Monthly Archives: August 2019

Animal Flow


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I have too much muscle for me not to put it to use.

I guess, just because I’ve been challenging myself without dumbbells and barbells doesn’t mean I can’t challenge myself in other ways.  My body craves movement.  It craves to feel blood swirling and pumping, to feel its skin get tight when performing.  My muscles crave dynamism and action.  I knew I had to think of something fast that would allow my body and I to be challenged and fulfilled.  Eventually, I came across Animal Flow or Primal Movement.

In the past I’ve done some animal-type movements but added them to workout programs when I wanted something a little different.  A few weeks ago, I decided I want Animal Flow or Ground-based movements to be the center of my attention, along with Yoga and mobility work for my continual internal and external healing.  Which reminds me, I remember getting used to ground-based movements when I was doing a lot of Ballet Beautiful and Barre work.  Half of the exercises were on the mat making it more challenging than the weightlifting I’ve already became accustomed to for over a decade.

I think subconsciously my body deeply craved ground-based workouts again, even though I was very scared (and still am) of letting go the religion of weightlifting.  Maybe not forever, but for the moment.  And so far, I’m right!  My body craves this kind of expression.  Over the past few years, I’ve come to enjoy moving my body in different ways.  I seek out more flow-type workouts that are super challenging and therefore allow me to concentrate in ways I usually don’t.

I want mindfulness, new movement patterns and new folds in my brain.  In a way, only now can I see how one-dimensional many of my movements were when I was weightlifting.  In the process, I’ve gotten better at writing a more balanced workout program.  I feel like I didn’t have a choice, but I’m not complaining.  I get better with time.  In distancing myself from what I normally do, I’m giving myself permission to see things differently, which in turn allows me to continue being open, so I can crave different things.  I love going on and learning from new journeys.  What I find interesting about practicing Animal Flow is I must work my way up, which makes it harder for me to overtrain even if (when) I want to.

I’ve had too many up’s and down’s with motivation due to chronic pain, stress and health issues that I can’t always say it’s been easy for me to be discipline 4-5 times a week every week regarding fitness over the past few years.  But what has helped me is going back to how much I love to move, how good I feel when my body is pumped, how blessed I am to have all my limbs, how nice it is to set goals and to stubbornly meet the goals and drive further for extra goals.

I’ve had conversations of giving up my love for fitness as well as conversations about why we (my different shades of personalities) should continue it.  I’ll never forget a coworker of mine when I asked her one day, “Do you want to train with me on my break?”  She said, “Why not?  You’re the trainer.”  That day we trained together and during, she said to me, “You love training!  I never see you so happy, so big with your smile until you train.”  And the thing is I never realized how happy I was when I move, exercise and put my body through intense work.  I was solely training to train.

Last night, I was elated!  I was walking on clouds, super high on endorphins.  I couldn’t get enough.  I did a move called The Underswitch.  I’ll link the move at the bottom of this entry with an article about AF.  It’s basically being in a crab walk position and rotating your entire body until you’re in a bear crawl/beast position.  Granted, it was my first time doing this move.  However, sometimes I have a bad habit underestimating myself and my physical strength.  I thought the underswitch would be harder to do because I weigh 223lbs.  Mentally, I felt like I shouldn’t have been able to do it, but physically I can do it.  I made sure to perform it a few times on the left and right, so I know it’s not a fluke.  And I had so much fun!  I couldn’t stop smiling!  There are few things in life that make me happy in this barbaric world.

I’m happy I’ve been practicing for weeks with Bear Crawl or Beast Holds.  I’ve been picking up one limb at a time and shifting my weight while being hovered a few inches off the floor just like in the video above.  I’m also practicing traveling or walking forwards and backwards also with the Bear Crawl and Crab positions, which are harder for me because I’m not the best when it comes to coordination.  Still, I think I found something I can put my body, mind, spirit and soul to use.

Have you guys done any Animal Flow?

– Pennington

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Outlived Convictions


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Over the past few years I’ve been redefining every aspect of my life.

Out of tragedies come blessings unseen and unexpected. Things that I could think up is nothing compared to what life, the universe and God could give me.  I watch every aspect of my existence unfold like a pretty origami.

I whisper, it’s okay to be like water.

Form only to be formless again.
Give up the concrete.

All the little things add up.

Like leaving people and situations that no longer serve me.  It’s amazing how much I kept due to systems, two-way arrangements and outlived convictions.

It’s crazy how much one single person can be a parasite plaguing your life because they made it all about themselves.  Those people I had in my life who took up space and rarely asked, “How are you doing?  How is your mood?  Do you need help with anything?  Is that person, place or thing serving you?”

I enjoy unfriending people I outgrew and who I no longer share the same thought patterns and commonality with.  Particularly, the atheists.

I love creating boundaries with whomever I’m dealing with currently.  I don’t think enough people do this.  It’s very liberating, and time is short to deal with too many things that weigh the shoulders like anvils.  For too long I lived with a heart and mind of steel.  Always, tough, guarded and heavy when the soul needs to feel light to explore freely.

Ah, and to lighten the load further.  I love throwing old clothes away that no longer suit my frame or non-gym mentality.

And would you believe me if I say, I learned many of my new self-care habits from observing my sweet cat.  The way she grooms herself numerous times a day in meditation.  The way she pulls on her nails when she knows they’re detaching because they stopped serving their purpose.  The way she loves herself.

How many people do you know practice self-care?

Personally, I don’t know many.  The people I know are too busy looking for instant gratifications, the next editor app to make themselves appear more beautiful than what they’re not while others are taking drugs trying to escape their own jails and hells.

In treating myself with more love, care and concern, it has allowed me to heal and move past some of my emotional, physical and mental trauma.  It allows me to become hyper-aware when others, including situations are trying to disregard my care simply by trying to take advantage of me in some way.

I’m always surprised by others and how callous they are.  Like how they don’t see the fine line between respect and disrespect, compliments as opposed to insults, caring versus being indifferent.

I wonder about politeness – and is it even real?  Or is everyone just pretending to give something just so they can get something back in return?

These days I’ve learned how to speak and express more whereas before I would write everything down on paper and express myself through emails.  There were times when people who’ve met me didn’t like me very much in the beginning because I was a mute.  I was a very content mute because I love observing.  Nowadays, I’ve found some satisfaction in communicating and volunteering random information with others.

I like that I bloomed in many ways.  I used to think that being vulnerable and open was being weak.  I guess, perhaps I was vulnerable and open with the wrong people.  I realized that with my continual kindness and personal growth, I can be strong by being soft and gentle, too.

-Pennington

From Massage Spa Therapist to Physical Therapist


Life usually knows what a person needs.  I find myself forgetting sometimes that life is my greatest teacher.  And even though I really do want to believe in coincidences, I don’t.

Just a week prior to my first session with my pelvic physical therapist, my aunt gave me a gift for a 90-minute massage to the spa therapist.  So, even though my aunt was coming with me to the spa, I couldn’t help my anxiety levels because this was my first time and the idea of a stranger touching my body intimately was a bit nerve-wracking.

All these normal tiny question-based fears crept up like a cold draft in a haunted apartment like:  Will my naked body look okay?  What about that little bit of cellulite in my inner thighs?  Will they notice and are they going to feel it when they massage me?  Am I going to perspire like a madwoman because of my revved up anxiety levels and stink the whole place up like a skunk?

Ah, so with all the dread, it finally came time to strip down to my bra and panties at the locker room which brought back memories of never wanting to get undress in gym class at junior high and how other girls would make fun of me because I prefer privacy over publicity.  But I managed to get into the lovely plush robe despite the fact that some eyes were peering my way.  I confidently shook it off and strolled nervously into the massage room.

It was beautiful!  Dim lighting, meditative music, candle atmosphere.  Then it was time to undo my bra.  My panty I could leave on!  And I managed to get through it.  But because I went through this experience, I was able to not completely freak or walk out the door when I had to strip my pants and panty at the physical therapist place.

The first real session (not the initial evaluation) with my pelvic physical therapist was surprising but expected since I’ve done my research.  Still, I was freaking out internally.  The dim lights, classical music, and earthly décor put me at ease to an extent, but the rest of the time I’m sporting a deadpan expression with brewing spades and acid in the pit of my stomach.

For me, there’s nothing comfortable being half naked and having this talkative nice lady massage and stretch my stomach, pelvis, inner thighs, sit bones, hips, glutes and lower back.  Nothing.  As if nothing could top that, she brought out the vagina dilators, gloves and lube.  And I reassured myself, “This doesn’t make you gay.  This is medical procedure.  This appears sexual but isn’t sexual at all.  Relax.”

This was when I had to channel my anxiety and awkward levels to asking her a million questions about her life and her career and everything else in between, so I wouldn’t die too much in the present moment of vagina dilators.  All I could think is, if I can handle a 90-minute plus massage with wraps, hot oil and hot stones, I can handle someone sticking dilators inside me, regardless if they’re the same gender.

*pats back*

-Pennington