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.

How to Do Yoga Sun Salutes for Health, Happiness, and Stress Relief

Ever despair that because of time and money concerns you'll never manage to work yoga into your life, despite knowing how good it is for your mind, body, and spirit? Well, despair no more!

In this video, I show you how to do Sun Salutations, one of the most effective strengthening, stretching, and stress-relieving yoga sequences, in the privacy of your home (or at the park or in your garage, etc.). It's wonderful and very helpful to go to a lovely yoga studio (like mBody, my home studio in San Luis Obispo, CA), but when you only have a few minutes or are short on dough, don't let that stop you from getting healthy and happy on your own!

One of my main reasons for getting up every day is because I LOVE empowering people (including myself) to do things that they believe they can't do. Now, in your case, that belief may be:

a) "I can't do yoga because I'm too old, stiff, klutzy, injured, overweight," etc.

b) "I can't do yoga because I have to spend many hours and dollars every week to learn how. And I ain't got either of those things."

c) All of the above.

Sometimes, all that's required to break down that "I can't" barrier is for someone to tell you, "Yes, you can," and then show you how. Others really like to argue for their limitations. If you're the first kind of person, I can help you. If you're the second kind, I wish you peace and release you!

So, Type Ones, here's what you do. Shift your focus from A and/or B above to this new belief: "I have 5-10 minutes to practice Sun Salutes on most days because I want to be strong, flexible, and relaxed. I'll enjoy a full-length yoga class with an experienced teacher when I can, and in the meantime, I practice on my own or with friends/family at home.

See? Easy breezy. Next, watch Cisco's and my video this week and give it a try! I'll show you two versions of the Sun Salute: one for regular folks and one for people with twingy backs or who are working on building strength. Have fun and send any questions that come up. Namaste!

Arms of Steel and an Open Heart

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This exercise grew out of a form I learned in Qi Gong with Master Zhou in Ojai last year. Somehow I started thinking of it as a process of creating a golden sphere of protective light around me, and so I call it "the Golden Sphere." I imagine drawing loving energy from the world as I inhale and sending loving energy back to the world as I exhale, forming a beautiful ball of light that enfolds me in that love. (Hey, I'm a yoga teacher too, so forgive my brief woo-woo.)

Somewhere along the way, though, I started really focusing on the delicious feeling of what I call "lighting up" my arms. I began extending strong energy out through my fingertips on each rotation, feeling each muscle, tendon, and ligament filling with blood and light. I noticed it was very challenging to activate every big and little muscle in my arms with each extension and on each return.

Within a few weeks I started to get comments that my arms looked really sculpted and defined. I'm very much into functional fitness, which precludes the time-heavy, gym-dependent development of bulky, movement-restricting muscles. So I was pleased with this. I'm all about creating (reclaiming!) bodies that move with grace, power, and fluidity in daily life--not doing 2 reps of a ridiculous weight and going home to watch the Lakers with a bag 'o chips.

Having discovered this nifty exercise that also powerfully tones the core muscles of low back and abdomen, along with major work in the postural muscles of the upper back (rhomboids and trapezius), I thought I'd share it with you!

Guys, before you turn up your nose at this, I've taught Golden Sphere to a number of men now. Generally I hear something like this after a few reps: "Damn, that's harder than it looks!"

Also, for those of you who found last week's exercise (alternating arms and legs from plank) to be a little too challenging, this is a great place for you to start—same muscles engaging, just in a more gentle way. Alternatively, if you loved last week's schtick and want to add in this super-quick little twisting, strengthening, and energy-enhancing exercise, you'll definitely build a longer, leaner, more sculpted physique in 4-8 weeks.

Here's the vid! Make sure you read my few quick tips below the video so you get this all dialed in. Thanks for watching!

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Remember 1. Keep your hip bones strictly facing forward through the entire movement! That's the key to the core and upper back strengthening here.

2. Turn as far as you can on each side, but don't force it. Patience, young padawan, your range of movement will increase.

3. Ground your feet about hip-width apart, slightly bend your knees, and tuck the tailbone a little to engage the core.

4. Try for 10 reps on each side, for 20 total. Make each one count, so you should have a strong "activated" or working sensation in the arms, core, and back muscles throughout the movement. If you feel nothing, you need to move more energy out through your fingertips and feet.

Let me know what you think! And above all, do something. Lots of love.

PS: No, I don't lift weights. Everything I do is body-weight based.