Balancing on a fence, climbing a tree, having fun and getting strong.

I once got this book, “Inner Skiing”, from a much valued friend. It’s one of those books that I haven’t read from cover to cover. Actually, I have only read the first 23 pages. But still, this book has given me a lot. Almost every evening, I end the day by reading the following page. It’s about “skiing out of one’s mind” and breakthrough experiences:

Working as a teacher at an elementary school, I’m privileged to observe and be inspired by athletes like Otis every day. – Especially if I visit the part of the schoolyard where the youngest students play. The sad truth is that our school system, and modern society as a whole, is far from being the optimal environment for the natural development of athleticism and movement intelligence. We place kids in chairs and educate them to become spinal surgeons.

However, the hopeful message is, that it is possible to reclaim and rediscover the natural athlete who lives inside all of us. We just have to go back to the beginning, and do the things that once made us develop from a blob to an active, running around, playing toddler. This is beautifully explained and communicated by Tim Anderson and the Original Strength community. I highly recommend reading Tim’s fundamental book: “Pressing RESET: Original Strength Reloaded“. If you read this book, I guarantee you that you will find yourself on the floor doing head nods, segmental rolls, rocking and crawling, while you consistently breathe in and out through your nose, deep into your belly, with the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth.

In my everyday life, I also love the mental break I get from doing movements that demand 100% of my focus and attention. Within this category, MovNat has been a great inspiration. Doing foot hand crawl (also called leopard crawl) on a fence is a great way to activate the entire body. When I balance like this, there is no brain capacity left to plan the next lecture or thinking about what to have for dinner. I’m forced, in a positive way, to be in the moment.

Balancing foot hand crawl

By using creativity and just playing around I’m having fun, challenging myself and developing deep strength.

Bike racks can be used to bring the body into positions and movements it otherwise wouldn’t visit. They also invite to practice the first part of the hindu push-up while actually doing a practical task…

Video: Balancing foot hand crawl, lateral balancing foot hand crawl and bike racks challenges.

Climbing a tree is both fun and very stimulating for the nervous system. The body receives and process a lot of both proprioceptive and tactile information. Grip strength and balance is challenged. Vision is of course essential to complete the task. And the tree also has smells and sounds (branches that break…).

There is nothing impressive or spectacular with my tree climbing skills, but climbing a tree is a very accessible and at the same time a very rich experience. I also enjoy the thrill of moving from one tree to another.

24 seconds of joy!

The bike racks can also be used to practice foot balance. During winter, the racks can be pretty slippery, so I have to be careful. To move laterally from one bike rack to another, resembles skating on either skis or ice skates. Like all the movements I have shown here, I wish I had been doing more of this while I still was a competitive cross-country skier…

Balancing foot hand crawl, foot balance, balance squat.

It’s now seven years since I retired from skiing at a competitive level. During that time, I have kept moving and training because I like it and it is a huge part of my identity. However, I haven’t been able to articulate a clear “WHY”. But over the last year, something seems to become very clear:
– “Be fit to be useful” (Georges Hébert).
– “I want to live, move and train in a way that makes me healthy and fit today, tomorrow and in the unforeseeable future”.
– “The key to deeply understand the nature surrounding us, it to be deeply connected to the nature inside us”.
// mirror neurons
– “The key to deeply understand the nature inside us, it to be deeply connected to the nature surrounding us”.

To have the courage to do what I think is needed to live this, I find inspiration in a quote from the preface of “Inner Skiing”: