Year of W-Health 2019

Movement Connects

Our most precious asset is health:

in body, mind and spirit!

Reflecting on the areas of life mattering most, and where to find the greatest return for our efforts, we arrive at the body. The body is where all of our experiences in work, family, relationships, community, and creativity take place.

Partnering with wellness expert Ben Wellenbach in 2019, Colman Knight co-created a year of wellness! These resources remain available for you to partake at any time. Our monthly practices as well as the video instruction are provided below, to benefit your physical well-being — which of course touches the rest of life.

From an integral perspective, attention is given to the interior beliefs and behaviors of our health and wellness, and also to the exterior actions and strategies that manifest a healthy life. We, Colman Knight members, participate with you, walking our talk.

Each month, Ben teaches an important vitality longevity practice.

January

Will Chung, Ben’s teacher, developed reverse-engineered marital arts moves that dis-able, to en-able joints, etc. Will Chung’s Triple Chain Theory states: 1) Gravity exists, 2) Everything that’s alive runs off a pump/peristalsis, and 3) It’s all connected.

The three chains are:
Chain 0: Head and neck
Chain 1: Shoulder to tips of fingers
Chain 2: Shoulder to hips
Chain 3: Hips to toes

When we engage practices, being aware of the 3 chains, optimizes the results. Like lemon essential oil has more potency than lemon juice, Ben offers potency in practices.

AM – DO – BE activity sets our health aspirations for the next month or for the year.
AM. Defines our current health status. For example, I have a hard time getting out of a chair; I have low back pain; I am healthy except for my knee.
BE. Where do you want to be in the next month or year? For example, I want to be able to move with no pain; lose 20 lbs.; engage exercise as a daily routine.
DO. Connects where you are currently to where you want to be. These are the daily actionable steps that incrementally get you closer to your health aspirations.

Toe-tapping activity offers a unique health bonus for our safety, mobility, and stealth leg strength. We have an arch in our hands and our feet because THE EARTH IS ROUND! Many of the ground surfaces we walk on have a rounded quality. Our feet want to be able to receive the roundness easily. Isn’t it interesting we engage calf-raises, but we don’t do the opposite.
Toe-Tapping will: 1) increase ankle mobility, to keep you safe walking, 2) provide better tracking for the knee, 3) teach you that lifting your toes or your heels requires more than just the muscles in the foot. It requires you to connect all the chains, from 3 to 2 to 1 to 0.

The Toe-Tapping Practice:

  1. Get willing to DO.
  2. Stand with feet in a V. Start V in 45-degree angle. This angle is the strongest; it is equal each way.
  3. Raise your heels and go into an I (parallel). The outside edges of the feet determine the straight line, not the inside. Note, your feet may feel a little pigeon-toed.
  4. Lift your toes up toward the sky while pushing heels into the ground.
  5. To eliminate wobble, address the other chains. Put hands at middle of chest & give yourself a hug.
  6. Tap for 3 minutes. Experience doing a simple action like tapping.
  7. Be with yourself. Connect the chain, feeling stable, stacked properly, feet in I position.
  8. Body will fight you every step of the way to go back to the original position.
  9. Notice and register your total experience. Have fun. Explore. Grow. Get W-Healthy!
 

February

 “Ice cream muscles” are evident when we think we are tired, but then something appealing comes along and we are energized. (So named by Ben’s teacher Will Chung, whose daughter would complain about being tired but would become suddenly energized at the mention of ice cream.)

Review of Toe Tapping. Many ways to use these drills, for example: in the shower, leaning against the wall, or in nature. Technical description of what toe-tapping does: As we pull up our feet, we are pulling vertically on the tibia (shin bone). The shin lines up with the femur and hip. Can be used for knee post-op: it realizes correct pathway of knee joint. Teaches shin bone how to line up the knee joint, so hinge has clear path in door.

Offer: Solicit help from Ben regarding injuries.

Preparing for war in times of peace. If we take a vacation during times of stress, rather than completely letting go or blocking out the stressful scenario, then having to bear an unpleasant re-entry, it is suggested to use the time off as preparation for re-entry. Our mind and body need exercise, to build strength for bearing a weight. We should be aware of our preparation, during times of peace, so that we can be strong for times of war.

Drill: “MJs.”
Named for Ben’s favorite artist of all time, Michael Jackson.

  1. Stand with feet in V.
  2. Level I: Bend knees, as if sitting on a high stool, or lower.
  3. Level II: Alternate lifting up each heel, keeping ball of foot on ground.
  4. Level III: After alternating, lift both heels at same time. Left, right, both. Left, right, both.
  5. Do one of the above levels for 3 minutes. Or, do Level III for one minute, then switch to Level II or I, if tired. There is not just one right way. What’s right is what’s right for you.
  6. Keep the top of the head level, as if there were a pane of glass above the head.

This exercise does not necessarily replace toe-tappers, although it can, if one wants to do only one exercise. Also an option to do 3 minutes of each.

New Rule: No questions unless one practices the drill!

 

March

TOP BOTTOM
By Ben Wellenbach

In February, Gayle posted an article on the W-Health Facebook page about how we view obstacles. Around the same time, my coach Will posted a thought about false ceilings. These two may seem different, yet they are actually quite similar. In both cases, we are talking about a viewpoint, or filter, on approach and execution.

A false ceiling is what you thought was your greatest capacity for something. The key word, hence why it is underlined, is thought. Our minds are incredible weapons both for good and harm. Our thoughts have the ability to raise us to accomplish amazing things and they also have the ability to self-destruct and paralyze us. It is our choice. What story do you want to live? If we choose amazing, then the next choice becomes, how are we willing to approach amazing?

Story time…

Growing up, I played a number of sports. I needed to move my body, compete, and to strive. As I got older, I decided that hockey was my passion. For those unfamiliar with hockey development, they do not introduce checking until you are about 12 or 13. For some of us, the introduction to more physical play was like Christmas. It was great… until you realized that you did not just hit others, they actually hit back! To continue playing meant that was my new reality. I was going to hit people and they would hit me. Sometimes really hard! I had to get comfortable getting hit so that it felt normal. The false ceiling of being hit, was met. The perceived TOP became the new BOTTOM.

Currently, I am training for a marathon. Let me make real clear that I am not someone who loves to run. I love to coach, and learn, and this was a huge opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, or false ceiling, and develop myself. The longest run, prior to the commencement of my training, was 6 miles. Every day in the month of December, I ran 90 minutes. EVERY DAY. Rain. Snow. Sun. Day or night. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I was willing to find a way. I had to schedule it. I had to prepare. I had to execute it. I had to make sure I recovered. I had to do a lot of laundry! 90 minutes was the most I ever ran. That was my false ceiling. I wanted to attack that ceiling as often as possible so it became more and more comfortable. It became my new BOTTOM.

TOP BOTTOM is when what used to be your top is now your new bottom. This year’s theme is Movement Connects. We can connect the theory behind checking in hockey, or running a marathon, to learning a foreign language, writing, or being a surgeon, a lawyer, accountant, investor, etc. I could keep going but you get the point. If you want to become better in anything, how are you willing to approach the TOP BOTTOM? Will your mind be an instrument for good, or for self-destruction?

 

April

Individuals in the group expressed their major loss or transition, which can bring tension and be unsettling. We may carry fear and sadness in our shoulders. This month’s teaching is the Gooseneck drill, which helps to settle. We walk around with heavy burdens of fear, anger, or sadness, weighing us down on top. We have talked about the yin-yang/69 symbol—like an hourglass shaking sand from the top, we shake down to settle.

Review of Zero Breath Drill:
Purpose of drill: Reset breath, calmer, centered. Spine flexibility.
Theme: Life begins with first breath, life ends with last breath. Breath is critical for any movement.
1. Can do seated or standing.
– Seated: Sit at the edge of your chair, so spine is free and moves freely
– Standing: Be in V-footing
2. Intertwine your fingers, keeping your thumbs apart like a field goal.
3. Keep thumbs on neck to support neck. Let ring and pinky fingers sit on ridge on back of skull.
4. Inhale, expanding elbows outward. Arch spine.
5. Exhale, bringing elbows forward, rounding spine.
6. If seated, rock on the pelvis, with hips as a hinge.
7. When elbows come together, squeeze the knees together, whether seated or standing. (When seated, knees apart gives more room for pelvis.)
8. Inhale, opening up. Exhale, contracting.
Practice 1 to 5 minutes.

New drill: Gooseneck
Theme: Within triple chain theory, breath is chain zero work: central nervous system and brain. Chain one is fingertips to shoulder.
1. With arms straight out, shoulder has ability to reach forward and retract back. Imagine a bar that hand or wrist rests on, and reach forward and back over the bar, letting shoulders move forward and back within the joint.
2. Reaching out, grasp over and underneath the bar, pulling fingers underneath. Hand resembles a jellyfish, or the neck of a goose. Fingers are coming together and pulling underneath, like the claw machine.
3. Then, as shoulders move back, with straight arms, pull fingers back towards you, with flat palms. Feel stretch in forearm as hand flattens with fingers pointed up.
4. Pair with breathing rhythm, spine movement, and leg/knee movement of the zero breath drill.
5. Breath in, as shoulders move back, hands flattening up, spine arching.
6. Breath out, as arms stretch forward, hands rounding down and fingers coming together, spine rounding.

 

 

May

This month we ran through a lengthy sequence of drills, which kept us moving for over 20 minutes duration.
1. Zero Breath – seated. See April instructions.
2. Toe Tap – seated, with feet in “I”. See February instructions.
3. Gooseneck – seated. See April instructions.
4. Chair drill / Up & down, no momentum. We practiced standing up from seated position, and sitting down again, keeping our chests upright, without leaning forward to gain momentum.
5. Toe taps – standing.
6. Calf raises in “I” position – Emphasis on big toe.
7. Toe Tap 1 – 10. Alternating left and right feet: 1 tap left, 1 tap right, 2 taps left, 2 taps right… up to 10 taps each side.
8. SHOUT! Combo squat in W.
– Start with feet in V, then move to I, then move toes out to V again. “W” shape.
– Squat deeply, keeping arms close to chest.
– Rise up on toes to calf raise, with arms overhead in V.
– Makes you want to SHOUT!

 

June

Pick Your Salsa – Mild, Medium or Hot!

Ben began the conversation sharing his recent attendance at the three-day annual fitness conference Perform Better, with about 30 presenters. He indicated they all said the same thing in different ways: movement matters, but how we go about movement is our choice. Each movement begins by creating a foundation to movement. We begin with our foundation to a particular movement – start where we are – and then we build on that movement. Ben has been giving us movement processes to enhance our movement experiences.

Instead of aligning with the modern world’s remedy to health through reactive care, we view health as a vital asset. We optimize our health for a deeper, more meaningful life. Participants today mentioned their current state of movement and relationship with Year of W-Health. Topics discussed were: moving to a plant-based diet, enjoying movement in water (swimming) versus the hardness of weight-bearing exercises, whole body listening, becoming free of shoulder pain by decreasing inflammation, walking, and more. Ben reminded us that the participants’ topics were the same three truths (teachings) he presented at the beginning of the year: gravity, peristalsis and everything is connected. These three truths are valuable touchpoints for our engagement in movement practice with awareness.

June Movement Activity: Pick Your Salsa
Purpose: Just getting set up in the proper position will improve connection between hands, to feet, to ground, tracking and stacking the body into proper placement.
Theme: The flow of movement, shifting forward and back, echoes the similar peristaltic (to, fro) movement of all of life.
Hot – Face down on floor (most gravity)
Medium – With chair (more gravity)
Mild – On back (least amount of gravity) 

Hot version:
1. Get on hands and knees on floor.
2. Flat palms on floor, positioned in line with top of rib cage.
3. Dig toes into the floor.
4. Lift buttocks toward the sky.
5. Lower buttocks to horizontal (simply getting into this position may be enough of a challenge!)
6. Begin to slowly rock forward and back on toes.Medium:1. Palms on chair or table.
2. Feet flat on floor, 2-3 feet from table or chair.
3. Pelvic tilt.
4. Lean toward table or chair.
5. Raise heels, moving up and forward, and return to lowering heels to original position.
Mild (Anti-Gravity):

1. Lie on back.
2. Raise legs in the air vertically, feet flat to the ceiling.
3. Raise arms to vertical, shoulders drop and relax.
4. As feet are flat to ceiling, flatten palms to ceiling as well.
5. As toes point towards ceiling, curl hand forward as in Gooseneck drill

 

Summer break
 
 

September

Not about Perfection about Percentages:
This month’s call centered around the idea of re-engaging our health goals. How do we help to cultivate a mindset that allows us to supplement our health choices? Members on the call realized that as soon as fitness becomes ingrained as a habit, it stops being as hard to incorporate into our daily lives. The goal for October is for everyone to choose one thing they can focus on as a daily practice for TNDO (Take no Days Off October).

Breathing:

1. Can do seated, standing or lying down.
a. Seated: Sit at the edge of your chair, feet in “i” position. Feel the ground supporting your legs. Elongate your spine and pull shoulder blades back.
b. Lying Down: Lie with hands down by your side. Heels placed on the ground toes up in the air. Supported on the ground by every part of the body that touches it.
c. Standing: Stand with feet in “I” position. Knees bent slightly. Hands one inch from touching your side and completely relaxed. Back elongated.
2. Breath in full and deep. Focus on the path of the breath, notice where it starts and how it moves.
3. Keep breathing in your position for 5-10 minutes

 

October

Video not available

Check in:
Participants on the call checked in with their current status of fitness. We invite you to take the same check in and notice your own personal journey this year with fitness. What has felt nourishing, what has felt disappointing?

Walking in Place:
1. Start with feet in “I” position.
2. Stand firmly on one foot and keep one leg in the air.
3. Use the foot that is in the air and touch your heel on the floor in front of you
4. Take that same foot and move it to the back all while in the air and touch your toe behind you
5. While moving through the movement you want to imagine creating an arc
a. You should bend your support leg as you are touching in the front and back and almost fully extend it as you are transitioning through the middle
6. If you have mastered the first movement there are some additional next level movements
a. Triangles to the side: instead of moving your foot straight forward and back move it out to the side in the middle
b. Crescent: In one fluid motion start with your toes pointed out then follow in a crescent shape with your heel guiding you in to your foot and then back out to eventually have your heel pointing outwards.

 

November

Review of all drills of the Year of W-Health – Movement Connects

At the beginning of the year, Ben taught us about the principles of Triple Chain Theory:

1) Gravity exists,
2) Everything that’s alive runs off a pump/peristalsis, and
3) It’s all connected.

The three chains:
Chain 0: Head and neck
Chain 1: Shoulder to tips of fingers
Chain 2: Shoulder to hips
Chain 3: Hips to toes

We recapped the year and connected all the movements we had done in a series or complex. Ben showed how all movement really does connect.