How I began this quest for longevity
"Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.
If you realize that you have enough,
you are truly rich.
If you stay in the center
and embrace death with your whole heart,
you will endure forever." Lao Tzu.
The first time I truly thought about the word “longevity” was about 7 years ago when I read an article on Surfline which had a bunch of book recommendations by pro surfers from many different walks of life. I picked up a few great reads from that article, “Many Lives, Many Masters” was a standout, blowing open the doors of the spiritual world like no other thing I had discovered at that point in my life. But in terms of the idea of longevity there was a book in that list that I still refer to today and recommend to many of my clients called “The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity” which has pointed me in a direction of teachers and practices which continues to fuel my spirit today.
For those reading this who aren’t aware of what the Tao is, it is an ancient Chinese philosophy which translates in English to “the way”. It has been popularized in modern times by the many different interpretations of a book called “Tao Te Ching”, originally written by Lao Tzu, which is one of the most beautiful and thought provoking texts I have ever read. In ancient Chinese culture, Taoist principles of health and longevity were considered to be so important that they even made their way into the country’s political system. These guys were onto it, especially in the way that they viewed health as preventative practice as opposed to the way we view it in Western culture as a curative practice. Take for example the family doctor who would be employed to keep everyone healthy and the only time he wouldn’t get paid was when someone in the family became ill. This makes a lot more sense to me, especially living here in America where medical costs are through the roof.
Even before my official studies of health and movement begun, this book became my entry point into the idea of holistic living and the concepts that must come together if we wish to live a full and joyful life. Obviously, being a 23 year old man at the time, this book spoke to me a little louder because of the idea that I could learn some ancient Chinese sex secrets, of which this book has plenty but beyond that I learnt a whole lot about self-awareness and practices to improve one’s energy and vitality.
One such practice which I gravitated to in particular was a breathing practice focused on abdominal breathing with a sequence of pressurizations, engorging the abdomen with oxygen rich blood and creating a deeply parasympathetic effect. At this age I could hardly call myself a self-aware human, I had a list of about 5 things on my mind at all times but the effect of this practice was so profound that even at the end of each night of my first ever Coachella festival, I found myself in my tent (when I made it back there) doing this breath work for 10 minutes each night before bed. The reason being was that I felt like no matter how many hours I had of actual sleep, this practice made me wake up feeling like I had a couple hours extra. In other words I felt far more well rested than I did without doing it at all.
I have no doubt that this life changing practice, as well as many of the other techniques in the book have lead me in the direction I find myself still walking today, especially with my obsession of learning about the breath. The work and lifestyle that I have dived so heavily into these past 5 years, have been heavily influenced by the idea of longevity and so next month I will be teaching a series of workshops with longevity as their theme and movement as their focus.
I will be teaching this 4 part workshop at The Moving Joint in Mar Vista, each Wednesday afternoon in October, starting on the 9th at 5pm. There are only 10 spots available with a few still remaining, so if you are interested in attending please don’t wait until it’s too late! You can sign up by clicking this link.