When sheer panic is a good thing.

When was the last time you literally fought for your life? I mean, literally. Like if you didn't do something intelligent with your body—immediately—it would die or take major damage? I'm not talking about the pervasive, toxic adrenaline dumps that many of us endure multiple times on a daily basis. The wife yells, the boss is suddenly distant, the past-due bills pile up, the idiot in the beige Taurus crosses into your lane while texting, the kid breaks curfew. Again.

Kind of like this.

Kind of like this.

All of these unpleasantries provoke the much-maligned (but truly wondrous) flight-or-flight response, a torrent of chemical and hormonal reactions designed to move our bodies into a place of safety. The thing is, unless there's a lion a claw's-length away or you're running as fast as you can to catch something for dinner, your incredible body dumps its magical survival brew into the bloodstream and it stews there—all that power and potential swirling around with nowhere to go. This is bad.

Our amazing bodies live in a time way back when we still had to smash invading hordes over the head and somehow procure a bit of animal protein to survive. Sometimes simultaneously. The problem is, with rare exceptions, our bodies can't tell the difference between an angry husband and an apocalypse-level event. So it helpfully downloads, almost instantaneously, everything you need to blast through the Level-Red Crisis....and then you go sprawl on the couch to watch American Idol. And stew not only in all those powerful chemicals, but in the emotions that triggered them.

I've got an idea for you. I've got a better way.

Watch this video and change your life. Teach it to others and become the change you wish to see. Your time is now.

Sit-ups don't work. Here's what does!

Seriously, quit it.

Seriously, quit it.

If you're still a devotee of sit-ups and crunches, I have some bad news and some good news.

1. Bad news first: They don't work. You can't "spot reduce" that area to magically reveal a nice, tight six-pack. Also, they put tons of strain on your delicate neck and upper-back vertebrae. Are your neck and legs often more tired than your abs after a killer crunch session? Your body's super smart--it's recruiting those muscles in an effort to help you slog through your session. Its job is to make everything you do as efficient and easy as possible. So we have to shake things up! Also, by working those muscles in isolation, you exacerbate the imbalance between a tight front (abs, hip flexors) and a weak back that most Westerners suffer from, which generates chronic low-back pain.

2. Good news: You hate sit-ups, don't you? So cut that out. Let me show you something way more effective. By recruiting both your entire abdominal sheath of muscles AND the rest of your whole darn body, you'll burn off the fat that's covering your glorious six-pack (we all have them, but if you have some "padding," they won't show) and transform yourself into a sleek, powerful, graceful god/goddess.

Jogging, treadmilling, Stairmastering, ellipsing, and all those other tedious hamster-wheel exercises cause fat retention, increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and extreme boredom. That's because human bodies aren't designed to work that way! We're meant to run from threats and chase prey. Because our genes still haven't caught up with the Information Age, if we want to stay fit and lean our whole lives, we need to simulate our hunter-gatherer ancestors and incorporate short bursts of intense activity into our daily lives.

Doing conventional crunches is also ineffective and a complete waste of your precious workout time. So let me show you what to do instead that's fun, fast, and—above all—effective! Here's Cisco's and my video of the week. There are a few additional instructions below the vid, so don't miss those for enhanced wonderfulness with this exercise.

A few extra tips for refinement:

1. In my martial art, we use the term taijutsu, meaning "body mechanics." Good taijutsu is very simple, but essential to make this effective for you. "Tuck your tailbone down" means, in other words, to stretch the base of your spine back toward your heels. I had a yoga student once whose back kept looking very swayed in plank pose. Turns out she was very carefully (and literally) pressing her tailbone toward the floor, causing her back to bend. Don't do that. As you press your tailbone back toward your feet, also draw your bellybutton toward your spine. This has the effect of firming and stabilizing the entire core area. Still don't get it? Picture a spiral of energy drawing the front of your body toward your face and the back of your body toward your feet.

2. If you're new to fitness and have been relatively inactive for years, PLEASE (yes, I'm yelling) start with the "easiest" version of this exercise, i.e., on your hands and knees. Neither of us will be happy if you hurt yourself and have to stop before you even get started. I'll come find you and box your ears!

3. Remember, you now have no excuses not to exercise! You can do my workouts anytime, anywhere. Depending on your level of ballsiness concerning working out in public spaces, the world is now your gym. Last week I did a quick workout on a pier over the ocean before a meeting. If people stare, invite them over to join you! You'll get laughs and smiles, and they probably won't, but I bet you'll inspire folks to get off their butts! This is revolutionary work, I tell you. :)

Next week: An amazing, spirit-boosting exercise that also sculpts your arms into beautiful, high-tensile steel (men and women both). No weights or pushups required!

The warrior's code

Many of you who practice yoga with me have been hearing a lot about spiritual warriorship. I've suggested that if you're on a spiritual path, which to me includes practicing yoga in a mindful way, you're a warrior. That if you have an open heart despite the current societal forces aligned against you, you're a warrior.

A true warrior, and the most fearsome one on the battlefield, is the kindest, quietest, humblest person you'll ever meet.

Whether a martial artist or not, the best warriors are those who smile as you approach with ill intent shining in your eyes. (And yes, I do know this from personal training experience.)

Not only do they really enjoy what they do, they see your upset as a sign of inner turmoil and feel the utmost compassion for your pain. Their main goal is to keep you from hurting yourself or others. And at the same time, they do not hesitate to protect life if necessary.

The other night I was reading Bushido: The Warrior's Code (Nitobe 1979) when I came across this phrase: "The bravest are the tenderest; the loving are the daring."

Kindness and compassion are often mistaken for weakness by those who don't understand the warrior code by. To allow our hearts to open and remain open is the most courageous act any of us can perform right now. Because through an open heart, Source Energy can flow. That is our highest purpose.

Each of us carries two blades: the heart and the mind. Each must be carefully crafted and tempered (through training) to cut cleanly through our own ignorance and those of others—with the most profound kindness imaginable.

As humanity leaps forward, it's up to each of us to use our blades wisely and compassionately. Discipline and training in their use is highly recommended.

Flash of White is born!

Flash of White is a technique in the martial art I practice and teach, Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, that can drop a man like a sack of spuds. Bujinkan is nothing if not practical. That's what we love about it! I use the phrase here to mean a metaphysical smack upside the head, delivered with great love, compassion, and respect. (By the way, I've learned that a true warrior will also deliver a physical blow in the very same manner.)

Sometimes awakening comes to us in a flash, and sometimes it needs to to penetrate all the crud that's built up on the windows of our souls.

Some of you might remember that I used to run the Natural Health Allegiance. And guess what? It gave me a nervous breakdown! I discovered that when you run a retail outfit, there's little if any time to work with actual customers, which is why I started the NHA in first place. Tell you what, retail freakin' sucks. At least for me.

That's why I'm back on my heart path with this site,  and I've never been happier. So when I talk about an MSUH (metaphysical smack upside the head), you can rest assured that I know what I'm talking about! My experience with the NHA gave me such a blow that I literally re-exploded my life (a year after exploding it the first time;  I adore fireworks--oooh! aaaah!), landed in an incredible place called Sunburst Sanctuary, and got back to what I had hoped to be doing in the first place, this time with amazing support and love from the new family I've found in this intentional community.

One of my favorite authors and personal development coaches, Bill Poett, wrote a book called The ABCs of Peak Performers. In it, he issues a powerful reminder to anyone at risk of burnout (and who isn't these days): "Sustaining enthusiasm is linked directly to how closely our goals are aligned to our soul purpose." That's what happened to me: I couldn't sustain my initially strong enthusiasm for the NHA because it became all about sales numbers, filling out forms, and making the quarterly taxes.

I did learn this: what I've been put here to do is to remind you that life is supposed to be easy (yes, easy!--see "Add Water and Mix"), joyful, abundant, and balls out! As my man (and best friend and No. 1 fan) Jim Risinger always says, "Go big or go home." Right? When you're on your death bed, will you look back and go, "Man, I sure wish I'd played it safer and squashed down my spirit some more so others could have felt more important." Uh, no. You can even try my self-reminder method if you like:  I wear a bracelet of skulls made from yak bones to keep myself awake and aware that time is short and life is precious. Warning: This makes watching stupid TV shows really challenging.

So, haven given you some background on how I got to this place and what I'm doing now, I want to thank all of you who have stayed in touch over the last year. Jim and I are really excited to connect and play with you in this new capacity. If you're looking for bad-ass inspiration and information about natural health, Bujinkan training, incorporating yoga into your life in a sustainable way, or living as a spiritual warrior, we would be honored for you to use Flash of White as a resource and online community.

As the poet Rumi has written, "God circled this place on a map for you." So here you are, and we're very glad!