I Feel Present:
Not just in the moment right now but here in my body. Moving without thinking and believing that I can move any way I want to, in a physical version of myself that is undoubtedly the strongest, fastest, most versatile, mobile and balanced it has ever been. I listen to it, I give it what it asks for… and in turn, my body repays me with resilience, adaptability and an understanding of the self at a highly intuitive level. Forming this connection has taken a lifetime and will continue to require mindfulness as well as nutritional movement, which feeds growth, mastery of skill and confidence to move without the restriction of our own doubts and fears.
The Evolution of Me:
I ran, jumped, played, skated, climbed trees, fell out of trees, kicked, punched, tumbled, flipped, biked, hiked, swam, surfed, sang, threw, shot, danced, crawled, and thousand other verbs, all my life. As I grew to adolescence, the movements I once took for granted became influenced by thoughts and were tied to emotions. Feeling expectations from your coach, performance anxiety, never being good enough, playing your best in front of your parents and not letting your team down in the big game, all seemed to have an influence in how I felt while competing. All these new emotions were flooding my brain with thoughts that affected my mental state and subconsciously, my ability to move. Playing sports when from pure bliss of moving the body, to a high-stakes contest of the ego and what it wants (to win, to look good, to impress your peers, to make yourself feel worthy and valued). This only got worse as I got older and when full puberty hit, it was all about how strong and appealing I looked. As a young man, I thought I needed to get as big and as strong as I could so that nobody would try and challenge or hurt me. It was fear and lack of self-confidence that drove me to my bodybuilding and powerlifting career, where I ultimately made up for lack of confidence in myself with eccentric muscle mass and chiseled features. Fitness magazines and pop culture showed me what a strong, “fit” body was and I believed it… creating a false ego for myself that exuded confidence and courage that was indeed the biggest lie I ever carried. This forced me to create a persona in my head that I played the role of for years.
Living “outside” my body:
From my teens till my late twenties, I lived outside of my body. I pushed aside chronic pain and worked through injuries, and I firmly believed that this was how life was going to be from here on out. I looked stronger and leaner than I ever had in life but that’s just the problem…I was so focused on how I “looked” that I had completely forgotten how to “move”. So what’s this story have to do with living “outside” of the body? Everything. At a very early age, humans learn to disassociate from their bodies to avoid physical or emotional pain and trauma. Some refer to this phenomenon as “spacing out” or being “out to lunch”- I’m sure we have all had moments where we put our keys down and immediately forget where we placed them or not remembering the drive to a destination you have suddenly arrived at. Operating in autopilot, with a constantly distracted mind, I lived for many years “outside” of my body. The pain I felt was the result of how I was moving and the emotions I kept buried down for so many years.
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back:
At age 28 I was working out at the most intense levels of my life, with multiple injuries. A paralyzing pain in my sacroiliac joint brought me to a screeching halt after an attempt to deadlift over 600 lbs and marked the beginning of a downward spiral that wasted my time and hard earned money, seeking medical help. Orthopedics, physiatrists, other “movement specialists”, physical therapists, nurses, PA’s, had the most unsatisfactory answers for my ailments. “Let’s try exploratory surgery”, “don’t do any movements that hurt”, “rest for 6 weeks”, “you’re getting older…”, just to name a few. I needed a miracle or maybe just a glimpse of hope that I could get better.
Over the years I’ve been very fortunate to travel the world and gain experiences and study with those in the field that are like-minded. A trip to Sri Lanka brought a highly skilled bodyworker into my life who was responsible for triggering my first awakening. Reconnecting my mind to parts of my body that had been completely severed for years and acting as the catalyst that propelled me deeper down the rabbit hole of my healing journey. “You don’t know what you don’t know, til you know what you don’t know”, and I realized I knew nothing. This experience launched a new way of thinking and viewing the human body in movement, which set my course on studying fascia along with it’s remarkable ability to store emotions and memories, viewing the body as a whole rather than individual parts. My ever advancing studies and self-practices have led me down this path to healing my own body and understanding it on deeper and deeper levels. I continue to meet key influencers and mentors both locally and internationally who shape my life and the people we work with every day.
What does it mean to become embodied? Imagine you are home alone, cooking dinner and listening to music, you have a thousand thoughts running through your mind, just having returned home from a long stressful day, you’re still moving 100 mph.. Your favorite “groove song” comes on the stereo at nearly full volume and you all of a sudden drop what it is you are doing and close your eyes, feeling the familiar waves of vibrations splash over your body like warm water. Every muscle softens as the vanishing tension highlights how much you were holding all the days worries within your own skin. A tickling smile surfaces and you begin to move. Uncalculated, unchoreographed, you let intuition take over and find yourself lost in time and space, producing “Travolta-like” dance moves you didn’t even know you had. You begin to dance around the kitchen with such life and fluid energy, holding no judgement to yourself on how you look right now and you even begin to sing. All of a sudden you feel the presence of another person and look to the window. Your neighbor has caught you in the act. You immediately feel judgement from your neighbor and yourself, your moves becoming robotic and your voice suddenly changes from angelic to suffocated. Embarrassment forces you to leave your body and escape the present moment that you were just enjoying so much. The fact is: no where on this planet does this judgement exist, other than in our own heads and we can eventually control it and learn to move in a softened, graceful manner that requires less muscular effort and allows us to remain in that state of flow.
All Together Now:
Living your life in the present moment is the key to living a happier, healthier life, in all aspects. To do this, one must first reprogram how he or she is standing and moving, and restore the sense of connection to the earth that is so vital to tell your body where it is in space. Breathing will bring you into the flow state and your mind begins to visualize these new, efficient movement patterns that you have now established. Creating a movie in your mind of exactly how you want to move, without over-thinking every single detail and seeing it happen “live”, right before you. You now feel the ground beneath your feet and work with gravity to stay balanced, without the resistance of holding patterns within your body, restricting movement. The work that lays ahead to achieve flow-state movement is physical, yes, but much more mental and emotional than one can ever imagine- the mind, body, and spirit are one. This is how we can learn to move our bodies, enjoying the present moments to live a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
Operating in autopilot, with a constantly distracted mind, I lived many years “outside” of my body and the pain I felt was the result of how I was moving. Reconnecting to my body has drastically changed my life and has given me the tools to help others’ through the same process. Not only did I eliminate chronic joint pain and dysfunction, but I also became stronger, faster, more coordinated and mobile than I ever was at the peak of my athletic career in high school or college. The greatest bounty of all was discovering my body all over again and learning to love every part of it with a deeper understanding of how the mind, body, and spirit operate as a whole. Ultimately, giving me confidence in who I am as a person as well as the confidence in how I move in the present, here and now.
- 200 hr Registered Yoga Teacher
- ACSM, CPT
- Myofascial Release 1
- Myofascial Unwinding
- Anatomy Trains : for Movement Professionals
- Anatomy Trains : Structures and Function
- Anatomy Trains : Fans of the Hip
- Anatomy Trains : Deep Core
- Stick Mobility Level 1
- ASFA Golf Fitness Instructor