Neuro Nidra to Rescue Sleep

“There’s nothing more important to your performance than sleep, and I don’t care how you measure your performance….nothing breaks you faster than sleep deprivation”

– Dr. Parsley, former Navy Seal

 

Neuro Nidra to Rescue Sleep 

Not sleeping well isn’t just painful, it’s damaging and frustrating. Before having our kid, I was a sleeping machine. Then, being on call for a tiny human night after night disrupted my sleep for years. I became a different person; snappy, exhausted, and overwhelmed by simple things. We need sleep; not just to feel good but to function and live well. According to Doc Parsley, Naval Special Warfare’s expert on Sleep Medicine, sleeping 6 instead of 8 hours each night for 11 nights in a row has the same effect as being awake for 24 hours straight, and cognitively compares to having a blood alcohol level of .08-.1. No one wants to live impaired and unable to let go into the gift of sleep. 

I recovered by diving into Yoga Nidra, and it remains my secret weapon against insomnia. Nidra is a passive, guided practice that brings your brain and body into slow-wave states of conscious sleep and deep repair. “Neuro Nidra” is my fusion of this yogic practice with principles from modern neuroscience. Now I help people practice Neuro Nidra who struggle due to shift work, caregiving, unresolved trauma or nervous system dysregulation. It’s easier than meditation, and you can practice it without ever rolling out a yoga mat or saying “OM….”. 

Nidra in the Tree of Yoga

Yoga has several different areas of study beyond the typically-thought of poses, breathwork, or meditation. You don’t have to dedicate your life to yoga’s path to use any of these tools. They have been handed down by human beings studying human nature for melinia into practices that can help anyone.

Yoga emerged thousands of years ago when the indigenous Rishi of India were studying how human beings can optimize and heal through skills that work with nature. Patanjali captured the ‘sutras’, or threads of knowledge, from the Rishi into writing sometime between the 2nd century BCE and the 4rth century CE. He outlined eight components of progressive study that are rooted in principles, not dogma or religion. Yoga is designed to be tested and to evolve with our ongoing engagement. B.K.S. Iyengar famously helped bring yoga to the West and described these eight limbs in his book, The Tree of Yoga. Using the tree analogy, we can look at where Nidra fits in a helpful progression of skills.

The roots and trunk of the tree are universal principles you can study about human nature in relationship to community and self. These are called the “Yama” and “Niyama” and include ten principles such as non-grasping, benevolent truth, moderation, self-discipline, and surrender. Again, there is no religious dogma here, these principles are meant for personal inquiry. Try stealing, lying, and bingeing and see how that goes. We get to define how these principles fit in our real lives through trial and error.

The branches on the tree are the bendy, twisty shapes of yoga poses called “Asanas”. The leaves are naturally the breath, or “Pranayama”. The bark represents “Pratyahara”; the practice of withdrawing the senses to develop control over reactivity. The sap running from the roots through to the whole tree represents “Dharana” which means concentration; the ability to harness sustained connection through the entire body. The flower of the tree is “Dhyana” or meditation, and the fruit from all of these efforts is “Samadhi”; the end of our illusion of separation from nature; enlightenment.

If you’ve tried meditation to help with sleeplessness and found it difficult without clear rewards, that’s because meditation is hard. The Tree of Yoga shows us why; values, movement, breathwork, sensory control and concentration skills were designed to come before meditation. For example, if you don’t move much or breathe well, during meditation the body will be in pain and the mind will be distracted. We can’t force a flower to bloom. We can create the right conditions to support it, and watch it unfold.

All parts of the tree are connected. Breathwork, for example, can be used anytime. It can be the single point of focus to help enter meditation, but a rich pranayama practice involves complex patterns of breathing that can be harmful if someone has not first learned how to read the body’s cues and work skillfully with the nervous system. We can gain these skills from any conscious movement practice that engages nasal breathing. Healthy green leaves grow when the branches can spread in many directions with ease, strength, and flexibility. 

Yoga Nidra is in the bark, Pratyahara. These practices protect us from sensory overload and train us to stop seeking stimulus for distraction or pleasure. Think of Nidra and the bark as an insulated container inside of which you become attuned to your inner needs before reacting to the sensations outside of you. Healthy, thick bark develops with the branches and leaves, before the flower of meditation. In a modern life designed to over-stimulate the senses, Nidra is a gift. This doesn’t mean you can’t skip ahead to meditation, it just means Nidra is a lot easier. Having a breathwork and movement practice will make it easier still. All you have to do is protect your space from the outside world, lie down and listen to guided instruction for 20 minutes to reap Nidra’s rewards.

Why Does Nidra Work?

In Nidra, the body rests in stillness flat on your back like a kid in the grass staring at clouds. The brain is given something to do in a guided rotation of consciousness through parts of the body. This tricks the mind from spinning in thoughts that keep you restless.

By mapping parts of the body in 1 to 3-second cues, the brain drops into alpha, theta, and delta wave-dominance. These slow, parasympathetic brain waves are the opposite of the thinking and doing states that fester in our daily lives. Slow oscillations allow for dreaming, memory, intuition, and cognitive repair. Being semi-awake is part of why it trains us to deactivate stress in general. This is not real sleep. When asleep, you aren’t conscious of your rest. In the Nidra state, you fade in and out of perceptive hearing, but you are aware. This means these states can become part of your waking consciousness. For sleep issues, this is critical to passively train states of consciousness associated with allowing sleep to happen. Because you’re semi-conscious during Nidra, you learn the sensations associated with replenishing systems, restoring vital energy, and disrupting the vicious circle of sleepless anxiety.

Beyond the brain, the body learns in Nidra how to sense and be without doing. This is super important. Why? Because most of the body’s learning and activities during daily life involve movement, pain, or disconnection as the feedback mechanisms. We workout, work, tick through tasks, eat, and rest by consuming media on screens and books. We try to meditate and feel stuck. We have no bark or protection, and feel exposed, raw, and drained. We fall asleep exhausted and wake up hypervigilant with stress hormones cycling through our blood. If you have high sympathetic tone or low arousal conditions, over time parts of the body store non-specific tension and sensory amnesia as a protective mechanism. This means you carry tension or disconnection in the body all day, and a vicious cycle of restless detachment and reactivity ensues.

In Nidra we layer up with bark-like protection from interruptions and passively cultivate awareness of our physical body without sensory input from movement or touch. Tension melts, and areas cut off from consciousness are remapped and reconnected without external sensory input. With practice, Nidra can disrupt unwanted patterns of physical tension, compensation or sensory-motor amnesia. Basically, you remember how to be physically aware without stress activation to embody your rested ready state more fully. This means when it’s time to sleep at night, you haven’t been repeating physical stress patterns as much, and can allow yourself to reset and rest.

How Can You Start?

If all you do is set up a space where you manage for all potential interruptions and push play on a yoga nidra download, you are in business. You don’t have to go to a special training, have a yoga practice or find religion. 

To rescue lost sleep, yogic sages have said that 20 minutes of Nidra can mimic 2-4 hours of deep sleep. The recipe for that in modern research shows that slow wave sleep states can require up to 4 hours to cycle into 20 minutes of slow wave sleep when you are sleep deprived. This is because you repay debts of the lighter sleep stages of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) first when you are depleted at the expense of deeper slow wave or Delta sleep. REM sleep is prioritized to process emotions and memory. Delta deep sleep takes time to access and happen after functional maintenance is covered. With practice, 20 minutes of Nidra can help you regain the benefits of deep sleep regardless of how many hours you logged the night before. 

It has been shown that regular Nidra practitioners access Delta dominance in the brain, usually associated with super slow wave sleep, during wakefulness. This means a human being can be completely alert and functioning while allowing deep repairs to take place on the entire body. Rested readiness at its finest.

Use Nidra anytime of day, including morning, to balance your system and recover lost sleep. Use it if you wake up in the middle of the night and don’t know how to fall back asleep. Most people I work with who struggle with chronic insomnia or dysregulation during the day find that three, 20-minute sessions of Neuro Nidra* each week restores them to the kind of energy they forgot was possible.

 

*To learn more about the guidance and stages of practice, check out our Neuro Nidra webinars and downloads. Emily Hightower created Neuro Nidra to infuse ancient yogic knowledge with modern neuroplasticity principles. She can help you implement the practice for deep recovery to elevate your game.

 

1 Swami Satyananda Saraswati  2009 reprint of Yoga Nidra

Understanding the Past Pt. 2 | Brian Mackenzie

We have become hopelessly dependent on a system that removes us from true autonomy and education. This is not to suggest that advances in medicine and technology do not have their place, they do! Or that an education is not important. It is! There is plenty that our current systems have helped advance and cure that we should be grateful for and push for more advancement on. The problem couples when we can’t biologically meet the demand of the stimulus, work, or lifestyle for these “advancements” and we become dependent on them for the basic functions in life. Feet that don’t work like feet, teeth that need to be straightened in jaws that used to fit said teeth, immune systems that responded and didn’t overreact everytime a different piece of food or thing we came in contact with, sleep patterns that resembled sleep, metabolic function that worked like every other animals. 

Consider that education in the United States has increased tuition anywhere from 280-1000% in the last 100 years with zero guarantee to a job. We’ve convinced the lower class that in order to survive and thrive they need to somehow get to a college that they cant afford and leaves them further in debt than most will ever be in their lives. The irony being no class, no course, no education in any college can not be found on the internet for virtually zero cost. Meaning, if you really want to learn, you can start chipping away at any moment. But if we dont jump into the system, a system the intellectual deems as the only equalizer then we can’t play the game. Seth Godin did a TedX talk on “Stop Stealing Dreams” and asks the question, “What is education for?” Well worth the watch. Why do we have so many convinced they need to attend something that guarantees everything, but really nothing?

Our guarantees and promises are not new things, in reading of the American Frontier and Native American culture, the United States and its guarantees on convincing a culture of people to follow it’s ideas failed on just about every single delivery of those treaties, and agreements it made to these people. On almost every recorded marker not a single agreement that was signed was followed through on. It is not that we have never been well intended, we have. We just do not take responsibility for our sometimes implied, and oftentimes “promised land”. Our businesses are bailed out, our agricultural system is subsidized, and we promise those who strive for this American Dream that if they too get into the system, they too can have it all… A gun, with no ammo, and a checking account with more debt than cash. This simply implies we are highly opinionated, stick to those who support our current idea, and can not be criticized. This is an inability to critically think, and find our own creativity. That is how things evolve and become less fragile. 

When a natural disaster commences, not long after civil violence skyrockets. Never has an animal been so disconnected to itself when something it has no-control-over it gets angry at the system it bought into. The misdirection of understanding our own psychology is playing itself out in front of our very eyes, and we pretend as though we aren’t all “buying in”. So we blame the other political party, and those that don’t fit into our way of thinking. Instead of taking the time to listen and understand why someone would go in that direction, and what can we learn from that. Nothing more telling of this than the complete flip with the next candidate we elect. 

We’ve put major cities in floodplains and then acted like we had no idea a hurricane could make things difficult for cities like New Orleans, or Houston. And it’s perfectly fine if you disagree with me on looking back on Native American Culture, but look at this hard fact, no indigenous culture sets up permanently in floodplains. Nor did they or do they currently (those left in S. America) destroy the land they live on. They do what the specialized intellectual does not, they listen, they learned, they did not memorize. They listen not only to what the plants and animals are doing, but the land and weather, and most importantly they listen to their own biology. No advanced biology course needed. Can you imagine?!?!?! 

Sure many Native Cultures struggle with disease, and things western medicine can and does help with, but where did those diseases and viruses come from? They fought to an extreme death and delivered an even harsher death to those that tried to take their way of life from them. Until the eradication of the American Buffalo. We are an interesting lot that thinks in the short term, as today we begin to swing full circle with the damage we’ve inflicted on not only these cultures, animals, or this planet, but also to ourselves. 

No, we can’t just evacuate cities with millions of dependents in floodplains, but we sure can start to pay attention to what people before us were doing. We can also start to repair the damage of the past by helping bring back the rich history and knowledge these people had. Why they wanted to stay in the wild.  Why they spoke so little, but with intent. Why their teeth were straight, and clean. Why they hunted, slept, and mostly breathed through their noses. Why they remained in moccasins instead of boots. How did they know when storm’s were approaching, and why weren’t they afraid of being so exposed. How did they handle being exposed to the sun and not get skin cancer? These are statements that imply we look for others – mostly a medical system –  to provide relief because we lack the ability to understand a past in which people of that past tried to destroy because they did not want to understand those who were here before them. 

Every answer we need is in understanding. The problem is we simply seek relief and avoid the painful past. When we come to terms with the difficult nature of our past, we can then talk about it, and start to recognize those who came before us and what they learned. I am sure once that begins, that many will then want to understand why we hide this so well. 

 

Territories Vs. Fences in Self Regulation

The edge of your yard is marked by a fence; an imaginary line drawn by humans. Birds, foxes, deer, squirrels, bees, and weeds have no sense of these boundaries.  They come and go based on less-visible edges drawn needs around food, safety, competition and reproduction. These realities of survival shape their boundaries every day.  Contrary to common perception we are Nature and Mother Nature doesn’t work in straight lines. Like the natural boundaries of plants and animals your stress-tolerance is like a territory in the wild. The boundaries shrink or expand based on how you  manage the survival physiology that drives much of your behavior. 

A term coined by Dr. Daniel Seigel, Window of Tolerance defines the terrain where you can manage stress well. The upper boundary marks your threat response in the sympathetic nervous system and the lower edge marks your rest and repair response in the parasympathetic nervous system.

When you’re living in the window, you experience a range of conditions in the nervous systems including focused arousal, flow state, rested readiness, learning, passive attention, sex, deep sleep, and recovery. Ideally,  this range is as broad as possible. This means you can recover deeply and respond well to challenges without losing access to the resources of your higher brain.

The higher the upper edge, the more emotional and physical strain we can handle without anxiety. The lower the bottom edge, the richer our garden of resources for creating and repairing systems and the harder it is for us to stagnate in depression. It’s common to go over the edges into the margins of dysregulation. With practice, you can read your state using cues in your physiology to navigate the edge, and widen our territory. You can learn from the edge, and adapt to reality. If you become complacent your territory shrinks.

 

The inability to read your body’s cues at the upper edge of the window is like an elk who can’t smell a predator in the wind making it vulnerable to the coming threat. If instead you use your senses, you’ll notice the danger, and move to better territory. This is done by regulating breath and body mechanics to migrate back to tolerance. Miss the cues and get eaten by panic. If you become chronic in avoiding our physiology at this edge, you narrow your territory and become hypervigilant even when no danger is present. You see wolves everywhere and even the most luscious grass is unsatisfying. 

Ignore your physiology in the lower margins of our window of tolerance and important cues about depletion and depression will be missed.This is similar to how birds tend to their nests. Expand this lower edge by recovering intentionally to nourish our stores. Deactivating practices like deep sleep, yoga nidra, meditation, restorative breath, or forest bathing immerse you in supple, intelligent states of repair. This widens your tolerance to stress by helping you stash away resources in our territory for future use.

Checking out isn’t an option. All of nature lives by these simple rules; attend to the body’s needs, engage with survival and recovery to make yourself resilient and capable. If we ignore the edges by rarely exercising or not nourishing our bodies well, the edges of our window of tolerance start creeping inward. Our range of responsiveness narrows to stress and opportunity. 

If you are reading and regulating state well, you know when to recover and when to add strain. You’re likely sleeping deeply, breathing intentionally to create regulated and efficient energy systems, eating real food, moving and recovering well, and your territory is vast. A sharp word, spilled coffee, and unexpected opportunities are easy to manage. Ignore the cues and disengage with your own physiology, and you will pay the price set by Nature’s law.

Chronic stress is really chronic mismanaged physiology, and the lifestyle diseases that prosper in humanity are the result. Culturally, we are being devoured by narrow windows of stress tolerance; like birds without a nest, waiting for someone to bring us a worm. Increased vulnerability to stress is not because the stress is too much. We become vulnerable when we forget to claim the territory of tolerance in our physiology.

Exercise as a Stress Management Tool

Stress is everywhere. It’s neither good nor bad. It just is. What you do, or don’t do, in response to stress is the key. It is unmanaged stress where the issue lies.

By nature, our body is designed to survive and to do so in the most efficient way possible; to use the least amount of energy. If our body is not energy efficient, in times of low energy availability, there will be a problem.

Exercise includes all forms of physical activity from going for a brisk walk to a structured training session and even manual labor. There is no denying that exercise is a stressor. It is stress that triggers the body to adapt. Your body’s primary function is survival. By stressing the tissues, organs, and systems of the body through exercise, they adapt by getting stronger and more efficient so the next time they are stressed they can respond in the most energy-efficient manner possible.

However, dose matters. Too little stress and your body won’t get sufficient stimulus to adapt positively. Too much stress and your body will adapt in ways that may not be of your choosing. Your heart may pump faster as a result of chronically elevated stress hormones and your blood vessels constrict causing blood pressure to rise. Respiration may increase causing respiratory alkalosis and your liver may excrete more glucose to prepare you for the flight or fight that never comes putting you at risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Once upon a time, stress was associated with physical activity. Humans worked the land and traveled the plains, kids ran around playing hide and seek or play fighting and we occasionally found ourselves facing off or running from predators or enemies.

We may have experienced high levels of acute stress and the resultant fight, flight, freeze responses, but importantly, we also experienced physical activity along with it. All of these activities involved an elevation of our heart rate, increased respiration, the release of stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine and afterward, a release of those feel-good endorphins. 

Importantly, our bodies got to express movement and physical exertion associated with the stress response.

Today, we experience the same physiological responses; elevated heart rate, increased respiratory rate and the release of stress hormones, often without physical activity. Instead of playing hide and seek, we play video games or scroll social media. Instead of working the land, we sit at a desk under fluorescent lights. Instead of facing off with predators, we engage in Twitter arguments.

We get the same physiological fight, flight, freeze responses as our ancestors, but critically without the same expression of movement and physical exertion.   

There are consequences to this lack of physical activity; disease, dysregulation and physical and mental ill-health.

Personally, if I sit in a classroom or office all day, by the evening I am restless, irritated and I feel mentally exhausted. Do that for a few days and I feel mentally and physically spent. I will crave physical activity and movement. It’s in my nature as it is in yours.

When you exercise, you get the all-important physical activity your body needs to help it process and deal with the physiological responses to stress; the things nature gave you to protect and serve you on the understanding that you would continue to maintain a high level of physical activity.

Generally speaking, we no longer move as much as we once did, so we have to rely on more formal methods of physical activity like structured training sessions as well as being mindful of getting as much regular daily movement as we can.

The SH//FT General Human Preparedness (GHP) program is one way you can use exercise to stave off the negative effects of stress from work, relationships…. life.

The GHP program is specifically designed to give you just the right dose of stress to stimulate the adaptations you need to develop and maintain a solid foundation of fitness; to be a generally prepared human.

While structured training sessions are a fantastic way to manage stress, that’s not all there is. Brisk walking is an often overlooked simple form of exercise that can have a dramatic effect on how you think and feel.

The physiological benefits are many. Brisk walking can,

  • -improve cardiac health.
  • -prevent weight gain.
  • -reduce risk of cancer and chronic disease.
  • -improve endurance, circulation, and posture.

 

Psychologically, brisk walks can,

  • -increase creative output.
  • -boost joviality, vigor, attentiveness and self-confidence.
  • -reduce rumination of negative experiences.
  • -improve memory and prevent the deterioration of brain tissue as we age.
  • -relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.

 

Brisk walking has the added bonus of getting you outside and off your butt, along with opening up your field of view and getting you into natural light; proven ways of improving relaxation and regulating your circadian rhythm.

Some of the most successful and famous people in the world were known to take long walks at least once a day. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and polymath conducted his lectures while walking the grounds of his school in Athens. Charles Darwin even had a gravel track installed in the grounds of his home. He would walk laps of the track, the number of which depending on the difficulty of the problem he was grappling with.

Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

 

Whether your exercise takes the form of a session of Yoga, slamming iron or simply going for a brisk walk it is essential to your health and well-being. You will experience stress whether you like it or not and one of the keys to managing your stress is regular exercise. Get your heart pumping, breathe a bit more and move your body each and every day in order to manage the stress of modern life. It’s in your nature.

Unnatural Naturalness

The ideal is unnatural naturalness or natural unnaturalness. I mean it is a combination of both.
I mean here is natural instinct and here is control. You are to combine the two in harmony.
Not if you have one to the extreme, you’ll be very unscientific.
If you have another to the extreme, you become, all of a sudden, a mechanical man
No longer a human being.
It is a successful combination of both.

-Bruce Lee

The greatest superpower and the greatest weakness of humankind is our tremendous capacity for adaptation. Humans can get accustomed to and find a workaround for damn near anything. Our ability to accept the normalcy of any situation and fall into a rhythm of habit and automaticity is a double-edged blade that if not carefully wielded mostly cuts ourselves.

On one hand, our capacity for auto-coping can be a positive trait. Could you imagine every time you had to make some slight change in behavior you had to have an accompanying conscious thought? Not very energy efficient. On the other hand, so much of we do is without direct input from our conscious mind that it can be quite easy to arrive at “how did I get here?” moments. This is a fundamental disconnection from the concept of action and consequence.

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                                                  There is no such thing as a free lunch. All adaptations come with a cost.

For the last 20 years as a manual therapist, coach, and teacher it has been remarkable to bear close witness to the incredible power of human adaptability. I have worked with elite military personnel who had so much compounding movement dysfunction it was a wonder how they could operate at such a high level and accomplish missions with the highest of stakes. On the other end of the spectrum and much earlier in my career, I performed therapy with obese clients with such an array of metabolic problems that I wondered how they even walked into my office that day. It’s truly amazing what the human body can get accustomed to and keep moving forward.

Over the course of my career then I began to take notice of a simple and indelible fact; Nature finds a way. That the solving of problems to propagate forward motion (literally and figuratively) is what the entire system is designed to do and most of that adaptation happens without our conscious knowledge or input. Our physiology is constantly shifting in accordance with the messages we send; consciously or not. Even if you didn’t do that thing “on-purpose” every choice, every behavior compounds towards an adaptive tipping point that can suddenly seem as though, “it came out of nowhere”. There is in effect, no NOT ADAPTING.

Whether or not an adaptation or a set of adaptations is positive is simply a matter of temporality. All adaptations have their origin in one simple idea — a problem needs to be solved. I suppose it’s possible to say that an adaptation is largely positive if it solves the problem at hand but then the question becomes, how many more problems does it create as a consequence? Coping mechanisms, by example, are psychological adaptations that help protect us from psychological stress — some are good, like the development of a sense of humor, and some not so good like compulsive behavioral disorders. What’s the difference? The number of additional problems that are potentially created downstream.

So then, it behooves us to develop an awareness of the direction our adaptive “choices” are taking us and to answer the question — is this where I want to go? It’s like navigating a ship with a heading, there are checkpoints charted along the way to be sure the ship stays on course. The principle of adaptive checkpoints is applicable to nearly infinite layers of the human experience but easiest to see and feel in the realm of the physical. In human performance, a vast array of metrics are used to determine these checkpoints; on the performance side force, speed, acceleration, and agility are used and on the “recovery” side resting heart rate and heart rate variability let athletes and coaches know if they are on the right track.

While these checkpoints can be incredibly helpful it’s important that we do not get stuck on the checkpoints and the droll minutia of data analytics. We currently live in a cultural climate where we can measure more than ever before. The upside to this kind of data collection is that we can quantify if we are making meaningful changes. Conversely, though it’s a serious mistake to think that our means of data collection are free from flaw and the failure to realize that any data, however accurate the collection itself — still has to pass through the psychological filter of the human reading it. It is very important to realize that “science” is a process of investigation, discovery, and validation and does not represent the whole TRUTH as it were. Only Mother Nature and Father Time hold all of the cards.

Over time the combination of internal feel and external checkpoints can flow together into what is commonly referred to as — awareness. Learning to broadly apply this understanding, I would argue, is the deepest of practices the end of which is seen only in death. “Feel” is in effect, the sum of all sensory input flowing through our filter. Learning to feel deeply is important if we are to contribute to the trajectory of our adaptation(s) but not without some data to corroborate our internal narrative. The subjective and objective dance of adaptability metrics creates an elegant system of checks and balances that can help us achieve more significant levels of awareness into how our own behavior shapes our reality.

Adaptation is not a law of Nature it is THE law of Nature. The question here is what is your level of participation in your own adaptation? Living a life of conscious adaptation means actively participating in the trajectory of your own development, but not so much that you become “a mechanical man, no longer a human being.” Instead, learning to ride the crests and troughs can yield a beautifully imperfect state of natural unnaturalness.

The Evolution of SH//FT

SH//FT was born out of decades of experience in the field of human performance.  While in search of best practices in training and recovery we found that at a fundamental level people are disconnected from the forces of nature that determine the outcomes they desire.  Over the years our approach evolved from focusing on athletic performance alone to the broader process that applies to the evolution of anybody looking to improve their own quality of life; the process of stress and adaptation.  

If we ultimately wish to harness this process it is essential that we become connected to the way we experience stress and whether or not we benefit from our behavior as a result.  At SH//FT our purpose is to help you uncover the tools given to you by Nature and take the reigns of our ability to make stress into our superpower.

 

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Viktor Frankl

 

This powerful quote from Viktor Frankl inspired the central piece of our logo.  The // in the SH//FT represents the space between stimulus and response.  The place where we can choose how stress affects us.  Where we can choose how to take part in our own evolution. 

Our progression through CrossFit Endurance, then PowerSpeedEndurance and the Art of Breath has led to the culmination of a lifestyle and a philosophy that transcends sport and performance.

In the realm of human performance cycles of stress and outcome are more obvious and arrive faster.  This presents a unique opportunity to see how a large variety of people and more importantly patterns shift our reactions to the stressors we encounter; planned or not.

Over time our experience has been distilled to bring a unified approach to the optimized human and help you on your journey to be the best you possible.  Underlying the best practices in this realm was the principle of connection.  

At SH//FT our purpose is to help you discover how you connect to your own internal resources and leverage them to enhance performance and live a healthier and happier life.