5 different types of nuts. 

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As much as traditional spiritual cultures do not seem to refer to this,  there is a deep ancestral bond that can be instilled in our experience through the adoption of a diet inspired by our ancestors: by eating real food. Through it we can find an ancient connection to a primal past. At the same time, as research pours in from anthropological sources, biological sciences and anecdotal evidence, it is this type of nutritional strategy that confers the most health benefits. It ameliorates states of disease and causes us to erupt with vitality. Eating like a wild animal can offer us the resilience, strength and capacity of a wild animal.  

Ancestral nutrition is simply a context, although it is one that stems back into our roots as a species and to the origins of life as a whole. The context of what “types” of  things an omnivorous animal in the wild would consume, is the oldest context.  

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Wild animals rarely suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and chronic fatigue; diseases which are often referred to as diseases of civilization.  Although there are many factors in these psychosomatic states of imbalance, such as being sedentary, overly stressed, sexually repressed and mentally numb, nutrition plays an enormous role. During the process of healing my body from the many childhood diseases I suffered from, I discovered that restoring my nutrition to one influenced by our ancestral heritage was a necessity if I was to thrive.  Nutrition is not just a collection of individual parts: such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but a delivery system of complex information. Feed your body the ancient code it evolved to use for its primal programming. 

Staying Open

It seems as though posture has been a big topic for humans for a while now. These days, optimal posture has become an almost a vogue term in certain therapeutic and movement circles. There is often an intense focus, using various physical methods, on creating some form of idolized alignment, and keeping the person that way as much as humanely possible. To those not really trained in biomechanics at any really level, the advice is often to stand upright or “don’t slump” as they say; which is actually a very superficial and vague recommendation.  I would like to dive into some of the dynamics of this upright posture and take birds eyes view of it. 

*An exhaustive breakdown of posture is beyond the scope of a single article. The focus will be on this notion of Staying Open*

What is posture?

All this talk about posture often leaves out what it actually is to the body. Posture is actually a reflex. All things being equal, you enter into your default bipedal posture, unconsciously and without thought, as it is a reflexive response to the vertical upright experience of gravity. Standing upright on two feet is a hardwired, ancient response, that is a part of the homo sapiens ancestral lineage. It is tied to fundamental movement patterns, such as crawling, rolling and rocking, which also work off of reflexive patterns. Obviously we are upright bipedal primates and thus, upright posture is innate. 

    Posture is a reflex and it also an expression of emotion

Aside from being a reflex, posture is also an expression of emotion. Partly due to postural dynamics found in primates, and also the mind-body unity, the way we stand can say a lot about how we feel. Expansive open postures “often” denote positive, aggressive and confident feeling states; whereas closed off contracted postures, “often” denote fear, defensiveness, infantile feelings and stress. This is bit simplistic, but is satisfactory for the purposes of this article.

I have written about it before, but will mention it again because it is highly relevant to this discussion. The human animal is unique, in the sense that when upright, and not experiencing unnecessary tightness, our most vulnerable parts (inner organs and genitals) are expressed forward. These parts of us “lead”, whereas in most other species of animals, they are pulled back or facing the ground. So, to be open, is to be vulnerable.

                       To be open, is to be vulnerable

What I mean by "open", in this article, is the notion of our front line (face, throat, chest and abdomen) remaining in state where they are not unnecessary tight. These parts remain pliable and loose, allowing us to not be contracted into what they call a "slump". However, I also refer to emotional states conductive to connection, unity and acceptance.  

                  Allow yourself to be loved and to love others

The opposite of vulnerable in this context is defensive: what we refer to as a slump forward. Although in an experienced combative, this "slump" may have different a tensional network, this overall "collapse" has its place in our movement repertoire.  A highly refined version of it can be seen in gymnastics, boxing and american football especially and is often referred to as the "hollow body" position.  

When referring to healthy alignment, I think context matters a whole lot. What are we dealing with? A friend? A lover? A threat? Being in a constant slump is likely a chronic defensive or inhibiting response, that cant be let go of. 

One of the most common tensional patterns in the modern world is the contraction of the front line of the body. This contraction, often starts in the face, and moves through the throat, into the chest, upper and lower abdomen. The contraction of this line is associated with various psychosomatic states.

1.     Defensive posturing (fighting posture)

2.     Depressions/Collapse

3.     Restricting the Breath (chest and abdominal tension) 

4.     Restricting Sexual feelings (lower abdomen/pelvic floor)

5.     Choking off Tears (throat)

6.     Resisting the urge to bite (jaw throat)

7.     Closing off the Heart (collapse)

8.     Too much sitting

 

Being in this constant defensive posture can have many negatives to our overall state of being. It restricts the breath, puts pressure on organs, disturbs our entire alignment, alters nerve signals coming from the spine, and blocks off the heart from the world around us. 

There are countless ways to open up our front line in terms of technical methods for easing this chronic tension, and I will touch on them in the future. My hope in this article is just to get you thinking about some of the potential psychosomatic components at play here. 

Our willingness to be open to love, friendships and positive experiences is at some level tied in to this front line. As we “open” the front line, we become vulnerable, due to the fact that all of our most vulnerable organs are exposed to the world. Metaphorically and almost literally we open our heart to the world around us, and to do this, at some level we must feel safe. For many us, this type of exposure (at all) feels extremely threatening, due to conditioning from previous circumstances. 

               Posture is a dynamic living process and not a stagnant stable structure

At some level you are dealing with layers beyond the scope of kinesiology and into ones related to your somatic charges. If internally you want to shrink away from the world, are depressed, scared, angry or just feel threatened in general, then being open is that much more difficult. 

The key is to reset your tensional patterns, movement patterns, behavioral conditioning and also deal with the feelings that you brace against (armor) in order to truly change your alignment, so that you do not actually have to think about it. If you have to “will” a particular posture into place, your psychosomatic landscape, likely cannot sustain it at the moment.

Beyond the “visual observable” posture, there are the actually muscular qualities to pay attention to. Someone may seemingly have what is stereo-typically referred to as healthy posture, but actually be a tight, rigid and blocked off mess.  I discovered a while back, that I existed in such a state from time to time.

When referring to the front of the body, the feeling and qualitative state of the muscular apparatus that is seems to be the most desirable for day to day life is softness.  If we can remain soft, it means we are night bracing and trying to defend ourselves all the time. To get there, it is likely going to require a combination of exercises, emotional release, and a shedding of the conditioning the lead you there in the first place. Release your trauma, defensiveness and fear, while also restoring your innate reflexive movement patterns and your version healthy posture will be available to you more often, without a conscious effort to sustain it. 

           The most desirable feeling state we want in the front the body is softness

The title of this article is “Staying Open”, which implies an active ongoing process that is more of a verb, than a noun. The practice of becoming aware of how we contract this line, and choosing suppleness instead, can be very useful and is in my opinion an ideal place to start right now. Learning what types of situations cause us to fall  into this type of unconscious bracing, consciously releasing this tension, while breathing deeply, can start to rewire our habitual conditioning.  Certain situations can bring up feelings of sadness, love, anger, frustration, insecurity and sexuality, and can cause us to unconsciously brace against them, to reduce their intensity. Feelings are “felt” in the body. To prevent them from being felt, we brace. Most of us have been unconsciously bracing against a similar set of feelings for much of our lives.

Here is a short outline of how to apply this practically-

1.     Become aware of the front of the body, starting from the hairline to the pelvic floor and feel the sensations erupting forward.

2.     Notice the specific manifestations: Eyebrow’s raising or furrowing, jaw clenching, throat tightening, chest collapsing, diaphragm stifling, belly tightening , castration anxiety/genital insecurity.

3.     Simultaneously do your best to release the tensions (relax them) and keep the breathing smooth and deep.

4.     Choose a different behavioral option, than the one conditioned into your structure. 

Reclaiming Experience

              “What is needed is self actualization not self image actualization.”-Bruce Lee

It seems like many of us in the world today live in some degree of self-imposed existential inhibition devoid of the nectar of direct experience. Our day to day life and how we choose to engage with it, is often not heavily influenced by a reality that is created by our “actual” experience of life. By “direct experience” I mean a state in which the stories, false ideals and conditioned psychosomatic behaviors that dominate us are minimized or completely removed, even if just for a moment.

In this state, we are present, embodied and “alive”. This idea, of direct experience can be found in many spiritual disciplines around the world, and can also be seen in western “body-mind” therapy circles. It has driven the philosophies of monks, mystics, therapist and athletes the world over.  It has been presented through many names and aspects of it can be seen in various concepts, such as:

  • Mindfulness
  • Beginners Mind
  • Being
  • Samadhi
  • Flow State
  • Awakening
  • Enlightenment
  • Being in the moment

Even though some of these concepts may seem foreign, it seems that the common thread is that all these concepts drive us toward a primary mode of consciousness: that we are completely engaged with the experience at hand, without the “thinking mind” or our conditioned modes of operation, coloring the moment to make it something it is not.  The more we can do that, the deeper into our direct experience of life we can go.

I would like to point out quickly, before we move forward, that there is a major element of embodiment in this state, as connection with the physical is fundamental in direct experience. Whether we are talking about, yoga, bio-energetic body mind therapy, extreme sports or the Zen arts like archery, our ability to fully engage and release all else, is fundamental to how these traditions are structured.

Ultimately the purpose of these disciplines is cultivating a state that you leave the “training arena” with and use in the rest of your life.  

Most of the traditions that have sprouted the above mentioned terms, are pretty much in agreement, that the average person is not actually engaged or having direct experience most of the time.

Our minds, traumas, lack of embodiment, philosophies, agendas, fears and ideas of reality prevent us from actually experiencing life itself. This whole dynamic can be seen in simple and also profound ways. It can range from a fear of opening up (by tightening the front of our bodies) in a particular social situation because of how we experienced past events (that can even go back as far as infancy), to the way in which we structure our entire lives, through the philosophies, ideals and values we choose to embrace.

Through deepening my practices that make up the core of Healing the Human Animal, I have joyfully and painfully, discovered that many of the thoughts and values I had about myself and the world, begin to dissolve the deeper into my personal experience I go.

 

For many of us, our value system is a complete artificial fabrication crafted by media, community, trauma, neurosis and the agenda others, and not from uninhibited fully engaged experience.

In simple terms, we become conditioned. To the degree that our motivations do not stem from our own inner core, is the degree to which our own inner experience is rejected in favor of something else.The lack of embodiment, grounding and immediacy many of us live with, bouncing around between the past and the future, between what is expected from others and what we try to impose upon ourselves, robs us of an authenticity that comes from being able to be alive in our actual truth.

There is no foundation for experience: people claim to have certain values and certain motivations, and then when you look at their actions and the outcomes they consistently create; it is not that difficult to see that they have absorbed an idea, for which the living experience is missing.

It is seen in those who say they value something, such as health, they exclaim they do not want to be sick, and then proceed to carry out action after action that leads them to illness.

Actually feeling good, energized and fully alive is not really an experience they truly seek to have, yet being sick is also not an experience they want.

These splits in the personality come from “believing” certain things and not having a stable base of self-actualization from which to gauge these beliefs.  It is not difficult to see why this manifest, when you consider that from the moment you can speak, walk and act within society, there are countless forces attempting to tell you why what you feel is wrong:

Don’t cry, sit still, don’t play that way, don’t show the other kids your body, eat like this, talk like this, boys don’t that, girls behave like this, do your homework like this, write your paper like this ect…

We could go on and on with examples, but the point is really clear, nearly from the moment we are born, conditioning from external forces set in, we are generally broken like a horse and domesticated into the particular culture we exist within. In order for this to happen our feeling faculties and mental faculties must be severed. This psychosomatic surgery weakens us and makes us easier to manage and lead.

What we feel is right in the moment is then stifled, blocked and even punished.

Slowly this distrust of own experience sets in. From there we create stories, adopt disembodied ideals and do our damnest to maintain the status quo we have created for ourselves.   Not everything we adopt in this way is “wrong”, but, ultimately questioning what it is and adopting our own moral compass is fundamental to having a direct experience of life.

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Instead of pursuing pleasure and what feels innately right, many are motivated by puritan thoughts, redemption through suffering, being a martyr, self-deprecation, being elite, being the best, the most badass, the hero, the savior and just a general slew of unconscious roles that take away from who we actually are.  

The more we impose on ourselves a role, while denying ourselves our true feelings  for the sake of some imagined ideal that we are using to escape our actual experience, the more we are diseased.

It infects “self-help” by us trying to “improve ourselves” instead of thinking of “improving our experience”. One insinuates that we are not good enough already (because of an imagined ideal) and must be fixed, whereas the other zeroes in on the way we live the various moments of our lives. 

Once we give up our true self to play a role, we are fated to be rejected because we have already rejected ourselves. Yet we will struggle to make the role more successful, hoping to overcome our fate but finding ourselves more enmeshed in it. We are caught in a vicious cycle that keeps closing in, diminishing our life and being.”- Alexander Lowen

To become free, truly free, we must reclaim experience though deep psychosomatic embodiment and a non-manufactured engagement with the forces of life.

Through this we can cast off the archetypes and stories that do not emerge organically from our own soul. We find our own inner source of divinity, and feel its wild spirit roaring through our being.

When we step into our own living experience, it alone guide us by swallowing the stimuli we are exposed to, digesting it, extracting what nourishes us and releasing the rest. Then, the feelings and roles you have adopted, can more easily be cast off.

You are either leading yourself or being led. To be led by unexamined forces is to be diminished, and not fully alive, not actually present within the reality of your being. One of the biggest acts of rebellion and spiritual cleansing you can perform: to become free.  

Transforming the Soul Through Movement Metaphors

For many of us in the movement discipline spheres, we come to our practice with the hope to engage in a practice that overall, enhances our experience of life and of ourselves. We are in one place or stage, and want to initiate a process, that ultimately creates change of one form or another. What we seek is transformation.

It can be easy to think of these changes in terms of performance metrics, such as, is my hand stand straighter, am I increasing the amount of weight I am lifting, or is my range of motion increasing?  There is of course nothing wrong with this (with a lot of potential good) and ultimately external metrics can say something objective about internal processes, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves.

However, external metrics will probably reach a place of diminishing returns as innate potential in a particular movement is reached or as age erodes away what you are able to recover from.  

 

Longevity and Diminishing Returns

I am personally a stickler for longevity and the desire to be the best I have ever been when in my “geriatric” years. The improvement most of us are going to see is not in how much horse power we can release, though mastery of technique is certainly possible.

In the end the intention we come to training with is going to be a big determining factor in the results we get.

I definitely pay attention to these external metrics; they do however take a less prominent role in my perception of the effectiveness of my training.The biggest determining factor, I use to gauge how well my training is doing, is in the state of my “soul” and what “internal” changes I am experiencing at a psychosomatic level; of course healthy changes often take place with healthy "external form". It is even possible view the hormonal changes that can be created through training, through this lens.

I ask: how is my training changing me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?  

Refining the Self through Training

The “soul” is a vague term, that is difficult to pin down objectively, and surely we all create our own meaning for it. To me, I experience the word as an all-encompassing container for the various aspects of self-culminating into one outcome: my truest self. It is similar to how many separate instruments come together and create a single “song”. Different forms of training can all change the “music” of who we are, but the focus in this article is on movement training specifically.

Approaching physical training attempting to transform our essence, is not a new idea, though it does seem less common in popular culture these days. The goals of refining the self, of deepening our level of embodiment and the healing of the whole organism are intrinsically suited to longevity and is adaptable to the different stages of life. Not to mention that it is likely immensely more rewarding over the long term than nailing a particular a weight or exercise for its own sake.

Of course, the attainment of a particular external metric, as mentioned previously can be used as a vehicle that we ride to the destination of certain internal changes.

How Training affects the Rest of Your Life

How well am I expressing what is within me and are my skills in navigating life growing? How are my social interactions doing, or how about my sense of purpose? What am I being called to engage with or ignore? Do I feel comfortable in my own skin or do I have burning desire to grind it into a pulp with my next training session? Do I wake up energized, sexually charged and ready for the day and night ahead?

It may be difficult to make that jump for some, such as, how is swinging this club, really affecting my relationship with my spouse or how is my squat training affecting my finances (roots & basic survival). In my experience and research it is possible to draw (at least some) parallels between how you engage with life and what is going on in your training to some degree. Training is a microcosm of the macrocosm of our life.

Swinging a Club as a Movement Metaphor

I want to use the example of swinging a club with the exercise commonly referred to as a Mill.  Can I stand in place, activate my core properly and propel the club outward and bring it back in? I propose that another way to ask about this same scenario from a psychosomatic lens is:

Can I remain grounded, while in touch my core needs, as I interact with the world by pushing things away and also reaching out and bringing things in?

I am going to hammer at this example, for the sake of simplicity, but it is ultimately just one small example in infinite field of movement training. As a club swings around you, it wants to pull you off your feet; a person who is easily moved in life and without a stable root, is probably going to struggle with the leg drive required to stay put. Chronic muscular tension in the abdomen (super common with undigested emotional material) is going to alter the ground forces moving from the lower body to the arm. 

The shoulder must be stable, and able to push and pull freely. Then this must extend to the hand, where it will strongly challenge the grip and if you simply cannot “get a grip in life”, how do you think that is going to feel?

Can these club exercises increase the intelligence of my hands and can this change, lead to a greater ability to “grasp the situation at hand” in all aspects of my life, or just in the gym?

Emotional & Tensional Patterns

Patterns of tension are patterns of feeling, and what we feel, determines how we choose to engage the world around us.

Ungrounded people, have a poor sense of their body, and especially their legs and feet. They cannot drive “energy” downward. It all likelihood, the inability to engage your lower body is going to reflect in broad ways in the rest of your psychosomatic experience, which likely has a lot to do with the life you have created.

If you are afraid of “reaching out and brining in” as you would with good things, lovers or friends, it is likely that you are not going to be awesome at pullups or that they cause latent pain to come to the surface.

If at a fundamental level, the emotional motor pattern of bringing things close to you is a pattern your emotional tensegrity cannot sustain, it is probably going to reflect in how well you pull during training.  If you have issues creating boundaries, and pushing away things that do not serve you, it is likely you won’t be setting any pushup records.

I have written about it before, and it is worth pointing out again, that it is totally possible to reinforce preexisting behavioral tendencies through training and as you imbalance your structure, your further imbalance yourself as a whole.

Some people are stuck in the reaching out pattern, and they are often the ones who feel like they give themselves too much during relationships; they are left with arms open wanting love to come. They may find them pushing capacity to weak, or that it causes them pain to perform common presses (this is something I have had to deal with personally).  

Where does refinement take us?

Developing a full, rich and balanced life, often requires knowledge of arenas not related to physical training, it can however, set the emotional and mental stage, which can be used to act out this knowledge.

Bioenergetic imbalances, chronic muscular tensions, disembodiment, a deficiency of wildness and a generalized lack of aliveness is rampant at the moment, even for many of us who consciously aware that this psychosomatic reality even exist. The above previous example, touches on the basic ability to engage these various movements/emotional actions, but does not engage the possibilities of transforming these qualities.

As we restore primary emotional competency and then expand beyond that, as we sophisticate, refine, and deepen our practice, what changes can take place?

Can our “elegance” in these psychosomatic matters infiltrate deeper into our competency and willingness for engagement in our whole lives? I leave you with some of these questions, as I am still asking them myself and will touch on them in future post.

Opening Up to the Heart and Embracing the Social Animal

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” – Dalai Lama

Core Teachings of the Worlds Spiritual Traditions 

If we explore the core teaching of most of the world’s wisdom traditions, religions, and spiritual gospels, certain archetypal patterns can be seen emerging from this broad diversity of perspectives. The focus of this article will be on just one of these, and arguably the most important: the heart as the core of the spiritual self. Time and time again, from the principles of compassion in Buddhism, to the golden rule in Christianity of “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, the heart plays a central role.

This central role is also a reality in the body, as pretty much every system in the body is dependent on blood flow in some form or fashion. The thing is, the heart is not just delivering blood, but at a mechanical level, is producing a pressure wave with every single beat.

Like primordial drum in our chest, each of us is attuned to this continuous rhythm. One of the most powerful ways to affect this rhythm, is by altering our emotions.  

Beyond the purely mechanical, there is an immense amount of electromagnetic information conferred to every single cell as well. The heart produces the strongest electromagnetic field in the body, and can with current instruments, be sensed at least 10 FT outside the body, as verified by the Heartmath Institute.

The Heart in Human Culture  

Many of us think of the nervous system as the brain, spinal cord and periphery nerves, without the realization that the heart is part of the nervous system in its own way. Beyond the idea of the heart as just some sort of pump, the field of “Neurocardiology” has demonstrated that the heart is in many ways an organ of perception, able to override the cranial brain and make autonomous decisions. It should come as no surprise considering the amount of lore, poetry, philosophy and art that has come forth about the hearts passion, courage, desire, purpose and primary role in human life.

The origins of love are beyond my comprehension and the broader aspects of how our heart influences our lives is way beyond the scope of an article, truly requiring volumes to flesh out. So touching upon the title of this article, I want to bring my focus to a particular element  in this vast arena of the cosmic implications of the heart: being a social animal. The emotions of the heart, such as love, gratitude, compassion, acceptance and forgiveness are connecting forces. They pacify social tension and bond us to other people.

 As a strategy of evolution, love (some form of it) makes a lot of sense, especially for social animals because it allows groups to form, that can as a unit, deal with the many variables involved in survival. 

Homo sapiens are deeply social creatures and the need for social bonding runs deep in our biology. From the moment we are born, there is an innate drive to clutch to another human being; there is primal need to be touched, nurtured and cared for.

It won’t take much searching around to find study after study illuminating the health and longevity benefits of community and loving relationships.  They seem to be more important at determining mortality than smoking, exercise or good food. If we want to be truly healthy, we need to foster good high quality relationships and support structures. Here is an awesome TED talk on the topic.

 

The Closed Heart 

Much to the unconscious dismay of many of us in the modern world, our hearts are closed to this most fundamental of realities: 

that we are inherently social animals

Individualism is practically the new religion of the modern world, which sets the stage for the most common killer in western society: heart disease. We need one another and deep down, most of us crave the intimacy and human connection of the tribe. Something inside of us beckons outward, to touch, be touched and be understood. 

The desire to be with other humans is hardwired into us by the radical molding powers of evolution and is ultimately, fundamental to our survival.

Without each other we would parish. There is currently a host of traumas, perspectives and attitudes that block us off from this, by building a wall around this vulnerable part of us. Many defend this wall with statements like “I hate people” or “people suck” and my favorite:

“I hate people but I love animals”

It is likely that the “animals” fill a deep desire to connect with something, without the pain illuminated to us by interacting with our own species. It is easy to blame others for our own pain in relationships, because it takes the focus away from our own wounding.

         Enriching and awesome......but not a substitute for human relationships

       Enriching and awesome......but not a substitute for human relationships

If we look at the evolution of our species, and observe hunter gather cultures, the reality of the tribe is an all-consuming one. In fact many individual tribal people seldom think of themselves purely, as they instinctually know, that they are like an organ in a body and that their actions affect the whole.

The human genome evolved to expect this tightly knit unity and beyond eating and training like a wild human, opening up our hearts to a community is an integral part of rewilding. It is civilization that teaches us not to connect, it is not something innate. 

My own process in this arena of existence has been a challenging one, with endless demands for growth, opening up to vulnerability and learning to love. Abandonment from both my biological parents, multiple best friends setting me aside for “better” people, my first couple of child “puppy loves” rejecting me and life threatening betrayal in high school, left me closed off to say the least.

Other humans became a source of danger instead of one of nourishment.

With that belief held deeply in my heart; I only reinforced it more and more in a self-fulling prophecy. I unconsciously taught others not to love me. It is my darling wife, who was able to slowly nurture me out of my walled off isolation. She saw past that encrusted layer of self-protection and taught me how to love again, allowing me to open back up to other people. Doing so has been immensely rewarding. Ironically, one of the biggest challenges was allowing myself to receive love and accept it.

The main pain here, which I have been all too familiar with in the past, is that we simply are not good enough to be loved. If we believe this, and feel this in our hearts, the likelihood is that we will get this. Being a social animal starts with self-love. When we truly love ourselves, then we can extend this outward to others. 

Often we pull away because we do not feel as if we are good enough, as if exposing ourselves to those around us, to really allow ourselves to be unguarded, will only reinforce what we already know: that we are not wanted.

So instead of exposing ourselves to this pain, which instinctually threatens our ability to survive, we prefer to close off and not expose. The “other” is like a mirror for our own self-hate.

The technical details of how to approach the issue of “opening up” will come in other future resources. However, I want to bring it up, that it is not just a metaphorical notion; it can be seen quite literally in how we carry ourselves through the world. The slumped forward posture that is archetypal of today’s culture, is an expression of this walled off closed heart dynamic.

The front line of the body closes in order to protect the vital organs and sexual organs; this is a primal response, seen readily in the fetal position and in self defense/protective situations.

With healthy alignment, the heart and solar plexus often “lead” and this exposes are most vulnerable areas: our vital organs and genitalia. We are the only animal with this structural alignment, as most other animals lead with their head.  To lead with the heart is to literally be opened up and willing to engage with the outside.

We need to open up on many levels. The willingness to engage, bond and build community is essential to healthy wild life. If we open up our alignment and structure we can shave away the armor that rigidly holds us in a protective posture, which can in a downstream fashion, allow us to love and connect more.

We can also develop social skills, awaken the intelligence of the heart through heart based meditation and work on the emotional wounds that hold us back, which will in all likelihood affect our alignment.  My preferred method is to approach it from multiple ends and to move forward with a relentless courage that seeks the capacity to be vulnerable. 

Untamed in the 21st Century

For the purposes of this article I will use the words untamed, wild, animal, undomesticated, aliveness and free interchangeably. I will also use, caged, domesticated, trapped, and half alive in the same manner. 

What it Means to be Tamed and to Rewild 

Reˈwīld

verb

1.    to reverse the process of domestication.

2.    to return to a more wild or self-willed state.

Modern day humans are in many ways still Paleolithic hunter gathers, designed by evolution to exist as wild animals on planet earth. The reality that we currently exist within, as domesticated humans, is in many ways contrary to that innate architecture. I will not put a value judgement on this move into organized society, I am only pointing out that the current set-up is not one that jives with how we evolved to be thus far.

It is possible that in the grander scheme of things, that organized society is a stepping stone to something better.

Evolution is constant force of nature that is inescapable and far be it for me to have any inkling as to what purpose civilization has in the larger scheme of things. My purpose and intent, is and will always be, on how to be more alive and free in today’s world.

Being wild and untamed means many things to many different people. Some people, usually heavily domesticated ones, believe it means losing all control, being a “savage” who is ravenous and has no conscious sense of himself.

Some people think it means learning the skills of hunter gathers and adopting some of the life style habits that our ancestors lived with, and personally, I think that is big piece of the puzzle, as those are quite literally the innate patterns of wild humans; however that can sometimes drive our focus so far back, that we cannot see forward, by inducing ancestral nostalgia.

 In our quest to “rewild”, I think it is important to understand what it is that we are searching for. In the end, what I personally feel most of us seek is an inner state first and foremost, above and beyond an outer one. We want to be in touch with the wild fire that burns in our bellies. 

It is feelings on both ends of the spectrum that drive us towards this path. Depression, anxiety, meaninglessness and disillusion with the modern concrete world, drive us back into the primal one, where we feel connection, meaning, wonder, magic, belonging, homage and purpose. Many us have come to this movement for health reasons and have discovered renewed layers of vitality,  that remained hidden to us, while living the zoo life. 

Being in nature, being with other species of animals and learning ancient skills, to many us, just feels “right”, and helps us to rewild.  However, can we say that to partake in things that are not directly “ancestral” makes us “not wild”? Personally, I do not believe this is the case.  This leads to the title of this post and the question of “what does it mean to be untamed in the 21st century”?

"First off, it’s worth examining what it means to be domesticated.  In the most basic sense, to be domesticated is to be tame.  Tame animals are not dangerous. They are easy to manage and hard to provoke.  Their adrenal response, the cause of the fight-or-flight reflex, is tamped down.  In some sense, this is neoteny in behavior- the lifelong preservation of the trust, playfulness, and sociability of youth.”- Allison Guy

To answer that question, it is useful to understand what being domesticated means, if we are qualifying wild, by not being domesticated.  There are multiple aspects that affect this scale between tame and wild. For instance, the cultivation of neotenous behavior; neotony is the preservation of youth into adulthood, so that an animal never actually “matures” and thus remains a child it’s whole life in some ways. This is done in order to make the animal easier to manage and lead. In doing so it receives predictability, food and safety.

The only requirement is that it releases its freedom.

Another element is that the reproductive capacities of the animal are controlled by either neutering or directing its usage. In many ways to be tame is to be half alive because, overall, the animal’s sense of “self direction”, drive and will, is eliminated and the animals sense of purpose has become the prerogative of whoever it is who is doing the domesticating.

If we look around at the state of the modern world, many of the above mentioned attributes can be readily seen in certain very large populations. The masses are easily lead and directed. Religion and politics try to control every aspect of our lives and either of the two, can affect policies that can control our reproductive self-direction.

Here we have major institutions leading us, controlling what many of us are exposed to, what we can consume and who we can have sex with.

Thinking for ourselves or taking control over what we put into our bodies, how we move, who and how we have sex and how we relate to nature, is less common because we are indoctrinated into a domesticated way of relating to the world. Some can escape it on their own and others do not, why some do and others don’t I do not know.

 

Remaining a Child your Whole Life 

ne·ot·e·ny

noun

ZOOLOGY

1.     the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal.

The world is shitstorm of projecting and blaming, with little responsibility owned. Natural resources suffer, because humanity acts like a big baby, carelessly sucking on the tit of the earth, whining that it wants it now. That is neotony all the way.  The craziest thing is that in our case, we have done it to ourselves. We are the zoo keeper and the animal contained within it. We hold the key.

"Juvenile behavior was developed to protect children of any species from doing too much stupid shit that will get them killed. That someone discovered how to foster that state into adulthood is one of histories great tragedies” Mushtaq Ali Ansari

We do not have many references, or shining examples to pull out with scientific authority and say, “yes, this is a wild human in our society”.

In my experience/perception being “wild and untamed” as a hunter gather living in a tribe, is in some ways a very different thing, compared to when you are discussing someone who thrives and contributes to the modern world. Are they mutually exclusive? Personally, I don’t think so.

To Be Untamed

To me, untamed is in many ways internal, in the sense that it is not an external activity in “particular” that is required “as much” as I want my mind, emotions, body, and spirit to be free. You can get there through Kung fu, Qi Gong, and meditation or through “primal movement”, gardening, and walking your dogs, or through Rolfing and bioenergetics. 

The real cage is the one built around our minds, hearts and guts, that separates us from our true nature. Of course to say that it is only internal is not exactly accurate either, but I think true rewilding moves from the inside out even if you have to start from the outside in.

You can be physically strong, and still be trapped inside a neurotic cage. You can be a hunter and not be connected to the land or even destroy it for profit. You can train ancestral movement, but not be able to express the wild animal that is within, in an authentic manner that is not subdued.  It is more than a set of practices; it is a state of being.  

To me, to be untamed is to live your life the way you see fit, free from imagined burdens, conventions or limitations.; to be free of imaginary restrictions placed on you by society. It means being self-possessed. It means maturing fully, taking on responsibility for yourself and the whole human tribe, by contributing to the world. 

It means waking up to the reality that we live inside nature, as an integral part of it, it is not just a stage for us to act our stories on.  It means being vital, connected to your body, purpose driven, energetic, playful, loving, fierce, fully alive, authentic, dangerous, resilient, real and present. If we become fully alive, then we have become unchained. We can have all these traits regardless of whether not we live a forest life; we can be a CEO and still be those things.

We must not try to become our tribal ancestors, for we cannot, however we can become authentically free in today’s modern world.

I live and work at Wolf Sanctuary at the moment, and I can absolutely say that wolves have been fantastic teachers in this “self direction” (and many of the qualities expressed above).  There are many wild animals that can be tamed to some degree, but not so much with a pure wolf. You cannot “tell” a wolf what to do, you can reason with it however, and ask it to work with you in certain ways, it might comply and it might not. They are self possessed, their spirit cannot be easily dominated, whether or not they were raised in captivity. They decide to comply based off of their own volition. 

Trying to force a wolf to do something it does not want to do causes it an enormous amount of stress, they might die of heart attack before they jump through a ring of fire.

We need some of that, especially where it matters. Even though, other animals can be great teachers in this “wild spirit”, we must not get in the trap that tells us that we must be acting like a wolf to be an animal, human activity, dwellings and ways of life, are the patterns of animals; humans are animals, we just have to remember and embrace that fact. 

Much of the rewilding movement relates to lifestyle changes, practices and skills; this is fantastic of course, as these behaviors can have direct pathways to the state we want to unleash within ourselves. Some of us want these skills for their practical use alone or for health reasons, while others want them in order to reconnect to something ancient; personally I want them for all those reasons.  

For those of us seeking freedom, we must remember, the external activity is a way to untame the spirit and unlock the truth of who we are in our full glory, so that we may live in a different way. Many of us are like flowers that have yet to bloom.

Overall, in end, it is my opinion, that being untamed in the 21st century is going to depend on the state of our spirit, more than anything else and in reality, it likely would have been the same for our ancestors, the only difference is that the world they lived in, did not try to cage and leash their spirit, the way that ours currently does.

With this, I leave you with practices, perceptual modes and suggestions that can perhaps assist some in their pursuit to flourish and mature fully. This is just my personal list and reflects how I approach this process; there are likely countless ways to get there.

  • Maturity and self-possession
  • Moving your body with freedom and ownership
  • Eating like our ancestors
  • Being connected with and spending time in nature
  • Being a social animal
  • Breathing fully
  • Undoing emotional repression
  • Freedom from domesticated ideals
  • Hunting , gathering and growing your own food
  • Bush craft
  • Connecting with your ancestors
  • Thriving
  • Having animist perspectives
  • Ecstatic sex
  • Grounding
  • Being with other animals
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Bioenergetics/ Body-Mind Psychology    
  • Martial art
  • Learning
“You need a little more animal energy. You are too sophisticated, too civilized, and that is crippling you. Too much civilization is a paralyzing thing. It is good in a small dose but too much of it is very dangerous. One should always remain capable of being an animal. Your animal has to be freed; that is the problem as I see it. If you can learn to be a little wild, all your problems will disappear. So start from tonight — and enjoy it!” –Osho

The Role of Catharsis in the Primal Health Movement

What is Meant by the Term "Ancestral"

With the current resurgence of ancestrally based platforms for living, many of us are looking backwards to determine how to best move forward. It is a beautiful movement and I have truly gown to love the practice of doing our best to understand how our ancestors lived their lives and letting it influence us. That practice in and of itself is rather ancestral.

There is some debate in these various groups and some of them reference particular time periods, such as the Paleolithic era or even relatively modern pre industrial cultures that are still around, or were around a few hundred years ago, as their reference point. I feel as though this is beneficial, even if it is perhaps a little bit short sighted. The camp I have grasped onto the most is the one who is tracing back our ancestry to the beginning of life on this planet. 

When we say ancestral, we do not just mean humans or humans in a particular time period. Our genetic code and overall relationship to this planet and to each other is billions of years old. We are because many other species before us have been.

Often, the biological inheritances that we think about are the major players in this game of life and evolution, such as our diets, movement patterns, environments and social interactions. These of course form the major backbone of our lifestyles, but there is in my experience, a missing element in many of these conversations.

The missing element that I have encountered and have addressed in some ways in myself, through cathartic modes of release are the inner state and energetic essence of the individual.

Something to be understood is that what makes a lion in a zoo a depressed neurotic version of itself is not just the  basics of water, food and shelter.

The questions I ask here are, how free is your emotional structure and framework? How wild is your mind?

Not in a sense of it being chaotic and lacking maturity, which could be seen as primitive “perhaps”, but how many of your animalistic desires, intensity, aggression and impulses are locked away and repressed? What patterns and compensations that result from a domestication of your spirit do you have ingrained in your body? Are you truly free?

The Field of Bioenergetics 

To look deeper into these questions I would like to refer to a field of psychotherapy called “Bioenergetics”, and pull from some of what it has to offer. Even though the name has “energy” in it, it does not necessarily refer to some etheric form of unobservable energy. The first definition that comes up when I looked up the term is:

 “The study of the transformation of energy in living organisms."

The father of Bio-energetics Alexander Lowen, almost certainly had that meaning in mind when he created the field. Everything that we do, think and feel is dependent on an energy source. Have you ever been so tired that you can’t think or feel?

Something not readily obvious to many is that thoughts and emotions are literally driven by some form of energy, the basic energy of life that is supplied by food and respiration.

All the outcomes that occur from a living organism in fact are driven by bio-energy. So in essence, what we will be looking at in this article is the dynamics and distribution of this energy based off of how an individual uses it. Coming back to the field of “bioenergetics”, as a practice, the following definition is basic introduction to the idea.

 

“Bioenergetic therapy offers an integrated, effective, relational approach to address these common manifestations of early wounding, distress, and dysfunction.  At the heart of Bioenergetics is a deep conviction that there is a mind-body correlation for many psychological problems.  It makes use of the connection created in the therapeutic relationship to be the foundation that supports the process of healing.  It often includes work with body contact, boundaries, grounding, and the understanding of muscular tensions as indications of somatic and psychological defenses against past trauma.  The goal is more than the absence of symptoms – it is having aliveness, getting a taste of pleasure, joy, love – vibrant health”- Anshul Mittal

One of the most central themes in BE is what is referred to as “body armor”. Body armor is the habitual patterns of feeling and tension present in an individual that manifest as an objective and observable outcome in that person’s body. There are also qualitative aspects to it, such as how a person feels or senses various parts of the body or the degree of embodiment present. 

*First, a disclaimer, I am offering these explanations as very elementary and simplified versions of the dynamics present within these fields for the purposes of this article. There is a whole lot to BE that is way beyond the scope of this article and I will write more about them in the future.*

These patterns present themselves as a way to avoid feeling certain emotions, and the most common ones are neediness, anger, rage, sadness, grief, sexuality and excitement.

 

These structures generally develop in early childhood and relate to how a child processes the world and how his or her basic needs are met. These needs are as simple as being picked up and held, being wanted, being kept warm, being nursed, being allowed to express ourselves and being allowed to explore. Many of us don’t really get these things in the quantity/quality that is necessary to completely prevent this armor. As time passes and we grow into this armor, the repressed emotions magnify and solidify; then we build our lives with these patterns.

The notion is not that the emotion is somehow “stuck” in a particular body part, so much as emotions and feelings are related to certain body parts and we tense or disembody in order to suppress the feelings. BE uses many exercises meant to help us express these emotions and restore feeling to body parts that have been cut off. There is as well a strong intention of grounding the person in reality. The grounding helps those who “disembody” in order to prevent feeling.

Many of us in the movement and mobility circles run into this armor all the time with ourselves and with our clients (if we have clients). The collapsed chest, tight hip flexors and weak glutes may not just be a result of sitting, but could actually be tied to something that happen when the person was a year old.

 

It is harder to quantify, but that does not mean that when we help people radically transform their structure, that we are not interacting with the person’s emotional body. A movement practice dived into with earnest intention and “balance”, can totally transform a person’s character structure or it can “undo” some of it.

It is of course possible to avoid the things that are difficult and simply reinforce your armor through training. I unknowingly did this for years.

For example, if the person below made a point of squatting a lot at the expense of the upper body.

Chronic muscular tension is also a way of reducing the available energy of an organism because it takes energy to hold these rigid patterns in place and it takes extra energy to do anything in the face of these patterns, as we may be literally fighting ourselves in every moment. 

The less energy we have available the less we feel because feelings are driven by bio-energy. Hence the more energy we have at our disposal the more “alive” we are and the more alive we                                                                                     are, the more we feel.

What is Catharsis 

With that background in place, it is easier to the role of catharsis in the primal health movement. Catharsis is defined as:

ca·thar·sis

Noun

1.     the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

“We are born with an emotional safety valve, natural catharsis. The gentlest form is talking to ourself out loud. We may be embarrassed if overheard, but children are less inhibited, and use natural catharsis as self-therapy from babyhood. They talk out loud while playing, and the meaning of the words does not matter. They fight, run, throw themselves around, shout, scream, swear, cry, laugh. When prevented they sometimes throw tantrums when they lose control of themselves.”- John Kapp

Here is an example below:

 

If we look around the animal kingdom we realize that the ability to heavily armor and distort our natural structure is mostly unique to humans. We don’t see intense postural variations in the rest of the wild world. The question arises then.....Why not?  It is theorized by some researchers and therapist that the origin of armor is the result of a few things: 

1.     Our innate purpose as a species is chosen by the individual and is not biologically hardwired, so we must “choose” what is meaningful to us. This self-chosen meaning is what drives a lot of our goal driven behavior.

2.      We have a “will” that we can impose upon our “feelings” in order to propagate self-directed goal driven behavior. The “will” of making ourselves do things that goes against impulse is the source of the armor.

3.     The human will is an imperfect mechanism of evolution and manifest itself in many secondary ways.

Below is a quote that explains this idea. “Radix” refers to bio-energy or life force.

“Goal-seeking entails the flow of the radix so as to maintain movement toward the goal in the face of alternative directions. When the goal is biologically determined, the attraction of the goal is automatic, and there is no conflict between the animal's feelings and its goal-seeking behavior. Thus the bird "feels like" building its nest or migrating or defending its territory, and does not need to "force" itself toward these instinctive ends. When goals are individually rather than species determined, however, the attraction of the goals cannot be built in. In man, the channeling toward a chosen goal of the radix flow which underlies feeling and movement is automatic. Conflict between feeling and purpose occurs often, so much that it becomes chronic. The common result of this conflict is a lasting block in the capacity to experience and express spontaneous deep feeling. The second common result is failure to develop the capacity to live purposely, either because of inability to choose appropriate long-range goals, or the inability to pursue such goals effectively after they are chosen, or both.” Charles Kelly

The world that we currently live in, is one in which, our animalistic needs are not often attended to as babies (like letting a baby cry its head off in a crib until exhausted). One in which, many of us feel very little sense of purpose, or do work that does not enliven us; as a result, we are constantly forced to do things we really would prefer not to do. This creates a lot of armor.

On top of that, intense emotional expression is seen as primitive, animalistic and wild, thus it is shunned. We are not meant to neurotically hold unto energetic emotional expressions day in and day out, the way that society teaches us to.

Emotions have a “charge” which seeks to move the body in specific ways and if we stifle this movement, we lock up this energy and we alter our structure. Tribal people appear to be less armored, as their lives are simpler, many tribal cultures are very attentive to the needs of babies, and there is less unwanted activity that is imposed upon the individual.

The more “civilized” we are the more armored we become.

They likely require/required much less in the way of cathartic episodes. It also seems like the expression of these intrinsic energetic eruptions were stifled much less with tribal culture. Does the howling, stomping native sound familiar? 

Before we move forward, I would like to point out that armor is not only negative and if we impose our will on ourselves in order to stay “disciplined”, or to push forward towards a goal despite what our feelings want, then we are employing the use of armor. Some armor is good and without some, it would be difficult to accomplish much in a Neolithic world.

The key is developing healthy armor, which can be done through intelligent strength and mobility training. Strength training teaches you how to impose will or intent. Armor can be very useful for getting things done and if you are highly driven, you’re definitely playing with a type of armor.

Hence the conquistador pummeling forward at his goal is going to be more armored, then the happy care free tribesman, whose daily task do not go heavily against his/her sense of purpose.

My own personal experience with catharsis has been life changing and has done more for my health and movement quality then other more common modalities, due to unloading enormous store houses of rage, neediness, pain and aggression (my patterns).  Doing so has opened up ranges of motion that previously faced a lot of resistance when addressed by more “structured” movement drills.

Not to say that these drills have not been beneficial of course, just offering perspective. Being a student of primal/ancestral movement, I can say that some of the most primal “movements” and responses I can imagine have come out of me during these sessions.

I have expressed movements/vocalizations that can be seen in other primates, worms, big cats and several other animals. This type of release has been more valuable than many other forms of “self- help”. I have experienced better workout recovery, more sexual energy, greater degrees of “quiet” in my mind, more freedom, better health, greater feelings of lightness and closer communal bonding. 

The out-pours of an intense cathartic session are incredibly ancient responses to the varying stimuli that we deal with and many of these types of responses are heavily suppressed by society and repressed by the individual.

Yelling, screaming, raging, crying, stomping, setting intense boundaries, anger, extreme excitement, biting and sadness are often discouraged, as they are seen as “immature”. Much of this is outside the realm of conscious thought, organized vocalization and is really impulse driven. We suppress these impulses and in doing so they can affect the health of the body mind continuum.

If you study animals for any length of time you will see these innate and “wild” responses occur and without any conscious suppression.

An energetic drive occurs within the animal and there is no “stopping” it inside the animal’s body, it does not fight against this impulse, instead the body expresses this emotional drive freely, the animal completes its cycle and lets it go. Not so with humans, as we often have feelings and impulses that we fight against and restrain in order to present what we feel we must to the world around us.

We face a unique set of circumstances in today’s world, one in which we are still biologically and energetically hunter gather’s meant for a very different world and yet, civilization offers the individual an enormous amount of potential for growth not possible in tribal cultures.

How do we bridge the gap between our animalistic past and continue to move forward in our society?

I think it is certain that we have an opportunity to include the past and sophisticate the future. With the right types of training, it is possible to absorb and take upon ourselves a very capable and healthy form of armor and simultaneously release the primal “noise” that exist inside of us, the creature the revolts against domestication. Not everyone needs catharsis, but boy if you need it, it can be a life saver.

Re-wilding must go beyond the imitation of our ancestors and address the “soul” of the person and unlock an inner state that is unburdened by civilized notions of acceptable behavior.

I am not advocating complete and utter destructive abandon, only awareness that these animalistic impulses do occur and that learning to find healthy ways to express them can be life changing, they certainly have been for me and many others.

* There are cases where this type of catharsis is contraindicated to such as psychosis, suicidal tendencies or extreme neurosis. Better to seek out a professional therapist in these cases*

Below are some suggested Practical methods of Catharsis-

1.     The mystic OSHO developed certain meditations meant to unlock and express these emotions.  Most notably his “Dynamic Meditation” and “Gibberish Meditation” methods.

2.     Alexander Lowen’s Bio-energetic drills

3.     Primal Scream Therapy

4.     Wrestling and Striking

5.     War Haka’s from the Maori Tribe

6.     Free form dance  

7.     The Body Doctor (explained below)

-My personal favorite is to combine expressive body movements and vocalizations in a free for all release with very little “structure”. The key with this form of catharsis (and the others) is to not force yourself to do anything. It should not look or sound any specific way. You allow yourself to express whatever it is you need to express; whatever feelings inside of you that seek an exit. If there is nothing wanting release then so be it. Allow yourself to erupt with freedom and awareness. In order to balance this out, lying on the ground for a while in silence afterwards is highly recommended and helps to consolidate the experience. -

How To Heal The Human Animal

My Childhood Health Struggles 

If you are struggling with chronic health issues and a lack of vitality, I can certainly empathize with you. My hope is that this article will confer some value and assistance to your journey back to robustness. Many people who meet me these days, can’t imagine that I have not always been and looked this way (healthy). In truth though, it has been a tough journey for me to feel and look the way I do, with improvements happening daily.

I suffered from a lot of different health issues in my youth.  The less severe ones have been (all of which occurred in youth): I was hospitalized for bulimic tendencies, had high cholesterol, was severely overweight, had frequent urination, horrible sinus infections that threatened my life and had many hospital visits because of a mysterious and crushing abdominal pain. To top it off I also had terrible anxiety, so much so that my parents struggled greatly with dropping me off at kinder garden, having to literally take weeks off of work to hang around the school so that I felt safe.

The above though was actually the mild stuff, the two that have given me the most resistance to work with (and the most lessons) have been my flat pituitary gland and horrible joint pain in knees, shoulders and elbows. The pain was so bad that running just a few meters would cause me to collapse in horrible pain. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the “master gland” as it controls most of the body’s hormonal functions, especially our sex and vitality hormones like testosterone, thyroid hormone, and growth hormone. 

The gland looks like a little pea that sits in a thrown like structure called the Sella Tunica, and this thrown normally has cap on it that keeps cerebral spinal fluid out; mine does not have this cap and thus it full of CSF; this essentially flattens it. This flattening can have a suppressive signal that causes a decrease in some or all of the bodies’ primary hormones. This was the case for me and at age 13, I was given a 6 month round of testosterone injections in order to jump start my puberty, which was being delayed. External hormones always shut down your internal creation of that hormone, and thus with the flat gland, it set me up for issues for many years to come.

These days, I am healthier, stronger and more alive than I have ever been. It does not mean there is not room for improvement, just that if I were to compare myself no,  to myself even just 5-6 years ago, the difference is night and day in how I feel most days. The process of healing and becoming vital has been arduous with many setbacks, though each time I was setback, I came back stronger and better, having learnt from my mistakes. In this process the outer transformation has been a reflection of the inner one.

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Healing the Human Animal 

Healing The Human Animal is a framework that has evolved from my own journey and through the distillation of universal principles in the arena of health and healing, placed within the forefront of evolutionary theory. It holds that we are animals (primates) and that animal magnetism, and the wild health it brings are birthrights.

If the conditions of our wild spirit our unleashed then the health of body and mind follows.

It does not take a prescriptive stance in that we want to modify disease states; our goal here is to modify health states.  What we want is the amplification of our innate robustness and our focus lies on that end of the spectrum. What I am sharing in this article are perspectives that may be useful to you in your journey to “radiant health”, what Chinese Taoist referred to as "health beyond danger".

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

Health is so much more then the absence of disease or the managing of symptoms. Yes, sometimes you have to start there, or potentially return there for small periods of time, but the goal needs to be to move beyond it, into wholeness and dynamic wellness. In this way of framing it the thoughts go from disease to vitality. How vital do you feel? It may shift from time to time based off of the variables of your life, however there is a underlying current. Not "I feel good for my age"- age is a number.

Vitality is not just the ability to train and be athletic , or about pushing yourself into overwork in your job and pushing forward (that is mental toughness): it is your ability to live fully.

Having a healthy sex drive, moving with freedom in all your joints,  being strong, sleeping well most nights, not needing to rely on stimulants, having consistent energy, needing to move, having passions, being open, wanting to be touched by others and wanting to touch, being able to relax, being connected to your soul, being able to love and give yourself fully, and wanting to learn new things- this is health.

The process of Healing the Human Animal is the process of becoming fully alive.

"Keeping the body totally fit and functional is no job for the uninformed or the careless person. It requires an understanding of the body, sound health and eating practices and disciplined living."
-Paul Bragg

So below I have organized the 8 primary areas (that I am aware of at the time of this writing), that if given consistent attention, can help you unlock your innate health and reawaken the robustness of the wild animal, which is your birthright. If you remove that which is in the way and give your body/mind what it needs, it has been my experience that healing just occurs. This article does not delve into the details of how to apply the technical aspects of the principles, it just outlines the major landmarks in order to give you perspective. 

 

1.    The state of your mind needs to be addressed.

The way you think about yourself and what you think is even possible, is going to affect the outcome. The stories you hold in your head about aging in general, about what it means to be healthy, and about how much vitality you can unlock in yourself, will determine and set the stage for the rest.

 

If you know and understand that superior health is your ancestral birthright, then your actions and thoughts will align with that truth.

The standards you hold for yourself in this arena will play a huge roll. If you’re okay just “managing” your diabetes or believe you’re supposed to be in pain because of old injuries, then your ideas will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Switching your thinking from “symptoms of disease” to “degree of robustness” is the biggest shift necessary here. Learning to let go of self-imposed limiting ideas is paramount. If this shift does not take place then you will undermine yourself with self-destructive habits, in order to create the reality that matches the framework in your mind. The way your thoughts lead to the right actions or the wrong actions, is the path to pay attention to.

2.    You must release emotional trauma.

While conventional “thoughts” are in the head, the rest of the body stores and holds on to emotional patterns and these patterns can and will interfere with the healthy functioning of the body. Patterns of feeling are patterns of tension. Your life force is distributed along the path where there is the most energy. Look at the balance of proportion in your body from left to right, front to back and top to bottom; is one significantly larger than the other?

What parts of your body feel stiff, heavy, sluggish, deadened, cutoff, lax, weak, inhibited, over active or tense? Do you have the urge to bite, to strike out, to yell, to scream, to cry, to self-destruct, to stomp, to laugh or to collapse? Are you exhausted because your keeping your pain, anger, frustration or sex drive bottled up?

These emotions need to be felt and expressed in order for healthy flow to return. Time and time again when I stall or plateau, I find that a good cathartic session breaks through my current limits. I am a trainer in movement and physical training, but I can say with an absolute certainty that catharsis has proven to be essential in going from sick and depressed, to well and vital. 

Seek out methods of trauma release. Learn to let go of the wounds that trace all the way back to infancy. Take a look at Lowen Bioenergetics, Primal Scream therapy and Osho’s Dynamic and Gibberish meditations. Also, looking into Bioenergetics grounding, can take you very far in this realm.

3.    Commitment.

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You will face resistance, there will be failure and there will be setbacks. If you allow these to deter you, you will stay where you are at or degrade further.

Understand that there is always going to be failure and times where your consistency drops off. This is 100% guaranteed in any endeavor that you choose to undertake. The key is to know this beforehand, and not allow the momentary setback to prevent you from continuing your chosen path.

Being resilient is all about standing back up after a hit, not preventing the hit in the first place.

The setback can be used as a step back to re-evaluate and readjust your current path.  Success is really about controlled and calculated errors. Constant refinement and an attitude of persistence is the way. You may have a few really good weeks and then crash (I have). The goal is to slowly make the ratio of up days to low days larger and larger. Even then, hibernation is essential and lower energy days does not necessarily mean something is wrong; learn to embrace the space between the notes of music.

You must be 100% committed to your health and build your life to support it, not the other way around, in turn,  your will be rewarded with more life.

4.    Patience

“Remember your body moves slower than the mind. This is on purpose. The body is the tree that bends itself to the mind’s light over time. Show it continual love, give it continual care. It will yield to your intent, if you stay steady as the sun. Steady with light and love.”- Aubrey Marcus
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This relates back to commitment, while commitment is the yang side, patience is the yin side of this equation. You have to wait.  You have to be immensely patient. Your lack of health did not occur in a day or a month, it has probably been something that was created over years and years of sub optimal habits and perceptions.

You have to be willing to give yourself the space and acceptance to have back slides, to not see immediate changes and for progress to just move slowly.

Sometimes you will have quantum leaps and sometimes progress will slow to crawl. Stay with it and be patient.

Even if you’re not trying to overcome health issues and you are trying to make changes to your body, give yourself the gift of patience. Learn the path of the turtle and with time the rewards will be immense.  

5.    Over nourish yourself

Simply put you have to create a nourishing environment for yourself and give your body-mind a surplus of the necessary elements it needs to restore, repair and build up.

Sleep 

First on this list is your sleep. Sleep is a nutrient. Sleeping deeper, is the most important thing, as better quality sleep is more important than more sleep. Take supplements, use meditation or breath work before bed, use a sleep induction mat, use white noise machines, use ear plugs, and blacken out your room.  Learn how to let go. This is one of the simplest things you can do to start getting healthier right away.

Nutrition 

Second on the list is your nutrition. Your diet is meant to support you, nourish you and enrich your life, empowering you to do the things you want to do. Make it as restorative as possible by making sure you have an ample amount of vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, phytochemicals, zoo chemicals and water.

Think of having a high amount of everything, instead of demonizing any aspect of a truly restorative ancestral omnivorous diet.

Eat the rainbow and eat the zoo. If you are trying to get way leaner, create a “small” caloric deficit of 10-15% and resist the urge to crash diet. Waving your calories up and down intuitively can also be beneficial, as it stimulates natural cycles of feast and famine. Without an ample supply of nutrients, your body will be dealing with an unnecessary stress and not have the required resources to heal.  Take a look at “The PerfectHealth Diet” written by Paul Jaminet.

 Movement

- Third on the list is movement.  Katy Bowman, M.S in her book “Move Your DNA” delivers an amazing idea, and that is that we have a movement “diet” and that some movements (running on a treadmill, sit-ups) are equivalent to junk food.

Likewise there are movements that are very nutritious. The human body has evolved for complex movement across a multitude of environments. We are movers and our capacity for it far exceeds that of any other creature on this planet.

The amount of different disciplines and styles of movement available for us to master are countless. With that said, there is also a set of “universal movements” that are part of our birthright and kinesthetic alphabet, that are essential to master and own. Crawling, walking, rolling, rocking, creeping, lunging, pushups, waving, squatting, kneeling and the use of tools, are all part of this alphabet and form the core of the human movement possibilities. We want a nutritious moving diet with high quality, stimulating and restorative movements that addresses our movement “needs”. We need certain movements as our entire genetic code expects these things to occur. Move more, move better and tap into the primal ancestral movement code inside you DNA.

Relationships 

Fourth are nourishing relationships. We are social animals and have evolved to need each other in order to survive and thrive. Study after study has shown that community and loving relationships are healing, and correlate with longer and higher quality lifespans. Without others, isolation, loneliness and a lack of touch infuse our lives.

 

 

Touch is one of the most powerful healers at our disposal, stimulating growth, restoration And development. 

In the wild, isolation over long periods of time, would make our demise that much easier, as it would mean abandon and outcast. No man or women is an island onto themselves. Not wanting others in your lives is probably a sign of wounding and turning away from yourself and your own kind. This is where trauma release and the acceptance of the need for others comes into play.

 

6. Get Strong and Robust  

This is the state we are aiming for with all the above. Robustness is the ultimate goal of health work. To feel vital, be adaptable, capable and not limited by the state of your body, but being empowered by it to do the things you want to do.

The get strong, you need progressive resistance training and proper recovery.

There are many ways to perform resistance training, such as with your own bodyweight, maces, clubs, sandbags, barbells and dumbells to name a few.

Find what you love.  This is where you raise the ceiling of your capacity and what you can handle; this is where you ignite the flame within.  Resistance training also helps the body release testosterone and growth hormone, while simultaneously lowering cortisol, the bodies’ primary stress hormone (if you don’t overtrain); all of this contributes to youthful vitality. Once the previous steps are in place, this is where the primary alchemy of vitality is ignited.

7.    Sexual energy and sexual repression.

Your libido is a strong sign of your health as your fertility denotes virility and robustness.

Life force energy is sexual energy and vice versa. The desire that we live our lives with in general, the desire for love, accomplishment, growth, meaningful work, expansion and friendship all erupt forth from our sex drive (the drive to be creative and productive). If your life is listless and you lack sexual desire your health will suffer.

The sexual desire does not need to be directed towards another person, but being fully sexually potent, is simply a state of being. If you have fantasies (that you actually want to act out) that you repress, consistently ignore your sexual feelings, and/or do not feel sexy, then your vitality cannot erupt.

To be fully alive is to be fully sexual.

How does pleasure as a whole permeate your life? Do you seek out pleasurable situations and things you enjoy? Do you feel it is a good thing to do things that are fun and that feel good?  Explore your sexuality, increase your fertility, ignite your desire for life and learn to allow pleasure to permeate all you relationships, your work and your life as a whole. The more health you have flowing through you the more of your “essence” you actually have access to.

8.    Learn to use the new energy.

Health changes you by supplying you with more energy, thus, making you face what is inside you and outside of you. The more energy you have, the less space there is for apathy, repression and purposelessness. You will have to find places to put the new energy and distribute a new level of being “charged up” into the avenues of your life or you will be burned alive by it. It may not just be a process of doing more, but of giving more deeply.

The same person that existed in my broken body had to transform alongside my physicality.

Here is where we move from taking care of ourselves and our needs, to what you can give the world. Like a straw, you take in the new charge and funnel into the world.

Your gift will be magnified by your new level of energy, make sure you make a priority of giving it. If you are not using the new energy then you will self-destruct by tying to hold onto it. This is one of the purpose's of health and strength, as imbued by mother nature: to serve the whole.   

 Hopefully, some of these ideas can offer some useful perspective to you on your journey.

 **This article is not meant to treat any disease or replace quality medical care if you need it. If you have a life threatening illness it is recommended you visit a good high quality natural health physician, which I am not. This article addresses health and strength rather than diseases and is strongly informed by my own research and healing process.**

Grounding and The Fundamental Resting Positions

"There are two basic ways that the process of grounding personal energy can be understood: one is physical, the other is mental.  Since mental processes are rooted in the body and bodily processes are experiential in nature, the two aspects of grounding are really one.  When we talk of being grounded in reality, we mean that an individual is both psychologically balanced and physically stable.  This ideal is expressed in the Latin phrase: mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body).  While the attainment of this ideal is made difficult by the stresses of life, it is important not to lose sight of the desirability of such a state.  Fortunately, there are practical means to assist us in moving our lives in a healthier, more grounded direction". - John Lawson

 

 The Importance of Grounding

A common and important term that is used in both spiritual circle’s and in body mind psychology- is grounding. It refers to the energetic state of the body and the orientation of the mind in an individual.

 

Grounding is about being centered in our primal core as a creature of the earth, present within physical reality and fully alive.

This, also by default taps into another concept that is referred to as embodiment.  To be embodied is to be deeply “present” within our bodies.  Intelligence is not just found in a single location (the cranial brain) but is spread across the whole body and thus the hands, arms, legs, feet, core, genitals, back and abdomen have their own innate awareness that offers perspective to the whole. Or in other words, as obvious as this may seem, we are not just our heads (regardless of what society tells you). 

The notion of embodiment helps us understand how present we are in various parts of our bodies. A person with a very large upper body and a very small lower body is a clear example of someone “being” more in one part of the body then the other.

The primary area through which we ground is through the legs/feet  and the state of these areas often say a lot about our connection to the earth/physical reality, (barring traumatic accidents that have left you permanently altered), if you are in pain in your lower body then there is pain in your root system.  Pain here is often a wounding with your perceived ability to survive; for how can you survive if you cannot stand on your own two feet.

 It is through the limbs that we interact with the world and our embodiment of the limbs has much to do with how grounded we are. 

Is our mental orientation pulled away from the demands of daily life- off in a daze of dreams or is our full mental and physical capacity available to us in the situations we need them in? For many the hope for spiritual enlightenment and connecting to our “higher selves”, is being done at the expense of our “lower selves” cutting off our spirit at the knees. 

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Grounding is not just a “concept” but an energetic state of the body and mind, being grounded means your mind and body are calm but have their full capacity at their disposal. You are not overly hyperactive and unable to relax or depressed and lacking vitality. A connection with the ground is balancing. 

If you are not in touch with the ground, energy moves upward into the shoulders, neck  and head, the breathing is high in the clavicles instead of low in the belly and the persons is hung up, anxious, heady and restless.

Another manifestation of the ungrounded state is the opposite: where the person feels cut off from the nourishment of their roots and the charge of the body is low resulting in a depressed state. The roots offer us a direct route to our innate vitality by tapping into our wild phenotype.  It brings on a harmony between our inner state and the state of the environment we are in.

Through my own process of transformation and growth I have found that understanding and reconnecting with the primal aspects of myself on a visceral level have been immensely powerful by allowing my psychosomatic self, a foundation.

It confers great nourishment and intensifies the experience of life to be connected with the primal spirit. It grounds our perspective allowing more ethereal realizations the capacity for deeper embodiment. The deeper my embodiment is the easier it is to bring the more nebulous spiritual realizations I have had into my daily life.  Being grounded is the opposite of being a space cadet. There is on spiritual paths today, the possibility of being so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.

It is much easier today to “rise away” too far, then it was in previous times or even in some other parts of the world. The modern age, with all its benefits and positives, currently has an anti-body culture entrenched in it.  Many of the issues we currently face as a global society are directly related to being disconnected with the primal aspects of who we are as a species.

We have become "domesticated" and in this we have lost our full capacity for life like a tiger in a zoo.

 

As mentioned above, grounding happens predominantly through the lower body.

The important questions to ask ourselves are “what is our relationship to our lower body and what is its relationship to the ground?”

With these questions in mind let’s look at a contemporary western phenomenon: the chair. Sitting in chairs is a relatively new pattern that is in many ways harmful. Chairs are supposed to help us rest and take a load off, and while they do accomplish that, the human structure has positions inside its very design that are meant for that purpose: to rest. They are our resting positions and they are about our body’s relationship to whatever surface is directly below us.

The most commonly known position in this category is the squat, but there are many others.

During our development as infants, these positions are some of the most used and relished and before we can stand we must squat and before we can squat, we sit on the ground.  

Learning to let the ground support you is imperative, that is the purpose of a foundation: support. There was a point in the past where my knees were in pretty bad state, and trying to run just 10-15 feet could cause me to collapse in horrendous pain. Any type of squatting and kneeling was very difficult to do and I had a lot of fear surrounding those patterns. Certainly parts of it were emotional and showed in my lack  of connection with the world around me, but there is always a movement pattern connected to emotional states.

Slowly over time, with the aid of a staff that I used to lean against and support myself, as to not put too much pressure on my lower body, I regained my range of motion and can enter, be within and exit many of these fundamental positions without issue. At one point the thought of entering into a squat or sitting on the balls of my feet was a scary idea. Pain in the knees, ankles, hip and lower back can be a sign post that you are disconnected from the ground. 

Learning to take on the shape of ground support is powerful medicine for our relationship to our ancestral heritage.

 

“The opposite of movement is rest; one without the other is nonsensical. At rest we assume natural Archetypal Postures. The archetype is the original pattern or model from which copies are made; the best example or prototype of that class of objects. Archetype used in the context of human movement refers to postures that emerge from, and are embedded within, the interaction of many joints and many muscles. Losing access to our Archetypal Postures is a biomechanical peril. We sit on the floor in many postures that are our birthright, postures that our modern society neglects to value, instead preferring chairs and sofas. Rising from these Archetypal Postures to our full upright bipedal posture uses deeply embedded patterns of movement.” – Phillip Beach

 

Both in psychosomatic therapy and in fitness training, there are of a large variety of “exercises” designed to help you accomplish the goal of addressing the lower body. Body mind therapy has a variety of potentially useful ways to get us grounded and physical training has countless lower body drills (many of them also useful). While these exercises can accomplish the task of helping us become more grounded there exist movements that are inherently within the human structure which can accomplish the same and offer us something engineered movements can not.

Many of these movements are not “man made”, they are a part of the human body. I propose that these positions can be very useful in the goal of helping us ground and are priceless additions to getting out of pain. They are innate and thus are inherently primal. 

They also bring our attention into the lower body with a force and dexterity few things can parallel. They address and work with every angle in full range of motion that the lower body has at its disposal. With these factors in mind they can not only help us ground, they can help to educate the lower body, thus increasing its intelligence.

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Due to the fact that these are our natural resting positions, how easily you can enter, be within and the exit some of these positions can reflect the state of your overall recovery; meaning that they can be diagnostic to your overall structural and nervous system state.

They can as a result illuminate how tense and stressed you really are. There is no doubt that to be in these positions properly- requires an intense focus and awareness to enter into the lower body.  Aside from being energetically grounded, there is the issue of being viscerally grounded. The tension patterns that are ingrained into our structure matter a whole lot.

The same way a person’s posture can be slumped and “stuck” that way, the lower body can lack a type of tensional force that the human organism is designed to be exposed to, and thus it will not function properly without it.

This will affect every part of us from our feet to our finger tips. To recover these innate structures and put them underload for time, can help us reconnect with and embrace our inherent root system.

“ Here in this body are the sacred rivers, here are the sun and moon, as well as all the pilgrimage places. I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body-" Saraha