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Issue 42 Inspiration Journal, March - April 2010 Cover

Perseverance and Dedication
Char’s Message

So far 2010 is off the charts for Inspiration. We launched a TV show, held the 6th Annual Kaua`i Wellness Expo with Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha, and took the helm in launching an Island Wide Health Vision for Kaua`i with KHWA.Inspiration, Hawaii’s Wellness Journal premiered on Oceanic Cable 16 on December 14, 2009. Hosting this TV show is an honor and it’s pure joy to bring inspirational stories to viewers in Hawai`i and worldwide. Working with me is co-producer Thor Seraphin of Kaua`i Sound Cinema; he is the genius behind the camera. His videotaping and editing wizardry produces superb footage no matter what the conditions are at the time. We are both dedicated to keeping the show outdoors and highlighting the best our islands have to offer in health and wellness. We are receiving positive reviews and lots of encouragement to keep on keeping on. Mahalo for tuning in and supporting this new chapter in the life of Inspiration.

My hope is to broaden people’s perspectives and continue shrinking the gaps between the thinkers of traditional Western medicine, complementary and alternative medicine. Practitioners of all walks who provide service from their hearts have already begun to help others close the gap, regardless of their field of medicine. By expanding Inspiration’s reach to provide health and wellness education through motivational stories, we effectively showcase the heartfelt healing taking place on all spectrums across our state. Hopefully, one day these divisions will be gone, and we’ll be one big happy healing `ohana of health and wellness practitioners. For now, the show is causing a huge wave of wellness across the state.

Now, imagine what an Island-Wide Health Vision could do for everyone living on or visiting our beautiful islands. Imagine a logo contest in our schools where children design a symbol to remind people to put health first. These plans were set in motion last March, when a special task force from the Kaua`i Health and Wellness Association took the initiative to form a focus group comprised of community health practitioners and administrators, education and business advisors. The task was to consider the possibilities of an island-wide health vision. This group of volunteers met almost monthly for a year to explore all the aspects of such a vision. Jointly they created the Island Wide Health Vision:

Malama kou kino, e na `ohana, e na `aina.

Take care of your body, your family and community, and the lands around you

This March, the children will hand in their artwork and the judges will begin the arduous job of choosing the top winners. We expect to end up with a symbol that will inspire people to move towards living healthy, to begin taking responsibility for their own health. Imagine the possibilities of this wellness movement.

Speaking of movements, we are excited to feature Ultraman athlete Jason Patrick Lester He recently received the ESPY award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability and is not stopping there. Already an inspirational success story, he raises the bar as he sets out to help others reach their goals. Epic 5 will be an unprecedented Ironman event scheduled to start here on Kaua`i and finish on the Big Island – 5 islands in 5 days. His perseverance, endurance and dedication are beyond incredible.

At this writing, the Kaua’i Wellness Expo is just a week away and the excitement is buzzing. Be sure to pick up our 7th Anniversary issue this May for a complete recap of Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha’s first visit to Kaua`i and all Expo activities.

Remember to put your health first and if you need some inspiration, check us out on OC 16!

Enjoy,
Char


Epic 5: The Journey Is Born by Ann Ravelo

WHY would anyone want to complete five Ironman triathlons in five days, one on each of the five islands? Without hesitation, Kailua-Kona resident Jason Patrick Lester responds, “It’s all about the journey.” At the beginning of 2009, Jason’s biggest goal was to complete two Ultraman triathlons in a year, a feat not often attempted. The Ultraman is a three-day competition comprising a 6.2 mile swim, 261 mile bike and 52 mile run. Jason wanted to do it, not for himself but to send a message to the world that anything is possible. With the accomplishment of the his previous races and by completing the Ultraman Canada in June, the Ironman World Championship in Kona in October and the Ultraman World Championship in Kona in November, Jason did more than achieve his goal: he was nominated for an ESPY award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability. His right arm was paralyzed from a life-threatening accident at age 12, but Jason never allowed this to immobilize him physically and spiritually from competing like everyone else.

Coming to Our Senses! Activating Your True Potential Dr. Jane Ely

In this article we work with Cycles, Realities and Learning/Growing.

Cycles: Change occurs in cycles. Change cycles will bring up certain behavioral patterns.

In the Medicine Wheel there are four cardinal directions representing four basic cycles. These are: the Southern Direction bringing forth the cycle of learning to trust; the Western Direction which brings forth truth; the Northern Direction that works with discernment; and the Eastern Direction that opens us up to faith/spirituality. Each direction of the Medicine Wheel initially represents a phase of growth. We will look more closely at the attributes and the phases of growth in detail in the coming chapters. Cycles wake up our senses. Cycles are not random; they follow a creative flow in which patterns of awareness emerge.

Psoas Power with YogAlign™ by Michaelle Edwards, LMT, ERYT

Many people, when they refer to their core, are thinking of their abdominals, the four muscle groups that make up the trunk area between the ribs and hips. Having a tight six-pack or abs of steel is the goal of many fitness exercises, but there are more important power muscles that lie deeper, at the “core of your core.” This inner core is comprised of your rarely discussed psoas (pronounced SO-AZ ) muscle group. What and where exactly is your psoas group? What can knowing more about them do for you?

Other articles:

  • Journey for Compassion Mission “The Sage Within”
  • CRYSTAL SKULL By Charlotte Szivak
  • Vegan Fusion with Chef Mark Reinfeld
  • Some Thoughts And Facts About Nutritional Supplementation by E. Wang, MD

Epic 5: The Journey Is Born by Ann Ravelo

He is the course that he runs – open and honest; solid, rough and driven. A pathway to somewhere, that navigates towards the horizon: a spiritual pathway with God. Never pausing when there is a bump in the road, never doubting which route to take and never stopping even though the sign says stop – the course forages on. There is a finish line, or an accolade here and there along the way, mere mile markers, memories of journeys past. From the beginning, Jason Patrick Lester learned to base his path on faith, belief and a determination to make the impossible – possible. The next marker just around the corner? EPIC 5. WHY would anyone want to complete five Ironman triathlons in five days, one on each of the five islands? Without hesitation, Kailua-Kona resident Jason Patrick Lester responds, “It’s all about the journey.”

At the beginning of 2009, Jason’s biggest goal was to complete two Ultraman triathlons in a year, a feat not often attempted. The Ultraman is a three-day competition comprising a 6.2 mile swim, 261 mile bike and 52 mile run. Jason wanted to do it, not for himself but to send a message to the world that anything is possible. With the accomplishment of the his previous races and by completing the Ultraman Canada in June, the Ironman World Championship in Kona in October and the Ultraman World Championship in Kona in November, Jason did more than achieve his goal: he was nominated for an ESPY award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability. His right arm was paralyzed from a life-threatening accident at age 12, but Jason never allowed this to immobilize him physically and spiritually from competing like everyone else.

The ESPY is an annual award ceremony where athletes from all sports join together to celebrate the best moments of the year. ESPN nominates the candidates, but the winners are chosen by popular vote of the public. With the unprecedented support and votes of the people of Hawai`i, Lester won the 2009 ESPY award. “After I won the ESPY, there was no doubt that I wanted to give back to the islands for blessing me. Without the votes of the people of Hawai`i, I wouldn’t have won the ESPY,” says Jason. He recounts being on stage accepting the award, and knowing then exactly what his next goal was – EPIC 5. EPIC5 is an endurance challenge conceived by Jason three years ago that will link all five islands. It is a spiritual journey that begins March 17, 2010 on the island of Kaua`i then travels on consecutive days to O`ahu, Moloka`i and Maui, concluding in Kona on March 21. Each day will entail a full ironman-distance triathlon — 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26 mile run.

Initially, Jason was primed to do EPIC5 solo; to set the course for future generations to follow. But something was amiss and Jason realized that this journey was not about him, not to do solo, for he had already accomplished far more than he had hoped for. He thought it fitting to invite his training partner, best friend and like-a-brother, Rich Roll to join him on this journey. “God has us on a parallel path,” says Jason. “Together the mission is one.”

Rich, a former world-ranked swimmer from Stanford University, was named one of 2009’s “25 Fittest Men in the World” by Men’s Fitness Magazine alongside such athletic luminaries as Usain Bolt, Rafael Nadal and LeBron James. At 43, Rich recently competed in the 2009 Ultraman World Championships on the Big Island of Hawai`i. He led the entire field by ten minutes after the first day of competition before suffering a bicycle crash during the Day 2 -170 mile bike leg. In spite of his injuries, Rich completed the event in 6th place – an inspirational feat lauded by the triathlon world as one of the most courageous accomplishments of the year.

On an equally captivating note, Rich and Jason are both pure vegans and are staging to push the message that anyone can achieve the highest measure of an ultra-endurance athlete by adhering to a plant-based diet. “EPIC5 provides an ideal advocacy platform for the message of long-term wellness, disease prevention and environmental consciousness through whole food plant-based nutrition,” says Roll. An integral part of the EPIC5 team is Cory Foulk, 14-time Ultraman competitor, who masterminded this challenge by laying out the logistics of each course on each island for Jason and Rich. Together this team will take on EPIC5. “Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory,” says Jason quoting William Barclay.

In an end of the year letter written to the many fans that he inspires, Jason wrote: On November 27 – 29, 2009, I experienced a beautiful transformation that will forever be a blessing to my life. I learned that the race is not against me or anyone else -the race is about the journey. The people who come into your life, those you touch and others you heal while on your journey. The Ultraman is like no other race you will ever experience. It’s not about time. It’s about the process. What it takes to get there -the finish line.

This is just the beginning of the EPIC5 journey, as Lester envisions taking this concept around the world: five Ironman in five cities on five consecutive days. EPIC5 will also fund Jason’s The Never Stop Foundation’s ultimate goal of creating a performance center in Kailua-Kona that is dedicated to using athletics as a tool to encourage all youth to achieve their full potential.

Jason Patrick Lester’s book is being released in August chronicling his life journey thus far, “Running On Faith: The Principles, Passion and Pursuit of a Winning Life (HarperCollins 2010).” For more information please visit: www.EPIC5.com, www.jasonplester.com, or www.richroll.com


Coming to Our Senses! Activating Your True Potential Dr. Jane Ely

3. Cycles Change occurs in cycles.
Change cycles will bring up certain behavioral patterns.

In the Medicine Wheel there are four cardinal directions representing four basic cycles. These are: the Southern Direction bringing forth the cycle of learning to trust; the Western Direction which brings forth truth; the Northern Direction that works with discernment; and the Eastern Direction that opens us up to faith/ spirituality. Each direction of the Medicine Wheel initially represents a phase of growth. We will look more closely at the attributes and the phases of growth in detail in the coming chapters. Cycles wake up our senses. Cycles are not random; they follow a creative flow in which patterns of awareness emerge.

Let’s look at the cycle of life that we are all engaged in living: conception, gestation, birth, childhood, teenage years, young adulthood, adulthood, mature adulthood, old age, death. Within each of these cycles are spun other cycles, such as the process of moving from child to teen, teen to young adult, etc. There are phases and layers and levels of living, learning, loving, doing and being within each cycle.

There are other types of cycles as well. These show up as behavioral cycles, emotional patterns that have become part of who we are, whether they are positive patterns or negative patterns. Negative patterns keep us locked in behaviors that cause suffering and pain, not only to ourselves but to others and outwardly to the world in which we live. Patterns have a life cycle, much like change. We enact them in waves of old past behaviors that we have not resolved or become conscious of yet, which come up constantly so that we can reach a point where we can recognize that there may be other ways to behave.

Within cycles we live behavioral patterns that we have learned, that have been modeled from outside sources such as parents, siblings, teachers, co-workers, society, cultural background, etc.; or that we have adopted through our own observation and choice. Some of the behavioral patterns we adopt begin in very early childhood. These are the oldest ones and these are behavioral patterns that we take with us into every new cycle of life.

If we repeat destructive behavioral patterns, we are blocking our innate ability to change and grow consciously from cycle to cycle. We are unconsciously recycling emotional, physical, mental and spiritual debris. But this form of recycling does not end up as good compost that will grow something new. It ends up staying within a cycle to be regurgitated again and again until a person makes a decision to change. It is at this point that a miracle occurs. Choice point is reached, a light goes off inside a person and this is the light of awareness. Coming to choice point is an act of becoming self-responsible for your life. It is a courageous action that allows the fullness of change to move through your entire being.

Skillful Means
Sit quietly either outdoors or by a window looking outside. Quiet your thoughts by taking three deep, centering breaths. Look at your life and ask a behavioral pattern to come up for observation. Name it. Observe how the behavioral pattern plays out in your life in cycles. Ask some opening questions: When does it get activated? How do you feel as you are repeating the behavioral cycle? How do you feel after the wave of the cycle has moved through? Breathe and watch the movie of the cycle as though you were watching someone else’s life. Just observe and allow insights to arise. Do not judge your behavior.

Breathe and ask the behavior the next clarifying question: What does it need in order to shift? Listen to your inner wisdom voice from a relaxed and quiet state of attentive awareness. As you ask the questions, keep gazing at the natural world. Let your mind relax, opening to your imagination. You are in a resting state of open awareness. You are listening without judging or reacting. You are listening in order to understand the cycle. Journal about your observations. We know that listening, observing and allowing with non-judgment alleviates stuck patterns. This allows a cycle to move through until complete.

In retrospect, becoming aware of a cycle loosens its grip and your attachment or investment in keeping the old behavior alive and stuck. You can let go with ease. Also, you will feel energized and inwardly excited because something is shifting.

4. Realities

“Creations are numberless, I vow to free them. Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to transform them. Reality is boundless, I vow to perceive it. The awakened way is unsurpassable. I vow to embody it.”
Buddhist Prayer

Reality is boundless. Reality is also relative, meaning that it is dependent upon being connected to other things. Reality is truth. There are seen and unseen realities (truths) related to the physical and spiritual worlds. [In this instance I use the word physical to incorporate the emotional and mental states of being.] From the spiritual perspective, as we grow our soul we are evolving spiritually and this affects our physical experience in the world. The inner spiritual world affects the outer physical world. They are inter- related. Truth is universal and is inter-related to other truths, just as realities are inter-related. When we violate a physical truth, the spiritual world is affected, and vice versa. When a truth is violated in one reality, it affects other realities.

From a spiritual perspective, how could we pollute the earth? We have violated a spiritual truth which is “do no harm to self, others or things.” From a physical perspective, how could we deliberately poison our earth? We know the long-term effects of negative actions. And yet, we have become so disconnected from the earth—and from our own physical inter-relatedness with all sentient life— that we arrogantly continue to pollute. The effect is that we have altered the outer physical world, namely the environment of our Mother the Earth. We are witnessing the effects of our being out of balance spiritually and physically. We have lost the relationship between spiritual reality and physical reality, which means the laws of cause and effect are being ignored. We are responsible for our creating a polluted reality. How do we bring this back into balance? By becoming aware that our thoughts, words, deeds and actions have both a spiritual meaning as well as a physical meaning—all ways!

Physical realities must be engaged consciously. As we evolve in the personal/physical world, so our inner/spiritual understanding expands. Another great wisdom keeper, Mahatma Gandhi, said, “Your belief that there is no connection between the means and the end is a great mistake. We reap exactly as we sow.”

Skillful Means
Take a conscious walk. Fold your hands in front of your mid-section, arms relaxed, shoulders down, back straight, chin parallel to the ground, eyes cast down in front of you. Your gaze is soft, your breathing is deep and regular. Now take one foot and place it slowly forward, connecting with the earth. Place the foot heel to ball until it is set flat in front of you. Balance your weight on both feet. Feel your legs, your back, and notice your breathing. Slowly raise the back foot up heel to toe, and breathing deeply, bring the leg forward, placing the foot, heel to toe slightly in front of the planted, balancing foot. As you are getting the hang of balancing by consciously walking slowly, begin to open all your senses. Notice your hearing, sight, kinesthetic connection, your feelings, sense of smell and your awareness to physical and spiritual realties as you are making your way along.

Walk barefoot. Bring your conscious walking to other surfaces, such as a beach, forest floor, grass, concrete, etc. Notice your senses in different environments, at different times of year. As you walk, observe the thoughts that turn your mind, and the cessation of thought as you develop this walking-waking-meditation. You are not going somewhere. You are developing a state of being that is both physically conscious and spiritually conscious. You are expanding your senses. In doing so, you are inviting other realities to arise, other awarenesses to surface.

Many people tell me that they feel not only energized after this practice but they feel very spiritually aware on many levels. They also tell me their mind is clearer, they feel calmer and they remember their insights. This simple meditation connects realities. As you develop the consciously aware walk, incorporate the sensibility you receive from it into your daily life. Become consciously aware of all your actions. Become consciously aware of all realities as one smooth continuum. We are not just experiencing ourselves as a separate physical reality, we are aware on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Realities are not compartmentalized, isolated experiences. Realities are boundless.

In the next article we will explore Learning and Growing – Article 3 of 6. Jane Ely is trained in psycho-spiritual counseling, energy medicine for hands-on-healing, grief counseling and peacemaking skills. She has a private practice in HI. Her first book: Remembering the Ancestral Soul: Soul Loss and Recovery is available through Amazon.com. To contact her during office hours, call 808-245-4246.


Psoas Power with YogAlign&trade by Michaelle Edwards, LMT, ERYT

Many people, when they refer to their core, are thinking of their abdominals, the four muscle groups that make up the trunk area between the ribs and hips. Having a tight six-pack or abs of steel is the goal of many fitness exercises, but there are more important power muscles that lie deeper, at the “core of your core.” This inner core is comprised of your rarely discussed psoas (pronounced SO-AZ ) muscle group. What and where exactly is your psoas group? What can knowing more about them do for you?

The psos muscle group is commonly referred to as the groin muscle, but its reach and importance is far greater than that name suggests. Your psoas muscles run from a lumbar spine attachment, through the diaphragm, and down to the inside of your upper femur. They are the only muscles that connect your upper to your lower body. They are hip-flexors, guy wires, spine and pelvis stabilizers, breathing muscles, abdominal organ support, and often hold and define our emotions.

The Psoas Muscle Group
Famous body worker Ida Rolf taught that your psoas is the most important muscle group in the human body. Learning to activate, lengthen and relax this muscle group is key to becoming pain- free and truly “in your core.” Unlike your quadricep muscles in your thigh or your bicep in your arm, flexion of the psoas cannot be seen directly and palpating the muscles is difficult because of their deep location. Many people have no idea that they exist and often lack body awareness of their action.

Psoas Imbalance Affects The Entire Body
Your psoas play a crucial role in the curvature of your lower back and influence the tilt and position of your pelvis. Being the only muscles that connect directly to spinal discs, they are an obvious factor in the epidemics of lower back pain and sciatica. Constricted psoas muscles often combine with tight back muscles to either over-arch the lower spine, or flatten its natural curves (depending on the angle of your pelvis). Scoliosis can develop when one side of your psoas group is more contracted than the other. Sports like golf and tennis that emphasize one side of the body can imbalance your psoas group. Misalignment in the hips can cause pain to migrate and cause compression all over the body. Feet, knees, lower back, and even the neck and shoulders are all affected by hip displacement rooted in psoas imbalance.

Your psoas connect directly to your diaphragm muscle. Your diaphragm lines your inner ribs. Expanding your ribs during inhalation stretches the diaphragm laterally as it simultaneously engages downwards (assisted by the psoas), creating maximum space in the thoracic cavity. Tight or weak psoas can lead to restricted breathing and improper use of neck and shoulder muscles as primary, instead of secondary, breathing muscles, causing chronic muscle tension and signaling fascia thickening that leads to “glued” posture patterns.

When we sit for hours in a chair or car, the back of the chair often supports our spine in an unfavorable position, enabling dysfunctional patterning and weakening our core. Lacking core support causes peripheral muscles to take up the slack, often resulting in an overworked and sore outer body.

To overcome psoas restriction it is essential to develop a program for restoring psoas function. Movement, yoga poses and everyday sitting need to be done with psoas awareness. You can release your body into strong and stable natural alignment by learning to initiate movement using your psoas (your core) in combination with optimal breathing function.

Though abdominal crunches, or sit-ups, are the most common ab-strengthening exercise, over- tightening your outer belly will override your psoas function and actually make your trunk shorter in the front. Shortness in the front causes even more pull and pain in your back. Driven by the idea that tightening the stomach will fix a tight back, people become trapped in a muscular vise grip.

The following exercise will help you breathe length and extension into your spine, enabling full diaphragm expansion and strengthening your psoas core. It explores how breathing, combined with specific foot positioning and leg movements, aligns your spine and strengthens your inner core. Remember this: exhalation shortens the spine (think of coughing), therefore the YogAlignTM method encourages INHALING into flexion to maintain core extension.

Exercise: Core Connector
This pose activates eccentric psoas action where muscles paradoxically lengthen as they contract. By lengthening and strengthening your psoas, you release tension in your lower back and gain muscles actions that stabilize your spine and sacrum. The single leg lifts of the Core Connector are initiated with a strong inhalation to create stabilization and elongation in your trunk muscles even though you are using your flexors. This will train your nervous system to tell your core muscles to work together as stabilizers with the psoas leading the way. Practicing the core connector will lengthen your waist eliminating your pot belly and providing space for your organs. Movements become dynamic and powerful when you practice the Core Connector. You will become pain-free in your lower back and acquire beautiful alignment and posture.

Psoas Power
On your back, bend your knees with your feet hip width apart bringing your arms out to your sides in a V shape. Press your hand palms down with your fingers spread wide. Practice whole body awareness. Draw your shoulders away from your ears keeping the tips of your shoulder blades down. Keep your chin level with your forehead and use a small pillow if you feel neck tension. Breathe like you are sipping in on a straw.

Inhalation is done through your mouth as though sipping in on a straw with strong movements of your rib cage muscles. Exhalation is done out the nose or mouth with a strong pulling in of the navel. The feet are kept pointed like a ballet dancer with your toes spread and drawn back towards the shin. Begin with either leg and begin to inhale when you lift your leg and exhale when you lower it about a foot off the floor. Press through the ball of your foot like you are stepping on a gas pedal. Inhale with the sipping breath as you bring your leg up and exhale as you bring your leg down. Practice lifting your leg 8 to 10 times feeling the link between your psoas and diaphragm by connecting your leg movement with breathing. There is no goal so only lift your leg as high as is comfortable. Keep your hips on the floor but maintain the curve in your lower back to avoid sacrum destabilization and lumbar disc pressure.

Do a full body stretch afterwards and notice the difference in your two sides. Repeat the Core Connector on your other leg. Stay reclined on your back with your feet hip width apart and imagine the psoas area if filled with warm honey flowing from spine to your legs.

Excerpted from Michaelle Edwards’ new book due out spring 2010 – Pain-free Yoga from your Inner Core. For more information visit: www.manayoga.com or e-mail: manayoga@yahoo.com

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