Hannah's Session with @HunterFitness

Hey, coach Hannah here, with a little confessional story for ya...

I just got back from a weekend in LA. Last November I signed up for an event I knew barely anything about (you’ve probably heard me talking about the Summit of Power if you follow us on Instragram) but when I signed up, it didn’t even have a name yet. This is a different story, for another email. 

Leading up to the event, I realized that I would be nearby to one of my mobility training mentors, Hunter Cook. I knew I would kick myself if I didn’t at least try to get in a training session with him while I was in the area. Amazingly, he had an opening in his crazy schedule, so I fought Friday LA traffic to get all the way down to Long Beach. 

Make Your Mornings Suck Less: Part 3

Good morning! Hannah, here. 

Nothing like daylight savings to remind us of a universal truth: 
 
It is harder to get going in the DARK. 

Seriously. Doesn't it just feel wrong to get up before the sun? Even though I am now in the habit of getting up before sunrise, it's always much nicer to walk out the door to a little bit of light in the sky. 

Oh well. It will be back in a few weeks. 

But this brings me to one of the key things you can do to make getting up early suck less: Get the right alarm clock. 

As I mentioned in my first email about mornings, when my S.O. and I finally agreed to do early mornings together, we treated ourselves to a new alarm clock. 

But my phone is my alarm clock, Hannah! 

Yeah, I know. But does your phone wake you up gently by slowly brightening your room? Mine sure doesn't.

But my alarm clock does. 

See, it's a light.

Say you wanna wake up at 6:30am. You set your alarm clock, and it will start slowly brightening your bedroom from 6:15-6:30am, so that by the time your alarm goes off, your room is filled with (artificial) sunlight. Ta da!

If this isn't a great example of faking it til you make it, I don't know what is. 

Another bonus of having a legit alarm clock is that you can leave your phone out of the bedroom. This helps on both sides of sleep:

  1. At night: We ALL know that we shouldn't be staring at screens prior to bed if we want high quality sleep. If you haven't heard this yet, you're late aaaaaaaand welcome to 2018. We're delighted to have you. 
  2. In the morning: the surest way to NOT get out of bed and do all the great things you had planned for yourself is to lay there scrolling through social media/news/whatever on your phone. WE ALL DO IT. 

If your phone is your alarm clock, it is ALMOST impossible to resist the siren call of those notifications on your home screen when you turn your alarm off. You know I'm right. 

Leave your phone in the living room. Read a paper book before bed. Get an alarm clock. Thank me next week. 

But seriously. Looking back at my journey to becoming a morning person (resentfully, slowly, now joyfully) one of the things that made an immediate difference in my waking mood and ease of physically getting out of bed was this stupid alarm clock.

I almost don't expect you to believe me because I remember the way I felt before I got mine and I wouldn't have believed me then either. 

But enough of you asked, so I'm sharing what worked for me! 
 

-Hannah

Becoming Fluent, part I

Everybody hurts, at some point. It is one of the ways our bodies learn, and critical to keeping us safe, because it's the alarm system that let's us know when danger is near. But it also creates a lot of strife, and keeps a lot of people from engaging with the world in a physical way. Becoming fluent in how you communicate with your body means that you are not just terrorized by the hurt, but also tuned in for the good stuff--strength, pleasure, flow--as well.

Make Your Mornings Suck Less: Part 2

Hi team, Coach Hannah here.


If you’re not a morning person, and you are forced to get up earlier than feels natural to your body (looking at you, teacher friends) it can be rough. As I talked about in my last email, you can start to deeply resent the people you serve in your work. 

 

Which is not the jam. 

 

So many of you replied to my last email - I had no idea mornings were such a struggle for so many of you! But I’m glad you piped up, cuz I’ve got more “make-your-morning-not-suck” emails coming your way.

And we are working on a quick video you can do along with us to help you get moving and set you on the right foot for a freaking fantastic day. More on that later this week. 


Today, I’m going to reveal my #1 secret to pushing past the grouchy bit and finding a way to be bright and shiny by the time you actually have to interact with people. 
 

You know how sometimes when you are really sad, or really angry, the feeling will get so absurdly big that you’ll find yourself laughing hysterically? 
 

Just me?


Well.  Laughter, my friends is the key for me. 


When I’m still feeling grumpy about being awake, even after moving and meditating, I listen to stand-up comedy on Pandora. 


I have a few go-to stations, based on my favorite comedians. Pandora pulls together choice bits from various comedians they think you’ll like based on the person you love. It’s brilliant! As a side bonus, I’ve found comics I didn’t know about. 


Short bits are perfect for morning grumpsville. You don’t have to get too involved, you’re not listening to a whole hour. If you miss one, cuz you’re electric toothbrush drowns out the sound of your phone, no biggie. You can pick up with the next bit.

Also it’s generally all the BEST bits from each comic, so you don’t have to wade through the kinda boring set ups to get to the real payoff. 


Once I’m laughing, I can’t be mad anymore. 


Some of my favorite stations to get the day started are:

  • Robin Williams (listening to that dude is like 8 shots of double espresso - he thinks and talks so fast! And makes me laugh so hard I cry) 
  • Maria Bamford (absurd, sneak-attack funny)
  • Jackie Kashian (family friendly side-splitting smart silly stuff)

 

But you should listen to YOUR favorites.

This is the whole thing: Pair something unpleasant with something pleasant. Prefereably a pleasant thing that changes you, physically (laughing/smiling). See when you laugh, it forces you to BREATH. And breathing makes everything better. 

 

Giggle and get going,

Hannah

CARs, or How to Make Your Body Go VROOM

Coach Will here to talk about CARs: Controlled Articular Rotations.

I have an irrational fondness for this exercise, and I want to tell you why. I have a lot to say--probably too much--but I wanted to lay it all out. 

One of my favorite aspects of working with humans and their bodies is that I get to interact with human realness. I'm pretty sure "realness" is not a real word.

But I bet you understand what I mean: realness is that base layer of our experience, where we have actual feelings and are actually weak and vulnerable. It's also where we are actually strong and beautiful, too. It's a cool place, even if things do get a little real at times :).

In the gym, the "real" aspect is pretty obvious: I have the chance to see, feel, challenge and support physical bodies, in real-time. Regardless of histories, goals, or opinions, the simple reality of how someone's joints work, one-at-a-time and in larger patterns, is made plain to me, and so I might know better how to help that person. I love that interaction.

At the same time, there's another even more real interaction going on: between the mover-student and themselves. Somewhat problematically, that conversation is not always the most polite (and sometimes is pretty darn harsh). I say "problematically" only euphemistically: it's one of the most damning obstacles that we see, day in and day out.

Imagine for a moment the preposterous complexity of the human organism: 60,000 miles of nerves (potentially) conduct 1,000,000,000,000,000 (that is 1 quadrillion. 15 zeros. I read it somewhere, I think from Hunter Cook) impulses across the brain each second, creating more neurological connections than there are particles in the known universe. That's a lot of complexity to sort out and understand, let alone process into powerful, willful movement (Ha! Will-ful!).

But now multiply that by all the ways our consciousness might make things more complex. Like by: deciding that certain movement-sensations are "right" or "wrong"; or by repressing the shame you feel in certain physical positions or places; or by trying to guess what others may or may not be thinking about you. Seeing and feeling what's actually going on in your body becomes a devious, frustrating task.

Fortunately, we have found tools that works on that particular ability, of seeing-feeling what is real in your body. They're called Controlled Articular Rotations, or CARs for short.

They ask for you to make the largest pain-free rotation of a single joint in your body while keeping all other joints still. Simple!

Simple, sure, but not easy.

First, CARs demand that you practice the of holding strong, of not moving; this takes huge energy and tension, but yields an equally rich flow information to your brain (more muscular tension = more nerve feedback).

Second, CARs demand an inquisitive awareness of simplified movement, at the specific joint your moving. Continuously comparing the non-movement of your body with the controlled movement of that single joint gives you an honest view of what is actually true in your body, today.

Third, this enhanced awareness is only temporary. It opens up a window in which, with more information, the movement part of your brain is able to make better decision, and you become an intrinsically better mover. For a day or so.

So, to recap: CARs are an incredible way to bring clarity to your unique physical puzzle (your body), if you can 1. work hard, 2. pay attention and 3. be consistent.

That's why we recommend ALL of our clients do them EVERYDAY. It's why I do them every morning (except Saturdays. Because, Saturdays!), and why we start every class with them.

It's also why we put together a morning CARs routine video guide, called 10 Minutes of Morning Alchemy. By showing you what CARs look like, talking you through them, and being there every morning (on your smartphone/computer, at least) we might get you to ACTUALLY start doing them :). Imagine being the person who spends a little time every morning getting sorted, inside and out...

Be well, folks!

Make Your Mornings Suck Less

Part 1

Hi team, Coach Hannah here.
 

I need to come clean with you about something: I am NOT a morning person.

A year ago, if you had told me that I would willingly get up at 5:30am Monday through Friday  I would have laughed you out of the room. 

 

And yet. 

I do. (I’m putting the finishing touches on this email at 6:18 am)

How the hell did I become a "morning person" ???

 

I did not start out this way, kiddos. For those who know me, you know I love to sleep. I do best with 8+ hours per night, every night. So I’m not making mornings happen by sacrificing sleep. Mama don’t play that sleep dep game. I’m hilarious when sleep deprived, but otherwise non-functional and I quickly get overwhelmed and think that the world is terrible and everything is wrong and it will never get better so let’s just eat M&Ms and potato chips until we die. 


Yeah.
 

I start teaching at 6:30am. That means I need to be a) Alert b) Articulate and C) Charming AF by 6:30 in the freaking morning. 

 

When this first became the truth of my professional existence, I resisted the early rise kicking and screaming. I would sleep until the LAST possible minute, roll outta bed already wearing workout clothes that I’d slept in, make coffee while barely conscious, and then bomb down the road to the gym riding my bike as fast as I could. 

 

And it worked. Kinda. 

 

The I’ll-be-late-if-I-don’t-pedal-as-fast-as-humanly-possible bike ride got my heart (and adrenaline) pumping. The coffee in my thermos gave me confidence that I would be able to string sentences together in front of my clients. And I told myself that sleeping as late as possible was the only sane thing to do, because getting up before 7am is just cruel so you should mitigate that shit as much as possible. 

 

But during this year a funny thing happened. I began to resent my clients. Even though they were people I loved working with, I noticed my patience getting thinner and thinner. To the point where I was thinking about switching careers. 

 

I wasn’t happy. 

 

Then I heard about this book on a podcast called “The Miracle Morning” - if that sounds hokey to you, you are right on point. 

 

I still can’t, in good conscience, recommend the book itself—the tone of the writing is the worst self-help-salesman-sunshine BS you can imagine. OMG it’s seriously the worst. 

 

But. 

 

I was so unhappy that I was willing to try anything, so I ordered the book on amazon, convinced my S.O. to do it with me, and we started our “Miracle Morning” adventure. 

Begrudgingly at first, we put the principles outlined in the book into practice. 

The principles (Which I CAN WHOLEHEARTEDLY recommend, as as follows):

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you need to
  2. Preset a sequence of actions that will kickstart you into being awake (drink a glass of water, brush your teeth)
  3. Do 10 minutes each of 6 practices that are known to improve your happiness, and in turn your life (movement, meditation, journaling, visualization, reading, and affirmation)*
  4. Go about your day. 

 

*I have since modified WHAT I do in that morning time, as I found that for me personally I feel rushed trying to cram in just 10 mins of each thing, but the habit of getting up early and doing something for myself first thing in the morning has stuck. 

 

WHY?

 

My work revolves around caring for other people. Being what they need for the hour that we are together. I know many of you can relate to this, even if your line of work is different in name, most of us SERVE OTHERS in our work. Parents really know what I’m talking about—you take care of tiny humans before you even GO to work. Bless you. 

 

The old way I ran my life meant that I was taking care of other people from my first conscious moment until late afternoon. The first time I would do anything purely for myself was 5-6hrs into my day, when I already felt depleted. 

 

This new routine flipped the order: I was taking care of MYSELF first thing, before I even thought about another human being. 

 

Turns out putting yourself first is a powerful thing. 

 

Just a week into implementing this new morning ritual, I felt clear headed. At that point, by body wasn’t yet agreeing to the new sleep schedule, which meant I was staying up later than I’d like and getting only 6-7hrs of sleep per night. But even with less sleep, I felt more rested. More calm. My patience came back. Stuff that used to make me feel overwhelmed suddenly seemed manageable. I actually wondered why I had been so stressed out. 

 

Putting myself first changed the game. 

 

Instead of feeling like a martyr who was sacrificing herself for the good of her flock, I felt like a whole person who was living by my principles. I no longer felt like a fraud. 

 

Taking time out for yourself feels selfish (in theory, when you think about it) but it has turned out to be the most generous action I can take on a daily basis. 

 

I thought 5am was the problem. That the literal time was so early as to force an unpleasant start to the day. I was so wrong. It was the quality of my experience that made the morning suck. Rushing, feeling stressed, being down to the wire with no time for mistakes. 

What do we love about weekend mornings? It’s not the extra sleep. It’s not that 10am is magical. It’s that we allow ourselves the experience of waking up and responding to our own needs — or even whims — before we go on about our day. We do that naturally on days that we “don’t have to be anywhere at a specific time.” 

Now that I understand that, I’m pretty confident that I could adjust to any wake up time (4am, 9am — whatever) as long as I set myself up to have the experience I need to start my day well. 

If this resonates with you, but you’re like, how do I start? I get it. It's a process. It probably took me a year to get my morning routine (and appropriate bed time) dialed in. 

We are thinking about making a video to help you start your morning with a little self love and joint care via simple movements that anyone can do. It would be a "do-along-with-me" video, and we are thinking 10 minutes max, so you can start small. 

Would you use that if we made it?
Reply in the comments and say “ay.”

Top of the morning to ya,
Hannah

P.S. This story went out to the awesome folks on our email list. If you want to hear more like it, sign up to get our emails. They're like a yoga class for your mind. 

P.P.S Update as of March 19th, 2018 - we made that video we mentioned, you can get yourself a copy here.