Archive | June, 2012

Vaerdi – A community spotlight about socially responsible investing.

Posted on 29 June 2012 by Jason

Vaerdi
by Robin Will

Let’s start by learning a word in Danish: vaerdi. It means more or less the same thing as the English “value,” in the sense of priorities over price; the quality that imparts worth; the standard upon which judgment is based.
Thomas Jensen is from Denmark, and that is the name he chose for his financial advising firm: Vaerdi, LLC. Vaerdi is also the motto for what Jensen and his associates do, how they do it, and how they feel about it at the end of the day.
Vaerdi, LLC, invites attention from individuals who (1) don’t trust financial advisors, (2) don’t believe they need one, (3) don’t think they can afford one, or (4) have specific financial needs that haven’t been met elsewhere.
The issue of trust is huge, Jensen admits, because some financial advisors work on commission, or sell financial products as part of their jobs. The potential for conflict of interest is obvious. Vaerdi, LLC, avoids conflict of interest by selling only their expertise. They work only for their clients and earn their money through a fee structure, much of which is frankly published on their website (http://vaerdi.com). This sort of transparency is unusual.
(The website, by the way, is a brusque, engaging and educational look at Vaerdi, its corporate values, and what clients can expect. It’s worth reading from front to back.)
What a potential client needs and can afford is a matter for discussion, which, at Vaerdi, is free. An initial interview—complete with homework—takes a deep look at a client’s resources, unique needs and, just as significantly, the client’s motivations—the values that guide lifestyle choices, decisions about how they spend or save their money, and their attitudes toward risk. Specific needs are considered: a woman as head of household, or a same-sex couple, may have very special requirements. There’s no charge for the initial consultation, and it’s the way that Vaerdi begins to figure out a unique offering for each client.
Results can be surprising, even when assets seem modest—and modest assets, Jensen stresses, get the same professional attention as great big assets. A company benefit package, for instance, usually represents both wealth and investment. Many employees don’t completely understand their benefit packages, and could be managing better for both gain and security. With a fee structure that begins somewhere in the neighborhood of coffee-change for a year, Vaerdi’s advice might be a good investment in managing wealth.
Discussing what is affordable, Jensen also points out that clients may be paying for financial services already, without knowing it. “If you’ve got a company plan or an IRA, chances are that it’s a load fund, which means you’re paying commission on it. The question becomes what you’re paying for, and if you’d be better off paying someone else,” he explains.

The initial interview will also assess a client’s readiness for the advising process. “Sometimes I feel like a counselor,” says Jensen, acknowledging that money is an intimate and embarrassing issue for many people. “People may be embarrassed that they’re not doing as well as they hoped, or that they’re not as disciplined as they’d like to be.” But, he stresses, he’s there to help, not to scold. Past decisions will certainly influence future possibilities, but there are always options to explore.
The question of value—vaerdi—shows up again in the question of how money is invested. Many investors want to keep their money in their own communities, preferably in green and sustainable businesses. Vaerdi, LLC, is in tune with those concepts in its own corporate philosophy—check their website for examples of what they are doing.
“There’s this notion that socially-responsible investing involves inferior financial return, but it’s not true,” Jensen says. “You don’t need to choose between returns on your investment, and doing the right thing. It’s a little more work on the advisor’s side to find the right investment, that’s all.”
Serious green investors need to look at their assets closely, he notes: “Your 401K is probably invested in things you don’t know about.” Clients may be lobbying against genetically-modified foods, and writing checks for Gulf cleanup operations, while their 401Ks are buying Monsanto and BP. Vaerdi can help you match those investment values to your own.
Vaerdi, LLC, is flexible and smart, and they welcome challenges. Read the website (vaerdi.com).If financial advising seems like a good idea, email Thomas Jensen (thomas.jensen@vaerdi.com), or phone503-535-8096, to get started in an advising relationship that can change life for the better. What’s to lose? The first meeting is free.

Robin Will is a freelance writer for Natural Awakenings magazine.

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Once in Fit Club, Always in Fit Club

Posted on 29 June 2012 by Jason

Once in Fit Club, Always in Fit Club
by Denny Richard
It is the season of Festivals and Celebration in Portland, and our Fit Club Members are celebrating the ending of an 8-week program on Holistic Living. They met three times a week to get their bodies and minds more attuned to the practices of being present. With workshops on writing, Ayurveda, the Mind, Emotions, Forgiveness and Creative Visualization, they are now armed with tools to help propel them to live the lives they want to live, consciously. What they realize is that they can’t go back to who they were; they have grown and changed.

Scott Miler
Beginning Weight: 211.6 lbs; Ending Weight: 191.5 lbs (10.4 inches lost)

It’s hard to believe the amount of profound change I’ve seen in myself in just eight weeks! Starting Fit Club, I felt weak from injuries. Those injuries also touched on some emotional buttons for me. The first few weeks, those emotional triggers emerged and I started breaking them down. Recognition led to awareness, and awareness led to action. Life has become lighter. I’m lighter… leaner, stronger, and empowered! Right where I wanted to be. It’s been a wonderful gift! Life changing!
Denny says not to believe anything he tells us, but I found that if you open your mind to the possibilities of what he’s sharing, you’ll eventually find your own truths. I had my doubts at times, but kept faith in the process; and the process worked! An important aspect is that I’ve already incorporated much of the concepts learned here into my daily life. It’s become part of my routine. There really doesn’t seem to be an ‘end game.’ This is just the beginning; it’s just getting good, with more to come. There’s no going back to where I was before. I know how I want to live my life moving forward. I’m forever grateful for this experience.

Jenny Dempsey-Stein
Beginning Weight: 134.2 lbs; Ending Weight: 135.4 lbs (Fat loss and Muscle gain)

I enjoyed the camaraderie of working out with the other Fit Club members. I learned about Ayurvedic philosophy and realized I do not like nasal cleanses (Jala Neti)!
My physique perked up and I started getting positive compliments even while shopping for clothing. I felt excited when my abdomen started tightening up and when Denny said, “You don’t need to lose fat, just gain muscle!”
During our track session I experienced the distant body memory of being the long-distance runner that I once was. I had an open mind for the experience, but was surprised that I was able to run a 10-minute mile for the first time in 20 years. I haven’t felt that in a long time.
I noticed that due to the journaling and meditation assignments, I stopped checking email after the children’s bedtime and instead more likely spent quiet time by myself.
During job interviews I felt calmer and more grounded. I felt that I laughed more and enjoyed finding synchronicity in my life.

Maury Evans
Beginning Weight: 292.0 lbs; Ending Weight: 279.3 lbs (Total Loss: 12.7 lbs)

When I first heard about Fit Club I thought, “This might be a great way to get my butt in gear to live a healthier lifestyle.” Wow! Have I learned a lot about myself. The main topic that was of most interest to me was learning to eat properly. This was the part of the 8-week program that seems to have made a big difference for me. It helped me lose almost 13 pounds. Keeping a daily food journal helped me stay accountable for what I eat. I’m positive that learning to eat properly will stay with me even after this program ends.
Another aspect that was a surprise to me was the daily journal writing. This introspective approach to wellness actually gave me a healthier look at my relationship with my partner. I found in journaling daily, my thoughts often turned toward a deeper appreciation, understanding and love for my partner.
Fit Club was a wonderful experience that gave me a deeper appreciation for self. Thank you, Denny Richard and Natural Awakenings magazine, for giving me this awesome experience.

Thank you Natural Awakenings magazine and readers for participating in our journey, and thank you PIVOT for sharing your space with us for our workshops. We are so fortunate to have been able to share our stories and adventures with you. We look forward to developing communities of love and compassion with you. We are one.

Denny Richard authored the book Mirror/Mirror: A Holistic Approach to Living Well and is passionate about sharing tools on wellness. For more information on Fit Club, please visit peacefulroots.com.

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July LOCAL BEATS A monthly collection of musical highlights in our fair city

Posted on 29 June 2012 by Jason

LOCAL BEATS
A monthly collection of musical highlights in our fair city

 

Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar in 46 BC and in the process, he renamed this month after himself. Regardless of its origin, I just love July in Portland. Summer is just getting started, BBQs are burning, and outdoor concerts abound. Here are a few of the musical highlights you don’t want to miss this month.

 

Waterfront Blues Fest
Celebrating its’ 25th anniversary, The Waterfront Blues Festival is not only the biggest blues bash this side of the Mississippi, it’s also the Oregon Food Bank’s largest fundraiser. Boasting 150 performances over five days, must see acts include: JJ Grey and Mofro, Galactic, Bettye Lavette, Pimps of Joytime, and Toots and the Maytals. Ten bucks (or more if you are able) plus two cans of nonperishable food gets you in the door.

Wed., July 4 to Sun., July 8, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Noon to 10pm

 

Sundown at Ecotrust Concert Series
“Pedal. Listen. Connect.” This unique series of outdoor concerts encourages you to rock out responsibly, pairing the city’s coolest bands with the hottest environmental topics. Food, beverages, activities and a bike valet provide the perfect atmosphere for a fun, family outing. And, each concert is powered by a solar/wind/biodiesel generator! Line-up includes: Typhoon and Au (July 5, focus: Water), Laura Gibson and Grandparents (July 12, focus: Energy), Holcombe Walker and Sarah Jackson-Holman (July 19, focus: Food), and The Builders & the Butchers and Kelli Schaefer (July 26, focus: Forests).

Every Thursday in July, Natural Capital Center, 721 NW 9th Ave., 5:30pm, Free!

 

The Head & The Heart
The first time I saw Seattle’s The Head & The Heart play I was blown away by their ability to create music with such strong vocal harmonies and boot-stompin’ dance-ability. The fourth time I saw them had the same effect on me. Pitch a blanket on the lawn at the zoo and see for yourself why this indie folk-pop band is so awesome, and maybe check out the monkey exhibit along the way. Seattle-based singer/songwriter, indie rocker Damien Jurado opens.

Fri., July 20, Oregon Zoo Amphitheatre, 4001 SW Canyon Rd., 7pm

 

Portland Festival Symphony
The Portland Festival Symphony has presented free classical music concerts in Portland’s public parks for over three decades. Enjoy some beautiful classical music in a summertime setting two days in July!

Sat. July 28, Cathedral Park, N Edison St & Pittsburg Ave., 6pm, Free!

Sun. July 29, Peninsula Park, 700 N Rosa Parks Way, 6pm, Free!

To contact Molly King, go to buzzpdx.com.

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How to Design and Build a Tiny House -June 16 & 17 at the Governor Hotel PDX.

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Jason

If building a tiny home is a dream, then join Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop to learn the knowledge needed to build a very tiny home and meet other people who are also concerned about the environment and the way we live.
Learn all the detailed information on green home building and get answers to common and not so common questions about constructing a tiny home, while also delving into the philosophy and movement behind tiny home living.
In-depth information will be offered on green building materials and ideas on how to save using recycled products; how to build a house on a trailer or standard foundation; best materials to use and which ones to avoid; techniques on condensation, siding, insulation and roofing; building codes and restrictions; window sizing; types of home heaters, water heaters, kitchen appliances and toilets needed for a tiny home; how to save money and much more.
The two-day workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 16 and 17 at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland.
For more information and to sign up for the workshop, visit tumbleweedhouses.com.

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Is It Trash or Art?

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Jason

Visit the hippest, most eco-conscious festival of the year and see how people are giving new life to items that were landfill-bound.
The Recycled Arts Festival began six years ago in Clark County as a way to educate and get the community excited about waste reduction, reuse and recycling, for a cleaner environment. It has grown into a huge family event, with more and more artists participating every year.
This year’s festival will be held June 23-24. Festival hours are Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with live music beginning at 10 a.m. each day.
Support the environment and head to Esther Short Park in Vancouver for some fun! Peruse the artists’ wares, help the kids make their own handiwork, relax and listen to music, and get all sorts of information on what to do to improve the environment!
For more information, visit recycledartsfestival.com.

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Heart Fire Yoga Launches Family Yoga Program

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Jason

Beginning in June, Heart Fire Yoga will be expanding their focus on families. The first classes being launched are a Prenatal Series on Saturdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m. during the month of June, and a Mom and Baby class on Fridays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The prenatal class will support participants through pregnancy-related discomforts, provide time to allow moms to connect with their baby and prepare for birthing. The class series includes modified postures and breathing exercises for practice during all stages of pregnancy and labor. The Mom and Baby class will be creating a space for new moms to have a chance to get their practice in without the worry of finding a sitter or stress of leaving their baby.
In addition, on Sunday, June 3, from 2 to 4 p.m., Heart Fire Yoga will be hosting “Deep Rest for Busy Times: A Yoga Nidra Workshop” with Jaime Hedlund.
It’s said that the only thing that ever stays the same is that things are always changing. This workshop will focus on how a yoga practice can support anyone in adapting to busy times of constant change. Yoga Nidra is an ancient yoga practice similar to a restorative guided meditation, where the participant is guided into the hypnangogic state—the state between wakefulness and sleep.
Visit heartfireyoga.com for more information on these new classes and workshop.

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Do You Qigong?

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Jason

As Mark R. Reinhart, President of the National Qigong Association (NQA), says: “Fads don’t last for 5,000 years. If something’s around that long, it must work!” Dr. Oz: “If you want to be healthy and live to be 100, do qigong!” The Mayo Clinic referred to Qigong and its sister practice Taiji (Tai Chi), as “all inclusive exercise.”
Qigong is an ancient Chinese mind-body-spirit practice involving slow, gentle movements, executed with focused mind and breath. It’s an easy-to-learn physical, stress-dissolving, meditative and energizing practice all rolled into one.
People in all walks of life practice Qigong—a do-anywhere/anytime health practice. But don’t be fooled; there are forms of Qigong that can be as challenging as any exercise out there. Grandparents report practicing Qigong makes them more supple, flexible and able to keep up with their grandchildren. Doctors recommend it for patients recovering from injury and performers and athletes find that it helps them focus. It’s been reported that it can even improve one’s golf swing!
An activity the whole family can do together, Qigong and qigong-based practices have been found effective for autistic children and children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. Children love the Five Animal Frolic Qigong Form—something for everyone.
The NQA’s 17th Annual Conference takes place at the Hilton Vancouver Washington from July 27 to 29 and features dozens of well-known teachers, workshops, two internationally known keynote speakers, vendors, silent auction and much more.
For complete conference information, visit nqa.org or call 1-888-815-1893.

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Hormone Help for Guys Natural Ways to Boost Vitality

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Jason

Without hormones, the body’s chemical messengers affecting every human biological system, nothing works correctly. Testosterone, in particular, is critically important for male development, starting in the embryo, through puberty and into old age.

After reaching peak levels in a man during his mid-to-late-20s, his testosterone level begins a slow decline. From the age of about 35, it drops by about 10 percent per decade for the rest of his life, accompanied by a slight increase in estrogen levels.

While women experience physical markers when they enter menopause, there is no specific point at which men typically enter andropause, the less extreme male version of the change of life due to low hormone production. Related changes usually cause minor problems at first and then tend to become more severe.

Medical studies from Seattle’s Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System, the University of Washington and Harvard University show that testosterone deficiency contributes to reduced muscle and bone mass, male breast enlargement, depression, atherosclerosis, anemia and diabetes.

Test First

Hormones travel the bloodstream in bound and unbound (free) forms; only the free ones activate various body functions. When evaluating a man, a doctor will typically order a blood test for total testosterone, combining both forms.

Older men often can show a normal total testosterone level, but have a low level of free testosterone. A saliva test brings clarity, because saliva only contains free hormones. Fifty-plus-year-old men with low free testosterone that show signs of hormone imbalance should consider natural supplementation, even when total testosterone is normal. It’s best to test before starting a rebalancing program and to retest after a few months. Establishing a record over time allows a man to monitor and adjust progress.

Hormone Help Starts Here

Taking supportive steps in nutrition and lifestyle choices can make a big difference.

Diet. Proper nutrition, embracing a full complement of vitamins and minerals, is essential. Eliminate red meat, cheese, fast food and processed snack foods, which can increase estrogen levels. Herbal supplements such as Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris), or puncture vine; ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Korean red ginseng (Panex ginseng) and maca (Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum) can help by increasing testosterone levels, sexual libido or erectile function. Some influence testosterone levels directly; others help enhance function by indirectly providing nutrients to improve circulation and general sexual health.

Weight control. Excess fat, particularly around the abdomen, stores and produces estrogen. Reducing fat tissue can help both lower estrogen and enhance testosterone.

Environmental exposure. Endocrine disruptors, called xenoestrogens, from everyday exposure to toxic estrogenic industrial chemicals, can mimic the effects of estrogen in a man’s body. These routinely appear in petrochemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dairy products, meats, canned foods, personal care products and plastics. Bisphenol-A (BPA) in the lining of metal food cans is particularly dangerous. Avoid microwaving foods in plastic containers, even when they are labeled as microwave-safe.

Research medications. Dr. Eugene R. Shippen, co-author of The Testosterone Syndrome, states, “High-dose statin drugs used to lower cholesterol definitely lower testosterone levels and are high on the list of causes of erectile dysfunction.”

Exercise. Physically inactive people lose up to 5 percent of their total muscle mass per decade. Exercise helps to lower estrogen levels and enhance testosterone levels.

Testosterone Supplements

Past incorrect beliefs that testosterone replacement therapy causes prostate cancer left many medical practitioners reluctant to prescribe it. The latest scientific research shows that a healthy man does not increase the risk by raising his testosterone level to the normal biological range for his age. Renowned medical oncologist and prostate cancer researcher and survivor, Dr. Charles “Snuffy” Myers, has stated, “There is absolutely no hint that testosterone at high levels correlates with prostate cancer.” He founded the American Institute for Diseases of the Prostate, near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Natural bioidentical testosterone cream labeled USP, for United States Pharmacopeia standard, is available at compounding pharmacies. Bioidentical means that a substance has the same chemical form as that produced by the human body.

Other forms of testosterone therapy, including biweekly injections, skin patches and pills typically employ synthetic chemicals that are similar, but not identical, to natural testosterone. Thus, such products are not completely recognizable by the body. About 15 years ago, bestselling author and hormone balancing expert Dr. John R. Lee published his startling conclusion that synthetic hormones can cause serious side effects, including an increased risk of stroke, cancer and liver damage. His findings were subsequently confirmed by the Women’s Health Initiative study. Injections, skin patches and pills subject the body to unnatural fluctuations in testosterone and estrogen. In contrast, skin creams permit precise daily or periodic dosing as prescribed by a qualified health care practitioner.

As they age, some men strongly feel the effects of a cumulative decline in testosterone levels and experience significant symptoms, while others barely notice it. Restoring testosterone to its biological norm can be rewarding. Remember that hormones are powerful and a little can go a long way. Beyond a prescribed amount, more is not better and can reverse benefits.

James Occhiogrosso, a natural health practitioner and master herbalist, specializes in salivary hormone testing and natural hormone balancing for men and women. For a phone consultation, call 239-498-1547, email DrJim@HealthNaturallyToday.com or visit HealthNaturallyToday.com.

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LOCAL BEATS PDX June 2012

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Jason

A monthly collection of musical highlights in our fair city

Oh June. Spring ends and Summer begins (well, maybe not always in Portland but in most places anyway). June also is one of four months with 30 days and it has the longest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Because of the above, June often hosts many events and this month in Portland is no exception.

Tinariwen
“World music” doesn’t really cut it when describing Tinariwen’s sound. Whether it’s “sub-Saharan desert blues” or “a compelling fusion of African and American rock n’ roll,” one thing’s for sure, the Tuareg-Berber band of musicians are extremely talented and it’s no surprise that their latest release Tassili took home the Grammy for Best World Music album in 2011. French singer-songwriter Piers Faccini opens with his unique blend of Mediterranean and Western African influenced folk, gospel and blues balladry.
Mon., June 11, Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland, 8pm

Patrick Watson
Patrick Watson’s songs are the kind of songs that come on during some highly emotional part in a prime-time television drama (think Grey’s Anatomy life-saving scene). His high-pitched vocals (reminiscent of Jeff Buckley and Antony & The Johnsons) are accompanied by sweeping, atmospheric melodies and talented instrumentation. Touring in support of his excellent new album Adventures In Your Own Backyard, this is a chance to see Watson and his band up close in personal in one of my favorite settings (did somebody say Ruby Ale?)
Tues., June 12, McMenamins Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland, 8pm

Jimmy Cliff
Nothing says Summer like a little reggae outside on the grass (I mean sitting on the grass, of course). Jamaican legend Jimmy Cliff comes to town as part of the Oregon Zoo’s fabulous Summer Concert Series and at age 64, he’s still got it. He even put out an EP at the end of last year, and four decades of music-making later, Sacred Fire is as current and soaring as ever.
Sun., June 24, Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Rd., Portland, 7pm

To contact Molly King, go to buzzpdx.com.

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Do You Parkour? Using the World as a Fitness Playground

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Jason

Athletes’ hunger for new ways to exercise, challenge and express themselves continually prompts the evolution of new sports, often rooted in earlier pursuits. Windsurfing, snowboarding and mountain biking are examples.

Now, a growing number of parkour practitioners are springboarding and combining ingredients from multiple sports and activities in an effort to defy gravity using nothing but sturdy shoes and props.

First popularized in France, parkour means “of the course” (specifically, an obstacle course)—a form of acrobatic freerunning, spiked with vaulting, somersaulting, jumping and climbing; even running up and over walls. Based on exacting training, street athletes overcome or use a creative range of obstacles in their immediate environment.

Such moves have been popularized by movie stars such as Jackie Chan and Daniel Craig’s James Bond in the opening scenes of Quantum of Solace, as well as You Tube postings. First deemed an unconventional, strictly urban, under-the-radar training method, parkour is increasingly viewed as a way for serious athletes in demanding sports to train and secure an edge. Adult men and women that competed in gymnastics, track and field or diving in their youth particularly enjoy reviving earlier skills.

Check it Out

American Parkour (APK), headquartered in Washington, D.C., considers itself the leading such community in the world. Established in 2005 by Mark Toorock, its website now hosts 90,000-plus registered users and is visited monthly by 100,000 inquirers. It provides news, daily workout emails, training guides, advice for beginners, instructional tutorials, guidelines for local recreation, and photo and video galleries.

Toorock, who played high school soccer and was then a serious martial artist in oom yung doe, kung fu and capoeira (which bridges dancing and gymnastics), was instantly hooked in 2003 when he saw a video of David Belle; the French native and acknowledged founder of parkour has appeared in 20-plus movies and commercials since 2000. “It was so different and authentic, what he was doing,” he says.

After opening the first Parkour and Freerunning gym at Primal Fitness, in D.C. in 2006, APK expanded to locations in Gainesville, Florida, and San Antonio, Texas. All offer an introductory session, full supervised parkour curriculum, boot camps, women-specific classes, summer camps and freerunning classes.

Toorock co-created and co-produced Jump City: Seattle, eight, one-hour parkour action shows to introduce more people to the concept (G4TV.com). Other fitness centers that now focus on parkour include: Base Fitness, in Noblesville, Indiana; Apex Movement, outside of Denver; Parkour Visions, in Seattle; Miami Freerunning, in Florida; and Fight or Flight Academy, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. More clubs are getting up to speed nationwide, with the San Antonio parks and recreation department currently adding a parkour park.

Tap Into the Energy

“Parkour allows adults to either continue or learn gymnastics for the first time in a new, creative context,” Toorock says. Natalie Strasser, a competitive gymnast for 13 years including at Kent State University, is a Los Angeles-based APK-sponsored athlete and conducts workshops.

Travis Graves, head trainer for APK Academies, which trains teachers, says “One of the first priorities for beginners is instilling a respect for the forces and impact of landings, so we work on rolling, balance and footwork.” He also emphasizes the importance of thorough warm-up and cool-down periods, as well as overall safety guidelines.

“Some women might feel intimidated, as most of what they see on YouTube are teenagers or young men doing their thing,” comments Graves. “But anyone can experiment and develop his or her own parkour style at their own comfort level.”

Lisa Peterson, of McLean, Virginia, was first attracted to the parkour’s creative movements, which represented a personal next step after years as a teacher and performer in ballet, ballroom and Argentine tango dancing. “As a victim of child abuse, I am always looking for ways to strengthen my confidence and self-esteem,” she says. “Parkour has done that for me.”

APK regularly holds community gathering “jams” around the country. “We encourage everyone to follow our guidelines,” notes Toorock, “although we can’t say that other methods are wrong.”

“Everyone has a sphere of capabilities. We help individuals expand safely and in proper progression,” he explains. “Some beginners may wear protective gear like gloves or shin guards but almost always relinquish them because they don’t want to rely on them, but take full responsibility for themselves and gain full freedom of movement.

“The world is a playground,” he concludes. “Parkour just makes more use of more of it.”

Learn more at AmericanParkour.com and DavidBelle.com.

Randy Kambic is a freelance editor and writer in Estero, FL, and a copyeditor for Natural Awakenings.

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