Monday, December 7, 2015

Reclaim Your Body and Mind

Have you ever been told you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it, or, the mind is a very powerful tool? This was said to me countless times growing up by parents and teachers alike, but never did I really understand what it meant. No one ever explained how to actually set your mind to something or how to get the most use out of this powerful tool. I just never really understood how to make use of this seemingly important piece of advice.
Much time has passed since the last time someone said this to me, but since then, I’ve been lucky enough to undergo a life-changing transformation that has shed some light on its meaning. Today, I will try to explain...

Patch of Moss.jpg

It is true that your mind is a most powerful tool. It comes up with the craziest, most random ideas that make you spontaneous, it makes you inexplicably witty, surprisingly knowledgeable and refreshingly interesting. These moments happen when you’re fully involved in the interaction that’s taking place between you and your world. All of your attention is on the interaction and nowhere else.
We’ve all experienced these moments. The question is, how do you do this consistently, and how do you apply this state of mind to all areas of your life, whether having a conversation with someone you just met, working on a homework assignment, learning something new, performing well at your job, creating a work of art, training for the next marathon, working on your craft, starting your own business, improving your relationships or anything else?
In order to do anything well, you have to have your mind focus all of its attention on it, and the body will follow. This is not to say that if you practice this you will do anything well immediately. For example, if you learn to apply all of your attention to driving, you will not all of a sudden have the skills to race a Formula 1 car, but the learning and development process itself will improve drastically, and eventually you’ll be able to accomplish what you have set out to.

No doubt you know the great results you get when you pay 1,000% attention to whatever it is you’re doing. You notice the alertness and you function exactly the way you want. On the other hand, when you’re not paying attention something different happens. You go through the motions, you miss the point and even the joy is taken out of the moment. The experience itself has been taken out of the experience.

So if paying attention is key, then how do you develop the ability to pay attention? You train your mind.

When it comes to the mind, when you’re not looking, when no one is in the driver’s seat, when your attention is elsewhere, or in other words, when your consciousness - which is what you really are - is not giving direction to your mind, your mind does whatever it wants. It acts on its own accord without any input necessary from you - your consciousness. The mind drives itself on autopilot yielding results reflective of what it has picked up and how much of it. Results may include a noticeable lack of ability to concentrate, uncontrollable impulses, addictive behavior, and generally counter-productive habits and tendencies. Again, this is what happens when you’re not looking, and the longer you don’t look, the more your mind becomes its own entity, more and more independent of you - your consciousness - to the point that you become a prisoner of your own mind. Your mind has literally taken you over.

The good new is this can be undone although with great effort. The following are practices you can do on a daily basis to go from a total loss of control to your mind’s current wiring, to becoming once again your mind’s driver so that it performs for you what you want it to do, like the powerful tool that it is.

  • Start easy by taking a moment to observe nature, after all, nature is fascinating and it’s all around you. It can be as simple as noticing a patch of moss in a crack on the sidewalk, noticing how it wants to grow, how full of life it is and how beautiful it really is. Immerse yourself in nature any time you can with a walk in a forest preserve trail, breathing in the oxygen that is given to you by the abundant plant life all around you and absorbing its magnificent beauty.

  • Take it up a level by observing your actions. When you wake up tomorrow and go through your getting-ready routine, whether for school or work, pay attention to everything that you do and do it with care and intent. If you do the same thing every day, it may become repetitive and dull, but if you pay attention to it and do it with care every time, no matter what it is or how many times you do it, it becomes a unique experience every time. Think of when you get ready for a long trip. You have to pay attention to everything you do and you leave nothing to chance. Apply the same awareness to your daily routine. Then begin to apply the same care and awareness to all of your activities giving all of your attention to the interaction taking place.

  • Take it up a notch and begin to apply the same principles inward, begin to observe the activities of your mind, listen to the voices you hear in your head. What are they saying? We all have them but we are often so used to hearing them that we’re able to ignore them. They are happening and have a profound effect on your life. If you become aware of these messages, choices will open up allowing you to let the positive ones that serve you well to continue and to give no further energy to the counterproductive ones that work against you. Your inner voices influence your actions and your actions feed into the mirror of the universe that receives your input and reflects what you put in, so it's important to listen to those voices and just by being aware of them, you can start to choose. If this is entirely new to you, it will be very difficult at first and will seem like an uphill battle because once you’ve become aware of the voices that you don’t want, they go away at the moment but keep coming back over and over again (specially when you stop looking), but if you persist (and keep looking), welcoming the positive voices and giving no further energy to negative ones, the tides will eventually turn and the negative voices will fade away. In result, you will start seeing dramatic positive changes in your life.

  • Practice listening inward periodically at first, then increase the frequency of when you listen. Your goal, eventually, is to listen continuously. This may sound like a lot of work, but it's worth every effort because you want to be the one driving, not the one being taken for a ride. Once you’re able to monitor your mind continuously, there will be no further action from your mind and body that results in compulsive behavior. If a certain behavior unfolds, it will be by your own choice, whereas before, there may have been no choice.

  • Experience silence. Once you’ve become comfortable looking inward, it’s time to refine the process further. If a small stone is placed on a gravel road and you drive over it, you will never feel it, however, if a stone is placed on a smooth road and you drive over it, you will clearly feel it. Now that you’re able to listen inward regularly, your ability to clear the road increases. Clear the road and see what remains. Clear your mind and see what’s still there. Make some time to turn off the TV and radio, set down the social media and just go about for a period of time in your day in silence. This will be difficult at first because the noise in your head becomes so loud that you may think you’re about to lose it, but the point is to observe, to look at everything that's passing by, to turn every stone and eventually to choose your own road.

  • The above practices will help you elevate your awareness and dig out your consciousness from underneath layers of free-reigning mind. Now it’s time to create your own destiny by starting a meditation practice. This is not the only way but it is one way to help you organize your mind and thoughts so that your mind, body and consciousness are in alignment towards any intention that you set for yourself. Your intention can be big or small, it does not matter, the possibilities are infinite.

Personally I have found great benefit from using these methods to navigate life in a more joyful and meaningful way. I have also to been able to better align my body, mind and spirit with all of creation. And lastly, I have begun using the ability that is with all of us to create my own reality. I hope you as well find benefit from these, or any other methods, to explore the possibilities beyond our immediate reach.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your experience.

Jessy Hernandez
Instructor | Parkour Ways |

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Many of us probably don’t think very much about water: where it comes from, what it contains and how we drink it. We know that it’s there and we drink when we’re thirsty... sometimes. But did you know water is very much like our food in that it can be just as rich or just as deficient in life sustaining properties? Water can have, or lack, other important substances and properties besides H2O, such as minerals, a balanced pH and quality. All of this can vary depending on its source, how it’s transported, how it’s kept, how it’s treated and how we drink it. In this post, I will share some unimaginable knowledge about the miraculous substance that sustains our life process.

It actually makes a big difference where our water comes from. Tap water, for instance, likely comes from water treatment plants, where it is “cleaned” by various forms including chemical treatment. This water will have other substances dissolved in it, such as chemicals intentionally added like chlorine and fluoride, other chemicals not intentionally added, traces of pharmaceutical residues, heavy metals, hormones, pesticides, microbes and other foreign elements. If the water travels through many pipes, depending on how old they are and what materials they’re made of, those may add a little extra to the water as well. If there are many pipes with many corners, this also affects the quality of the water. This type of water may also not have a balanced pH, the measure of its alkalinity or acidity.

Filtered water from dispensers at any of the increasing number of stores that have it is a little better option than tap water because reverse osmosis filtering (which most are) removes all particles and assures cleaner drinking water, provided the machines are cleaned and maintained properly and on schedule. The disadvantage, however, is that since reverse osmosis filtering removes all particles and substances, it also removes important trace minerals. You may add minerals to your water but it often makes for less thirst quenching water. Otherwise, you will have to ensure to get your minerals from other sources such as nuts and vegetables or supplements.

Copper Water Pic.jpg
Plastic containers of certain kinds releases certain toxins, some that are known to be carcinogens, into the water, and allowing it to sit in the sun accelerates the process. So it is best to avoid bottled water altogether. On the other hand, storing water in a copper or brass container is beneficial, as it enhances the quality of the water. In Indian tradition it is common practice to store water in a copper pot for 8 hours and perform a ritual before drinking. This is because water has memory, a proven scientific fact, and its molecular structure is affected by its environment. If this intrigues you, then search online for “water memory experiments” and you will find plenty of material on the subject.

One last but important property of water is its pH balance. Our bodies are slightly alkaline by nature and maintaining this balance is highly important for our health, such that cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline body. Drinking water that is neutral or has a slightly alkaline pH balance is ideal. You may have seen alkaline water being sold at some stores, which is a healthy (more so in glass bottles) but expensive option. There are, however, test kits available to test your water and there are also products available to balance the water’s pH.

All of this information might be dizzying, but let me leave you with one important resource:

This website collects and provides locations and details of spring water sources, most of which are free. The source I found near me on Irving Park Road, off Cumberland Avenue, Chicago, passed a test I did on it in the following way: no heavy metals, high mineral content, slightly alkaline... and it's free! It also comes out cool from underground. Take a look and you may find a source that is near you too!

Thanks for reading and I’d love to read your comments / questions / experience.

Jessy Hernandez
Instructor | Parkour Ways |

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Transforming Yourself

Transformation is a life-changing process that is not just on the surface, or in one aspect of your life, but a complete and thorough transformation that changes your whole being. If you focus on changing your physical appearance, or what you do for a living, or how you interact with people, this only remedies one aspect of what you are really trying to achieve, which is to fulfill our natural desire to evolve, but if you are ready for a complete transformation, get ready to change everything that you believe is you and experience the joy of the journey itself. In this post I share some of the lessons I learned from my own transformation.

You are fine as you are: Transformation begins with the realization that you are just fine as you are, you just want to explore more possibilities. Therefore, changes should be handled in a certain way. If it is not the case already, accepting yourself as a complete and worthy human being is the first change to accomplish. With this in mind you can start to make other changes that are right for you and that are going to align true to our nature.

Create a plan and stick to it: We all take baby steps, from our birth, to our current time, and we accomplish a lot this way, but when you discover the desire to transform yourself and decide to unleash this desire, you are ready to take giant, transformational leaps. However, to do this efficiently, you need to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be the most complex or the most ambitious or the most extreme plan, it just needs to define a goal and a date by when you want to accomplish that goal. And you don’t necessarily have to know right away how you will accomplish your goal (it can actually hinder your progress to think too much about how) but you need to have a clear vision of what it is. Once you have the vision and once you are determined, you will naturally find a way to get there. Your goal should be big enough to take you where you haven’t been before, but achievable enough for you to accomplish. If your plans are very big, create a set of goals and sequence them in an order that makes sense. Once you set off you may need to make an adjustment here and there, or you may need to change some of your goals completely (in which case you will want to revise your plan), but always remember the big picture. It helps to write out your plan, review it every day and stick to the plan. (It does not help to constantly talk about your plans, just do them.) By contrast, by constantly changing your mind, not putting enough attention to your plans, or not focusing enough on them will scatter you and you will not take leaps but will continue to take baby steps. So make a plan and start taking leaps!

Enjoy the journey: Few people - only the closest to me - actually know that I have undergone a transformation (and still in progress) over the last 8 years. The reason is that it has been a very gradual and very natural process, not inspired by the stories of drastic and sudden changes reported on social media these days which appeal to our impulses of instant gratification, but instead a transformation bourne from genuine desire within. Transformation should be a gradual and natural process that you enjoy every step of the way. The process itself should be its own reward. By contrast, wanting to be there now means suffering through and missing the present, so take your time and enjoy the journey.

Make the necessary adjustments to your environment: There is nothing more energy-draining and counterproductive than to work against the current. When you’ve decided it’s time to make changes in your life, take a look around and remove any obstacles, remove anything that will impede your progress, replace them with things that will help you pave the way. This includes things like actual objects around you that will work against you and replacing them with other objects that will help you.This includes getting your family and friends on board on what you are doing (which may take a good amount of effort to finally get the message across), so that they don’t hamper your progress, but instead yield the way or help you to get there. It also includes your own thoughts about yourself and whether you believe you can get there or not, so make sure to recognize and eliminate any thoughts of doubt and replace them with thoughts that you are already there. And it may also include distancing yourself from people that completely resist the changes you are trying to make, but not to worry because you will surround yourself with those that will support you. As mentioned, a transformation is a complete and thorough change of your life as a whole, so what better way than to do it with the flow.

Good luck and have fun with your transformation! Please feel free to comment, ask questions or share your own experience.

Left: picture from Dec 2007. Right: picture from Dec 2014.Transformation03.JPG

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Troubleshooting Guide to Better Sleep

Our bodies are masterpieces of engineering designed for functionality far beyond our imagination. Every living body on this planet is capable of performing extraordinary feats, mental and physical, but in order for the body to provide longevity and maximum performance, it needs to be treated like the highly advanced mechanism that it is and be maintained accordingly. Luckily for us, for such an advanced piece of engineering, it is relatively easy to do because the body actually maintains itself! We just have to provide the right conditions for that to happen.

But just for a moment, let’s suppose we did have to do the maintenance ourselves. Imagine having to coordinate the multiplying of the trillions of cells in our body, and ensuring every single one of them is getting the right type and amount of nutrients and the right amount of oxygen. Imagine having to regulate your heart-beat, breathing, temperature and balancing the body’s chemistry. Imagine having to find, extinguish and dispose of invasive organisms or our own cells that have gone bad. It would be literally impossible for us to do because this mechanism, our body, is literally designed with engineering far beyond our imagination and complete comprehension. We would be beyond overwhelmed!

So it’s best to let our body do its own maintenance and all we have to do is set the right conditions for it to happen. A great deal of it actually happens during sleep, thus, sleep is exceptionally important. Unfortunately, a great many of us have trouble with sleep, but the good news is that this can usually be fixed by identifying the reason for it and applying the corrective actions. This can be done by your own observation and taking the appropriate action. You can start by noticing how you feel as you wake up and throughout your day, observing your daily activities - mind activity, physical activity and emotional activity, noticing factors in your environment that affect you, being vigilant and selective of what you allow yourself to interact with and enter your mind and knowing how all of this affects you. It may take some time to learn to really observe and bring all of this activity into your awareness if you’re not used to it, but with daily practice, just as with any new skill, you can get better at it with practice. To help you get started, based on my own experience and observations, I’ve listed 10 items below that you may or may not be aware of that are affecting your sleep, and suggestions on what to do if you are experiencing any of these.

Problem: Incessant or compulsive thinking. Our minds are often out of control. Their nature is to think, and that’s what they do best, but sometimes more than what is helpful to us.
Solution: Our minds are like a puppy, very alive, very active, very untrained and very smart. While you won't be able to control it, you can train your mind to work for you, rather than against you, by constantly observing all of the activity that goes on within it. Just by being aware of what goes on in your mind rather than letting it act on its own and not being aware of what it’s doing, as if on auto-pilot, will open up possibilities to you where you can choose to stay with that current thought pattern, seize it, or replace it with another one. Whether the compulsive thinking is mild or severe, you can interrupt it by going to a quiet place, closing your eyes and taking a deep inhale and exhale while attentively focusing on your breath. This might just be what’s needed to put aside that constant worry or restlessness or anxiety, and replace it with clearer thinking and peace of mind. You can take this further by starting a meditation practice and really learning to become aware of exactly what goes on inside your mind at every moment of your waking hours. You may find that becoming aware at every moment will open up choices that allow you to change your mind’s direction consciously and purposefully. In turn, if your mind is tranquil, you will find that, provided all of the other conditions are set, you will be able to fall asleep more easily and allow your body to perform its maintenance.

Problem: Constant worry over something you need to do or a situation you can’t do anything about. If there is a particular and constant worry that is plaguing your mind because there is something that you know you should do and have not done it, it may cause you to have sleepless nights. Similarly, if there is a situation that you are constantly worrying about and there is nothing you can do about it, it may also cause you to have sleepless nights.
Solution: Take action to resolve the situation or accept the situation completely. By taking action, or at least by creating a plan to take action as soon as you are able to, you will take a step towards alleviating that constant worry. Of course, if it’s something so important that it creates this kind of worry, addressing that issue will be of greater importance than that of eliminating your worry. Whether the action that you take resolves the situation or not, if you have done everything you can and there is nothing more you can do, this itself will create a space in your mind free of worry, a kind of peace. If there is nothing that you can do to resolve the situation that is making you worry, then accept it completely. By accepting it you are no longer trying to operate against the flow of what’s happening and your worry will turn into something more productive.

Problem: Physically charged up. Our bodies are made of energy, a combination of electrical activity, chemical reactions and metabolic processes. If you are very active toward your bedtime, such as by working out, playing an engaging video game, having an intense conversation, experiencing any sort of confrontation, working on a very important project, listening to upbeat/hyper/intense music, or any other of the infinite activities that may charge you up, then your body has altered its energy to deal with those things and thus will remain a state of alertness rather entering into rest mode.
Solution: You’ve probably noticed that once you are in a tranquil environment and enough time has passed for the chemistry of your body to change and the energy level to adapt, only then you will be able to sleep. So if you notice that this is what’s keeping you wide awake as bedtime is here, make the necessary adjustments as needed to do these things at another time, minimize them or completely eliminate them if they are unproductive in the first place.

Problem: Environmental factors. Environmental factors such as chaotic noise, bright lights, extreme temperatures, uncomfortable sleep area, tight clothing, tightly bounded hair, jewelry, interruptions and anything else that is physically disturbing will inevitably cause you to stay awake or interrupt your sleep.
Solution: You may not be able to address every one of these things, especially if you live with a lively family or next to an active train track, but the ones that you can do something about will make a big difference and your body will adapt to those remaining things that you can’t change, so taking the time to get ready for sleep makes a valuable contribution towards your Zzzs. Going around turning off lights, eliminating sources of noise, arranging your sleep area, changing into comfortable clothing and addressing anything else that’s within your control will promote a good night’s sleep. Furthermore, turning it into a ritual will help condition your body to know that bedtime approaches and thus will help set the chemistry for sleep.

Problem: Information Overload.
Many of us like to know what's going and can't seem get enough information, perhaps from around the world, from your country, city, neighborhood, a certain industry, your company, your areas of interest or countless other sources. You watch television, listen to radio, hop into a cab and watch news, get into an elevator and get more information, read the newspapers, magazines, newsletters, social media, you talk to someone who's been there and get the scoop, your neighbor might also know what's going on, you check your work email outside of work and your personal email constantly, and the number of sources of information never end. Sometimes we seek them out and sometimes they’re all around us, and we often tend to allow ourselves to absorb all of them. It’s enough to leave anyone dazed and confused in a not so obvious way. With all that information floating around in our mind, consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously, it is bound to have an impact on the very organ that regulates sleep.
Solution: Being aware and up to date isn't a problem in itself. Subjecting yourself to absorb every piece of information that is put in front of you, on top of the information that you seek out, might be. Many theorists suggest that the human brain can remember everything we ever encounter, every word, every sound, every sight, but even if their theories are not proven, the brain does store far more information than we realize, it’s just that we don’t realize it because most of us cannot not consciously recall everything we come across. So rather than letting everything in your environment enter your mind, just like when making choices about proper nutrition, sound business decisions, or choosing what to wear, choosing what you allow to enter your mind will have a positive impact on your mind, sleep and overall wellbeing.

Problem: Unconducive or counterproductive sleep patterns and habits. We all do it from time to time. We stay up late with friends or family, work until well past our bed-time, entertain ourselves with a book, movie or a tv show, or find some other way to stay awake a few extra hours. The problem really starts to build when we frequently do this that it forms into a habit. Continuous repetition of this behavior affects your sleep for that night, but in addition, creates irregular patterns that the body tries to adapt to unsuccessfully. This can severely affect sleep for many days at a time and greatly reduce the ability for your body to perform its own maintenance. Once you get a good night’s sleep your body may still not be well maintained since it was in recovery mode rather than in maintenance mode.
Solution: Cut it out! Your body can actually sustain itself pretty well going a few nights with a little less sleep as long as you allow yourself a short nap during the day or a little longer sleep session after a few days, so use this to your advantage to plan well and stay up late when you want to - just choose consciously - while getting the right amount of sleep that you need to. Keenly pay attention to how you feel every day and every moment and you can actually achieve great flexibility without compromising your sleep quota. With the right practice, proper nutrition, and well-disciplined habits, you can even reduce the amount of sleep you need, freeing up hours at a time to do all of the things that you want to do.

Problem: Chemical imbalance. Our body’s chemistry is something we don’t often think about, and that’s probably because it’s one of those things that we are simply not aware of or leave entirely up to our body to regulate, which is actually the smart thing to do. However, when we do not provide the right conditions for a well-balanced chemistry, the delicate balance goes haywire, causing adverse effects on our sleep among countless other disruptions. You can often notice chemical imbalances in your mood and emotions as well physically. Your mood can be low and accompanied by any sort of negative emotion including nervousness, aggressiveness, irritability, fear, depression, resentment or any other obscure negative emotion. Physically, if you keenly observe, you can notice it in the white of your eyes, the sparkle of your eyes, the texture of your skin and hair, your balance, coordination and strength or other physical characteristics.
Solution: The same way as the body performs its own maintenance, it also performs its own repairs, and again, all we have to do is set the right conditions. With the exception of severe chemical imbalances due to reasons outside the body’s control that may actually need medical attention, many chemical imbalances can be fixed by providing the body with the most optimal sources of food, proper amount exercise and a well-rounded spectrum of healthy and productive activities. The relationship of the two is one that feeds off of each other - eating healthy and exercising promotes a healthy chemical balance while a healthy chemical balance facilitates wanting to eat healthy and exercise, but the polar opposite is also true - so it may be difficult to get started at first. You may have to put all you have into it to start your routine but it will get easier as you progress. Who knows, you might reach a point of infinite possibilities!

Problem: Poor nutrition. There is a war raging today, every man for himself, except for the bonds within certain organizations and political groups, in our world. A war that has entities fighting over the general population’s choices of consumption. As a result, once quality food sources are processed and dressed up so much that they become from mildly recognizable to completely transformed, all in the pursuit of stimulating our taste buds with the most intense tastes that exist in nature only in small amounts, with the ultimate end goal of acquiring our money. It is always nice to indulge and experience complex, intense and often beautiful tastes, but when we let ourselves go and become completely absorbed and won over, we often willingly lose our power to choose. Then it becomes a problem that affects not only our sleep but our whole life.
Solution: Learn to choose consciously what you eat. Know what you need at any given moment and weigh whether eating a tastier but less healthy item is appropriate for your overall well being. Tasty but often unhealthy food often does wonders for the soul, so it is not to be discarded entirely, but rather chosen responsibly. Make it a challenge and an adventure to seek out and discover tasty and healthy foods. Detox your taste buds with a period of eating only clean and pristine foods so you become able to taste the subtle tastes available in raw foods that you might avoid. Know what is in the food items that you are consuming and consciously make the choice yourself whether to eat or not to eat. This will pay dividends to your overall well-being and to your sleep which might just project you into an upward spiral.

Problem: Late eating. The digestion process actually takes vasts amount of work and energy for your body to perform, thus the sensation of tiredness we often feel after a heavy meal, or sometimes even a after light meal if we didn't get the proper amount of sleep. If you are often going to bed with a full stomach, your body is not performing the maintenance that it needs to it’s maximum potential. Instead, it's digesting and processing food.
Solution: Give your digestive system a rest.Rather than making your body perform the energy-intensive process of digestion during sleep, let it focus on the maintenance duties that it needs to accomplish for it to be able to provide you with optimal performance. If you have experienced one sleep session having not eaten for three or four hours before bed, you may have noticed that you woke up feeling just a little better than usual, with a little more energy and even a spontaneous smile, and you may have slept a little less. That happened because your body was free to carry out all of the maintenance work that it needed to do to make that happen. If you are working out or have a condition that requires you to consume food, make a smart choice and eat something that is easy to digest. Depending on what your situation is, this may be a freshly made juice, a serving of organic plant-based protein mixed with water, or a particular nutrient that you require in a form that it is easy to digest.

Problem: Coffee or other stimulants. Although I do not drink coffee now, but rather green tea or an occasional espresso, I find that it definitely increases nervous system function, allowing my brain, and in turn my mind, to become more alive, creating the effect of providing more energy. While it does not actually provide more energy, it does facilitate tapping into energy that is already stored in the body - thus its a stimulant - which is what makes it so attractive. It probably isn’t counterproductive to our health in and of itself when consumed along with proper nutrition, but its effects can become enticing enough not to over-consume, specially if we find ourselves with a little melatonin (the chemical that regulates sleep) circulating in our brain during the middle of the day. We may end up with too much of this alluring chemical in our body, or having it too close to our bedtime, and it ends up continuing to stimulate us as we attempt to sleep. This can easily turn into an endless cycle producing long term ill-effects. We all react differently to caffeine and stimulants and our own day to day reaction will vary depending on other factors, so it can become quite unpredictable just how much of an effect it will have an each one of us. Other stimulants may be detrimental in and of themselves, specially because a lot of them are not well-studied and poorly or minimally regulated.
Solution: Coffee is not a quick fix to your sleep problem. If you are constantly needing coffee or other stimulants, then look at your sleep situation. From the list of problems we’ve just covered you might find that applying one or more of the solutions suggested will help improve your sleep and coffee then becomes an option of pure enjoyment.

Thank you for reading. I wish you a restful night of good maintenance and pleasant dreams.

Jessy Hernandez
Instructor | Parkour Ways |

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Super-Smoothie Recipe and Benefits

Hello and welcome to my first of hopefully many blog posts on well-being to come. Today I will share a recipe for a super-delicious, and, super-nutritious smoothie and explain the benefits of each ingredient. I will also mention a few things I intend to write about in future posts, that is, if you like what you read here! Well let’s get into it…

I have been fine-tuning my current smoothie recipe for two years now (wow!!!) and the result is nothing short of a thoroughly delicious smoothie, yet so powerfully nutritious, that I have to share the easy-to-make (but having all the punch) version of it with you. I welcome and encourage you to try it and share your experience.

The recipe goes like this:

Ingredients and benefits:
1/2 cup frozen strawberries - antioxidant, energy
1/3 cup frozen blueberries - antioxidant, energy
1 fresh or frozen banana - potassium, energy, recovery
1 spoonful organic hemp protein powder - energy, tissue repair, recovery
1 spoonful raw cacao powder (not cocoa) - powerful antioxidant, chocolate flavor
1 spoonful lecithin granules - brain and nervous system function, circulatory system health, creamy consistency
4 shakes of ground cinnamon - antioxidant, heart health, lowering blood sugar, anti-inflammatory, cinnamon flavor
1 spoonful of raw unfiltered honey - energy, longevity, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, adds sweetness
1/2 cup coconut milk, almond milk or water - healthier alternative to regular milk, hydration, good mixing
2 raw eggs, yolk and everything - protein, vitamins, minerals

If it’s within your reach try to get all organic ingredients (and humane or Amish eggs), but conventional is better than nothing. Organic means zero or minimum amount of pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, no GMOs, yes high mineral content in the soil they are grown in, yes overall healthier fruit, yes raising the demand for organically grown foods to help raise availability.

Wellness Smoothie
To freeze a banana, peel it first. In the order listed, put each ingredient into a blender, blend it well - use ice crush or pulse for 15 - 30 seconds to get it started - and end with a high speed blend for 10 - 15 seconds. Add the eggs and blend at medium speed for 10 - 15 seconds, until the smoothie lightens a little into an even, lighter color. The reason for not adding the eggs earlier is that it would cause the smoothie to fluff up too much. Use a silicon spatula to sweep out as much as you can.

I have two of these smoothies every day - on work days usually both during the morning, up to three hours apart, and on weekends or when I’m off work, one during the morning and the other any time of day after a good parkour training session or intense workout - although I recommend only one of these in the morning unless you are super active and need loads of energy and recovery. Add more protein if you feel you need it.

Well, that is what I have for you today. Please feel free to drop me a line with your experience.

Here are a few topics I intend to write about in future posts:
·         Sleep and how to become more receptive to it
·         Age, parkour/exercise and nutrition
·         Apple cider vinegar
·         Food preparation
·         Mental health
·         Meditation
·         Hydration
·         Fasting
·         Juicing

Thanks for reading and great parkour training or exercising and, most of all, well-being to you.

Jessy Hernandez
Instructor | Parkour Ways |