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Fascia and Flexibility

“Life requires balance. For every down there is an up; for every outside, there is an inside. Yoga also requires balance.” Bernie Clarke

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

There is a reason that you feel so light and limber when you leave the Lab

An aerial yoga practice is great for building strength, increasing mental clarity and allowing relaxation, but it also helps to lengthen and massage our body creating access to greater flexibility, through whole body traction and fascia hydration (connective tissue) leaving us feeling like we are walking on air.

Yoga is a practice of searching for union and balance within movements. In Sanskrit this is known as sthira and sukha, the state of effort and ease. There a difference between engaging muscles and releasing them. Engaging muscles can help to develop strength, define the aesthetics of the physical body and increase our Yang, more active energy. Flying in the Lab builds strength, agility and coordination, while relaxing into passive inversions creates a sense of melting into the practice, releasing tension, loosening muscles and working into the deeper layers of the body, the connective tissue, ligaments and joints. In classes like our Aerial Yoga Melt class we experience longer poses allowing softening of muscles and working into these deeper layers. By relaxing and letting go of tension, we encourage our body to release, encouraging our softer Yin energy to flow.

 © Medium

© Medium

Physical movement and massage (tension and release) helps to hydrate our fascia, the thick web of connective tissue that keeps your skeleton in shape, guides movement and stabilises posture. Our fascia is made up of up to 70% water so it is important to keep it hydrated. A sponge is a common analogy used to describe how our fascia absorbs water, by massaging it, we release water and in turn it can absorb more, fresh water that brings lots of good proteins with it. Although it is important to drink plenty of water, drinking alone won’t actually help to hydrate our connective tissue.

Research has shown that while stretching initially decreases the water content of your connective tissue (like squeezing a sponge), after 30 minutes of rest the water content increases beyond the pre-stretch quantity and remains higher for up to 3 hours afterwards.

Our fascia is made up of cells, fibres and the gel-like hydrating fluid known as ground substance.  Ground substance is up to 70% water and it is a source of nutrition for our tissues, helps to eliminate waste products and lubricates our collagen fibres which ultimately leads to increased flexibility and happy, hydrated connective tissue.

Collagen is what makes our connective tissue strong, while the elastin gives it elasticity. If the collagen fibres aren’t lubricated enough they stick together, making the area stiff and inflexible. Lack of movement is one of the main reasons that fascia becomes dehydrated, which is why physical practice helps to keep us supple and flexible. Foam rolling compresses and massages the tissue to increase the water that is absorbed and prevent the fibres from sticking. It creates space in the fibres and prevents knots in muscles. Movement and massage is vital to tissue hydration because it is needed to feed and cleanse the ground substance, like a sponge absorbing fresh water.

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

Try this simple experiment to see the benefits of releasing connective tissue and the impact that it has on everyday life:

Stand up and try touching your toes, observe how it feels and see how far you can reach. Got it? Good.

Now use a tennis ball or small muscle release ball and roll the sole of your foot on it for about a minute (if you don’t have a ball handy you can give the underneath of your feet a strong massage with your hands, really pressing in)

Once you have done both feet for about a minute, try touching your toes again. See? There is a considerable difference in how far you can reach and how comfortable and flexible you feel.

This is because by massaging or rolling underneath your feet you’ve released the plantar fascia that begin there. This connective tissue runs all the way along the back of your legs, over your buttocks, your back, shoulder, neck and finishes just before your forehead. This is how we begin each Aerial Yoga Melt class and work through the whole body!

Releasing and hydrating the connective tissue through massage and movement has endless benefits for your posture, strength, flexibility and mobility.

Aerial Yoga Melt in the Lab allows us to stretch entire lines of superficial fascia at the front and back of the body, from your toes and feet, all the way to the side of your neck and back of your skull. The postures are designed to challenge the lines of your body and add different pressure and release so you can intuitively find balance and hydrate connective tissue. When you discover this balance during Yoga, you will notice how stress in the fascial web begins to release and bring a lightness to your limbs so you can continue to open energetic lines, and build strength and tone the physical body. 

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

As we delve deeper into our practice of Yoga using the philosophy of sthira and sukha and the awareness of how everything is connected, it creates space and lightness in the body, helping us to move and feel better.

Written by 

Jade Hunter 

Our Aerial Yoga Melt class has a new time now on Sunday mornings at 10:15am

Come join us and book your space here

Aerial Yoga Melt is designed for you to move freely in all directions of open space as your body floats through a series of gentle gyro-kinetic motions. Using both the aerial hammock and foam roller to allow flexibility of the entire spine, hips, and hydrating fascia. Incorporating foam roller for deeper muscular and fascia release, trigger point release, neuromuscular activation of the nervous system, partial and full zero-compression inversions, deep hip flexor release, levitating meditations and best of all floating savasana. 

Here’s what our clients have to say:

"The most amazing and important class you didn't know you needed!" 

"If you have muscle pain, you can skip physio and come to this relaxing class. my body feels amazing after the class."

"Use the roller to get into those sore points, then the hammock to stretch into serenity"

This theraputic combination works as a portal into deeper spinal flexibility, muscular and myofascia release and mind/body connection.


Book your space here

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Winter Transformation

 

The cool grey winter skies make the Lab glow more than usual and we instinctively want to comfort and nourish our bodies

 © Sky-lab

© Sky-lab

Winter can be the most transformative time of the year. Spring is the season that gets credit for change but, it’s actually in the work and habits we cultivate through the winter that will really set us up for powerful personal transformation. It’s no secret that our body and mind function differently in the cooler months. The lack of sunlight and warmth have a tangible effect on our energy levels, sleep patterns, mood and cravings.  Despite our modern, urban lifestyle, we are still tuned in to the natural rhythms and seasons of the Earth- which is why winter has such a profound effect on our physical and emotional state. At the Lab we understand the importance for nourishing self-care and supporting your body through the winter chill.

There are many things about winter that influence our mood and energy levels. Reduced sunlight can affect the body’s circadian rhythms (internal body clock) and may amplify feelings of sadness or depression for some people. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and plays a big role in our sense of wellbeing. The reduced exposure to sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin levels, which is why we can sometimes feel slightly down in winter, especially if we’re putting in long work hours inside.

Doing inversions at the Lab helps to naturally restore the hormone levels that become depleted in winter. Zero compression inversions stimulate greater cerebellum function, increasing the release of neurotransmitters from the brain and stimulating the release of “happy hormones” – serotonin, dopamine, enkephalins and endocannabinoids.

Even more reasons to go upside down! 

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

Lack of sun also affects our melatonin levels. When the days are shorter and darker, our bodies produce more melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy. This is what causes the sense of lethargy that makes us want to stay in bed or relax in savasana longer. Getting enough sleep and honouring our natural internal system is important to help maintain our energy levels, especially in the winter. 

If afternoon naps aren’t your thing then meditation is great to unwind and it’s also proven to increase alertness and focus. Just a few moments each day can rest your body and renew your mind. You can do it at home or anywhere it’s nice and warm.

This combination of decreased serotonin and melatonin can also make us crave different foods. Our body is looking for a quick burst of happiness or energy, so it sends signals telling us to reach for foods high in carbohydrates or fats to spark a serotonin increase. Instead of reaching for unhealthy treats, you can try a short meditation or a warm drink to give you a winter boost and stay healthy. 

Drinking cacao tea is a Lab favourite way to warm up, satisfy cravings and boost our immunity. Our immune system’s response is slower in cold weather, which is why it’s important to make sure we are taking care of ourselves by nourishing our bodies. 

The Labs loved cacao blends from the Husk Mill are the perfect combination of decadence. The tea is made from cacao husk, giving it a delicious, chocolatey flavour plus all the calming and detoxing benefits of tea. The added power of cacao that makes it taste extra delicious also means it is high in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins as well as magnesium, potassium and fibre. Because winter also wreaks havoc on sleep patterns because of the increased melatonin, it’s important to reduce stimulants. Cacao husk tea also contains theobromine, which differs from its relative caffeine. Theobromine has a slow release effect, and helps release our body's endorphin's to give us a pick-me-up, without affecting much needed rest.  thehuskmill.com

Another way to warm up and add extra immune boosting benefits to your tea or cooking is a few drops of oregano or clove essential oil. Sarah Halloran, founder of Natural Virtue recommends just one drop of oregano oil into your cooking for cleansing and purifying benefits and when a cold is coming on she tells us to rub a drop into the soles of our feet at night.

 © The Husk Mill

© The Husk Mill

The list of winter woes continues, with our skin becoming dehydrated due to the lower humidity levels outside. Because the water in our skin evaporates more quickly when the air outside is cold and dry, our skin can lose up to 25% of its ability to hold water in winter. Essential oils are a great natural way to rehydrate our skin. Halloran suggests lavender and geranium oils in winter. “Geranium has natural hydrating properties to keep your skin glowing and lavender is known for its calming benefits and ability to help heal imperfections on the skin. Both these oils also help to calm the nervous system and reduce stress – the perfect winter combination for our skin.” She recommends using the oils topically on our skin (added to a carrier oil if you have sensitive skin) or adding 4-5 drops into a diffuser for a calming aromatic effect to create an atmosphere of cosy winter zen.

Cold temperatures can reduce sensory feedback, dexterity, muscle strength, blood flow, and balance – which is why our balance can feel off or we don’t feel as strong sometimes and can’t quite work out why. This is for a number of reasons, and movement is the perfect tool for helping improve the winter wobbles.

Interestingly, the aches in pains and body stiffness we notice in winter is actually because of the clouds. When there are more clouds and rain in winter, it means that atmospheric pressure is decreased and our bodily fluids move from blood vessels to tissues, causing pressure on our nerves and joints that leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in some people.

When our body gets cold our blood vessels start to constrict, which is why our hands and feet get cold first and what it makes it harder to grip the silks when our hands feel cold! The added warmth and movement of Yoga and especially inversions will stimulate our blood flow and create heat, to make us feel more aligned and ease the effects of the cold weather.

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

So as we move about our days, pushing through the added challenge of wind and rain, remember that winter has a much greater influence on us than just an inconvenience in our routine and reason to rug up with those extra layers. Give a thought to the changes that our bodies are going through, the natural adaptation process that is occurring. It’s so important to tune in to that and make extra time for restoring activities and sensory experiences to nurture and support your body during the change of season as our environment changes, so too, must we.

 

Written by

Jade Hunter

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The science of gratitude

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The science of gratitude

Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

 

We’ve just finished Grateful April at the Lab and are still feeling the effects from all the love you shared with us. We feel so privileged to hold space for and be a part of this inspiring project with you all. To wrap up the month, here are some musings on the science of gratitude and why an attitude of gratitude is so important to living an elevated life.

Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield tells us that “gratitude is a gracious acknowledgment of all that sustains us, a bow to our blessings, great and small, an appreciation of the moments of good fortune that sustain our life every day.”

What does gratitude mean to you? In our busy lives we are so often rushing to the next milestone of our lives, getting one promotion at work and hungrily lusting after the next rung on the ladder. Our eating habits are a great example of how we forget to give thanks. Many cultures sit before a meal to give thanks to the earth for providing something that has been lovingly cooked and prepared, traditionally we sit around a table with loved ones to enjoy our food. Nowadays we are more likely lazing on the sofa or leaning over the kitchen bench, texting or trawling Instagram with one hand, casually munching on something convenient like toast and suddenly we’re at the last bite and just realised that we don’t remember eating the rest. Like where’d it go? 

Gratitude is a practice that slows us down to notice the joy in life. We are constantly comparing our lives to others, coveting the perfect Instagram outfits, life style, holidays and bodies. But if we take a moment to look at our life through the eyes of gratitude, we have the opportunity to see how spiritually, socially and materially wealthy we really are.  It might just be peanut butter on toast, but its fuel for your body and when you stop and be thankful for that you might notice the texture of the perfectly baked sourdough bread and relish in the crunchiness of the natural peanut butter that will give you protein and energy for the day. And you might appreciate the moment of calm before you rush out the door to start your commute to work, taking in your living space, admiring the environment you’ve created and smiling at a photo or something that reminds you of someone you love. And you realise how lucky you are, to have this comforting food, this welcoming home and the people you love. This is what Gratitude in our daily lives does; it brings you closer to everyday things and lets you really see them, to appreciate every aspect of your life, no matter how small. 

 

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

 

Jack Kornfield also reminds us that it creates wonder in life. He says that “Gratitude is confidence in life itself. It is not sentimental, not jealous, nor judgmental. Gratitude does not envy or compare. Gratitude receives in wonder the myriad offerings of the rain and the earth, the care that supports every single life.”

There is a lot of research going into the power of gratitude, it isn’t just something Yogi’s and Buddhist teacher talk about. The science of gratitude and its effect on our lives is being studied in depth by doctors and researchers all over the world. In a study conducted by the University of California researchers found that higher levels of gratitude were found to be associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and less inflammation. This study was conducted with hospital patients, which shows that gratitude is especially important in times of hardship and discomfort and it can make a perceptible difference. 

Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that intentionally developing a grateful outlook helps us both recognise good things in our lives and realise that many of these good things are “gifts” that we have been fortunate to receive. Seeing life this way means that we put more value on the things good things we have, and it makes them even more important for us to cherish the things that we are grateful for, whether it’s that promotion at work or our peanut butter toast. In her work on gratitude, Dr. Juliana Breines writes that by making gratitude a habit, we can begin to change the emotional tone of our lives, creating more space for joy and connection with others. Grateful April at the Lab was about pausing, observing and integrating gratitude and making it a daily habit, so that you can feel these positive benefits not only in the studio but in all other aspects of your life. 

Many celebrities follow a gratitude practice, like Salma Hayek who says that “I feel so bad for people who are not grateful, they are missing some of the most sublime sensations in life.”

And Oprah is a big advocate for gratitude, famously stating that “opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.”

But we don’t have to look outwardly for evidence of the power of gratitude. It is all around us, in our very own studio and we were inspired and overwhelmed by the response of our yogis who shared with us the things they were grateful for. The simple things in life. Here are some things people shared that shoes how we can find joy and beauty and love in everything. 

 

“Free soft serve from my friend” 

“Holding my grandmothers hand” 

“Watermelon on a hot day”

“Freedom of flying high”

“The ocean”

“Believing in myself”

 

Gratitude improves our overall wellbeing, it gives us energy and make us more empathetic. We are so grateful for you, our Sky Lab community, and that you chose to share and experience your gratitude with us.  

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

 

We want you to keep the momentum of Grateful April flowing, so here are some ways to continue the practice of gratitude outside the studio: 

 

Breathe

Take a few deeps breaths. Think about your lungs and your body and how invigorating it is to be alive. Appreciate the work your body does to keep everything ticking and to allow you to practice Yoga, run along the beach and enjoy delicious sensory experiences. First and foremost you need to feel gratitude to yourself, this will cultivate self-love and enrich so many aspects of your life. 

 

Switch off

Slow down. Look up from scrolling Instagram and take in your environment. Do you see how pretty those flowers are? Feel the sun on your skin and hear the sounds around you, instead of blocking everything out with headphones. Being grateful for the earth and our environment brings a new perspective to our lives. It brings more pleasure to the small things, such as a nice cup of ginger tea, or maybe you can even appreciate your morning commute a bit more when you change your mindset and admire the scenery. It’s a long shot, we know but it can’t hurt to try, you might surprise yourself and even start to enjoy that time before work. 

 

Simplify situations

Use mindfulness to break down an event or situation. Be grateful for your latest meal, the roof over your head, your friends. Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, gratitude can be a powerful tool to bring you back into a calm space. When things seem too much, just notice the most basic things first, and let it grow from there.

 

Write it down

It sounds cliché but it really does work! Put a notepad beside your bed and write down the top 5 things that you are grateful for each week.  It can be the main things that you’re grateful for in your life over all, the bigger picture stuff like friends and family and the things you love about your life or even the tiniest moments, like you were grateful to make it to your Yoga class or for a really delicious pizza or a pretty sunset. 

 

Surround yourself with like-minded people

It’s true that your vibe attracts your tribe, and the happier and more thankful you are, the more you need to be around positive people. Those friends who are always putting others down, making judgements or have a negative attitude will pull you down into that headspace too. It’s important to be around people who make you feel uplifted, when hanging out feels as good as flying in the Lab. 

 

Write thank you letters

You don’t even have to send them, although we always recommend sharing the love! We all have people in our lives who we are grateful for. Our family, besties and even our pets! It might go a bit deeper, was there a teacher at school who inspired you or taught you something valuable? Maybe someone has passed away and you never got to tell them how grateful you were for them being in your life. Write it down. Express how thankful you are for those moments. 

 

 © Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

 

We’d love to hear your feedback about Grateful April, and please keep sharing with us all the things you are grateful for or how you practice gratitude. You can comment below or reach out on Instagram @skylab_skywalker

Written by

Jade Hunter

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How gratitude can change your life

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How gratitude can change your life

freedom

The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude doesn't need to be reserved only for momentous occasions: Sure, you might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.

You’d think that just one of these findings is compelling enough to motivate an ingrate into action. But if you’re anything like me, this motivation lasts about three days until writing in my gratitude journal every evening loses out to watching stand-up comics on Netflix.

Here are a few keys I’ve discovered—and research supports—that help not only to start a gratitude practice, but to maintain it for the long haul.

Freshen Up Your Thanks

The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific by writing “Today my husband gave me a shoulder rub when he knew I was really stressed” or "My sister invited me over for dinner so I didn't have to cook after a long day." And be sure to stretch yourself beyond the great stuff right in front of you. Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a game out of noticing new things each day.

Get Real About Your Gratitude Practice

Being excited about the benefits of gratitude can be a great thing because it gives us the kick we need to start making changes. But if our excitement about sleeping better because of our newfound gratitude keeps us from anticipating how tired we’ll be tomorrow night when we attempt to journal, we’re likely to fumble and lose momentum. When we want to achieve a goal, using the technique of mental contrasting—being optimistic about the benefits of a new habit while also being realistic about how difficult building the habit may be – leads us to exert more effort. Recognize and plan for the obstacles that may get in the way. For instance, if you tend to be exhausted at night, accept that it might not be the best time to focus for a few extra minutes and schedule your gratitude in the morning instead.

o-GRATITUDE-facebook.jpg

Make Thankfulness Fun By Mixing It Up

University of Rochester partners in crime Edward Deci and Richard Ryan study intrinsic motivation, which is the deep desire from within to persist on a task. One of the biggest determinants is autonomy, the ability to do things the way we want. So don’t limit yourself—if journaling is feeling stale, try out new and creative ways to track your grateful moments. (Happify offers an endless variety of gratitude activities to choose from.) My fiancée Michaela decided to create a gratitude jar this year. Any time she experiences a poignant moment of gratitude, she writes it on a piece of paper and puts it in a jar. On New Year’s Eve, she’ll empty the jar and review everything she wrote. When a good thing happens, she now exclaims, “That’s one for the gratitude jar!” It immediately makes the moment more meaningful and keeps us on the lookout for more.

Be Social About Your Gratitude Practice

Our relationships with others are the greatest determinant of our happiness. So it makes sense to think of other people as we build our gratitude. Robert Emmons suggests that focusing our gratitude on people for whom we’re thankful rather than circumstances or material items will enhance the benefits we experience. And while you’re at it, why not include others directly into your expression of gratitude? One Happify activity involves writing a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom you’ve never properly thanked. You could also share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table. The conversations that follow may give you even more reasons to give thanks.

 

Original article by: By Derrick Carpenter, MAPP | For Happify Daily 

Derrick Carpenter, MAPP, coaches individuals on living engaged and inspired lives, runs experiential corporate leadership programs, and trains US Army personnel on resilience. He's researched what makes people great in psychology labs at Harvard, Yale, and UPenn, where he received his Master of Applied Positive Psychology.

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Surfing icon Laird Hamilton shares his 10-point plan to live forever - Including Aerial Hammock Inversions!

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Surfing icon Laird Hamilton shares his 10-point plan to live forever - Including Aerial Hammock Inversions!

 Jennifer Cawley / One&Only Palmilla

Jennifer Cawley / One&Only Palmilla

"I’ve had back issues and injuries over the years. When your back goes out, you’re out of commission. I give it relief with stretching and inversion, and strengthen it with core work and stand-up paddle boarding. Someone once said, ‘If you did 20 minutes of headstands a day, you probably wouldn’t age.’ Gravity is always pulling us down, and inversion fights it. I do it on a teeter board or on an upside-down hammock, not gravity boots, which don’t allow your legs to relax and decompress." - Laird Hamilton

Full article here by: Roy M. Wallack

Perpetual youth is a whimsical notion suited to screen writers and 16th century Spanish explorers but a career requirement for Laird Hamilton.

In the ocean as many as five hours most days, the inventor of tow-in big-wave surfing, modern-day stand-up paddleboarding and hydrofoil surfing uses a unique diet and training regimen to maintain a chiseled fitness that astonishingly belies his 51 years. Here, the father of three explains why he hasn’t had a drop of alcohol in a decade, heartily devours fat, hangs upside-down with regularity, pals around with an 83-year-old for inspiration -- and keeps searching for the Next Big Thing.

1. Forget age. Just keep driving the car: 

I take better care of myself today not as an accommodation to age but to maintain continual high levels of performance and just to feel good. I have a friend Don Wildman who's 83 years old - and the guy's an absolute stud who works out with weights, mountain bikes, paddles, surfs every day. Don’s a living example of what it’s like when you just keep driving the car. I think what happens is that we decide we're old and everything stops working. There's so much stigma and weirdness around being older. Don and I were watching a tennis match and the announcer was saying "He's 34 years old!" Get over it - and keep moving. Don't wait until you have a health scare or collapse. Get off your [butt] and feel better now.

 Jennifer Cawley / One&Only; Palmilla

Jennifer Cawley / One&Only; Palmilla

2. Take care of every day priorities:

The stuff you do every day — your sheets and towels, the food you put in your body — these are your priorities. Not a fancy car or fancy clothes or fancy watches. For instance, I used to drink red wine every day — nothing like a good Bordeaux — but haven’t had a sip of wine or beer in nine years and have no desire to. I realized that sugar is not good for your body and that alcohol is one of the biggest culprits.

The fact is that alcohol doesn’t taste good anyway. The reason people drink is to have some sort of sensation, right? So if you’re not into that sensation, it’s a waste of time. It’s a discipline thing too. My mom once said to me, ‘If you can’t be true to yourself, you can’t be true to anyone else.’ As proof to myself that I had the willpower, I don’t do it. Bottom line: If you want your rocket to fly, you put rocket fuel in it. I want to be able to do certain things at a certain level. I like the way I feel. On a daily basis, I feel better not drinking.

 Getty Images

Getty Images

3. Be a fat-burning monster: 

I don’t eat energy bars when I’m out on the water all day. In fact, I don’t need to eat anything. My body runs off its body fat. That’s because I’m Paleo. I consume hardly any refined sugar (only if it’s in a salad dressing), a few raw dairy products and almost no wheat or grains. I eat plants and animals. I actually grew up that way in Hawaii. [Paleo researcher-kineseologist] Paul Chek taught me that your body has enough fat on it to run for days ... and that sugar fouls up your machinery. So after I cut alcohol, I began eliminating sugar and sugary fruit. I refined it over the last two years listening to [Primal lifestyle guru] Mark Sisson and other Paleo people.

If you’re eating right, a triathlete can go for hours and hours on a couple tablespoons of almond butter and your own body fat. But if you eat refined carbs, your blood sugar spikes up and down and you’re sucking down gel packs to get it back up. I love espresso. … You could give me five shots of espresso, a quarter stick of butter, a quarter stick of coconut oil and other fat, and I’ll drink that. I could go for five or six hours and not even be hungry at the end. Because I’m burning fat.

4. But don’t be a zealot: 

I have a saying: 'Everything in moderation, including moderation.' I make it achievable, not stressful for me and people around me. I’ll use a little coconut sugar. … I’ve got friends who have to stick [to a particular diet] at all times, and the stress of that almost overrides the quality of the way you eat. My eating is not such a hassle that I can’t go anywhere.

5. Golf-ball your bare feet: 

I grew up barefoot in Hawaii and didn’t give a thought to walking on gravel, but I’d notice some people who’d been in shoes their whole life couldn’t even cross the driveway. The feet are loaded with nerve endings and are the key to balance — and I’m in the balance business. In fact, we all are.

I also believe the Earth is charged with an electrical frequency that matches your nervous system and immune system. So the bare feet allow us to absorb that energy and is a critical part of your wellness. Having them trapped in a boot, toes squeezed together, affects your whole system. To restore dexterity and balance after I’ve been in shoes too long, usually at my home in Malibu, I warm up a couple days a week by standing with one foot on a golf ball. I roll it around, poke it, put weight into tender spots. It’s amazing how your system will be stimulated through working your feet.

 Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

6. Watch your back: 

I’ve had back issues and injuries over the years. When your back goes out, you’re out of commission. I give it relief with stretching and inversion, and strengthen it with core work and stand-up paddle boarding. Someone once said, ‘If you did 20 minutes of headstands a day, you probably wouldn’t age.’ Gravity is always pulling us down, and inversion fights it. I do it on a teeter board or on an upside-down hammock, not gravity boots, which don’t allow your legs to relax and decompress.

Since your power comes out of your core, which supports the back, you have to fix tight psoases and weak abdominals. I do planks and rotational exercises with medicine balls and kettle bells on a Swiss ball. Any natural pick-lift-twist-drop movement pattern, like picking something off the ground and putting it on a shelf, builds core stability. The best one of all? Stand-up paddleboarding. It flexes the back and the stabilizers — and cured me.

7. Do the water workout from hell: 

To me, swimming laps in a pool is like punishment — being in a cage. Out of my disdain for lap swimming, I developed what in my opinion is the greatest exercise routine you can possibly do: a bouncing, no-impact, high-intensity strength and cardio workout that is a cross between swimming and weightlifting.

Holding small waterproof dumbbells in your hands, jump into a fairly deep 10- to 12-foot-deep pool and sink to the bottom. Then jump up as hard as you can to pierce the surface and gulp some air. As the weights pull you back, blow it out. Get in a rhythm; exhale as you fall, inhale [after] you blast up. The exercise blasts your legs, which consume five times the oxygen as your arms. It‘ll make you a better, stronger swimmer without having to swim laps.

 Associated Press

Associated Press

8. Be innovative in all aspects of life: 

Coming up with new ideas keeps me young and excited. [Hamilton and wildman invented the GolfBoard a kind of skateboard for golfers that won the PGA's New Product of the Year award in2014. He also has lines of stand-up paddleboardssuperfoods, and clothing and fitness wear]. I think travelling to unique places gives you an opportunity to be active. 

 Laird Apparel

Laird Apparel

9. Get role models: 

It’s monkey see, monkey do. It’s hard to be the monkey that doesn’t see. We all need an example, a road map, to tell us what’s possible, a Jack LaLanne. Am I going to fret that I’m old and washed-up when I’m mountain biking and paddling alongside Wildman, who’s 83? He lives, wears and eats a youthful lifestyle. And, by the way, who does Wildman use as his role model, since all his friends are dead? Me! So get younger buddies too!

When your friends get older and say, “I want to go play some bridge, you say, ‘I don’t think so — I want to go jump off the bridge.’”

10. Make it fun: 

Having as much fun as humanly possible is one of the keys to staying young, so find fun, physical activities you love. I forget about the time when I’m out there on a [stand-up paddleboard]. Activities are better than the gym because you’re not looking at the clock.

You’ll do more reps in nature than you’ll ever do in the gym. You’ll go for hours and hours. And you’ll be thinking healthy thoughts -- not about how old you are.

health@latimes.com

latimes.com/health/la-he-0521-laird-hamilton

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