Survive or Thrive?

February 28, 2009

A recent online webinar summarized a few key elements of nature we need to survive.  The presented list was:
– Oxygen
– Water
– Food (Nutrition)
– Sleep

These elements of nature are certainly critical to survival … but many of us are actively working towards more than settling for mere survival; we are looking to have abundant energy and health to thrive.  In support of this goal, we might want to clarify the above a bit more and perhaps add a few more key elements to the list:flowing-stream
– Oxygen:  Clean air free of chemicals, allergens and pollutants.  Plus, ample ‘feel-good’ negative ions found in forests or by streams.
– Water:  Again, clean water free of chemicals, pesticides and other un-natural contaminants.  Plus, water that is mineralized and ‘living’ as if it came directly from a fresh mountain stream.
– Nutrition:  Whole food or whole food supplements in their most natural, organic state.  To nourish and replenish the body with essential nutrients.
– Sleep:  A quality night’s rest to allow the body to recharge and renew.

To this list we might add:
– Earth’s Magnetic Field:  Our environment is now filled with electromagnetic interference; electricity, cell, radio, TV, WiFi, etc.  Plus, we live a high percentage of our lives isolated from the earth via concrete, pavement, rubber, and living stories above ground.  An environment closer to the earth’s natural resonance can reduce this stress on the body.  [Note: Magnetics can also be used to promote the flow of energy, blood, nutrients and waste to support the body’s functions.]
– Other Types of Earth’s Energy:  i.e. uV from the sun to support natural Vitamin D production and Far-Infrared to increase circulation and heat from within.

To this list we should also definitely add what we need to do in order to thrive:
– Physical Motion:  A consistent fitness program to help generate energy and support the body’s overall health and cleansing process.  The system to nourish the tissues of our body has a pump, our heart.  The system which cleanses our tissues does not; it relies on our motion to support this key function.  It is also physical activity which supports bone health as the body builds bone based on physical stimulus.

So where does this lead; perhaps in one statement – ‘it is not nice … to fool … with … Mother … Nature’.  Asking the body to function in an unnatural environment forces it to work much harder, draining your energy and affecting your health; all of which is needed to thrive in the pursuit of your goals.

The good news is that there are simple ways to create a more natural environment, even in this time when the many influences are working against us.  And you do not have to make big changes or multiple changes at once; in many cases a simple adjustment can have a significant effect.  Information and resources on ‘getting back to nature’ in our environment and in our fitness programs, is available at and

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David Stretanski is a holistic fitness coach, Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Instructor and Nikken® Independent Wellness Consultant.  For more information on David, please see his About, Contact page or his website at


Statements on this website/blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any physical or medical condition.  If you have a physical or medical condition, you should seek the advice of your medical professional immediately.

A New ‘Focus’ on Posture

February 2, 2009

In the ChiRunning and ChiWalking approaches to fitness, the first step is postural alignment.  It is the foundation for the primary objectives of energy efficiency and injury prevention.  Adjusting your posture and motion is created via a series of mental ‘focuses’ – which in effect are a new way to look at things.

One of my own postural challenges is what I will call a ‘mini’-slump.  I tend to slump just slightly allowing my breastbone to drop a bit.  I sometimes do it at my desk, in the car, and occasionally towards the end of a run.  I am constantly reminding myself to think a little taller to straighten my spine.  As soon as I do, I instantly feel more aligned, more efficient and more engaged in the task at hand.

A key to a mental focus is simplicity.  Here is the question:  If you had a rope (of vertebrae) and you wanted to straighten it, what would you do?  Answer:  You might hold one end and pull the other – or pull both ends.  In this case, if we consider one end fixed (the tailbone) and lift up the other end (the back crown of the head); we get a straight rope (of vertebrae) as everything in between falls in line.  There is still some natural design S-curve in the spine, but the spine is essentially straight.  This is the concept of the ‘needle’ (or steel as referenced in the ChiRunning book) in your postural alignment.

Mental Focus Tricks to Staying Tall

1.  Imagine there is a helium-filled weather balloon attached to the back crown of you head all day long.

2. At your computer, adjust the height of your monitor so you are looking straight forward into the middle of the screen.

3.  In your car, adjust the seat more vertical so your straight needle is supported.  If the seat is leaning too far back, you will reinforce a reverse curve in the lower back … and an upper back in a slumped position.

4.  Also in your car, adjust the rearview mirror so you can only see out the back window if you are sitting tall.  You will be very surprised how often you subconsciously use the rearview mirror; and you get a free reminder each time.

5.  Notice that in your car, the seat is aligned on center with the steering wheel.  Notice if you actually do sit aligned with the center of the steering wheel.  The tendency is to lean to the right a bit.  You can also use the rearview mirror to remind yourself to sit straight; here is how: A) Adjust the rearview mirror left-right to align with the rear window.  This works but you might forget about it after a while since you can still see partially out the back.  B) Make a line down the center of the rearview mirror (I use a small strip off of a yellow post-it pad for this) to remind you where the center of the rear window should be.  Some vehicles have an antenna embedded down the middle of the rear window, but this does not usually work in the dark.  A more pronounced line on the rear window can be created if you wish.

Danny Dreyer’s Blog Video on Posture

Here is a video where ChiRunning and ChiWalking creator/author, Danny Dreyer, talks about posture and this simple focus on the back crown of the head.  He also mentions the rearview mirror trick #4.

Sound like a lot to do or think about?  Perhaps, but the alternative is to reinforce an inefficient position that can lead to tension and additional postural mis-alignment.  The more often you practice a new habit, the sooner it will become part of your subconscious.

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David Stretanski is a holistic health, fitness and wellness coach and Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Instructor.  For more information on David, please see his About, Contact page or his website at


ChiRunning® and ChiWalking® are registered trademarks of ChiLiving, Inc.


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