Posts Tagged ‘pillars of health’


Posted on: February 27th, 2020 by Emma Robson No Comments

To us, Coordination isn’t about being capable of elaborate and impressive dance moves. In our eyes, Coordination is about having your joints interacting properly, and in harmony with one another. Some joints are supposed to provide stability, while others enable movements such as circumduction. We need each of them to be understood, not just in isolation, but in the context of the whole body.

This is not something you can be given. No therapist can manipulate you into being well coordinated. Just as you can’t tell someone how to play an instrument. They must spend time practising. When you hear a musician play their instrument, you can tell by the harmonising sounds whether they are good, it is not something you can fake. You either have good rhythm and harmony, or you don’t.

It’s the same with the body. When we are out of sync, we create discord. This is not good for our joints, tendons and ligaments. When too much force is getting dumped into one area, we start to create inflammation or a break down of tissue.

Coordination is about being able to distribute force throughout the whole bodily structure. It is about being loosely interconnected from our toes to our fingers.

When the body is out of order, a lot of negative consequences can occur. It can cause us to not move well, to not breath well, and may even inhibit our ability to digest food well. Working on your coordination is about bringing the body away from chaos, and into order.

We work on various coordination patterns learnt from the Fighting Monkey Practice. These patterns help to balance our biomechanics, create elasticity in our joints, allow the shoulder blade to glide over the ribs more freely, and stimulate our lymphatic system.


Posted on: February 25th, 2020 by Emma Robson No Comments

Proprioception is very important to the brain as it plays a big role in self-regulation, coordination, posture, body awareness, speech, and the ability to attend and focus.

Proprioception is your sense of self, your body and how it moves, and where you are in space.


The Physical

Proprioception is important for many reasons as it’s the way the brain perceives the body.

The nervous system decides what is threatening, what is stressful, how to respond, and how to remember situations for future reference. All of these can be experienced negatively with excess unnecessary stress dumped onto the system or positively with beneficial change occurring depending on the quality of our proprioception.

By knowing your body and having an accurate sense of who you are, what you can do, and what is required to respond to any given situation, our system can make more intelligent decisions, from everyday tasks, to more difficult skilled based work.

We recruit less brain power to perform complex tasks, we act and respond faster, we adapt quicker when met with resistance.

In a physical sense, we can accurately judge and decide how to move to ensure load is distributed throughout our structure rather than overloaded in one place.

We commonly see this with lower back, shoulder, and knee injuries. The body moves in a particular way which overloads an area, even if you do a variety of movements, you can still do each one with a repetitive overload to said area. Then once an injury is sustained, and this is the only way in which you know to move, we have an even bigger challenge to overcome.

In order to promote longevity we should aim to increase our proprioception as early in life as possible. Understanding our structure, gravity, loads and have enough sensitivity to feel where we are in space and inside the body.


The Mental

In a conceptual way, proprioception relates to knowing where we are in our life, the bigger picture, being able to make decisions quickly, and respond with your best interest, those around you, and your environment in mind.

We don’t want to follow in the footsteps of others blindly, we want to consciously be choosing the path we walk and able to deviate when necessary.


Posted on: February 18th, 2020 by Emma Robson No Comments

Being resilient means being able to adapt quickly and become stronger through applied stressors.

We want you to elevate in all areas of health, to be able to handle harder challenges, and more importantly, for it to have a positive effect on your physiology.


The Physical

Have you heard the term Anti-fragility by Nassim Nichols Taleb? Anti-fragility refers to a system that gets stronger through stress. It is the system that continually adapts to its environment. More intelligence, more awareness, more feedback, more choice.

Unlike a flower that could die if you touch it, the human body will adapt and strengthen. If stress is applied, we will find a way to cope. For better or for worse.

The trick is to add beneficial stressors, accurately dose them, and be observant of the changes it has on our system.

Aspen aims to develop human beings that are more resilient; people that can handle increased stress and continue to achieve.

We want people to bounce back. We want to enable people not to be put out for 3 weeks due to the common cold, not needing 12 months off after a small injury, not having your emotions run rampant.

This is not a mind over matter, go hard or go home approach. In fact it is the opposite. It’s knowing when to tap out, knowing when to rest, knowing when to work, and be willing to work. Be willing to go through the fire for what is on the other side.

Not everything is easy, but the more challenging things you do the easier they will all become.

We want resilience. The ability to do it all, smile, laugh and enjoy the ride. The empowerment that comes from choice. Knowing that each obstacle in your life is there for you to over-come, or for you to choose a different route.


The Mental

The mental aspect of resilience is understanding that the failures in pursuit of achievement will be plentiful.

It’s about taking these failures and, instead of letting them consume you, allowing them to teach you.

Accepting that exposure to uncomfortable situations will ultimately make you stronger.



If your feet are causing you pain and you’re using strapping tape, fancy supportive shoes, and actively avoid stressing them, you’ll be fast-tracking your problems exponentially.

The more we outsource, the more reliant we get. We aim to flip this, remove the comforts and create a stronger system.

Instead, we want to slowly but consistently expose stress to your feet so they adapt, change, and improve.

We need better sensitivity to understand the signs. We need dexterity of the foot and a good connection to the skin and nerve receptors. We need to practice walking barefoot on various textures. We need to stimulate through activities to regain strength. We need to stimulate and expose to create resilience.

Some refer to this quality as ‘taking off the band-aid’. We all have some form(s) of coping mechanism whether we are aware of them or not. We’ve put these mechanisms in place to protect us from our insecurities, past traumas/injuries, and fears. It’s what the body does, it adapts and creates habits.

Resilience, is looking in the mirror at these things and enduring the work that will make us healthier.



Posted on: February 11th, 2020 by Emma Robson No Comments

We have Strength as one of our key pillars of teaching. However, our definition of the word may differ to yours.

To us, Strength isn’t how much weight you can lift, or how big and ripped you look on the surface.

It’s about your physical ability to efficiently support the entirety of your body, and your mental ability to overcome adversity.


The Physical

Strength to us, in a physical context, means having the integrity to support your entire structure, under various loads, in various positions, all through motion.

We talk about having a movement perspective, but we must actually be moving to understand this. A collection of static positions does not constitute good movement, and it does not portray a comprehensive sample of your strength. We want to see that your structure has integrity while balancing, jumping, lifting, pulling, swinging, running, walking, standing, and even sitting.

Physically, we want your bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments to be strong. Not just the muscles attached to them. We want your organs to be strong. We want your body to function optimally so you can get out in the world and do the things you love.


The Mental

We want your mind to be strong, and your emotional wellbeing to be strong.

We want you to see the challenges that lie ahead or the troubles that you may currently be in, have you turn up, confront them, and show courage as you put one foot in front of the other and do what needs to be done in order to overcome them.

In the context of a mindset, Strength is doing what is hard, for the greater good. It’s about not taking the easy route, and not coasting along in your comfort zone.

It is being there for other people, and having integrity in your word. It is challenging your belief systems to ensure your view of the world brings positivity into your life and those around you.

We see being Strong as a grounding in who you are and what you are here to do.


Posted on: February 5th, 2020 by Emma Robson No Comments

As human beings, everything that makes us who we are is in a constant state of flux.

We’re creating and disposing of millions of cells each minute, our brains are processing more subconscious and conscious thoughts than we’d ever hope to track, and our individual needs are fluid and transforming due to a constantly changing external environment.

As a result, there is no one way to live, no one way to train, no one way to think, and no one way to eat that is ideal for all people, at all times.

We must find an overall balance that suits us as individuals.


The Physical

Here at Aspen, ‘Balance’ is the first of our pillars of training.

We teach balance in the physical sense; on hands, feet, rails, and more. This aspect of our movement practice harnesses a lot of potential wisdom, as it has a tendency to expose weaknesses in other areas of our practice, including strength and mobility.

For example, an over active muscle group, or an immobile hip, can cause a multitude of imbalances across the body as it attempts to adapt and compensate.

Many of our members have embarked on a journey of learning how to Handstand. A fun skill that many of us played with as kids. Learning to do this as an adult can be quite frustrating, but is peppered with fun, laughs, and breakthroughs.

To really work on achieving your handstand from scratch, we need to develop and balance many other qualities such as body awareness, stillness, control, length of hamstrings and hip flexors, opening through the shoulders and thoracic, and stability of the shoulder girdle. These are all opposites of what a typical desk job will garner, making it a perfect goal for counterbalancing a sedentary life.

With all this said, don’t underestimate the importance of simply balancing on your feet! Our body is incredible at coping and finding solutions. It adapts to gravity each and every day, slowly morphing and creating adaptations to the environment and positions you chose to put it in. Choose wisely.


The Mental

There is also the deeper conversation where we look at balance in our lives. For us, balance is not something to be achieved, but rather a constant consideration.

It’s being able to zoom out for just a moment and observe your life, make conscious choices, and take responsibility for choosing what we engage with and how much we engage with it.

It’s important that we do all of the above with our own interests in mind, rather than comparing ourselves to the person next to us and feeling the need to do what they’re doing.

This is where we explore balance as a concept, rather than a physical ability. Balancing the timeline for a goal, balancing expectations, balancing stress, balancing everything that’s intrinsic.


Balance is a huge portion of what we teach at Aspen, both conceptually and physically. We want you to more deeply understand yourself, and the forces you engage with. We want to help you balance all aspects of your life.


Posted on: January 23rd, 2020 by Emma Robson No Comments

The Physical

As a physical skill, Mobility needs defining.

Mobility is about having openness in our joints and the strength and awareness to be able to use it.

Being mobile without strength is called Flexibility and, contrary to popular belief, this isn’t always a beneficial attribute to have. In fact, there are just as many injuries associated with being too flexible as there are being too stiff.

We want you to be mobile and capable. We want you to understand the limits of your body.

Physically, we want mobility through motion. The ability to go in and out of a variety of ranges to create more comprehensive and complex movement patterns.


The Mental

As a concept, being mobile is being able to move from place to place when needed. Knowing when the work is done and it is time move on. Knowing when there is work to put in and time to give.

Taking this definition and applying it in a mental aspect means being mobile in your thoughts; understanding that everyone is here for different purposes and has different strengths.

We are not all the same and each person should be respected as such.

The context of a persons life and situation is important and you should be concerned with understanding your own first, rather than those of the people around you; help yourself to help others.