Monday, September 29, 2014

Know your Ikigai ...

Movement, like any action taken to create change first needs a purpose to begin. 

Have you ever committed to a twelve week challenge to improve your health, or losing 5 kg before a wedding; or going the other way and building muscle mass for a body building competition?  - habits which end as abruptly as they begin once the purpose of the activity has been met, followed often by feelings of disappointment when the short term gains erode and sense of purpose is lost.

Dan Beuttner, researcher and author of Blue Zones, identified that Okinawan’s in Japan who live to be 100 years and beyond achieve this partly to a practice known as Ikigai. Ikigai is the concept of understanding your reason for being. Ikigai is knowing your purpose.

Identifying your Ikigai comes easy to the young and to the old.  For those of us in the middle the muddle of life can create chaos and confusion and without making time and space for 'self' Ikigai remains an illusive and misunderstood concept.

I was talking about life with my 6 year old the other day, which is how we got onto the Ikigai 'thing'.  Telling me he didn't want to die, stumped as to how I was going to manage this conversation we ended up talking about his ageing great grandma and the difference in their years, and then we talked about the things that helped her to get there.  We talked about her Ikigai.

The most amazing part of this conversation was when I asked my two boys if they knew what their Ikigai was.  To my surprise, they both said yes, instantly.  For my 7 year old it is drawing that makes him feel the best, and for my 6 year old it is games!!   And as I observed them each engaged in their individual ikigai tasks, purposeful movement becomes apparent.  Even with a broken arm this week, Mister 6 is playing games!!

I believe it is more than the busy-ness of our lives that keeps the knowing of our own Ikigai at bay.  It could be the clutter of negative and demanding self talk in our head.  It could be the relentless pursuit of success on someone else's terms.  It could be the cumulative effects of stress in our world that ultimately erodes health and wellbeing and as those that know pain understand, through pain it is difficult to know very much else at all.

Understanding movement and its purpose is a vital piece of the puzzle that helps us to understand ourselves.

For the curious among you, on October 18 we will be exploring this and more at the movement cODe workshop with Ian O'Dwyer, Lachlan Boyd and myself.  There are a still a few spots available .... jump online and book today at  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We are Groot ....

Last week I went to see Guardian's of the Galaxy.  Against my better judgement, it seemed like the best option available ... and I was pleasantly surprised.

The experience truly transported my work busy brain away from it's concerns of the days and into a fantasy realm of true comradery, strength of family, comedy and challenge.

The lynchpin of the experience is not the protagonist, Quill, but the tree like character - Groot!  Possessed of the most amazing talents to sprout leaves, flowers and fire flies to save the day, he gives the ultimate sacrifice to save his 'family', with the element of hope at the end a sign that he may return for the next ep.  His final words ... "We are Groot", significant because throughout the movie his only words have been "I am Groot".

About 15 years ago I also had the privilege to listen to George Negus speak at a luncheon for ABIG in Dubai.  The key take home message of what he had to say was that in trying to create positive change in the world we must look for the similarities between us, rather than the differences.

The recognition that we are part of a connected network of sentient beings helps us to create the positive change that we all so obviously crave.  Daily posts and gratitude challenges being taken up around the globe tell us that we are searching for something better.  We tag our friends to get some feedback and yearn for a collective common goal that gives us purpose.

Today consider that your words, actions and thoughts may be the tiny pebble thrown into a much bigger pool.  Like the butterfly effect, your small actions have a bigger impact on the congregation that is humanity than you may realise.  Be the best version of you and consider acting for the "We" rather than just the "I".


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Kim Kardashian does it ...

Tabloid magazines are definitely not the place to get your post natal health advice.

I’d like to suggest that the innate wisdom of your body knows better!  Better than to crunch, lift and plank your way to sculptured abs.... 

Restoration of strength, tone and endurance to the post natal pelvic floor and abdominal corset of muscles is a key goal for every new mum, after every birth to prevent lower back pain, stress incontinence and a myriad of other health and medical conditions that may not appear until much later in life.  Ask your mum or grandma!

Not only do we as new mothers think that we need to nurse, feed, and care for our newborn 24/7, but it’s almost a pre-requisite for maternal success these days to have your pre baby body back before you’ve given birth!!  A little exaggeration, but if you’re a new mum, you know what I mean.

Retraining of the pelvic girdle and the muscles it contains is essential for long term health and success.  

Some facts you may not know
  • Research shows that after 2 natural births tissue failure rate of the pelvic floor is 85%
  • 100% of women experience diastassis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, during pregnancy
  • When the muslces of the pelvic floor malfunction, as is often the case after childbirth, they must be retrained - they will not spontaneously return to normal function
How you can set yourself up for success
  • Have a real time ultrasound of your pelvic floor by a physiotherapist 6 - 12 weeks post partum
  • Practice abdominal breathing and Connect 4 Pelvic Floor, Transversus Abdominus connection daily
  • Be guided by the advice of appropriately qualified and experienced professionals in your return to pre-baby fitness and exercise activities. (Integrated Pelvic Physiotherapy is one of the best I have come across, with a wealth of valuable information downloadable from their website at
Your pelvic floor and transverse abdomunus muscles perform multiple functions in your body including continence, organ support, reproduction, respiration and spinal and pelvic stability.

The repurcussions of a weakened dysfunctional pelvic floor are far reaching and can limit activities of daily living, overall confidence and enjoyment of life.

Arm yourself with good information to take care of your pelvic floor by contacting Simone from Mumbalates for the best advice on where to get your pelvic floor real time ultra sound done in Cairns and what to do to retrain and integrate your pelvic and abdominal muscles for long term health and success.

Simone is a mother of 2, Cert IV Personal Trainer, creator of the Mumbalates Post Natal Exercise Program and has over 7 years experience working with post natal women.  Tel 0411027883.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The BIG toe shoe debate!

This week I've had some new vibram (toe shoes) on - Bikila in Blue.  I love them.

Apart from attracting some complimentary feedback on my fashion sense, my footwear has resparked the discussion on the value, validity and purpose ... or otherwise ... of minimalist footwear.

And the universe has conspired to give me opportunity to voice my opinion through client interactions.

So instead of being simply opinionated I wanted to ask a few questions that might invite a bit of a discussion on the topic rather than a the usual barrage of commentary that takes a love em or hate em position.

I wear my toe shoes because I believe they make my feet, and by default my body, work better.  I have bunions, chronic knee, hip and lower back complaints and occasional digestive problems.  When I wear my toe shoes all of these reduce or disappear and I am a happier and hopefully better person as a result.

So here are my questions:

1. What is the bunion doing and how did it get there?
2. Is the bunion good?  Does it have a purpose?
3. What changes in the foot and its motion could be having a positive or negative effect on movement throughout the body?
4. Same question regarding a positive or negative effect on health throughout the body?
5. What are the mental health implications of wearing my toe shoes?
6. Have you tried toe shoes??

I'm really interested in the opinions of everyone who has an opinion on toe shoes.  Even if the look of them simply has you calling the fashion police ... let's hear about it.

As for me, I'm off for a play to enjoy my well adjusted toes and renewed energy!!

Have the best day.
Sim :-)