Five Years Since Starting Hot Yoga And I Got . . .

If you’ve done yoga for any number of years, you already know that the above and the below are the WRONG questions to ask or even speculate. Pose the questions and get an immediate game show like buzzer sound:

What has yoga DONE FOR ME? <Errrrrr!>

What do my triceps look like? <Berrrrrrr!>

Can I do Crow yet? <BERRRRR!>

What a person “gets” from yoga is a spectrum from nothing in particular to the tools you need to cope with Western society. No more, no less. You get a little more flexible, a little more gentle, one hopes. It is not about achievement or levels or belts or PRs. But still, a milestone is a cool thing, so I found this in my email box today:

Email from Hot Yoga ABQ

Email from Hot Yoga ABQ today for my anniversary

I have been in and around yoga for exactly 5 years today, with an 18 month hiatus in there along the way. Initially it did wonders for both my psyche and my physique. Of course, like all things the effect wanes with time.

Everyone understands that a drug addict needs more and more as time goes on to get the same effect, but that is hardly limited to drugs. Pretty much anything habitual with a physical component will have a slow compensatory effect, from running to pushups to hiking to coffee brewing techniques to typing speed to . . . you name it.

Our nature is to constantly change with our environment, seek out new challenges (or be bombarded with new problems to solve without any choice in the matter, as was the case for most of our evolution), and leap to a different level or pastime when one has exhausted it’s ability to fascinate. Just before my hiatus I wasn’t sure what was “next” for me with my practice so I decided to just stop and see how long it took to come back. Months, days? It was more than a year; it seems I do well while doing yoga but it does  not take up my life, nor is it a black hole when not a part of my daily routine. I work with it, or without it.

I do still love it – love watching the trembling of balance, the stillness of mind after exertion, the ease of friendships in the studio. For now, I will continue.

Thank you to Molly and Bruce, who made this their entrepreneurial calling nearly 10 years ago, and to Jamesina, who took me to my first class with James and unleashed my monster: it was a downward (dog) spiral from there.

Elite Athletes are not Antifragile

Howie Stern, AC100 2012Activities for health = great. But be optimally healthy while an elite athlete? Good luck with that because it just ain’t happening. Elite/competitive athleticism is extremely hard on the body and mind, in the same way that you wouldn’t want to be a hotshot firefighter every day of your life or even every other day for years at a time.

When you want to take the next step up; when you want to start placing at 5K races, at marathons, or you know – gawd forbid – ultramarathons and that sort of stuff . . . then the type of training that you need to do becomes very metronomic. It becomes very predictable. And the flip side of this is that you, in a lot of ways, become fragile. – Robb Wolf

Robb Wolf. Gotta love that guy. His recent podcast (from the 10-to-15 minute mark) touches on the conflicts between activities, health, and performance, and his take is rationed and sensible. It’s based on a talk at last week’s Ancestral Health Symposium given by Nassim Taleb on Antifragile concepts applied to the human body.

Ultimately, I could not resist taking this comment completely out of context just so I could make a ringtone-worthy mp3 file that just says, “gawd forbid, ultramarathons”. Ring, ring!

Chocolate Without Sugar = Paleo? Sure! . . . ?

Kakawa's elixir and truffle

Kakawa’s elixir and truffle

Yesterday, the final day of the Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta, I was in Santa Fe, former stomping ground of the Robb Wolf clan, sipping on a tiny cup of ridiculously good Aztec style drinking chocolate. The place is called Kakawa and it has seen a handful of owners in the last 15 years but never has the quality of those cups of chocolate declined. At least not that I can tell.

For those more keen on a bit of sweetness, they offer everything from sustainably sourced chocolate bars to handmade truffles with goat milk, rosemary, chile, and even local cherries. Not all in the same truffle. Usually.

On this visit I kept to the drinking chocolate and a truffle, forgoeing the very good housemade ice cream and a gluten-free, coconut-sugar-sweetened brownie that nearly tackled me and snuck into my paws.

If and when the Ancestral Health Symposium decides to alight on Santa Fe, we’ll be ready with treats like this, as well as a vibrant farm scene and some pretty awesome locally raised pastured meats. Santa Fe is ahead of the curve for a town it’s size, and that’s good for all of us.

Why I Forfeited My Ticket to Ancestral Health Symposium 2013

Feet of AHS12Not long after attending Paleo f(x) in Austin this spring, I lept on the chance to sign up for late summer’s Ancestral Health Symposium. Why not? I had attended 2012’s Symposium on the Harvard campus, but I was just 6 months into the thrall of Paleo and ancestral pathways. I had a blast meeting new friends, mentors and inspiring brains by the dozen. Also, I took foot pictures.

Like a hummingbird I circled around Robb Wolf, Abel James, Chris Kresser, Nora Gedgaudis, Gary Taubes (whom I’d met years earlier doing early website work for his book), Denise Minger, Diane Sanfilippo, and Terry Wahls. Each had made a distinct impression on my sponge-like brain.

And yet, those were just a few of the well-known-to-me folks, and due to being famous their time was extremely limited. It was the folks who were behind the academic scenes or who were more like me – students enthralled by the knowledge – that ended up being the charm of the whole event. People like Adele Hite, Amber Dukes (who lives here in ABQ!), Chris Williams, Matt Lalonde, Stefani Ruper, George Bryant, Amy Kubal, Patrick Earvolino, Josh Whiton, I could go on. These are just a handful of the ones who want to make this a bigger part of their lives – maybe even the biggest part of their lives. Soon, I will join them, though I haven’t found my ancestral calling, yet.

Which brings me to the topic of this post. Why the bloody steak aren’t I in Atlanta RIGHT NOW for Ancestral Health Symposium 2013, reacquainting myself with everyone in a ritualistic rubbing of neurons?

Basically, I’m a chickenshit. In one year I have done a ton of research and a smidgen of writing about health, nutrition, and paleo-esque lifestyle. I bought some cutesy ancestral domain names. But researching ain’t crap, and neither is domain squatting. When I meet up with these amazing minds again it should only be in the context of collaboration and contribution. MY contributions to furthering this better way of life to those that are looking for answers.

Those contributions and collaborations are coming, but by forfeiting a few hundred bucks in that ticket, I resolve to invest TIME to actually make things happen. Not research. Writing. Not mulling. Making. Not “if”. Now. By not spending another grand in travel and lodging, I pledge those resources to more local use: my ancestral emergence.

Will it be:

All I know is that what is needed is ACTION. It starts today. It starts every day.