Happy New Year 

I spent the new year morning in the sea,

I wake to the usual tug of the duvet and embrace of the pillow, I close my eyes willing sleep to come back knowing that it will be a solo swim today,

The sea raises her magnet to the sky aiming it in my direction and pulls me to her,

I find my clothes and pack my bags and off I go,

It’s grey sky’s with a slight drizzle, the wind is at a fair strength but not over bearing,

The tide is out, but she’s playful, I love these conditions and know straight away that soon I would be wading into those wild waters,

Clothes off swim shorts on and in I go,

She rushes towards me at speed, she slaps against my skin and splashes around my waist, I continue forward,

The waves rise higher so does my adrenaline,

I must stay present, if she takes me away on a high a crashing low will follow and yet one must embrace the play,

Rising high and diving under, swirling round and being engulfed by rapturous waves is exhilarating for the senses,

The starling murmeration sets off above me a floating ship riding its very on waves in the sky,

Time to return to shore, but first one must be grateful to this play of the sea and the elements,

This play will ride out for the rest of the year,

Happy new year everyone.

New Years Day in the Sea

Matt

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Floating through Depression 

I found the sea, the water the great teacher or did she find me?

It was raining when my depressed self first walk through the doors of self discovery,

It was dark when I first woke to ride down to the sea for my first wild swim, not sure if I should or could!

I knew I was lost, I felt defeated, I felt that sickening feeling of hopelessness,

I wanted it to end and yet I saw know way out,

At that moment my darkness was greater than my light,

A final throw of the dice or at least that’s how it felt would change all this and that was roughly three years ago,

I would wak and wonder down to the sea and embrace her like a lost child who had found their parents,

I would laugh and cry, scream and shout and I would shake and tremble,

I would be given insight into my nature, into my emotional self I would travel,

I was weak, but the sea was slowly giving me strength,

My rock of a family encouraged this journey despite my moods still changeable, but progress could still be seen and more importantly felt,

The gap between my darkness and light began to get closer until they were equal, at this point I had discovered more about my nature than I had conceived possible,

I know I had to swim in the darkness of my being in order to find myself floating in the lightness of my soul,

As I floated out of my depression, I say floated for I learnt very quickly this cannot be forced or rushed it must be taken a wave at a time I began to see and experience life in a much lighter way, I saw the humour rather than the frustration at life’s contradictions, I grew compassionate and developed a great sense of gratitude, 

The journey continues, its destination unknown and I am now ok with that.

To you all with a wish for a bright and happy life that knows the surf of a dark wave.

Matt

Grey days at sea lead to happiness within.

On days like these when the weather does not invite happiness, but rather asks one to seek for it within are some of the most challenging days.I awoke feeling the heaviness of the grey clouds, that feeling of sluggishly dragging one self from the bed and into clothes takes a strength I often feel is missing and yet know it is there,

The walk to the sea, so often greeted by the beautiful colours of a rising sun, always sure to raise ones spirit, however today was a grey morning.

I stood on the jetty as it outstretched into the sea, looking for the sun, but only seeing grey looming clouds with that wet damp feel to the air,

I moved through my qi gong practice and breath to awaken the heavy body I had begrudgingly dragged down to the sea, little sparks of life begun to shimmer within,

I looked at the sea, grey and gloomy, I was talking myself out of going in for a swim and yet a deep yearning to embrace the spirit of the sea rather than the aesthetic beauty of the often present vistas overcame my doubt,

I stripped down still doubting my decision, however I was now committed,

I waded into the grey gloomy abyss, hello stranger she said, I am no stranger I am here often I replied, but you are not you in this moment, where is your play, where is your heart and warmth she asked? I dived deep and touched the sand,

I returned back to the surface with lightness, happiness and joy restored, welcome back she said it’s good to see you again.

I left the sea feeling a million dollars better than before I had gone in, I have had this same experience many times over the past couple of years and I know that the cycle will continue and that like the sea has taught me, happiness is so often a choice.

Have a great sea day today everyone.

The Teacher with no Words

Recently Cotopaxi got in touch with me and asked me to share a ‘health hack’, which I was more than happy to do. I was motivated by their simple and sustainable approach to business and overall philosophy of life, below is my version of a simple and sustainable health hack.

Words are consider by many to be spells, the words we use are the spells we cast and create as if by magic the life we live and experience. When embarking upon a journey towards great health and wellbeing these words and spells can actually get in the way, whilst they can serve to both inspire, educate and motivate us they can also be a source of confusion and contradiction leaving one lost in their quest to reach new heights of health and happiness.

Being lost is actually a good place to be! One can only find themselves when they recognise they have lost themselves and so an opportunity for growth, healing and great health and wellness begins or at least continues from this point of being lost.

If words can be misleading at times then who is the teacher without words?

There are many and some we even intertwine in our words with phrases such as ‘silence is golden’.

The one I refer to in particular is the sea, a friend once said to me, ‘why do you go and dive into the sea most days?’ I simply replied ‘I wanted a teacher without words’. He was left aghast, but also inspired, he had realised that through everyone’s best intentions to inspire and guide we had lost something profound and beautiful within ourselves, we had lost a connection, a connection with ourselves and nature, there was to much noise between us and our inner selves.

The sea is never the same, no two days follow the same course, at times she’s rough and other times she’s calm, sometimes she makes you laugh and feel playful at other times she scares you so much you surrender all of your fear and dissolve into her flow allowing yourself to be carried upon her waves.

I have personally learnt so much from the sea, deep internal relaxation, movement free from tension, how to be playful, how to float, how to dive, how to hear the sound of the pebbles dancing upon the sea bed.

The list could go on, but one thing I have also learnt is that I am my most powerful and authentic self after a morning dip in the sea, she cleans all my physical, emotional and spiritual dirt every time I make it into her embrace leaving me feeling fresh and anew.

The teacher with no words develops wisdom from within, she does not judge or scold you, but instead shows you what you need to see, feel and hear in any way that will nurture your growth.

When we truly listen we can truly trust, when we can truly trust we are strong in our faith, when our faith is strong so is our love, when our love is shining bright we can give freely of ourselves with no fear or desire, we are stewards of this land, shepards of this moment.

To you all a happy, healthy life

Matt

The Morning Sea Swim 

The alarm rings at 5.35am, the snooze button is the obvious reaction, the desire to cling to comfort for those extra 5 minutes surfaces.

Dressed and ready with a flask of loose leaf tea, I meet my friend Steve and his partner Susan who had prepared the most amazing hot drink consisting of cacao, mushrooms and other delights.

We head on foot to the sea front and enjoy insightful conversation and lighthearted jesting.

To sit upon the pebbles of the seafront before a calm sea in the company of friends is one of life’s treasures, to breath deeply into the experience and pause in the moment of retention and feel the vibration of life all around and within you takes you on a magical journey.

Bending the knees and sinking into the hips, moving towards my discomfort allowing my body and mind to move, to feel the pain and yet to free myself of the pain, creating a freeing feeling from within.

The body warm, the mind calm. The time has come to approach and connect with the sea.

Always excited and apprehensive in equal measure. The sea does not allow you to see the moment the pebbles become sand, nor does it allow you to know the depth you will reach before that transition, she keeps everything Unknown a mystery that lures you into the depths of your very being.

The cold embraces the skin, the concept of the cold encourages tension and resistance to this natural phenomenon. On 3 I dive beneath the sea with my eyes closed and the cold gripping my being I glide through a dark abyss of which I have no power or control over and yet a willingness to accept and connect with.

I rise from under the water to grasp the air and release my fears of the Unknown. 

I return to the breath and begin to embrace the play of the sea, this ability to relax creates an inner fire which warms the whole of my being.

The birds fly over head and the sun begins its accent to the heavens, peacefulness I am, alive I feel.

That magical drink that was made for us was divine, it ran through to the very core of my being.

Grateful I Am.

Matt

The Yoga Health Coach

Barefoot – Set your feet free.

It was reading the work of Clint Ober that inspired myself and my wife to experiment going barefoot and has encouraged us to raise our son Ulysses and when she is old enough our Daughter Ostara barefoot, to let there little feet connect with the earth and develop a full range of motion.

Clint was a retired billionaire maybe millionaire either way he was financially secure. One day he was sitting down watching the world go by when for some reason he cannot explain; his attention was drawn to the shoes, trainers/sneakers and other footwear that people were wearing and found it funny and curious, his curiosity encouraged him to remove his shoes.

After removing his shoes he noticed his connection with the earth he noticed that he felt better and then he asked himself a question – what would I feel like if I could spend more time of the day connected to the earth than disconnected? From this question he went on to create the Earthing brand, which provides grounding sheets and products that essentially bring you closer to the earths vibration more of the time.

Clint’s work explores how reconnecting back to the Earth reduces inflammation, stress, anxiety, improves sleep and encourages the body to self heal, there were a lot of other benefits, but the one that stood out for me was self heal.

Through going barefoot and earthing through the night Clint found you could heal a whole range of conditions, I was interested by this and from the moment Ulysses could find his feet we had him barefoot and whilst he does love to wear his wellies and has a pair of trainers you will find him climbing trees and running along a pebbled beach barefoot, when I first observed Ulysses running along the pebbled beach and digesting Clints work I knew I only had one thing left to do!

I winced at the thought of it and as my sleeping feet tried to communicate with the uneven attack of the pebbles below I knew this was going to be a painful journey; no one likes being woken up and my feet were no exception, they had become very accustomed to the sheltered life of a whole array of footwear, I did not understand to what detriment this was though until I took my shoes off. I have found also that through self healing the teacher is generally pain and so I took this discomfort as a positive sign, but also as a sign to be patient and nurture myself through this transition, Ulysses was running along the beach with no discomfort, how come I felt pain? That simple observation helped me to acknowledge the power of self healing potential in going barefoot.

Now I have practiced Yoga for many years and we even attempt to knead our fingers through our toes to encourage them to open up in yoga practice, however it was Clint’s insight that was key! he observed that just 20 or so minutes a day earthing (going barefoot) was a huge imbalance when you consider there are 24 hours in a day, the benefits would only be recognised through regular practice, which is similar of course to yoga and any practice.

To increase my practice time I purchased a pair of Vibrams, which are barefoot trainers and wear them as often as possible, I go to the sea most mornings braving the pebbles barefoot and I also climb barefoot.

Since increasing my barefoot time to a daily practice I have found my feet have finally begun to wake up and it is through this waking up that it was confirmed to me that most of us live with sleepy feet, which is probably why they ache and are stiff, they have been cushioned for far too long.

The thing is when you walk or climb or whatever your doing if you do it barefoot you have to pay greater attention too or you could say be more mindful of where and how you are moving; at first this actually increases the levels of tension and stress no different to any new practice, however when you get into it the freedom you have to move is unbelivable because the whole of the foot is moving, your ankle wakes up and your knees and your hips, in fact the whole of you wakes up to a whole new potential of movement.

Now this takes time it doesn’t happen overnight and yes it comes with a portion of pain and discomfort, let me tell you the pebbles in Brighton on a cold December morning are unforgiving, technically they are unforgiving all year round I have discovered, however they are particularly unforgiving in the winter, but worth the pain plus as time has passed the pain has lessened and the body has almost fully adapted, I will not be racing my son just yet, but I am getting there.

I mentioned I am excited about barefoot practicing as a self healing tool and I want to re-iterate that, as with all my recommendations don’t take what I say as a truth get out there and try it for yourself, feel the sand between your toes, feel the mud beneath your feet, climb a tree and feel how much more grip you have, plus doing all this is fun (ok not so much fun on those cold December mornings), but its summer time now.

Your feet will not be use to going barefoot so do take your time, wear flat shoes as often as possible (I do wear boots, this is not a complete removal of all footwear, I would happily place my feet in my snowboard boots to go snowboarding). Understand that the more often you go barefoot your body will begin a process of adaptation and change (back to your original design), this change can feel uncomfortable, but if you persevere you will reap the rewards.

Have fun with it, be curious and remember you were not born with shoes on or clothes for that matter (we will visit that at a later date), I encourage you then with this simple knowledge that if you were not born with it you may not need it as much as you think you do!

Feel free to share any barefoot adventures you go on, I hear that you can do barefoot marathons for the runners out there! Wim Hoff completed a barefoot marathon across the arctic!!!!

to you all in great health

Matt

The Yoga Health Coach

Sea Dip in the early morning, Why?

So many ask why? Why do I wake most mornings regardless of the weather and head down to the sea to meditate and take a dip?

My answer not that it’s a total overview of the whole underlying reasons behind waking early and making the journey to the sea; is this!

My senses wake up; they experience a real sense of being alive, I can hear the subtle sounds of a calm sea and the roaring of the crashing waves as a storm builds and releases its accumulated energy, I can rest my gaze upon the effortless motion of nature; being treated to a new vista everyday – the way the rising sun dances upon the surface of a calm sea is a breathtaking moment and in these moments I feel the subtle vibration of life.

I go because it’s peaceful, because I give myself an opportunity to empty my cup a cup that is often full of worldly stuff that can weigh heavy on the heart and soul; when the cup is empty pure happiness and joy is felt and I realise it’s ok that the cup will refill with the stresses of life because the letting go feels awesome.

I go because it makes me stronger both physically, mentally and emotionally, it makes me happy, it re-energises me, it gives me a sensation of feeling light and I go because it gives me the opportunity to re-connect with nature and myself. It also allows me to give more to the people I love I find I can be stronger for them, I have greater compassion and patience and more understanding of there journey and obstacles, this relationship becomes a two way process – I can give more to them and they act as a tool of motivation for me not to give up thus building my strength. It is these connections and plays of life that make the practice all the more special and beneficial for everyone.

I am therefor very happy to encourage you not to take my experience as absolute or even knowledge for that matter, but instead to give a gentle nudge to inspire you to dive into natures garden; it matters not the form of her garden: sea, mountain, woods or forest. It simply is waiting for you to go and create your own experience and story.

Another reason I love going to the sea is I get to practice my spiritual, physical, emotional and energy practice – Infinity Movement Arts. Hope you enjoy the short film..
Enjoy the journey

Matt Allen

The Yoga Health Coach