Those of you who’ve heard me lecture know I’m obsessed with glia and therefore somewhat obsessed with Einstein’s brain, primarily because: “In 1985, neuroscientist Marian Diamond at the University of California at Berkeley published a study suggesting that Einstein had more glial cells per neuron in one section of his left inferior parietal lobe (an area involved in complex reasoning and processing visual stimuli) …”
This weekend marks the anniversary of Einstein’s autopsy and the removal and saving of his brain for further study, a move that probably would’ve revolted Einstein because “I want to be cremated so people don’t come to worship at my bones,” he told his friend and biographer Abraham Pais.
his brain was retained and and for many years parceled out piecemeal to anyone with sufficient credentials for further study. Yep, this was long before HIPA. And hypermedia (I’m suddenly having visions of people taking selfies with Einstein’s brain).
Anyway, the story behind the saving and further misadventures of Einstein’s preserved brain always makes for fascinating reading. Like this article from Slate’s Bess Lovejoy.
A nice article on fascia by Laura Probert showed up on mindbodygreen.com. It’s good to see more articles on fascia hitting the mainstream. Here’s the big take aways, including something I’m not sure I agree with (the first 2 are good advice, always):
1. Stay awake. Be aware inside your body while you’re stretching. Quiet your mind, feel what’s happening and stay in that focused awareness during your exercises. Awareness is the key to making a change in the tissue, to healing, to transforming your body.
2. Breathe! Stretching is 90% breathing and relaxation, which puts us back at awareness. Breath is life, so if you’re holding your breath and not realizing it, you’re asleep. Wake up, breathe, relax and let go into your stretches.
3. Hold your myofascial stretch for at least three minutes. Five is better. Why? Because the physiological effect of permanent elongation of the tissues that is your primary goal of this kind of stretching only happens after a long, slow, sustained pressure, after which the body will begin to change your dried up fascia into its natural, fluid healthy state again.
While I get the logic in holding, that’s simply not going to work for everyone. A supported Gary Kraftsow-like restorative yoga pose maybe, I’ve certainly held them longer than that but it all depends on the goal. I’m thinking of my work with people with scoliosis, and my training in such with Robert Schleip who was very adamant about not keeping such folks in any one fixed position for very long. And I’m thinking of a particular yogi I know who has a scoliosis and cannot stand yin yoga.
One size does not fit all and actual mileage varies. Especially with fascia!
Anna Leyland suggests that meditation could improve your day today:
From the time you wake up on this Christmas morning, take time to fully notice the little things, the smells, textures and tastes of Christmas. Each chocolate, cuddle and gift. Take time to savor it. How do the sweets look in your hand? How do they smell? How does it feel in your mouth? Notice the effort others have made to give you gifts. Look at the way they are wrapped. How it feels to pull off the paper. Consider that many other people you do not know have made effort to grow, make or transport parts of your present too. Be kind and compassionate to everyone you have contact with – including yourself. And if things don’t quite go as planned or you are feeling overwhelmed by the celebrations, just take your seat by the side of the road and spend a few moments focusing your attention on your breath.
Oh the things we humans do!
en francais – but his video of fascia in vivo is amazing in any language
The 4th International Fascia Congress is scheduled for Sept 18-20, 2015 in Washinton, DC. This Congress will sell out (they always have in the past) so I highly recommend you register early – particularly with the roster of speakers that includes: Leon Chaitow, Julie Ann Day, Tom Findley, Serge Gracovetsky, Jean-Claude Guimberteau, Boris Hinz, Micahel Kjaer, Helene Langevin, Siegfried Mense, Robert Schleip, Jay Shah, Paul Standley, Antonio Stecco, Carla Stecco, Andry Vleeming and these are just I folks I know! There are many other presenters with fascia-nating credentials that I can’t wait to experience and gain insight from.
If you are already an afascianado this congress is a must. If you are dipping your foot in the water this is an unparalleled opportunity to plunge into the deep end! Registration information is here.
A very user-friendly piece about fascia can be found here.
It has been a great time teaching Fascial Fitness with PJ O’Clair and we will have video on that soon! In the meantime here is a great little video of her other types of movement and exercise in Spain.
Hi Everyone! Been very busy prepping for a 2 day Fascial Fitness class in Manchester-by-the-Sea – it’ll be the first Fascial Fitness class taught in the US without either Robert Schleip or Divo Mueller. Fortunately I’m not doing this alone and the one and only, the amazing PJ O’Clair teaching with me! I’ll keep you updated as we move along. Fascially, of course!
Which actually will boost your immune system, according to research reported on by the UK Telegraph: ” During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.
In trials humans were asked to regularly fast for between two and four days over a six-month period.
Scientists found that prolonged fasting also reduced the enzyme PKA, which is linked to ageing and a hormone which increases cancer risk and tumour growth.
‘We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,’ said Professor Valter Longo, who was involved with the study.”
There are a lot of interesting and frankly weird traditions around this most American of holidays including this old one that sounds something like Halloween! Today we are making a turducken. Yes, they are real. But really hard to catch in the wild.
I think its really getting worse, the lack of tradition that is, or I’m getting old and now entitled complaining about how worse everything’s getting. That’s one part of the “Entitlement Class” you don’t hear debated about in this country. But seriously, when the Dollar Store is open at 7AM and most grocery stores are open until3PM? Really? That’s a “family holiday”? If you don’t have your food by Thanksgiving morning you should go hungry. And there I am channeling my father in all his Pittsburgh Dad wisdom.
But I do think there is something wrong with the whole “Black Friday” -thing, and now we’ve got some stores opening on Thanksgiving evening. Funny how the criers about the war on the family here in this country almost never extend their criticisms to stores that decide to be open. If it’s capitalism – it’s okay!
But I digress…
It seems that cultivating gratitude is actually a way to stop impulse buying, writes David DeSteno: ” As a psychologist who studies decision making, I’m acutely aware that marketers know how the mind works, and they aren’t hesitant to use that knowledge to stoke consumers’ desires and lessen their self-control… one of the mind’s greatest vulnerabilities: the innate human preference for rapid reward, or immediate gratification. Most people, for example, would opt to receive $20 today rather than $100 in a year, even though, logically speaking, an investment guaranteed to quintuple your money in 12 months is hard to beat.”
So what can we do?
“...rather than trying to override your decision-making impulses, a better strategy might be to try to change them. And recent research suggests that an effective way to do that is by cultivating the emotion of gratitude.
That’s right: As hokey as it sounds, the solution to the shopping season’s excesses may lie in the very message of Thanksgiving itself.”
Give in to your impulses and click here to read the whole story. And Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, whatever country you may be from!
Former editor at both Glamour and Vogue, Suze Yalof Schwartz has opened a guided meditation center called Unplug. Their slogan: “Hurry up and slow down.” She also likens it to “a SoulCycle for meditation.”
Expecting her experience there to be “highly annoying”, writer Brooks Barnes was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t like that at all.
Photo Credit: Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times