Posts tagged ‘Frank Forencich’
Frank Forencich, Chief Creative Officer of the health leadership organization Exuberant Animal, is hosting a workshop in San Francisco on Saturday, April 10 at the Diakadi Body personal training and wellness center.
The daylong event will include presentations on human evolution, functional exercise, and the power of play. (Earlier in the month, Frank will deliver a similar talk to the Stanford University School of Design, in presentation with the design firm IDEO.) The EA San Francisco Jam will also include movement sessions and games that practitioners, educators, athletes, trainers, coaches, and athletes of all fitness levels can incorporate into their lives and work.
Anyone interested in functional fitness, play-based fitness, and evolutionary movement is encouraged to attend. Click here to register.
Skye Nacel is a friend whom I met at an EA event in Seattle — he is the founder of Mocean365, an action photography and video production firm based in Vermont that also organizes a fantastic series of action workshops. Skye recently produced 10-minute video that leads viewers through the Exuberant Animal Short Form movement sequence — a perfect way to start the day or warm-up before any strenuous physical activity.
In mid-April, Frank will lead a two-day seminar with Wildfitness in London’s Regent Park:
American movement guru Frank Forencich is one of the leading experts in the growing field of evolutionary fitness and his books have been a major influence on the philosophy of Wildfitness and our holiday programme. The seminar is a fantastic opportunity for forward-thinking fitness and movement professionals to get an insight into the new trend in fitness towards ‘natural movement’ and to gain inspiration from one of the key voices and proponents of this culture shift.
The seminar is ideal for personal trainers, therapists, martial artists, dancers and physical educators, as well as non-professional fitness enthusiasts.
Finally, trail runners, endurance athletes, and barefoot enthusiasts should check out the Misty Mountain Foot Quest, in partnership with Mick, The Barefoot Sensei. This is an EA-sponsored multi-day run in Washington state from Quinault to the Elwah, up the spine of the Olympic Mountains. The Foot Quest party kicks-off on Thursday, August 12 and the two-day run includes sherpa support. Sign up with Eventbrite.
Frank Forencich shares the story of his first “earth orgasm” — a humorous and thoughtful reflection on the sexual energy of mother nature.
For my part, I can vividly recall a number of earth-shattering earth-orgasms, mostly from my days as a climber in the mountains of California. Climbing, like many outdoor sports, is all about getting your body into intimate contact with the natural, tactile world. Exposure promotes vivid sensation, anticipation and engagement. Gravity provides focus and sharpens attention to the here and now. Tactile awareness deepens as fingers and toes probe for subtle variations in form and texture. Skin becomes alert and aware. Every sense comes alive, passionate, desiring ever more. Long summer days of perfect rock, perfect weather, powerful physicality and the sweet caress of a gentle breeze.
There was usually a climax of course, when we reached the safety and panorama of the summit, but this was but a single orgasmic moment surrounded by hours of caress and erotic pleasure. Even the moonlight descent, with our bodies scraped, bruised and fatigued by our efforts, was sensual magic, a feast for eyes, ears and spirit. Only when we reached the highway would the spell be broken.
Read the entire post at the Exuberant Animal blog.
So exercise fails. Do we have a better idea?
Yes, in fact we do.
The answer is authentic, joyful, functional movement.
For those who have never seen or experienced it, authentic movement looks and feels nothing like exercise:
- Exercise tends to be single plane; functional movement is multi-joint and multi-plane.
- Exercise is monotonous; movement is engaging.
- Exercise is specialized; movement is diverse.
- Exercise is scripted; movement is authentic and intuitive.
- Exercise is performed according to a program; movement is opportunistic.
- Exercise feels mechanized and forced; movement feels expressive and creative.
- Exercise is a means towards an end; movement is an end in itself.
Movement is better because it’s expansive and offers more options for physical creativity and expression. There’s more possibility and more room for the imagination. It’s more inviting, more engaging. And best of all, it’s less adversarial.
In conventional circles, we reflexively label mind-body-spirit orientations as “holistic.” But if we’re only talking about my body, my mind and my spirit, what we’re doing isn’t even close to being holistic. In fact, just the contrary. When the mind-body-spirit orientation is focused on the individual, the best we can hope for is a temporary, unsustainable health island.
If we really want to be holistic, we have to include the rest of the biological and social world. In this respect, the conventional prescription for health must be expanded to include a third element:
diet + exercise + activism
The active lifestyle can no longer simply be about looking good while moving—or concerned only with building muscles. We must also build community, which means recognizing, reflecting, and then doing something to go “beyond the body.” Read Frank’s essay here.
Play As If Your Life Depends on It is Frank Forencich’s manifesto about the benefits — nay, the necessity — of re-integrating play into our daily lives.
The book, while an important meditation on physical movement and a call to action, may be hard to track down. Fortunately, back when PAIYLDOI was self-published in 2003, ABC News published an excerpt that introduced Frank’s “[three] principals for building an effective and enjoyable physical fitness program”:
After two decades of study, struggle and experimentation I’ve come to the conclusion that what we need is a paradigm for human fitness that meets a few simple conditions: it’s got to have some relevance to human origins, it’s got to speak to the functional performance of the human body and it’s got to be fun. In other words, we need a paradigm for exercise and fitness that’s primal, practical and playful.
Exuberant Animal also has a collection of functional fitness games to tap into your inner animal.
Below is a great video of Frank giving a presentation titled, “A Body Centered Curriculum: The Primate’s Predicament.” One of my favorite parts of his presentation is the observation that health professionals are required to provide a warning that says, “Before beginning an exercise program, see your doctor” — an announcement that suggests vigorous physical activity is somehow outside the norms of modern human living.
Frank suggests an amendment to the current label, such that it reads: “Before you begin a program of physical inactivity, consult your physician.” According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, there are 300,000 premature deaths due to inactivity and poor diet every year (!); thus, the standard announcement should warn us that “Physical inactivity is abnormal and dangerous to your health.”
The crisis is more about our physical health, however; it’s an epidemic of lost physicality — of the fact that we no longer use and experience our bodies in any meaningful way. Despite “the mismatch between physiology and the modern world,” Frank’s message is hopeful and prescriptive, reminding us that our bodies are designed to help us engage in exuberant, playful, physical experiences. We simply need to go primal!
I recently learned of Exuberant Animal, which bills itself as (1) a philosophy of holistic body development and (2) an organization that advances a “virtuous cycle of positive physicality, improved performance, and creative responses to the challenges of the day.”
EA is hosting an event in Baltimore on November 7-8 that looks to offer a fantastic introduction to mindful play. One of my areas of research is concerned with the relationship between physical activity and cognitive development — coupled with my interest in the philosophy of play, I very much look forward to attending the Exuberant Animal East Coast Jam.
To all physical educators, body workers, kinesthetic learners, barefoot runners, and those simply interested in remembering how to play (especially if you live in the mid-Atlantic region), I encourage you to check-out this event. Here are the details:
In partnership with Gerstung Sport Education
November 7-8, 2009
Join Frank Forencich, creator of Exuberant Animal and author of Play as if Your Life Depends on It, for this exciting and inspirational event. This innovative two-day workshop will offer a powerful new perspective on human performance, health and physical happiness. Ideal for all fitness, movement and body professionals, the seminar offers an approach that is invigorating, liberating and life-changing.
- Vigorous movement sessions and functional fitness games
- An overview of the human predicament and the state of the body
- Functional movement concepts including the importance of barefooting
- Robust athletic core training by the partner-resist method
This workshop is primarily intended for adults and young adults. Suitable for all fitness levels.
We will also feature a Sunday morning kids class. This class (9:00-10:00am) is open to children ages 7 and up.
To register and learn more, click here.
Below is a video Lauren Mooney of Physical Mind produced for Dr. Stuart Brown, Founder and President of the National Institute for Play — the footage is from a physical play workshop organized by Exuberant Animal.