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Balance – Slow Aging – Improve Performance :071

Training balance is a Must for Athletes and Non-athletes Alike

Whether you are concerned about getting a better score in golf or a faster time down the slope – or you simply want to be more mobile, able and mentally sharp as you age – balance training is the key!

In this interview Jim Klopman, the author of Balance is Power and the creator of the Slackbow Balance Training System shared how his balance training not only helped his and others’ athletic performance, but also the ADD he had been experiencing exacerbated by sports related concussions.


Here’s some of what we covered:

  • How the Portable Neuromodulator Stimulator, developed and used at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, helps people rehabilitate sensory and motor disorders – by re-circuiting feedback to the brain via the tongue!
  • How movement actually helped Parkinson’s patients begin to speak and walk again.
  • “We build better muscles, not bigger muscles.” – Jim Klopman
  • Cognitive Kali (martial arts) Paul McCarthy TED Talk
  • “Improving your balance is not a muscle skill – so we’re not teaching you to do something new like hitting a gold ball… it’s not like lifting weights – it’s a software system [sic].” – Jim Klopman
  • “When you learn how to balance, one thing that happens is your kinetic chain gets better. So golfers look smoother when they hit the golf ball, you run smoother… everything flows better… the best athletes are the most graceful… they have the best Balance.” – Jim Klopman
  • How playing music artificially shuts off the conscious mind which Jim has found very counter-productive for training.
  • This is not just for athletes! Improving your balance can help prevent injury and slow aging! Half of all emergency room visits of patients over the age of 45 are due to falls!
  • Is it better to walk on the ball or heel of the foot? What about walking in heels?
  • Why your bifocals may be a hazard.
  • Which shoes are best and worst to wear?

And so much more… Watch, Listen, Enjoy!


About Jim Klopman

Jim Klopman- Balance is Power - Slack Bow

Jim is a lifelong innovator who has always been one of those people who thinks differently. He believes balance training has sharpened his ability to make new neural connections and see the possibilities and pathways that others miss.

Originally Jim was looking for a way to maintain his own athletic performance well into his 90s. But the Slackbow Balance Training System he developed turned out to be a key to whole body and mind fitness that was even more revolutionary than he could have imagined.

He is eager to spread his knowledge, techniques and tools far and wide to help seekers like him tune their brains to perform better in work and sports, sleep better, look younger and live longer.

Learn more – get Jim’s Balance is Power book, SlackBow and SlackBlock here!

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Guro Rick Faye and Josh Prior of MKG Madison :058

MKG (Minnesota Kali Group) affiliated schools teach a variety of arts from Bruce Lee’s JKD; to Kali, Thai Boxing, Silat, Jiu Jitsu, CSW (wrestling) and focus on fitness, fun and function!

Guro Rick (MKG Minneapolis,MN) and Josh (MKG Madison, WI) really hit it home on how these arts are great not only for physical health, but brain health (neuro-plasticity) as well.

Josh also shares how they have transformed their kids’ program to focus around brain health and nonviolence.


We humbly ask – Help Guro Rick’s wife Marla Faye in her healing journey with cancer…

Please visit their Go Fund Me Page


Guro Rick Faye, Guro Dan Inosanto and Josh Prior

Josh Prior (MKG Madison) – Guro Dan Inosanto – Guro Rick Faye (MKG Minneapolis – MKG Founder)


Here are some for highlights of the discussion:

  • How Josh Prior, owner of MKG Madison got started in martial arts
  • What are Kali and JKD
  • Josh and Guro Rick’s perspective on martial arts: sports, art, training, self-defense, fitness…
  • The impact of a welcoming community
  • Bilateral movement
  • Using double stick work (sinawali) to “warm-up” the brain to perform better at other tasks
  • How stick work improves empty-hand work.
  • No more boring workouts!
  • “. . . he was training martial arts to lose weight, now he’s losing weight to train martial arts.” – Josh Prior MKG Madison
  • Altering training through body changes: arthritis, back pain, sciatica, etc.
  • “Martial arts is what keeps me from getting worse [body pain].” – Josh Prior MKG Madison
  • “It was an encouragement to me to be who I was and simultaneously change my body [through martial arts].” – Josh Prior MKG Madison
  • “I really believe we’ve been given the ‘Fountain of Youth’ through this art.” – Guro Rick Faye
  • Kids and martial arts – development and handling the ‘combative element”
  • “If we can create more peaceful, functional people… the world is going to be that much better.” – Josh Prior MKG Madison
  • “If I could recommend anything to people for their kids is, take the computer away.” – Guro Rick Faye
  • Attention span of youth
  • Present moment consciousness
  • Martial arts – more than self-defense


Guro Rick Faye and Josh Prior

Josh Prior (MGK Madison) and Guro Rick Faye (MKG Minneapolis – MGK Founder)


About Josh Prior

JJosh Prior MKG Madisonosh Prior and his wife Ruth are co-owners MKG International Martial Arts Madison. Josh has been training martial arts for over 18 years. He started training martial arts in 1997 in the discipline of Jun Fan JKD (Bruce Lee’s research and expression of martial arts). Through his training he has been exposed to many different types of martial arts: Kali (weapons and empty handed arts from the Philippines and Southeast Asia), Jun Fan/JKD Concepts, Muay Thai (kickboxing from Thailand), grappling (from many different arts), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Brazilian’s grappling art adapted from Judo), to name a few. In 2005, he started training and teaching at a local school where he developed the kids curriculum and taught all of the kids classes. During his martial arts career he has traveled to expand his knowledge of the martial arts. He has spent the majority of his training travels in Minneapolis at Rick Faye’s internationally recognized martial arts academy Minnesota Kali Group and in August 2010 Josh received his Level 1 Instructors certification. In December 2010, the school that Josh was currently teaching at decided to go a different direction, which allowed Josh to follow his dreams of starting his own martial arts academy. In February 2011, he made another trip to MKG to discuss the possibility of starting a branch in the Madison area. Rick Faye gave him his support and blessing for Josh to pursue his dream, thus MKG International Martial Arts Madison was born.

Check out MKGMadison.com

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Guros Rick Faye and Greg Nelson: The Early Days, Training Mentality and Overcoming Cancer :053

Guros Rick Faye and Greg Nelson talk about the early days, training mentality, Greg’s battle and victory over cancer and…

…as Greg puts it, “… how blessed we are doing what we love with people that we want to be around.”


We humbly ask – Help Guro Rick’s wife Marla Faye in her healing journey with cancer…

Please visit their Go Fund Me Page


Guro Greg Nelson refers to Guro Rick Faye as,

“…my friend, my mentor, my instructor, my most influential training partner….the man that started me on the path I am still walking today Sifu Rick Faye.


Whether you’ve never met these world-class teachers or you’ve known them since the early days you will be touched! You’ll laugh, you’ll probably cry and like all top-notch teachers do; when it’s all over, you’ll go away with a renewed perspective on life.


Here are the highlights of what Guro Rick and Guro Greg discussed:

  • Upcoming events!
  • What is a seminar like?
  • Why Guro Rick believes Guro Greg should be the head of the Thai Boxing Association
  • The early gyms: the garage, Washington Ave., the beach
  • “We didn’t have a lot but we did a lot.” – Guro Rick Faye
  • Guro Greg’s battle and victory over cancer – two times!
  • Healing mentality
  • Faith – Friends, – Family
  • An angel?
  • Training mentality… then and now
  • What Guro Greg’s personal training looks like
  • Guro Greg’s thoughts on holding pads
  • “Master the basics… Once you’ve developed a super-solid foundation of the basics, everything else is gravy.” – Guro Greg Nelson
  • “The Big Five” – Sinawali/Sombrada, Hubud/Chisao, Thai Pads/Focus Mitts, Knife Sparring (or in this case “The Big Four” or The Big Seven”)
  • We are blessed!


      Erik Paulson and Greg Nelson

Erik Paulson and Greg Nelson








Guros Rick Faye, Greg Nelson and Dan Inosanto

Guros Rick Faye, Greg Nelson and Dan Inosanto





Grand Master Surachai, Guros Greg Nelson and Rick Faye

Grand Master Surachai, Guros Greg Nelson and Rick Faye















About Guro Greg Nelson

Mr. Nelson is a former University of Minnesota Wrestling Team member and All-American high school gymnast.  In 1983, he started training in Jun Fan Martial Arts, Filipino Kali and Muay Thai under Sifu Rick Faye.  Since then, he has earned Full Instructor credentials in Jun Fan Martial Arts/Jeet Kune Do Concepts, Filipino Kali, and Level III Instructorship in Maphilindo Silat under the legendary Guru Dan Inosanto.  Coach Nelson is also a Senior Instructor in Muay Thai under Grand Master Surachai “Chai” Sirisute of the Thai Boxing Association of the USA.


Check out Guro Greg’s extensive bio and world-class training at The Academy MN



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“It’s not OK to Punch Somebody” says World-Renowned Martial Artist, Guro Rick Faye :043

“Martial Arts as a Way of Life”

…was how I thought this podcast would be titled, I informed Guru Rick Faye.


We humbly ask – Help Guro Rick’s wife Marla Faye in her healing journey with cancer…

Please visit their Go Fund Me Page


As we talked I heard all kinds of lesson and great, catchy titles for this podcast:

“What a World-renowned Martial Arts Teacher says about Violence”

“Bruce Lee’s Teachings Applied in the 21st Century”

“Yes, That Will Hurt Later”

“What Does an Early (before there was “MMA”) MMA Teachers Think of the UFC?”

“The Love Speech by Dan Inosanto that made Guru Rick Faye Want to be a Martial Arts Instructor”

The list goes on…


By Guro Rick’s Unofficial Request

It’s funny how you (I mean me) can fool yourself; thinking you are guiding Life, the Universe, or the Guro…

Soon enough I heard what the title should really be. Oh, how Guros teach without really trying… or are they?

Guro Rick said if there’s anything he’d like to be known for, it’s to be the Martial Arts Instructor who says, “It’s not OK to punch somebody.” So, his wish… Spread the word!


Watch or Listen to the Podcast for all the gems with Guro Rick Faye!


In this talk we cover many topics. Enjoy!

  • Training for Longevity and Guro Rick’s suggestion for diet and training


“The more veggies you can work into your diet the better off you’ll be – and that’s just a fact.”

– Guro Rick Faye

  • What is Kali, really? The 12 Categories
  • JKD – Jeet Kune Do
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Why Richard Simmons is one of Guru Rick’s heroes


“Slow & mindful. Progressive, slow improvement. Mindful movement.” – Guro Rick Faye


  • Attributes training – Progressive training
  • Kali triangle: Skill, Fight, Play – The role of Play.
  • Guru Rick’s recommendations for daily practice/training
  • How Guru Rick overcomes painful joints mentally and physically


“Is this training harming my body?” – Guro Rick Faye


  • What Thai pads are called “the brutal mirror”
  • What Guro Rick recommends to those in their 30’s and younger (and everyone) for healthier training
  • Muscle vs. Connective tissue
  • Comparing
  • Open-mindedness in JKD terms


“I’m not interested in violence… I want to stay away from it.” – Guro Rick Faye


  • Perceptions and Prejudices
  • What Guro Rick thinks of the UFC
  • Violence
  • Emotional/Verbal Violence
  • What are the best days to Guro Rick Faye
  • Guro Rick’s experience with Tony Robbins
  • Gratitude to Guro Dan Inosanto
  • And of course there are many great stories! Enjoy!


“If you train just right it’s a callus. If you train wrong it’s a blister.” – John LaCoste

“Just be grateful for what you can do.” – Guro Rick Faye

“When I’m 95 I’m going to be training.” – Guro Rick Faye


Helpful Links:

Minnesota Kali Group Website – Check out the Online University! 

Cognitive Kali – TED Talk by Paul McCarthy 

The Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee – book

Sugar Blues – book


Other Podcasts with Guro Rick Faye


Erik Paulson CSW Podcast


About Guro Rick Faye


Founder of the world renowned martial arts school, the Minnesota Kali Group, Rick Faye isdedicated to the highest levels of training and individual improvement in the martial arts.  In addition to being the MKG owner and head instructor of the Minnesota Kali Group and his instructor development organization, MKG International, Rick is considered one of the top instructors in the JKD family world wide. Rick’s impressive reputation for seminars on the art, self-defense and law enforcement topics keep him in demand locally, nationally & internationally.

Rick Faye’s credentials include 2 Senior Full Instructorships under Dan Inosanto (Jun Fan/Jeet Kune Do & the Filipino Martial Arts), and a 5th level Maphilindo Silat Instructorship under Guro Inosanto. He is a regional director for the Thai Boxing Association, U.S.A. and holds the level of Ajarn (Senior Instructor) in Muay Thai under Grandmaster Chai Sirisute. He also holds instructorships in Wing Chun Gung Fu, Sensei Erik Paulson’s C.S.W. curriculum (Combat Submission Wrestling) and numerous other arts.  Rick’s teaching methods have paved the way for both the fighter, the martial artist and the martial art enthusiast to all thrive and excel in this complex and functional martial art system.

Rick’s devotion to the art is evidenced by his belief in constant training of the basics and an impressive attention to detail. This enthusiasm is integral to his teaching and helps his students learn and maintain their excitement. The results of this work ethic are obvious in both his art and his teaching.

Visit the MNKali.com website.


Learn via the online university or at an affiliate school near you!

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Embarrassed to Exercise :035

I remember what it feels like to be embarrassed to exercise

It first started when I was in elementary school. I lacked coordinated, stamina, understanding of most games and even strategies. I didn’t want to take part in any physical activities, so it didn’t bother me to be chosen last to be on the team; this was a given.


I just wanted to be left alone

On top of my lack of physical skills, being active hurt. The clothing rubbing against my troubled skin plagued me when doing normal activities; any extra activity caused pain from repeated friction. I just wanted to be still.

If that wasn’t bad enough, physical exertion made my stomach sick, my face turn red, I felt light-headed, like I would vomit. If there was any moderate running, my lungs burned and sides ached.

Extremes in weather made it worse. I loved the sun but it dried my skin just from the heat. My face got redder and hotter more quickly. My feet felt like anchors that I had to drag along.

Cold weather was equally painful. My already chilled and sensitive body recoiled in the the cold. My skin felt even more parched in the cool, dry air. The open cracks in my skin, open wounds exposed to the piercing air or caught on layers of clothing.

Oh yeah, and on top of it all, I was overweight. Forty percent heavier than my average classmate.

“Just let me sit out.” I thought, at every recess and every P.E. class.

Just let me be.


My biggest hurdle… embarrassment

So acutely aware of my abnormalities, what I couldn’t do, I was ashamed to even try. That would have made it worse, to try, fail and be teased even more.

There was a point, though, that I realized that by not overcoming this hurdle, I was keeping myself from what was beyond just that one, seemingly monumental hurdle!

If I had allowed myself, I would have gone my whole life not discovering how capable and healthy I have become because I was worried about what others would think of me!

I knew for years that my body needed to dance- to learn to move in a coordinated fashion and with expression.

I was embarrassed as a child because I thought dance was too feminine: I felt I gained favor from those I loved by being a Tom-boy.

I was embarrassed as an adult because I thought I looked silly stumbling around; that’s how I perceived myself.


Get over the hurdle

I became sick and tired of being sick and tired. My ailments and thoughts and feelings about my body and my life continually pushed me into a corner. I felt less and less capable, worthy, and even desirous of anything fun and worth while.

Something in my young self knew this was no way to live. I decided to change. I decided to make my biggest hurdle my greatest victory.

Quick synopsis, almost thirty years later I am stronger and healthier than ever. I feel fit, capable, coordinated and now I am chosen to be on teams! It feels really good to overcome such a multi-faceted challenge!


One embarrassing thing after another

Life is funny. It seems to give us lesson upon lesson until we really get it.

Recently I found that I am once again embarrassed about exercise. Like any good life-lesson, the circumstances are much different. Now, much more self-confident, capable and healthy, I am not embarrassed of my body, but I noticed being embarrassed about what or even how I train; in martial arts.

It started as a curiosity for me many years ago. I met my husband through this activity and we’ve trained off and on throughout the years.

It has been a form of exercise and self-study for me for 16 years. It’s true, there is so much to learn just by metaphors in training martial arts; as we have seen in many movies.  I have learned about boundaries, when and how to meet force, when to go around, flow, movement within movement, patience, muscle memory, overcoming frustration, learning with new training partners and so much more. For me, this training is so much more about how to work with and through a situation, rather than to cause harm. But, because I was training with people of similar interest, I didn’t notice so much the seeming contradiction brewing within me.

What would my yoga friends think!?

I train regularly with training daggers and learn to disarm and return attacks. This is does not fit my equally deep training in yoga. This does not abide by one of the tenets: nonviolence.

I don’t train martial arts to learn to be a violent person. Actually, in metaphoric ways, I have become much better at dealing with non-physical violence and even challenging life situations because of my martial arts training.

Most of all, I’ve had to remember that each of us has our own unique path. I must continue to tune inward and find my own way- without worry of what others think.


I don’t let this stop me from training.

While it still surprises me to see myself in a video, training with practice daggers, I know myself best. I know that I am not training to harm, but to learn the dynamics of life, to train and understand my body, to become proficient in an area of life (physical) that is most challenging to me.

Most of all, I can see the metaphors in life; how to defend and react not to the physical dagger, but the sharp tongue or piercing eyes of another person.

I encourage you to face your seeming contradictions and challenges as well. Don’t let the thoughts (or assumed thoughts) of other people stop you from moving your body the way you need to be healthy in body, mind and spirit!

I keep on training because of the many things I gain: quality time with my hubby, increased awareness, improved coordination and reflexes, strength and greater self-confidence.

If I worried about what others thought, I’d be letting my assumed thoughts of what they might think of me prevent me from becoming who I want to be; more educated, capable and to have greater perspective.

Now I: train martial arts, dance, do yoga, mountain bike and am excited to do more! I’m so thrilled to live in my capable body! No longer will I let others’ presumed thoughts dictate what I do or do not do!

Whatever your reason for embarrassment

Don’t let it stop you!

If you were to join any activity for the fun of it

…and as a result you gained in fitness, coordination or self-awareness–what would you do?

What would you do if no one were looking?

What if money were no object?

What are you curious about?

What do you admire that others can do?

Where can you start? How can you fulfill this for yourself?

Don’t worry about what others might think. You’re living your life!

It’s YOUR Exercise for YOUR Body!

Turn your embarrassment into accomplishment!


“If one loves, one need not have an ideology of love.”  – Bruce Lee

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Exercise: What’s right for Your Body? :034

You know how your body needs and wants to move…

To exercise, it’s intuitive, but it may need some excavating to come out again.

Which activities did you love as a child?

Running, climbing, playing ball, dancing?

This is a first big clue. Write these down!

What did you love about these activities: being outside, being with others, the feeling of freedom, learning, the feeling of continuous challenge and the possibility of winning or losing?

This seems overly simply, but it’s such a healthy mental and emotional exercise to do.

The greatest step we can take in our health is to observe and allow!

Observe how your body truly wants and needs help and support. If that’s difficult to tune into now, recall a time when you felt really in-tune with your body. What were you doing (and not doing) to support yourself? What were your goals and desires? Most of all, what was your attitude?


 Know your Body-type

Some people and bodies need more vigorous exercise others more slow and mellow.

I’ve learned over time that I need mostly gentle exercise: dance, walking, yoga – with some strength and coordination exercise mixed in.

In my book, You-niversal Self-care, I teach about the Body-types and the foods, exercises and habits that help to balance each type. Here’s a summary of the types of exercises that help each Body-type.


Types of Exercise that help each Body-type


This type needs vigorous exercise, but exercising is not typically enjoyable to them. They need a trainer, a group, a class that they enjoy and can kick them into gear! Earth-types like things to be regular. A scheduled class and a consistent trainer are helpful. Earth-types like being around friends, but it’s best not to count on other Earth-type friends to stay accountable. Make sure to find a Fire-type trainer/group leader to keep you going! Beautiful esthetics help. Earth-types also like comfortable and homey atmosphere.  This is not the typical gym, which is why an Earth-type will feel more comfortable in a yoga class (without mirrors). They will benefit from a more vigorous Ashtanga or “Power yoga”. When an Earth-type finds the right activity they actually enjoy it!


Fire-types need lots of activity, something to let off steam, something challenging. They also like competition. Join a sports league which is also motivation to do some supplemental and cross training. You’ll find many Fire-types in competitive environments like Crossfit. A Fire-type naturally wants to move and compete, but when they are overcome by the challenge of “making it” in the business realm they will readily put this healthy practice aside. You will feel and perform much better though, in all areas of life, when you exercise regularly!


Air and Water-types

These types need regularity. Depending on their second most dominant Body-type they may be able to withstand vigorous workouts, or not. If Air is your primary Body-type, like me, less intense workouts like certain styles of martial arts, yoga, tai chi, walking and dance are very helpful. It’s important for these types to do something that does not exhaust their more delicate constitution. For this type it’s not about the calories burned or the miles walked; consistent, daily activity helps theses types the most.

So, what’s your Body-type? Take the Body-type Quiz in the right sidebar!


Getting Clear

Now you know…

Use these tools to narrow down what it is that you can to do for your body!

Try out some activities or classes. Try as many as you like! Rotate. Once you start looking you’ll be amazed by what you can find, even online!

Most of all, have fun!

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Make Weight Loss the Benefit, Not the Goal :024

Weight Loss and “Fitting-in” Used to be my Goals

Weight loss and fitting-in were my primary objectives for many years; to fit-in to the right sized jeans and to fit-in to the groups I glamorized.


When you struggle with weight, it becomes your focus.

When it comes to health, weight is a symptom, not the cause.

Recognize that you may the Type who tends to carry more weight naturally. (Take the Body-typing Quiz in the sidebar and learn more about Body-typing in my book, You-niversal Self-care: Improved Health Through Self-Understanding.)

But when being overweight or underweight is truly and issue, we don’t need a scale to tell us this!

From my health and weight struggles and victories, I encourage you to change your focus!

Get off the scale and on to Wellness!

There’s a story

…of how monkeys are captured. The short version is; trappers hang a coconut with a hole just large enough for the monkey to slip its tiny hand into. The trappers place the monkeys favorite fruit inside and wait. Soon enough a troop of monkeys comes through this area and when the freely available fruits are consumed by the hungry bunch, an unlucky few find the baited trap. The monkey slips its hand through the hole to grasp the fruit. He thinks he has the prize, but soon finds out that he cannot remove his hand with the tightly-grasped fruit treat. He does not let go of the fruit and so ends up trapping himself.

When we let go of thinking that a certain weight is the goal, our perspective opens.

We are no longer trapped in this game where a particular weight is the prize.

Instead, let your goals be those things that actually promote health. Find the food and habits that help you feel as close to 100% as possible!

Experience your body being free of cravings by eliminating certain foods, stabilizing your blood sugars, and even by taking quality vitamins!

Your body and mind can learn to enjoy exercise and especially the benefits when you find something that is challenging enough and feels good! (Yes, exercise can feel good and be very rewarding!)

Feel how these changes in habit work synergistically; when eating the foods your body needs it gives you genuine energy (not fake energy from caffeine or sugar) and how moving your body is so much easier with the right sources of energy- and encourages you to keep making those health-promoting choices!

See beyond the “bait” of weight and you will likely achieve so much more than you hoped for!

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When to do Online Yoga and Why to go to a Yoga Studio :017

It’s convenient to take an online yoga class…

…but I much prefer going to a warm, cozy studio with a great yoga instructor to guide me through a yoga practice. No distractions. No problems.

Sometimes the time and financial resources it takes to go to a studio are limited. In this case online yoga classes can sound appealing, but are they right for you?

As I began taking online yoga classes it occurred to me that I take a lot of my advanced training and yoga history for granted. As I modify poses for what I need and want, it occurs to me that online classes are convenient, but perhaps not ideal for everyone.

If you’re wondering which is better for you, here are my thoughts:


When to do Online Yoga - Why to go to a Yoga Studio

Online Yoga:

Online yoga is great if you have a foundational understanding of the basic poses.

It saves time having to drive to and from a studio, unless you can go on the way to or from work!

If you have little ones at home, paying for a babysitter and yoga classes may not only be time-consuming but pinch the budget a bit. Squeeze in an online class when you can or get the kids involved!

If you’re the type who can commit to a regular workout routine, online yoga, available whenever you are, may be just the right match.

Studio Yoga:

In my opinion, beginning students really should go to a yoga studio to gain basic instruction from a knowledgable and experienced instructor who can monitor you and teach safety while moving through and holding yoga postures. This isn’t about creating “the perfect pose,” it’s for your safety. Yoga is a more gentle form of body movement than most (depending on the style of yoga) but the repetitive movements can still strain and harm the body over time if not done properly.

For intermediate and advanced students it is helpful to go in for “check-ups.” It’s easy to develop bad habits. Something as simple as keeping your elbows in (which easily creep out) can help prevent painful elbow problems.

Sometimes when you need “space” it helps to grab a yoga mat, humbly claim your area, and take a mini-vacation in your bubble of space and time. Get lost in the music and movement. No cares. No distractions.

There is so much behind what goes into a yoga class that a teacher just can’t get into while teaching a regular class. Most studios offer workshops to learn more which can help you gain even more from your regular classes!

By going to a yoga studio you support a local business. It’s a feel-good moment for everyone!

Lastly, I recommend taking classes at a yoga studio if you have a hard time committing to yourself. If new routines are difficult, I highly recommend buying a punchcard and committing to taking a regular class. Start with one class per week if that’s where you need to start. For some Body-types, having a healthy group atmosphere with caring people whom you enjoy seeing and who extol how much they’ve missed you when you’re gone is a helpful start to committing to a yoga practice- especially the Earth-type and Water-type. (Body-typing book here. Take the Body-type Quiz in the sidebar.)


As you can see, I’m a big fan of Studio Yoga, but I’ve experience that Online Yoga fills a significant need and is helpful as well.


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How to Self-Critique Without Being Critical About Your Fitness :014

How to Self-Critique Without Being Critical

Being self-critical is a very difficult habit to break when you have lived your life overweight and have become self-critical to pre-empt what others might criticize you for.


It can be done, though, and it needs to be done. It may seem contradictory but self-critique is necessary and even helpful. If you can not judiciously assess yourself, how do you know where health improvements can be made?


Now technically I should not be using “critique” and “critical” as if they stem from different words; but the truth is that colloquially we put different values on these words. To critique can be seen as a valuable thing- that your are picking out what needs to change for improvement. To be critical has a heavy tone to it; like a disapproving father who picks at everything that isn’t perfect. So make note, I’m using the colloquial definitions here, that I just illustrated.


Here’s how I made the shift to be able to Self-Critique without being Critical


I take an adult dance class two times per week. I started seeking this cross-training when I realized several years ago that I needed an activity that would help me train my body in coordination that would not exhaust me at the same time.


Ballet class is my gauge. I can tell where I am at in mental clarity, physical strength, flexibility and coordination each time I go to class.


It’s through challenging myself in the areas that are most difficult for me to learn (physical movement and coordination) where I learned to self-critique but not to be critical.


The goals and standards I create are my own; I’m not striving to live to anyone else’s ideals. I challenge myself, but am still caring towards myself.


This compassionate nature is what helps me to Self-critique without becoming Critical.


How to Self-Critique Without Being Critical


In this video of this podcast I am critiquing (and sharing these principles) as I resume a workout regime I have not done in months.


I Critique for improvement as opposed to being Critical which tears a person down.


Examples of the difference between Self-Critique and being Critical


First, as I Critique I Keep in Mind:

That I have not done this workout in months. “Just see where you’re at.”

The purpose of this workout is to help improve my strength for ballet. (Weight change and body-shape are positive benefits for me, but not goals.)

I will improve with consistency and applied feedback for improvement.

I will feel my body shift and change… perhaps in undesirable ways at first, but that it will lead to what I desire. (Soreness will lead to strength. Body mass increase (weight and size) will lead to toning.)

I note the positive things that might even surprise me: Wow! I can still do side plank with pretty good stability! I didn’t get as sore as I thought I might!


I Would be Being Critical if I Said to Myself:

It’s only been 6 months and you lost your form!

You can only do a couple suspended crunches per side!

Push yourself and do three sets… You need to get off on a big start!

Did you get the results yet? Go check!



Notice how you feel just reading these: Critiques vs. Being Critical!




How to Self-Critique Without Being Critical Tips:

Focus on creating healthy habits as your goal rather than a weight or a size. The habits more than likely will lead to the results you want anyways!

Cut out the pomp and circumstance! Make the healthy habit something you do normally; make it a normal thing in your life. When you make it an emotion-filled task you set yourself up for an equally emotional let-down if you don’t meet your objective.

Start moderately. Don’t burn yourself out at the start. Allow yourself to feel good; feel progress from the start!

Approach health and fitness with a light-hearted nature. Have fun! Find things you enjoy. Find the activity that is balancing for your Body-type. Take the Body-type Assessment (in the sidebar) to learn more.

Allow time and consistency to work their magic!

Notice where you’re critical of others. You’re likely ten times more critical of yourself in those areas. Then let go!

What if your objective were to learn to improve, rather than to accomplish?

Treat yourself like a beloved child who must learn this (a) particular lesson, and give him/her the patience, resources and time to learn, improve and make changes.


Wishing you Well-ness!





The Other Half of Your Yoga Practice – Yin Yoga with Bernie Clark :013

Yin Yoga

The Other Half of Your Yoga Practice

with Bernie Clark

In this interview with Bernie Clark (a name synonymous with Yin Yoga) we discuss the who, what and why of this vital “other half” of our yoga practices and life!


Bernie has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1998. His yoga practice encompasses the hard, yang-styles, such as Ashtanga and Power Yoga, and the softer, yin-styles, as exemplified in Yin Yoga. Bernie also worked as a member of the executive team of one of Canada’s oldest and largest Hi-Technology companies. Bernie lives, teaches and offers workshops in Vancouver, Canada.


He is the Author of:

The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga

Your Body, Your Yoga


From the Gita to the Grail



“God doesn’t keep a list of who can do a deep forward fold.” – Bernie Clark 

“…that’s what we’re trying to in yoga, just become healthy- not super flexible.”

– Bernie Clark

Yin Yoga with Bernie Clark

In this Podcast on Yin Yoga:

Bernie Shares:

  • How started meditation in his 20’s and yoga asana practice to help meditation in his 40’s.
  • Initially due to his Type-A personality, he gravitated towards active “yang” style yoga and later noticed how Yin Yoga brought balance.
  • His Yin Yoga lineage from Paul Grilley to Sarah Powers
  • How yoga is like prayer and meditation
  • How Yin has specifically helped him (a self-acclaimed “Yang-ster) – Physical, Mental, Emotional
  • How to address very stressful times. (Resisting and acting out don’t work very well, but Yin-type actions do.)



“…to really understand Yin Yoga, or any form of yoga, one must experience it. Reading about yoga is like reading a menu when you are hungry: interesting, maybe even mouth watering, but until you actually partake of what you are seeing, your need will not be quenched. ” – Bernie Clark



About Yin Yoga:

  • What are Yin and Yang in general?
  • What are Yin and Yang in yoga and which tissues do they each target?
  • What are the effects of a yang-dominant yoga (exercise) practice?
  • What does lack of movement do to our tissues by comparison? Here’s a very good reference from Bernie’s book YinSights
  • What is fascia and why is it so important to pay attention to it? (Bernie offers a great illustration at about 22 minutes into the recording.)
  • What is the balance point between Yin and Yang styles of yoga or exercise?
  • How Yin Yoga can help a person meditate 2 and 3 minutes at a time.



How Yin Yoga has Helped me:

  • When I replaced my usual practice with solely Yin Yoga my joints were freed up and I could better use my Strength and Flexibility in my ballet classes I attend.
  • Bernie says that Yin Yoga is not Restorative yoga but I did experience a sense of calm during and hours after practicing.




Taking the Yin Concepts into Life – Yin Yoga on or Off the Mat

I ask each guest to share something that listeners can take into their daily life. Here’s what Bernie offered:

Know your intention. Why are you doing anything (that you do) in life?

Bernie explains this beautifully at the closing of the podcast with a helpful metaphor of the map. You can catch this in the last 5 minutes of the podcast.



“Know what your in-tention and then pay a-ttention- whether it’s yoga or life.”

– Bernie Clark


Other Books Mentioned in this Podcast:

Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer – Gregg Braden

The Places That Scare You – Pema Chodron

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living – Dale Carnegie



More About Bernie Clark

Bernie has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1998. He has a bachelor degree in Science from the University of Waterloo and combines his intense interest in yoga with an understanding of the scientific approach to investigating the nature of things. His ongoing studies have taken him deeply inside mythology, comparative religions and psychology. All of these avenues of exploration have clarified his understanding of the ancient Eastern practices of yoga and meditation. His teaching, workshops and books have helped many students broaden their own understanding of health, life and the source of true joy.

Bernie’s yoga practice encompasses the hard, yang-styles, such as Ashtanga and Power Yoga, and the softer, yin-styles, as exemplified in Yin Yoga. His meditation experience goes back to the early 80’s when he first began to explore the practice of Zen meditation. During those days, while he struggled with the conflict between practice and theory, Bernie also worked as a member of the executive team of one of Canada’s oldest and largest Hi-Technology companies.


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How to Become and Stay Fit After 50! :010

Being Fit after 50 Improves Overall

Quality of Life!




Being physically fit can have a positive emotional and even spiritual component.

Through #funfitness programs such as these I hope to inspire listeners (and readers) to find the particular form of fitness activity that suits them.



In this interview with my dear friends Charlie and Tammy, they share how the weekly ballet class we attend together is not just exercise, it enriches their lives!


Charlie, a tall energetic fellow who would rival Willy Wonka for creativity and Dick Van Dyke for spryness; is a tremendous example of how at 76 years of age you can be more than just a kid at heart!


Tamara (whom we call Tammy) is a heartfelt, graceful and vivacious woman; and at 69 years of age she glides and springs across the dance floor with awe-inspiring levity and is the personification of joy.



These notes are just a summary. I highly encourage you to listen to this lively and heart-warming discussion!



These two inspire me greatly! I hope sharing their insights in this interview inspires you too!


Tammy shares:

  • The role that ballet has played throughout her life.
  • How having malformed feet affected her as a child and how her awareness as a life-long dancer helps her take care of symptoms now.
  • How she made her health and wellness through ballet a priority while raising a family, through a busy teaching career and also as a single parent.
  • How to work around not being able to afford classes. “For years, I was my teacher.” – Tamara
  • How she lost and regained 1/2″ in height!
  • Working with muscles that don’t seem to be getting the message of what to do.



“Ballet as an art, a sport and endeavor is so fulfilling… for the physical strength and balance and flexibility…  also for the intellectual challenge… There’s the artistry, of course, but it goes beyond artistry to spiritual…” – Tamara


“I think being in a class environment really helps.” – Tamara


“I am a grandmother to 6 little children and I’ve been able to pick them up and carry them around and play and roll around on the floor and do well… I think because of the ballet.”

– Tamara


“I have had injuries, I’ve been able to tune in… adapt… to be kind to muscle but not to stop… I adapt what I do to the process of healing… I believe I cut the healing time in half by doing that.” – Tamara



Charlie shares:

  • How Tammy inspired him to enter community theatre and her amusing recommendation to the director for him to play the part of Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker. “He dances with great spirit, but he’s a sloppy dancer…” FYI… he got the part and will be playing Drosselmeyer for the sixth time this year!
  • Charlie (76) began ballet class at age 63. He admits that he hadn’t even been to many ballets!
  • His ever-present creative side chimes in and shares his first poem and first dance.
  • He adds, ballet and being active has helped him most through pain. “Don’t give up as you feel more and more pain… through arthritis and back pain.” He says, when he gets to ballet class, it goes away!
  • Charlie share the words of advice his father shared with him from his deathbed… a message we can all take to heart!


“Having fun is the biggest part…” – Charlie

“Working through it with other people and working through in a graceful way is nice… other than doing medical things… Stretching, moving turning. You feel alive. And pain is a part of it.” – Charlie

“Ballet has been very important in my life to force me to stay focused.” – Charlie

“I wish more guys would try it (ballet)… and not see it as too feminine or too easy.” – Charlie




Closing thoughts


Tammy, because she was a teacher of foreign language for so many years, she adopted the habit early of striving to always be learning something new to be continually familiar with what it’s like to be a newbie; to better relate with there students. “Come, be humbled, hang in there, be patient with yourself because your brain will adapt to those new elements and you’ll be glad you did!” – Tamara


“…Especially for our children and grandchildren, there has to be joy in the world , there has to be happiness, and if it’s not going to come from the television… it has to come from the people around them. Finding ways to see the happy side of life…” – Charlie



Whether you begin at four, forty, or 64… it’s never too late to find your particular #funfitness activity that keeps you healthy from your head to your heart and even down to your feet!



About Tamara

Tamara Ann Rogers has been a secondary teacher of world languages and a ballet dancer. Born in 1947 in southern Ohio she grew up in a magnolia culture, danced as a performing member of Cincinnati Ballet, and graduated from Denison University in the major of French, with a triple minor in Latin, Dance and Education. Tamara moved to Minnesota in 1972, raised her beloved daughters here, and grew to become a Northerner with a southern flair. Her immediate family expanded with a step-son and treasured grandchildren. She and husband Randall Schumacher are richly involved at their church St Luke, in their community, and in their arts of dance and music.

Tammy and her Granddaughter


About Charlie

Charlie Title created a successful career composing scripts and songs for many corporate and institutional organizations. He spends his retired life dancing, creating tremendously entertaining musicals, chasing his cats back to the house from the woods, serving his wife delicious meals, fitting in travel here and there, and last but not least, enjoying time with his precious grandchildren.


Charlie Title